Pokemon controversies

Gambling in Pokemon?

Over the years, there has always been a growing distaste towards gambling and exposure of it to kids. Due to the unpredictable “risk-it-all” nature of the features and the high impressionability of youths, more and more people have voiced their opposition towards allowing minors to partake in gambling and/or gambling activities, with gambling in video games falling under particular scrutiny.

As a result, the PEGI organisation implemented stricter guidelines that limited gambling to adult-oriented games and rated all games featuring gambling 18+. Critics have labelled this move by PEGI as a stark warning to all game developers  and casino operators to not cross the fine line between games and video slots. This move was seen as an indirect warning to modern comic casinos such as Cashmio and Casumo.  While such restrictions are absent in other territories, many nations perceive gambling in video games as immoral, leading to the Pokémon games slowly phasing the concepts out from Generation III onward.

English releases of Pokémon Red and LeafGreen renamed the Gambler Trainer class to Gamer and removed the term gambling references from their dialogues. The English versions of the Generation IV games renamed Gamblers once more but to PI instead; however, the references to gambling were kept.

In South Korea, the releases of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum replaced the slot machines in the Veil stone Game Corner with non-playable game machines. These changes were later copied to the releases of Pokémon Platinum in Europe as a result of changes in the classification standards at PEGI. This change has been greatly criticised by European players, who felt that it completely defeated the purpose and concept of the Game Corner.

All non-Japanese releases of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver replace the slot machines of the two Game Corners in Goldenrod City and Celadon City with a new game called Voltorb Flip. In this minigame, coins are not wagered against a win or a loss but instead given out for completing a level. While many find the game to be entertaining, the change removed the ability to buy coins, making Voltorb Flip the only way to obtain them.

All core series games since Pokémon Black and White remove the Game Corner entirely, remakes included. This is referenced in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, where the Mauville Game Corner has been closed down; the owner will instead provide the player with three dolls. In the Virtual Console re-releases of the Generation I games, however, the Game Corner was completely untouched, although the games were rated 12 by PEGI.

Pokémon GO

The sudden enormous popularity of Pokémon GO resulted in a lot of controversies worldwide. Numerous organizations and companies complained about the spawning of Pokémon at places such as Holocaust and 9/11 memorials train rails, and while driving a car.Several people worldwide have been killed or seriously injured in accidents related to playing the game

In Russia a 21-year-old video blogger received a suspended sentence for three and a half years in prison for charges of blasphemy after playing the game in a church. Like the Pokémon mania in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pokémon GO caused strong reactions in the Islamic world, declaring fatwas against the game as it could lead to “haram” activities such as “gambling”. The game was banned in Iran over security concerns. In New York, registered sex offenders on parole were banned from playing Pokémon GO.In a Belgium town with 35 inhabitants, playing the game became forbidden at night because the small town was constantly flooded with players.

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