8 neat things that happened playing Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go has been out for a month, and so far it’s taken the globe by storm. When I first saw the trailer, I was intrigued by the premise, but ultimately not that excited.

Then when the game came out and everybody was talking about it, I had to give it a try.

I’m glad I did. Despite so many server issues and glitches in the game, Pokémon Go is easily the best mobile game I’ve ever played.

Here are 8 neat things that happened to me while playing the game.

1. Finding Marjorie Bailey’s ghost

Okay, so this first story didn’t happen directly to me, but it’s the story that convinced me to download the game.

In college, me and five of my friends rented a house together. It was the first time this house had been rented, as the previous owner was a recently deceased old lady.

While looking through one of the drawers, we discovered an old campaign poster for a woman named Marjorie Bailey. We concocted a fantasy that Marjorie Bailey was the woman who died, and now haunted the house.

Fast forward seven years. My college friends and I had a reunion at my parents’ place. Before he came over, one of my former roommates drove past our old house.

And what did he find? A Ghastly in the front yard! He caught it, and promptly named it “MargeBailey.”

Her ghost exists after all!

Ghastly in Pokemon Go

2. Finding a Krabby in the seafood section

A couple days later, I downloaded the game on the way to the grocery store. I was with Mom, so my job was to push the cart. While in the store, I opened up the game. The first Pokémon I caught was a Krabby, conveniently sitting in the frozen seafood section!

Then I caught a Pidgey next to the chicken.

Krabby in Pokemon Go

3. Opening up my imagination

After that first experience catching Pokémon, I walked around my neighborhood, smartphone in hand. Pokémon kept popping up: Rattatas, Pidgeys, Caterpies, and Spearows. While the game has its flaws, still the most exciting aspect is imagining that Pokémon actually exist, and that they inhabit our world!

While I rarely play with Augmented Reality turned on, the camera feature is a nice touch. For a few moments, I get close to realizing a fantasy that’s been living in my head for 20 years.

Spearow in Pokemon Go

Rattata in Pokemon Go

Weedle in Pokemon Go

4. Finding my first lures

A friend and I had a couple hours to kill before dinner, so we took out our smartphones and started exploring downtown.

A couple minutes later we found a pack of teenagers roaming the city. They told us there was an Abra around the corner, and they were really excited that they caught it.

Abra in Pokemon Go

My friend and I went from Poké Stop to Poké Stop. I looked on the map and saw that one Poké Stop a few blocks away had drifting purple hearts over it. I knew this had to be a lure.

We went to the Stop, and sure enough, the kids we saw earlier had placed a lure. There was a second Poké Stop feet away, so they put a lure on that as well.

For the next 30 minutes, we caught Pokémon after Pokémon. And those lures attracted many others, players more experienced than us, who shared tips on how to get ahead.

We met a dozen people during that half hour. Almost everybody was the stereotypical nerd: a bit goofy looking, a bit socially awkward, but also entirely nice. I was in the company of my people, and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had with the game.

5. Meeting the boys at the mall

I learned early on that high population areas have more Poké Stops, and thus more Pokémon. My neighborhood was pretty barren, plus it was the height of summer, 90+ degrees outside. I headed to the local mall where activity was buzzing.

Upon entering the mall, I found two Poké Stops, each with lures on them. I sat down in the food court and started playing.

Within seconds, two boys and their father were standing behind me, looking over my shoulder. The game had been out less than a week, so most people still didn’t understand how it worked.

I showed the boys my Pokémon, and they watched as I caught a Pidgey and Spearow. They were so excited to see Pokémon pop up right in the food court! They hadn’t played the game yet, and likely didn’t have smartphones themselves.

But I suspect they asked their dad to download it on his smartphones as soon as they left the mall.

Pokemon Go

6. Playing Pokémon Go at church

A couple weeks after the game dropped, my church (Methodist) decided to get in on the action. The church was a Poké Stop, so one forward-looking congregant suggested hosting lure events on the front steps.

Every Sunday and Wednesday nights at 7 the church drops a lure. They have music playing and provide snacks and ice tea to anybody interested. Kids, along with their parents, come out to play. Even the pastor plays!

