In the Pokemon fandom, every once in a while you stumble upon a ‘Pokeballs are $200′ joke. In reference to how Pokeballs cost 200 of the in-game currency:
What a lot of fans, especially more casual ones, don’t seem to realize is that the currency in the Pokemon games it based on the Japanese yen. The symbol for the currency in the games even resembles the yen symbol:
In fact, according to Bulbapedia, the ‘Poke dollar’ symbol was specifically created for the English translations of the games, and the original Japanese versions use the yen symbol.
Now, for perspective, although the exact exchange rate naturally varies, a US dollar is equivalent to about 120 Japanese yen. So, 200 yen is about $1.67.
A Pokeball in the Pokemon games actually cost less then two bucks.
There’s a REASON we see so many young kids training Pokemon, especially early in the games. The cost of investing into a Pokeball to try catching their own Pokemon easily falls into the range of a typical kid’s allowance. A Potion for healing after battles is 300 (or about $2.50), but since Pokemon Centers offer their healing services for free, that’s a moot point.
Youngsters in the early game only give within a range from 50-150 of the currency, which is about equivalent to $0.40-$1.25. The first Gym Leader in Hoenn Region, Roxanne, give 1,680 in Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, equivalent to about $14. Which is about right for the equivalent of a middle or high school honors student. A later Gym Leader, Winona, gives 4,200, or about $35. The Champion, Steven, gives 11600, or $96.67.
The winnings from enemy Trainers varies, but Ace Trainers seem to give out about 1500 or $14 on average, give or take. Swimmers (especially common later in ORAS), award a range from 400-800, or $3.33-$6.67.
Vitamins (such as Calcium, Iron, and HP UP), cost 9,800 or $81.67 each. An Ultra Ball cost 1,200, or $10. A Paralyze Heal costs the same as a Pokeball, while an Awakening is half that. A Revive is 1,500, or $12.50.
What’s the point of doing this? Well, for one, to get a better sense of the in-game economics, which can be hard to grasp if one doesn’t realize the in-game ‘Poke dollars’ are based on the Japanese yen. And a look at said economics reveals some interesting details.
First, it shows basic Pokemon training and raising is well within the affordability of a ten-year old, or older. Which makes sense as Pokemon is aimed at younger kids, and the develops would want them to have the sense that going on a Pokemon journey is something they could do if they somehow ended up in the Pokemon world.
On the other hand, it also shows there’s really not that much money to be made in Pokemon raising and traning, unless you battle frequently and regularly against higher-level opponents regularly and and win. Which is…very much in line with how professional sports work in real-life. Pokemon battling gets compared to a sporting event a lot for a reason. The initial 3-D games were even called Pokemon *Stadium.* Parallels are frequently drawn between the Pokemon League tournaments and the Olympics in the anime. The low money output is probably also why we often see Gym Leaders and the like working other jobs.
Just something interesting I decided to look into. I’m a Pokemon fan first, before any other fandom, and always will be. It’s shocking that I haven’t written any meta on it yet.
The 1000000 price for the bicycle translates to $8259.51, which is the price of a top quality bike for proffesionals.
Excellent catch! Helps explain why the bikes can ride through stuff like snow and sand. They are of excellent make.
And it also helps explain why the bike shop owners are happy to give out their bikes to a prospective Pokemon Trainer for free (whether through a voucher or otherwise). Your average Trainer taking the Gym challenge puts those bikes through the *wringer.* Riding them along mountains, through marshes, and even through snow. But a bike being able to endure that is the kind of thing a professional rider would look for, and desire.
Most Pokemon Trainers will never be able to afford the bikes, but are in one of the best positions to push them to their limits. So giving them out for free is actually a clever marketing move. Imagine a potential buyer seeing a Trainer riding one of those bikes in Lillycove, and said Trainer reveals they rode it from Rustboro (which means they rose it around a mountain, several caves, a few marshes, and possibly other environments I’m not thinking of right now). That’s a hell of an impression to make, and a fast, easy way to sell the buyer on getting the bike themselves, especially if they ride competitively.
Case in point, in Pokemon Gold/Silver and their re-makes, the bike shop even gives you the bike specifically as ‘advertising.’ After you’ve ridden it around long enough, you get a call saying that because of you doing so, their sales have shot through the roof (and happily tell you to keep the bike). And it’s no wonder why.
It is lonely. Family will leave. Friends will leave. You will find yourself on forums and chatrooms, searching in vain for understanding. For compassion.
There is no glory in being broken. Your average disabled veteran or accident survivor will get adulation on a good day, pity on a bad one. You will get pity on a good day, contempt and fear on a bad one.
It is expensive. You will burn through your rainy day savings in the first year. It does not matter how big a house you live in or how nice your wardrobe is, you will inevitably find yourself crying over everything insurance does not cover. The co-pays will slowly kill you. Blue Cross seemingly spites you. You’ll go to the bike shop to tune up your chair, because it’s cheaper than the medical supply store. You will find yourself selling your childhood skateboards on eBay to pay for this month’s meds.
You are public property. Everybody suddenly feels entitled to share their opinion on your body and health. They will stop you in the street and corner you and holiday parties. They will tell you what they think. They will judge. They will intrude. There is no privacy in being an oddity.
There is no control. Nothing ever stays stable for very long. You’ll find yourself having a good month, convince yourself it’s getting better, until once again, you’re in the ER, within inches of your life. You can no longer make plans.
They will look. Say goodbye to anonymity.
Pain is a constant companion. Every minute of everyday. You’ll never really get used to it, but you’ll learn how to deal with it. How to hide it. There are times it will be so bad you cannot breathe or see. Cannot think. There are times you will want to die and times you’re convinced you already are dead. You’ll find yourself at 3am, staring teary-eyed at a bottle of Vicodin or Oxy. You’ll debate it, fighting as long as you can. And then you’ll lose. You’ll take two, sleep for 16 hours, and wake up in the same burning, screaming pain. Opioids will always win over will power.
Nobody will take care of you. Friends are busy. Family is tired. You are alone. You’ll skip meals because you are too sick to get out of bed and make something. You will go a week without bathing because you cannot get out of bed. Eventually you’ll swallow your pride and ask for help- and nobody will be there to give it to you.
It affects everything. Your diet will be affected. The clothes you wear will change. The type of furniture you have will change. The books you read, the music you listen to, and the company you keep. Nothing is the same, nothing is untouched.
You have to fight like hell. You’ll fight tooth and nail for the care you need. You’ll fight your insurance company. You’ll fight the piercing eyes of strangers. You’ll fight your own body. You’ll fight for your life. You’ll fight with your family and friends. Everything is a fight. Survival itself is a constant thought.
People don’t want to hear about it. You’ll know that you’re constantly complaining. People will call it self pity, but it doesn’t matter. You have to get it out. You have to tell somebody- anybody- about what you’re going through. And eventually, you’ll find somebody who listens. Hold on to them.