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Illustration for article titled Poke-math: How many Pokemon are really object based?

Every generation there always seems to be a lot of complaining about the designs of the Pokemon. That they are getting uglier, less creative and that it appears that 'Gamefreak is running out of ideas'. The biggest thing people tend to cite is the fact that so many Pokemon are based off of inanimate objects. Others remind people that object based Pokemon have been a staple since the first gen. So which one is correct?


Because I have a major project due at the end of the month, I decided to completely procrastinate on it and calculate Pokemon statistics instead. So I sat down and went through the first 5 generations of Pokemon to figure out exactly what percentage of Pokemon per generation were actually object based, as well as see if there were any kind of trends in the designs. I figure if we have an objective, quantity based conclusion reached it'll stop at least a few of the arguments. Now please keep in mind this is an a measure of amount, not quality. You might think Yanma is the ugliest thing known to man, but it doesn't change the fact that it's based off of a dragonfly, and therefore not object based.

In my calculations I used a series of three criteria to define what an 'object-based' Pokemon is:

  • 1. Pokemon may not be based off of an animal, including real, extinct, mythological or humanoid. Humans are in the primate family, and thus count as animals, so this includes Pokemon like Machop and Jynx. Ghastly and Frosglass count as animals because they are based off of mythological creatures (ghosts and the Japanese Snow Woman, respectively)
  • 2. Pokemon may not be based off any organic inanimate object. Because plants are inanimate, I have chosen to take any plant based Pokemon out of the calculation as well. If I had to take out Pineco because it's a pine cone, I'd have to also take out Oddish, Bellossom, etc. I've also discounted Pokemon like Swelot and Gulpin because even though they are based off of the stomach, organs count as organic inanimate objects.
  • 3. Pokemon must have a 100% clear origin. Unless I could 100% confirm a Pokemon as based off of an object it was not counted. For example, I have no idea what Wobuffet is based off of...but I don't know what Dunsparce is supposed to be either. These Pokemon count for a 2% margin of error in my calculations.

Based off of these criteria, these were my findings:

Gen 1: 8.61% were object-based. I found 13 of the original 151 to fall into my criteria.


Pokemon counted: Diglett*, Dugtrio*, Magnemite, Magneton, Grimer, Muk, Voltorb, Electrode, Koffing, Wheezing, Geodude, Graveller and Ditto

Gen 2: 1% were object based. Only one of the 100 Gen II Pokemon fit the criteria

Pokemon counted: Unown

Gen 3: 9.58% were object based. 16 of the 135 of the Gen III Pokemon fit

Pokemon Counted: Nosepass, Lunatone, Solrock, Baltoy, Claydol, Shuppet, Banette, Chimecho, Snowront, Glalie, Beldum, Metang, Metagross, Regirock, Regice, Registeel


Gen 4: 8.41% were object based. 9 of the 107 Gen IV Pokemon counted.

Pokemon counted: Driftloon, Drifblim, Chingling, Bronzor, Bronzong, Rotom, Magnezone, Probopass and Regigas


Gen 5: 14.1% were object-based. 22 out of 156 Gen V Pokemon fit the criteria.

Pokemon counted: Roggenrola, Boldore, Gigalith, Darumaka, Damanitan, Sigilyph, Yamask, Cofagrigus, Trubbish, Garbador, Vanillite, Vanillish, Vanilluxe, Klink, Klang, Klinklang, Litwick, Lampent, Chandelure, Cryogenal, Golett, Golurk


Of the 649 Pokemon from the first 5 gens, 61 are object based, for a total of 9.4%. The average amount of object-based Pokemon per generation is 8.34% with the 5th Generation containing the most object-based Pokemon with 40.9% more object Pokemon than the average. However, based off of the flux per generation and no distribution to suggest a trend, it is a false claim that there are more object-based Pokemon in each successive generation.

Conclusion: Even though you may not like some of the designs, there is no objective proof that Pokemon is become more and more object-based. Even if you think Pokemon is running out of ideas, the design trends have remained consistent since the first game.


*Though Diglett and Dugtrio are mole Pokemon, their design comes from the Whac-a-mole arcade game, not from real moles. Since they are based off of a game and not the original animal, they have been included as object-based Pokemon.

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