The lure events have been very successful. Sometimes people simply pass by, but for others it’s a friendly, nonthreatening way to talk to people at the church.

Spiritual conversations don’t happen often, but that’s okay. The church should touch peoples’ lives where they are at. What a great way to show the world that Christians can indeed play video games in a safe, healthy way.

Jigglypuff in Pokemon Go

7. Evolving my first Eevee

One of my all-time favorite Pokémon is Eevee. She’s so cute, and her ability to evolve into many different forms is so much fun.

Eevee in Pokemon Go

When I played Pokémon X and Y, I stuck my toe into the competitive waters. I’d always liked Jolteon, but this game cemented my love for Eevee. I trained a Jolteon and Vaporeon and picked all the right moves. They were the foundation of my fighting team.

Lots of Pokémon Go trainers have Jolteons, Vaporeons, and Flareons. But I have such difficulty finding Eevees!

Finally, after catching hundreds of Pokémon, I had enough Eevee candies to evolve. I spent the 25 candies, and got 950 CP Vaporeon! After training, my Vaporeon is at nearly 1100 CP, and still has room to grow.

Now I just need a Jolteon.

Vaporeon in Pokemon Go

8. Finding a board gaming group

Last night while hanging out at a Poké Stop I met a professor from the university. I met him last year, so I knew him well. He had just started playing the game, and Pokémon was a new concept to him.

We got talking, and he told me that he and his husband host a board gaming group with other professors from the university! I moved to Bloomsburg, PA a year ago and thus far haven’t had any success finding fellow board gamers.

When I lived in Florida (while getting my PhD) and in North Dakota (as an adjunct professor) I had great board gaming groups. That was one of the things I really missed when I came to PA.

Beedrill in Pokemon Go

But now it’s okay; I’ve found a group again! It’s amazing how Pokémon Go, at its best, is a conversation starter. It gives you something to talk about, whether it introduces you to new people, or introduces you to existing friends in new ways.

If you have had any fun experiences playing Pokémon Go, please share in the comments!

Game on,
~Dennis

Pokeball Christmas Wreath

This year, as I prepared for Christmas, I wanted to come up with a decoration that fit the season but also fit my nerdy, video game interests. I’d seen wreaths before made out of ornament balls, so I decided to make one myself.

Only with Pokéballs!

All you need for this project are Christmas balls, red and green glitter spray paint ($8 a can at Hobby Lobby), a strong wire (like a coat hanger), electrical tape, and ribbon.

First, I gathered the balls, about 70 total.

White and silver Christmas balls

Because the Pokéballs were going to be green and red, I used white and silver balls to fill in the gaps. I eventually added some plain red balls as well.

The larger white balls served as the base for the paint. Putting painters tape around the circumference, I spray painted the tops of half with red glitter paint and half with green.

Spraying green glitter paint on the pokeballs.

I held the balls in my hand and spray painted them, then set them in a box to dry.

I quickly found that the glitter paint was harder to work with than normal spray paint. You can’t really push the button down lightly. If you do, only a clear glue comes out, not the paint. So I held the balls at arms length and tried to apply the paint as lightly as possible. In some cases the paint clumped together as it dried, but other times it stayed on evenly. I’m not sure what caused the difference.

In the future, it’d probably look better to spray the balls with normal green and red paint first, and then put a second, lighter coat of glitter paint on top.

The masking tape didn’t work perfect: sometimes the paint dribbled through.

Red pokeball ornament with paint dribble.

What was most unusual is that sometimes the glue part of the glitter paint pooled at the bottom of the ball, under the masking tape, leaving the sides cleaner than the bottom.

When painting the balls, make sure to leave the “top” hole of the ornament in the center of the ball and toward the back. Once on the wreath, since this messy back-end will be facing the wall, nobody sees too many dribbles.

I followed this woman’s general plan for assembling the wreath. One thing she recommends, which I didn’t realize until all the balls were strung on, is hot glue the metal top of the ball to the ornament itself. Once all the balls are on the wreath, the pressure of so many objects together can cause the balls to pop out of their holders, making it very difficult (and frustrating) to get them back on again.

