'Pokémon Unchained' Rewrites Adventure With Slavery Rhetoric

Game developer Mattie Brice has retold the story of Pokémon Black/White by replacing the word 'Pokémon' with 'slave,' and 'trainer' with 'master,' to explore the questionable ethics of the game.  It's fair to say that things get weird when you look at this game as an allegory for slavery. 

Off the back of the interesting perspective into the ethical correctness of keeping/battling Pokemon presented in Black/White, Mattie created Pokemon Unchained (name inspired by Django Unchained as you probably already assumed with the subject matter) to meaningfully answer the ethical questions raised by what has been called a 'Blood Sport' by PETA

To do this, she mentally switched the aforementioned terms, 'Pokemon' & 'Trainer' to 'Slave' & 'Master.'  And followed the famous "Nuzlocke Challenge," to which there are three rules:

  • You can only catch the first Pokémon you encounter in each area.
  • When a Pokemon loses all its health, it's dead and must be released.
  • All Pokemon must be nicknamed

    Traditionally, the idea is to give your Pokémon playthrough more emotional impact, as you grow more attached through your hardship to maintain your Pokemon's life.  But through the slavery context infused with this scenario, it starts to take on an entirely different form: a role-reversed ideology where Team Plasma are intent on releasing them from oppressive chains.

    "In order to liberate slaves from foolish people, we will take their slaves!"

    What you end up with is a bunch of masters (trainers) rationalising slavery, very similar to the dialogue in Django Unchained.  Reasonings such as 'slaves need masters to take care of them,' 'slaves are good at physical work and masters are good at leading,' or 'it's biological that slaves are submissive and loyal to masters.' 

    That demonstration was a laugh. Free the slaves? What would they do without us? It's a common fact that all masters and slaves are happier together, so really, we're doing the beasts a favor.

    It makes for uncomfortable reading, as Pokemon is never usually something to pair with slavery, playing it for the best part of 20 years.  You can keep up with Pokémon Unchained here.

    Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

    Jason England