Before we start, no, this isn’t about Candy Crush. I’ve been considering writing an article about that for a while, but I just don’t know where to start with that insanely popular mobile game. No, this article is about the other insanely popular mobile game, Pokemon Go.
“Wait, there’s no candy grinder in Pokemon Go.”
Yes there is. In fact there is enough candy for every base Pokemon up until the beginnings of Generation 4. When you catch a Pokemon, you are rewarded candy. 3 candy for a normal catch, 6 candy if you use a Pinap berry on level 1 Pokemon (e.g. Charmander), 5 or 10 with a second evolution (e.g. Charmeleon) and 10-20 with a third evolution (e.g. Charizard). Events which double the candy earned are somewhat common. Other ways you can obtain candy include hatching Pokemon from eggs, trading Pokemon to other people and walking one as your buddy.
The other way to get candy is to transfer a Pokemon to the Professor.
But do you really think Professor Willow actually keeps all the Pokemon we transfer to him? There’s millions of Pokemon Go players all transferring unwanted Pokemon to Professor Willow. He’s not keeping them, he’s running an abattoir. All the Pokemon we send him get chucked into blenders, minced up, mixed with sugar, baked inside a furnace and turned into candy.
Okay, that’s probably over the top. It’s more likely that either Pokemon Professors turn these Pokemon into digital data to analyze, or they simply do what they need to do and release the Pokemon back into the wild. While keeping the rare stuff for their own personal Pokemon armies.
My point is, we transfer a lot of Pokemon. We transfer most Pokemon we catch. The Pokemon we have are the 1%, the tiny minority of survivors that have enough value for us to deem too valuable to be turned into candy.
This is reinforced in oh so many ways. The most obvious is that there’s only so much Pokemon inventory that you have. You start off with 300 and you will quickly hit that cap. So you have to get rid of some of them. It’s always obvious which ones you should keep as well. Get rid of the crappy low CP Pokemon, save the high CP ones. Later on you’ll start saving the ones with good stats and good CP. Everything else gets transferred.
But also, you’ll find you get rid of Pokemon as you level up more and more. Sure, that 1500cp Houndoom I had when I was level 10 was really damn useful, but why am I keeping him when I can evolve a 800-900cp Houndour and get a far higher CP Houndoom? When it comes to raids and gyms, you’ll want specific things, and you’re going to want to save space for an army of Tyranitars, which are guaranteed better than Houndooms.
You also need a ton of candy to evolve and level things up. For example, excluding Pinaps and events, it takes 62 candy to evolve a Pidgey into a Pidgeot. Most Pokemon require 50 candy for one-stage evolutions and 125 for 2-stage evolutions. So you need to catch at least 11 Pidgeys to evolve one into a Pidgeot, or 42 Charmanders to get yourself a Charizard. But what are you going to do with all those spare Pokemon after you’ve got your Pidgeot or Charizard? Feed them to the Candy Grinder of course. Then feed them to your newly evolved Pokemon to level them up a bit.
Even Legendary Pokemon aren’t spared from the Candy Grinder. With Legendaries being as common as they are, anyone who plays past level 25 or so will quickly start gathering a small collection of them, and anyone who does their weekly research breakthroughs will also have a handful of legendaries at their disposal. But I’ve met plenty of people with “too many Mewtwos” and things like that, it’s insane.
What makes it worse though is that you have no reason to keep older stuff. When you first start playing, you can pick from one of three starters. But these starters are absolutely useless. They’re 10CP and, aside from nostalgia, don’t do anything. You could put one in a gym maybe, but that’s it. It’s basically 3-4 free candy to put towards evolving or powering up a proper starter Pokemon. You’re better off immediately going to and catching something else that’s not 10CP.
Basically, you have to grind up so many Pokemon to get to the top, that it’s hard to even hold onto Pokemon for nostalgic reasons. And that’s fucking terrifying.
Well, on the plus side, a quick death is better than spending eternity trapped inside a ball inside a computer, hoping that one day, your captor will let you go…