After all the balls were strung, the wreath was nearly complete. I put about 3-4 small balls between each Pokéball. Because gravity wants to pull all the balls toward the bottom of the wreath, hide any remaining wire at the top with ribbon.

And that’s all there is to it!

Completed pokeball wreath

To make the black line separating the color and white halves, I used electrical tape. I cut strips of tape into four or five smaller stripes, almost like pinstripping, then cut a line circle by hand. The electrical tape sticks well and hides some of the paint dribbles as well.

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with this project, even if some of the paint on the balls isn’t perfect.

Merry Christmas!

~Dennis

Detail on the Pokeball wreath

Detail on the Pokeball wreath

Update: 1/5/2014

As I packed away my Christmas decorations this season, I couldn’t help but be bothered by all those balls that popped off while I manipulated the wreath. So I took all the balls off the wire, then glued the metal parts in place.

I used super glue, and the process was quite easy, though time consuming. I learned not to pull the metal part off completely: the glue will dry before you bend the little wires to get it back on. So instead I pulled the metal part back just a little bit, put a dab of glue down, then pressed the metal into place.

The only balls I didn’t glue were the Pokéballs. I thought the wreath looked best with all the Pokéballs turned color-side-up, so I left the metal parts unglued so that I could twist them into place once they were back on the wire.

I rethreaded the balls, and only one ball popped off, a green Pokéball at the bottom of the wreath (where all the weight puts pressure on the balls). I’m so glad I took the time to do this. Now I won’t have to wrestle with this wreath next season!

The only task that remains is finding a box that’s wide and flat to store the thing in!

My Time at GatorLAN Spring 2014

Gator Gaming is a student-led gaming organization at the University of Florida that hosts a video game tournament, GatorLAN, every semester. Recently they held their spring semester event. As I had just defended my dissertation two days prior, I decided to attend, the perfect way to wind down after a semester of hard work!

GatorLAN is a 12-hour event in which numerous video game tournaments are held, including League of Legends, Street Fighter, Smash Bros., Pokémon, and more. I attended my first GatorLAN a couple years ago when I first arrived at UF. I signed up for the Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament and started practicing the day before the event. I thought I was pretty decent at SSB and thought maybe I’d win a match or two.

I was dead wrong.

I got demolished in the first round. The matches were best 2/3 with three stock lives: I only managed to KO my opponent once. Those players did things in SSB that I had never conceived of. Their characters moved so fast, and they knew the ins and outs of their characters, down to the individual frames of animation for each attack.

After that whomping, I didn’t return to GatorLAN. My perception was that this group of gamers was just too hardcore, too dedicated, for me to compete with.

But, as I stated in the introduction, I did go back! The lure this time was Pokémon. They were holding a Pokémon X and Y tournament, and I had recently gotten into the game a month before. I’d been strategizing for weeks how to best form my team. I read advice online (this website was my friend); I played constantly with my roommate, ever refining my move-set. I knew the competition would be fierce, and I didn’t have high hopes of even winning one match. At the very least, I thought it would be fun to at least see other people’s teams.

The tournament was double-elimination (unlike the previous SSB tournament) so I knew I was guaranteed to play twice. And twice is all I played! I actually did slightly better on my first match. My team was Vaporeon (my best), Jolteon (my second best), Gourgeist, Talonflame, Roserade, and Furfrou. What was more fun than the tournament, though, was  playing casual matches with other people, including some of my students. I got some great advice on how to improve my team and even won a few matches!

The other cool thing about this GatorLAN was the casual SSB Melee matches I played with some students. In the center of the ballroom they had a stage were the finales of various tournaments were completed. All matches were streamed on Twitch.tv and included commentary from two eSports announcers. I was contacted earlier in the week by one of the organizers who asked me to participate in a faculty vs. students match-up. Absolutely!

