In a long history of completely dorky posts, this may be my masterpiece.
Using the new worldwide trading system in Pokemon Diamond, I acquired two each of the three starting Pokemon. This is remarkable because players are only given access to one of the three at the beginning of the game and they can’t catch any more during the game. The only way to get more of them is to breed them, which is labor intensive and probably takes over 30 minutes of play time to create. In previous Pokemon games I’ve played, I’ve never had a starting Pokemon other than the one that I chose at the beginning of the game.
So what did I trade online to get all these starting pokemon?
MagiCarp, one of the worst(*) and most common Pokemon in the game.
How did I get relatively rare Pokemon that takes over 30 minutes to acquire in exchange for one that takes me less than 2 minutes to catch?
All the Pokemon that I’ve received in trades have been Japanese, which makes sense because they’ve had the game for over 6 months already. Many have probably completed the game. Breeding starter Pokemon is one of the most common types to reproduce, so it’s understandable that they would have starters available for trade.
But why for MagiCarp? Don’t they suck? And why haven’t the Japanese traded each other MagiCarps for 6 months? What makes mine valuable?
I believe it’s because my Pokemon have English names. I believe Japanese players will make unbelievably great deals simply to have Pokemon with an English name.
Japanese players can’t enter English characters for their Pokemon names. (And American players can’t enter Japanese text.) English words are “cool” for some reason in Japan and since they need American players to trade their Pokemon to get ones with English names, they will make excellent deals (for Americans) to get English-named Pokemon. I believe the game has also sold around 6 million copies in Japan and probably about a million in the US so far, so, theoretically, the demand far outstrips the supply at this point, making sellers market.
I read about people making these crazy global trades on NeoGAF and didn’t believe it until I tried it myself. Sure enough, it works. Quickly too, it probably takes about an hour before one of my trades is complete. I don’t know when the Japanese market will be saturated with English-named Pokemon, but right now the market is hot. It seems that the Japanese will give almost any Pokemon that is easy to breed for an early game catch-em-in-the-dozens Pokemon with an English name.
I love thinking about game economies and I (obviously) find this situation fascinating. Nintendo’s simple decision to not allow Japanese players to enter English text has created this strange anomaly where the value of an object is dramatically changed by the characters used in its name.
- MagiCarp is a crappy Pokemon, but he eventually evolves into Gyrados which is quite good.