Pokemon community loses it over "disturbing" Trainer battle theory - Dexerto

Pokemon community loses it over “disturbing” Trainer battle theory

Published: 23/Mar/2021 0:15

by Brent Koepp


A viral post had the Pokemon community re-thinking the entire series after the theory comically framed Trainer battles in a whole new light. 

Since its debut in 1996, a main gameplay feature of the Pokemon series is battles. Players use the ‘mon they have caught to face off against NPC Trainers in the overworld.

A fan’s wild theory had the community seeing the beloved mechanic from a whole new perspective. Could the iconic gameplay element really be a criminal activity?

Screenshot of Pokemon Sword & Shield trainer challenge.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
Could NPC battles in Pokemon be more sinister than we think?

Viral Pokemon theory has players seeing Trainer battles differently

If you’ve ever played a Pokemon game, one of the first things you will encounter is other Trainers. While walking around in the overworld, NPCs will forcibly stop your character to battle it out with their team of ‘mon.


What if those encounters were more sinister than two rivals simply engaging in a friendly competition? A viral theory on the r/Pokemon subreddit argues that players are actually being robbed.

“All pokemon battles are attempted robberies. Here is my proof. You cant run/escape. The trainers ambush you. If you lose you have to pay the trainer (robber) money. If you win, they pay you money. Coincidence?? I THINK NOT,” user ‘ThemightyTho’ explained in their post.

All pokemon battles are attempted robberies. from pokemon

Hilariously, the user has a point as the game’s lore never explains why money is being exchanged after battles. The Pokemon community ran with the theory, with many agreeing that an “attempted robbery” actually makes sense.


“Let’s not forget that if YOU lose, according to the gen 1 games, you fu**king “black out”. The pokemon world is no joke,” a fan said in reaction to the theory.

Another user jokingly pointed out, “It’s a violent world, why do you think they don’t let you leave town without a Pokemon, they get a cut!” One fan put it best and wrote, “I learned a long time ago that it’s best not to think too much about what’s actually happening in pokemon because if you do it’s really disturbing.”

Screenshot of Pokemon fans reacting to dark trainer battle theory.

Of course, many elements in the Game Freak series are disturbing if you try to apply real world logic to them. Catching Pokemon and forcing them to fight is the classic example often used to point out the RPG being kind of messed up.


The viral theory about Trainer battles is comically spot on though. Decades after the series’ debut, players can still expect to get jumped around every corner by NPCs forcing them to battle – whether they like it or not.