On the 22nd of October, with a glint in my eye and my 3DS in my backpack, I got on my pushbike to acquire Zeraora and complete my Pokédex. It had been a long journey but it felt fitting to finish it off by travelling by bike and train, Red’s preferred methods of transport, even if asking a store clerk for a code to redeem online isn’t my favourite method of acquiring a Pokémon.
The final Pokémon to catch was Zeraora, officially distributed by code to retailers around the world. The distribution was scheduled to begin the 19th of October but I figured that Australia is a big country and the post can take a while so I would wait till the Monday to collect mine. I got to the EB Games store in the city and after taking note of the fact their Pokémon merchandise section is bigger than their entire Switch games section, I asked the valley girl clerk if they have any Pokémon codes. Her face dropped, the expression read “not this again,” but the mouth could only manage “uh-” before a manager cut her off. He explained that the fake and badly rating mainstream media had assumed in their reporting that when the Pokémon site said EB Games they meant EB Games in Australia and not the similarly branded store in Canada. However, he added they could be forgiven for this mistake because the Pokémon Company themselves had listed Zeraora under the (since deleted) Australian regional variant of their website. Anyway he continued, they had contacted Nintendo Australia and asked if any codes were on their way and suggested that I follow EB Games Australia on Facebook for updates about their availability.
I completed my other tasks in the city (recycling expired tech products, gift buying etc.) caught the train to the suburbs, and then rode home contemplating what to do.
When I got home I decided to not support the corporatisation of our social media, so instead of following EB Games’ advertisement feed, I looked for and found a support group of other Pokémon fans to cry with. Another user of PokeAus was bleating about the situation and added him as a friend. Soon we had a crowd of people in a group chat discussing what to do. I suggested a riot and things got pretty heated with blame pointed at Nintendo Australia, The Pokémon Company, Canada, EB Games and the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham who as usual was doing nothing to facilitate this trade and investment (of Pokémon) into Australia.
Then, there was a glimmer of hope when someone found this intrepid tweeter reaching out to The Pokémon Company themselves:
Were you paying attention to that screenshot though? Look at the the Pokémon Company representative’s reply, this galaxy brained individual didn’t explicitly mention Australia. And sure enough, come Friday 26, EB Games Australia hadn’t received any codes, because presumably Agent_Abbey (if that’s her real name) was still thinking about Canada.
(Update: I originally blamed @Flomstat for the confusion but if you see the comments he is innocent of any involvement)
I had another plan though. I figured that since the Australian flag symbolises our status as a colonial backwater of a dead British empire, why not contact someone in the old country, before Brexit cut them off from the outside world? I reached out to an old teacher friend.
And that afternoon.
I entered the code, it worked and I did a little jump for joy. I shared this news with my support circle and they were very happy for me. I refreshed Facebook and saw that Nintendo had announced, within that hour, the discovery of Melmetal, a new Pokémon. Fuck you Nintendo.
I’ll probably have more to say about the Pokédex, including reflections on the process, what more there is to do, Pokémon eugenics, review UltraSun… there’s a lot to talk about really, but for now I’ll leave you with the facebook milestone I posted on the 24th of October.