Apparently you can catch ’em all without being the very best that no one ever was, as one gamer has finished Pokemon X’s Pokedex without beating a single gym.
It took two years and 837 hours, but Matthew Johnson decided to see how many Pokemon he could catch without making any in-game progress and took it further than anyone could ever have predicted.
I know what you’re thinking: how the fuck did he do it?
Johnson told Kotaku:
I started small, [capturing] all of the Pokémon surrounding Santalune [the starting city]. Then I started training those [captured] Pokemon, and fully researching when they all evolve, and what it takes.
As any experienced trainer knows though, a Pokemon game’s starting area only yields so many ‘mon – to further his noble pursuit, Johnson made use of Pokemon X’s handy online features.
Wonder Trade proved the most useful, as a system that allows trainers to trade any Pokemon and get a random monster back in return from someone else.
Of course, even if you haven’t used Wonder Trade yourself, I’m sure you can imagine that the system is incredibly hit and miss, so Johnson hit upon a system.
Money was tight, and initially those Pokeballs aren’t cheap. So, I would go for a low level Fletchling, or Pidgey. Then I wonder trade that away, and if I got another Pokémon I did not need back, then the trading continued. Sometimes I could trade 15-20 times before I got something ‘good’ or useful to me.
It’s important to remember that every Pokemon he caught or received in a trade, he then trained in the game’s low level starting area – can you imagine how boring such a process would be?
After around a year, Johnson began to lose faith. He was out of Pokemon to trade, and had no money for Pokeballs – but a stroke of inspiration, and second wind, came from the Pokemon Global Link.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the PGL tracks how many ‘Pokemiles’ you’ve accumulated through worldwide trades, and lets you exchange those miles for level boosting items such as rare candies, evolution stones, and blessed Pokeballs.
Naturally, after some 7,000 trades over the past year, Johnson was Pokeballin’.
Slowly but surely, Johnson amassed more valuable Pokemon, and used them to trade up for bigger and better monsters.
One legendary received from a local GameStop event allowed him to trade for a bunch of awesome ‘mon he might otherwise have had trouble getting.
And there we have it – after two years of trading, grinding, praying, and playing, Johnson completed the regional Pokedex – check out the video below, which sees our hero nab the final Pokemon he needed.
A Pokedex completed without a single badge. Truly impressive stuff – now, if only he can finish the National Dex and truly catch ’em all – that should only take another three or four years.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.