I’ve been playing Pokemon for more than 20 years and obviously there’s a lot I like about the iconic video game franchise. The battling, the exploring, the wacky NPCs, and of course the awesome variety of Pokemon that have been discovered over the years; all of that’s good stuff. The one thing that’s perplexed me is the demand on streaming platforms for shiny Pokemon hunting.
For those who are new to the game, shiny Pokemon are extremely rare creatures who are differently colored than the rest of their species. For example, the Charizard we’re used to seeing is orange, but the shiny version is charcoal and happens to be extremely cool looking. Other shiny Pokemon have more subtle differences compared to their “normal” counterparts, but all of the shines are hard to come by.
In order to find one you have to go through a lot of random encounters in the wild (often more than 1,000) or hatch a ton of eggs, which is easier for Pokemon that aren’t common in the wild. It’s very time consuming, very monotonous, and for some reason has a huge following on Twitch.
The fun part is when the shiny Pokemon finally appears and the streamer loses their mind, but that often comes after hours of just running in circles on screen and talking with the chat. For engaging personalities, it can work because the streamer doesn’t have to worry about concentrating on gameplay and can put 90 percent of their attention on the chat. Of course, it’s also possible to engage with chat while doing something more exciting in the video game.
That’s why I don’t find shiny hunting appealing. I’d much rather watch a Nuzlocke (playing through the quest with rules that make it more challenging than normal) or a speed run or something that has the streamer actually PLAYING Pokemon instead of just running in circles. From the streamer point of view, I can see the appeal. Shiny hunting brings in viewers and the streamer doesn’t have to be laser-focused on gameplay like they would during a spreed run. If fans really love watching the hunts that much, it makes sense for streamers to commit to them.
But for me personally, the shiny hunting isn’t moving needle. I’ve tried to get into it in the past; tried to understand what the hype was about. I’ll still probably watch some if the content is being run by a streamer I want to support. However, I’ll be much more likely to tune in to a speed run, Nuzlocke, or other sort of engaging Pokemon content that doesn’t involve doing donuts outside the daycare center for hours on end. If I want content that is more fun and exciting, I’ve got to put my money and attention where my mouth is and stop watching the same hunts over and over hoping for something to change.