Maybe it’s weird, but I enjoy watching Pokémon far more than playing it. I haven’t seriously played a Pokémon title since SoulSilver in ‘09, and haven’t finished one since Pokémon Blue way back in the ancient yester-year of 1996. Yet despite my apparent aversion to all things Pocket and Monster I am obsessed with Pokémon esports.
My affinity for competitive pocket monster battling might have to do with the relatively low barrier of entry. Generally, esports broadcasts are constructed to appeal to people who already understand the ins and outs of the game. That’s fine, and how traditional meat sports work too. But it’s nice to see an esports broadcast take time to break down what’s going on to its audience. Sure, casters and analysts exist to fill this role, but the minutiae—the difference between why a match was won or lost or how you can win your own matches—gets lost in the sauce.
The Pokémon games are