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The Secret Side of Pokémon You Never Knew About

If I asked you what an “EV” is in Pokémon, you might assume I was talking about the lovable little fox creature that evolves into a myriad different forms. But if you’re a competitive Pokémon player, you know exactly what those two letters mean—effort values. These values are increased by battling different kinds of Pokémon and give monsters a valuable edge, but the games won’t show them to you in any menu. And they’re just one of the hidden, deeper mechanics in the series that go beyond the well-known rock-paper-scissors of type matchups and factor into the complex world of competitive Pokémon battling.

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I Was a Teenage Gym Leader

I can remember the first time I played a Pokémon game better than I can remember the first time I rode a bike. It was my birthday, and I unwrapped a gift from my best friend to find a copy of Pokémon Blue, the first game—along with Pokémon Red—released in the series in North America.