Before the match, I was interviewed briefly by one of the commentators, Primary Lotus. Catch the interview in the video below:

Primary Lotus Interview at GatorLAN

(Clicking the image opens the video in a new window)

Next, I played some SSBM matches with students. Some matches pitted one-student-one-professor team against the other, and sometimes we did professors vs. students. The students were clearly the best, but I could hold my own and got some kills in. The other professor, though, did not know very much about SSB and was clearly the weakest link. Fortunately, all the streams were saved, so you can catch my matches below!

A couple notes of context. First, the announcers mistakenly identified the participants in this video. The person they thought was me (Professor Frohlich) was actually Professor Goldberg. He was player 1; I was player 4 (the one with the name identifier “DENS” as in “Dennis”). All in all, it was a great 20 minutes and I had a lot of fun playing with everybody!

Game on,
~Dennis

SSBM Faculty vs. Student Matches at GatorLAN

(Clicking the image opens the video in a new window)

Censored Names in Pokemon X and Y

I’ve been out of the Pokémon loop for a few years. I recently picked up Pokémon X and have been blown away by all the changes since my last adventure, Pokémon Silver. Pokémon X and Y contain all sorts of internet features, like battling foreign trainers or trading with strangers. I had heard that with internet connectivity, Nintendo instituted a policy of censoring certain Pokémon names.

Being the family-friendly company Nintendo strives to be, I had heard that in the previous generation, Pokémon Black and White, common swear words were censored; the player is unable to use them in names for his or her Pokémon. Presumably the fear is that players will put swear words in their Pokémon’s names, then share them online with little kids, who are impressionable and easily corrupted.

While I’m all for free speech, even in games, I didn’t anticipate that I’d have a problem with Nintendo’s censorship policies. After all, I was never one to give my Pokémon names like Nasty Bitch.

But to my surprise, I’ve had several attempted names denied by Pokémon X, names that I did not think contained swear words. I decided to investigate the topic further to see exactly which words are censored and which words are not. For ease of reading, I’ve listed banned words in red and acceptable words in green.

Warning: This post does contain strong language, obviously, but is used in the interest of educating the reader on exactly where Nintendo draws the line when it comes to censorship.

Anatomy

I started with human anatomy. Not surprisingly, most words relating to male and female genitals and private parts are censored. The following words for female anatomy cannot be used: boob, breast, clitoris, cunt, labia, tit, titties, vagina, and vulva. The following words for male anatomy cannot be used: balls, cock, dick, nuts (and derivatives like numbnuts and nutsack), pecker, penis, prick, schlong, scrotum, and testes. And general anatomical words that could apply to either gender cannot be used: ass, butt, gonads, and genitals.

Note that in general, these words just have to appear somewhere in the name. For instance, ass is banned, including its numerous derivatives, like jackass and asshat. I personally ran into a problem with boob, TWICE!, though not intentionally. The first time, I caught the panda Pokémon “pancham.” Pokémon are often named after some feature related to that Pokémon; pancham’s name is a portmanteau of “panda” and “champion.” I wanted to give my pancham a unique name, so I decided to reference a panda-related noun: bamboo. But instead of naming him Bamboo, I decided to switch it up: BooBam.

Not the most original name, I know, but I tried it. And Pokémon told me: “You cannot use that word.” What? I didn’t take me long to figure out why; my name contained the word boob. I even tried naming him Boo Bam with a space, but that didn’t work either.

Later, I caught a ghost Pokémon and wanted to name him after the To Kill a Mockingbird character, Boo Radley. I wanted a play on words and tried naming him Boo Bradley. But once again, I was denied. I rebelled and used the Leet character for “b”, the number “8”, and spelled the name Boo 8radley.

However, my theory about root banned words is not applied consistently. So while tit and titties are banned, titty in the singular is not. The root butt is banned when used in isolation, but buttocks and butthole are acceptable names. The root balls is banned, along with ballsack, so I initially assumed the root sack was banned as well, but no. Sack is just fine.

Interestingly, not all slang words for body parts are banned. Breast has numerous acceptable synonyms: bosom, bust, gazongas, jugs, melons, nipple, teat, and udder. You can even name your Pokémon Busty Chick if you really wanted. Other sexual organ synonyms that are acceptable include hymen, phallus, pudenda, and surprisingly, testicle or testicles!

