LOADING ...

In Defense Of Hop, The Unlucky Pokémon Rival

Gita Jackson Dec 06, 2019. 13 comments

I will not hear any more slander about Hop, your rival in Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Your rivals in the more recent Pokémon games have trended more towards “childhood pal” than the “bigtime assholes” you had to trounce in the older ones. I have strong memories of wanting to just beat the shit out of Blue from Red and Blue because he was such a nonstop jerk, and I’ll still kick his ass if I see him. It’s on sight dude.

Hop, on the other hand, is a nice kid. All he wants is to be Pokémon Champion, like his big brother Lee. It is your role in Sword and Shield to crush this dream constantly. Every time he challenges you, he’s sure he’s figured out the key to beating your winning strategy. Due to the nature of the game, each time you face him, he is wrong. Once when I was playing, my boyfriend looked over my shoulder as I killed Hop’s Scorbunny in one hit and muttered, “His confidence is misplaced.”

Some Pokémon players find Hop’s eternal optimism annoying. When you get a particularly good hit in that takes advantage of type differences, he’ll congratulate you on your knowledge of type match ups. He does this every time. I understand that people might find this annoying. I do not. It’s sweet that he can find a way to compliment you, even when you’re absolutely destroying him.

While I understand wanting to have a rival that you’re driven to beat through hatred, it creates an emotional slurry that makes me feel bad. Combining the joy of victory with the joy of having made someone feel bad just sours the win for me. When I win, I want it to be a celebration of my skills, not a celebration of how much someone sucks. If I beat someone, I want to know that they were trying their hardest, that they wanted it just as much as me.

Pokémon Sword and Shield also has a character that is designed to be hateable: Bede, a mysterious trainer that’s been endorsed by the Pokémon equivalent of the president of FIFA. He is a jerk to you from the first time you meet him until the last time you defeat him in battle. While he’s a good character and I felt good about beating him, I’m not as attached to him as I am to Hop. Beating Bede feels good, but I don’t feel any real connection to him.

Bede is just one more stepping stone on my way to victory. Whatever his personal problems are, they’re not my problems, and I refuse to care about them. Why should I? He’s a jerk! Beating Hop is a challenge that I’ll face over and over. If it were real life, that kind of relationship is the one that creates a lasting, lifelong friendship, one where you’d be happy if your friend wins. It’s a benchmark for my progress, and also for his lack of progress. My guy is really surprised that Water Type moves beat his Fire Type Pokémon every goddamn time. Hop might not be too quick on the uptake, but he’s a good friend, and that’s worth its weight in Gym Badges.

13 Comments

Other Gita Jackson's posts

Goodbye From Josh and Gita Goodbye From Josh and Gita

Today, Joshua Rivera and Gita Jackson are both leaving Kotaku. They sat down to talk about what they love about this place, as well as the state of g...

I Can't Wait To Bully Pokémon Shield's New Psychic-Type Rival I Can't Wait To Bully Pokémon Shield's New Psychic-Type Rival

The upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield DLC, The Isle of Armor, will feature two new rivals exclusive to each of the games. Sword will get Klara, who s...

Apocalypse Now, And Again, And Again Apocalypse Now, And Again, And Again

In video games, I have watched the world end countless times. I have also seen what comes after.Right now, I feel like I am going to die all the time...

Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansions Add Over 200 Existing Pokémon Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansions Add Over 200 Existing Pokémon

Unlike previous games in the series, Pokémon Sword and Shield won’t be getting a new version of the game a year later with an extra adjective. Instea...

Suggested posts

Riot Games Executive Resigns Following "Abhorrent" George Floyd Comments Riot Games Executive Resigns Following "Abhorrent" George Floyd Comments

Ron Johnson, Global Head of Consumer Products at Riot Games, has resigned from his position after saying that the murder of George Floyd by police wa...

The Hits And Misses Of The PS5 Reveal Event The Hits And Misses Of The PS5 Reveal Event

What were Sony’s big hits and misses in today’s PlayStation 5 reveal event? Ethan Gach and I pick the biggest reveals and point out what we’re s...

When The PS5 Games From Today's Event Come Out (And Where Else You Can Play Them) When The PS5 Games From Today's Event Come Out (And Where Else You Can Play Them)

Earlier today, Sony finally pulled back the curtain on the PlayStation 5 —partially. The event was short on details about the console itself, but we...

Our Favorite Smaller Games From Today's PS5 Reveal Event Our Favorite Smaller Games From Today's PS5 Reveal Event

Sony’s finally revealed the PlayStation 5 , along with a pleasant selection of launch-window games. Between massive reveals like Demon’s Souls remak...

Gods & Monsters Accidentally Goes Live On Stadia For 30 Minutes Gods & Monsters Accidentally Goes Live On Stadia For 30 Minutes

Stadia users were surprised to see a mysterious game named Orpheus in the cloud gaming platform’s store this morning. Once downloaded, they found it ...

What We Still Don’t Know About PlayStation 5 And Xbox Series X What We Still Don’t Know About PlayStation 5 And Xbox Series X

Today saw Sony officially unveil the PlayStation 5. Microsoft revealed the Xbox Series X last December. And while we already have quite enough to a...

Look At The PS5's Cute Little Taco Camera Look At The PS5's Cute Little Taco Camera

I do not like the PlayStation 5 , but I do very much like it’s wee little sidekick, the Taco Camera. The PS5 Does Not Look Good I don’t mean the cons...

The PS5 Does Not Look Good The PS5 Does Not Look Good

I don’t mean the console as some kind of overall experience, or as a platform upon which to play games upon. Who knows what’s going to happen, it’s n...

Everything Sony Announced In Today's PS5 Event Everything Sony Announced In Today's PS5 Event

The sequel to Horizon: Zero Dawn, the eighth Resident Evil, a new Spider-Man starring Miles Morales, and a bold design for the PlayStation 5 were all...

Here's What The PS5 Looks Like Here's What The PS5 Looks Like

Today, Sony showed off the PlayStation 5, which spits in the face of the idea of non-rounded corners.There will be two versions: a regular one and a ...

Language