Bodily Fluids

Words indicating bodily fluids are generally banned: crap, feces, piss, poop, semen, shit, and urine. But some words get through, such as dung, the root pee (which will allow you to name your Pokémon Peeping Tom if you want) and poo.

Sexuality

Related to banned anatomy words are banned sexual words. Words related to sex acts, not surprisingly, are banned: fuck, rape and sex. Words related to sexual predators, understandably, are banned: molest, molester, the root pedo (as in pedophile), and rapist. Interestingly, masturbate is banned, yet fornicate is acceptable. Shag is banned, which I thought was a stretch (I tried naming a very furry Pokémon Shag Carpet to no avail).

Words related to sex for money are banned: pimp, prostitute, and whore. The word ho, sometimes used as slang for whore, is acceptable, although I’m guessing because this root is common in so many words that it would be irresponsible to ban all instances of H-O. Milf is also banned.

While the word doesn’t necessarily have sexual connotations, panties is banned. What’s most confusing is not that panties is banned, but that all other words for undergarments are acceptable: boxers, bra, briefs, g-string, panty in the singular, thong, and underwear.

Violence

Some words related to violence are banned, like kill, killer, and murder. Considering Pokémon is a violent game, they can’t reasonably ban all violent words. Choke and hit are acceptable (you could even name your Pokémon I’ll Choke U). Death and hate are acceptable, as is the name I Hate You.

Mafia is acceptable.

A few select war-related words are banned, notably Hitler, holocaust, jihad, nazi, and terrorist. But banning these words sends such a mixed message. Holocaust is banned, yet genocide is not. I found out jihad was banned when I tried to name my Rhyhorn Jihadi. I chose that name just as a joke: the Pokédex description for Rhyhorn says that his stomps are so powerful they can destroy buildings. So jihad is banned, yet not blitzkreig. Terrorist is banned, but not September 11. A murderer like Hitler is banned, yet Osama, bin Laden (the name is too long to fit all together), Adolf, Stalin, and Joseph Stalin are not. Likely the names of other dictators and terrorists are acceptable.

Thinking about the banning of jihad and not Osama, I wondered if maybe the word was banned for its religious connotations, not violent connotations. But I tried all of the following religious words and they all worked: atheist, Christian, God, Islamist, Jesus Christ, Muslim, Satan, and sin. The root damn is banned (and likewise damnation, the only other religious word I could find), yet hell is acceptable (I even named by Talonflame Hell Hawk just because I could).

I didn’t expect these names to be banned, but Barack Obama and George Bush are both acceptable. Dick Cheney, however, is banned, though that’s probably because of the word dick, not any hatred the developers have toward Cheney. 🙂

Substances

Given Nintendo’s hard stance on so many content areas, I was confident words related to substances would be banned. To my great surprise, all of the following substances are acceptable names: alcohol, cigar, cigarette, cocaine, drugs, heroin, marijuana, and meth. There are dozens more words that I could’ve tested, but so far I have no indication that substance words are banned. If anybody finds a substance, though, that is banned, comment below.

Name Calling

There are a number of words related to insults and name calling that are banned, and yet again, inconsistencies abound. Words like bastard and bitch are banned. An alternate spelling of bitch is banned: b!tch. However, an alternate spelling of bastard, basterd (as Quentin Tarantino spelled it in Inglourious Basterds) is acceptable.

Many racial slurs are banned: chink, nig, nigga, nigger, spic, and wetback. The American localization team, though, forgot to ban redskin. KKK is also acceptable, so you could name your Pokémon KKK for Life if you wanted.

Finally, words related to homosexuality are banned: fag, faggot and queer. I can understand this to a point, as these words are often used as disparaging terms against the LGBT community. Homo is also banned, though hetero is acceptable (heterosexual, though, is not because of the root sex). What’s most shocking to me in this category of words, though, is gay. Gay is acceptable, yet lesbian (and the more disparaging dyke and lesbo) are not. Lesbian really confused me, as women who are attracted to women often self-identify as lesbian. At first I thought gay was acceptable because maybe it was a root word of a certain Pokémon (the Pokémon Nosepass contains the word ass, yet is thankfully not banned). But as far as I can tell, no Pokémon (at least in the English version of the names) contains the root gay. So I’m really not sure why gay wasn’t banned, given that all other LGBT words were banned.

So why are these words banned?

Nintendo has always been a family-friendly company, so presumably these words are banned because kids might see them. This is especially a danger in modern games like Pokémon X and Y, which allow you to battle or trade with trainers all over the world through the internet. It’s a somewhat reasonable policy, though as I’ve shown, there are so many inconsistencies that it is unclear why certain words are banned and yet not others.

What really bothers me, though, is that so often legitimate names I choose for my Pokémon are not allowed. Recently I caught a Chingling, a psychic Pokémon that looks like a jingle bell. It has an attack called Uproar where it shouts really loud at you, hurting your Pokémon. I caught it, but it almost killed me. So I wanted to name it, appropriately enough I thought, Psycho Mouth. It’s a psychic Pokémon with a loud mouth: Psycho Mouth. Yet I couldn’t! I tried Psycho by itself and that worked. Only later did I figure it out: the H-O at the end of Psycho plus the M-O at the beginning of Mouth spells homo. Good grief.

Nintendo cannot be expected to find every possible offensive word, especially considering gamers often invent their own slang without the influence of the developers. As I have shown, there are ways around some of these banned words if you get creative phonetically.

I personally believe games should allow players to enter whatever name they want: that’s how they always used to be in the 1990s. If Nintendo is worried about children being exposed to bad words, then why not try this as a solution: any time you battle somebody online or trade Pokémon with them, all names revert back to the Pokémon’s original name. That would address the concern of kids being exposed to these words while still giving people the freedom to name their Pokémon whatever they wanted on their own private game.

Yet, Nintendo’s censorship policies really seem like a solution in search of a problem. Are gamers really using these words to name their Pokémon or characters? Maybe sometimes. In X and Y, not only can you name your character, your friends give you a nickname, which you also choose. My friend, who is black, tried to make his nickname Big Nigga and similar variations, to no success. But he’s 22 and should be able to do that if he wants.

However, most people that I have interacted with through Pokémon X and Y’s online services don’t give their Pokémon offensive names, nor do they attempt to get around these censorship policies. I have traded quite a few Pokémon with other trainers around the world, at least 50-60, and yet almost every single time, can you guess what people name their Pokémon? Nothing! They use the Pokémon’s given name, like Eevee or Charmander or Squirtle. I’m actually kind of disappointed people don’t name their Pokémon something funny, but that’s a separate issue. In my experience, nobody is naming their Pokémon offensive names or even attempting to get around the censorship with alternative spellings.

So what’s the problem Nintendo is really addressing? I have yet to figure it out.

Game on,
~Dennis

Note

I did not attempt to exhaustively discover every banned word in Pokémon X and Y. There are probably a hundred more words I could’ve attempted. If you know of any other banned words, please comment below. What’s more interesting to me, though, is not the words that are banned, but similar words that are not. If you find banned words, try to find related words that are acceptable.

Update: 4/1/2014

  • I caught a Horsea today and wanted to name him Hoarsea (not the best pun, I know). I was denied. Hoarsea contains the root arse.
  • I did a Wonder Trade with a person in Virginia named ComeDumpster. Apparently that is an acceptable name. I realize that banning the root come would be unfair, especially because it appears in other, non-offensive words, like Comet. But it’s just interesting to see what words get past the censors.
  • I had read that Pokémon banned words that were offensive in other languages, like French, German, Spanish, Japanese, etc. This seems a bit too far, as certain combinations of letters in English might not be offensive, except to foreign players. Again, is the fear that foreign players will trade Pokémon with an English-speaking person and be corrupted? I haven’t tested the extent of banned foreign words (I don’t really know any), but I knew that the word Viola was banned (apparently it means rape in French). I even tested it. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I fought the first Gym Leader, Viola. Pokémon X and Y is entirely based around French culture, so certainly if Game Freak had the foresight to recognize that “viola” meant something bad in French, then why give that name to the first Gym Leader? And why ban players from using it? The word isn’t remotely offensive in English.

Update: 12/10/2014

Wow, this post is by far my most popular and commented post! Thanks to everybody for adding your insight. It’s still very strange which words get banned and which do not.

I went through the comments section and have found that the following words are also banned. Those with asterisks have no clear reason to me.

Beaver, Burner*, Connor*, Coon, Cum, Dago (slang for Italians), Fanny (but Fannypuss works), Fuk, Georgie (contains orgie), Gordon*, Hatching*, Hard, Hektor (but Hector is fine), Hooker, Horny, Jizz, Kakashi (perhaps “kaka” or “caca”), Kukka (French for “flower”), Kyke, Laputa*, Mudso Budso* (someone suggested “bud” is banned, not sure why), Muff, Ostin*, Passerby (contains ass), Penelope (because “pene” is a word some people use for penis?), Pickles*, Pig*, Pik (apparently “pik” is Dutch for penis, though Pikachu?), Pussy, Ritsuka*, Rock* (so many problems with this banned word), Screw (though Scréw does work), Shazam (“shaz” is pervert or deviant in Arabic), Shooter (but shootér works), Slave (but S.L.A.V.E. is okay), Snatch (but this is a Pokemon move, so…), Sobek*, Sober*, Spicy*, Tart*, Thumper (because of hump, though you can get a Steelix from a Hiker called Thumper…), Torpedo (because of pedo), Tucker*, Turd, Weed (but Cannabis is legal), Violet (contains “Viol”, French for “rape”), and XXX.

Some other interesting tidbits. In Pokémon Black 2, ass and fag are both banned, but apparently Assfag is not. Blueballs is not banned, though I found that sometimes the root balls is banned, so not sure why there’s a discrepancy. Mussolini and 9/11 are fine. Somebody got from the Wonder Trade a Pokémon named TittySkitty though from my research, tit and titties are banned, so somehow there’s an exception.

Somebody got a Dugtrio named ThreeD!cks over Wonder Trade. One person was able to get around the censorship with some clever misspellings: Fa-Gi-Oh, Fu-K Yo Mama, Kum Bubble, Alasha-zam, and Twa-T Taco.

Other acceptable names: 3===D, BadAssCHU (really?!), BladeRuner, BIoodyMary (capital “i” instead of an “l”), Butshole, Cassidy (though usually words with the root ass are banned), Dead Soul, Drunkard, FatSackOCrap, G-Spot, GayThoughts, HitchC0ck (use zero or circle shape instead of “o”), Idiot, Knives, Marijuanamon (this one is funny to me), Mourningwood, MYdingaling, OilLeakSUX (suck and sucks don’t work), PelvicDive, P.M.S., and T-Bone.

One player in Germany said that most of these banned words are banned there as well, but some get through. He fought a Rapeface and P!mpMcBunny from another German trainer.

When trading with somebody, the person was shown a F you D-bag. Wow!

So I’m not going to go out of my way to play the new Alpha and Omega remakes, mostly because I still have plenty of post-game content in X and Y to get through, should I get back into the game (after investing 100+ hours, I sort of lost interest. But I got my money’s worth, especially considering it was “free” as part of a deal Nintendo had). And let’s be honest, do I really want to play Alpha and Omega for the amazing story? All the Pokémon are the same as what I have now.

But anyway, if somebody has Alpha or Omega, I’d be curious if you could test some of these words, not just the obvious ones, but the ones that make no sense, like Rock and Pik. Did Game Freak get their act together?

~Dennis

Update: 11/25/2015

Check out my new post, Censored Course Names in Super Mario Maker! I conducted a similar investigation about that game, trying to identify which words players can use and which ones they cannot. While Pokémon and Super Mario Maker are both published by Nintendo, they actually have very different stances when it comes to censorship!