'Magikarp Jump' Is Turning Me Into A Pokémon Murdering Monster

Magikarp jump
Magikarp Jump is a brutal, life simulator. Pokemon Company

Magikarp Jump is turning me into a monster.

When I was a kid, traveling through Kanto for the first time in the original Pokémon Red on my clear Gameboy Pocket, I cared about every monster I caught. It didn’t matter if it was a weak Weedle or the end-game Mewtwo, I treated them all with the respect I felt they deserved. Pokémon aren't just pieces of code inside a plastic box, they were my friends who helped me battle gyms and travel the land, even when nobody else wanted to hang out with me.

Other the years, my relationship with the Pokémon games changed. I no longer felt a kinship to these beasts and they became nothing more than empty shells I’d ride on and make fight in battles. I’d lock them in a PC Box, capturing my former partners in an electronic nightmare of Bill’s creation. By the time Pokémon  Diamond and Pearl came out, I had no remorse left for my former friends. I battled them until they couldn’t stand, recklessly ignoring their happiness levels unless it mattered for an evolution. The games became less of an experience and more about just trying to catch everything before my friends at school.

Things started to change after the release of Pokémon  Sun and Moon . The beautiful scenery, lack of a generic “win eight badges and fight the elite four” storyline and interesting Pokémon  allowed me to jump headfirst into the world. My Rowlett wasn’t just a set of numbers in my 3DS. He was a powerful warrior who could beat up any Rattata dumb enough to cross our paths. It was like I was a child again, embarking on a journey I could share with a team that was my by my side the whole way. I was treating my Pokémon like friends again, and treating their accomplishments the same as I’d treat my own. My Mudsdale, who managed to beat all of Guzma’s weird bugs with ease, is still my favorite pocket monster.

Last week, things started to change again. The Pokémon Company released a mindless mobile game called Magikarp Jump . The app is as straightforward as you can get: you train Magikarp to jump high and try to get the strongest fish to beat every league. Unlike other Pokémon games, you can actually kill your Magikarp, though it doesn’t start out on purpose. One of your first random encounters brings you a tree with berries giving you two options: jump for the berry or leave with nothing. My first time jumping, a hungry Pidgeotto swooped by, taking my speckled fish to the great Arceus in the sky.

After the first dead Magikarp, subsequent murders bothered me less. If I saw a pokeball on the ground that could be a Voltorb or free money, I’d always take the risk. If my fish fried, I’d just go down to the local pond and get another one. In Magikarp Jump , you can kill a fish whenever you want, just repeatedly have it jump out of the water until a hungry Pidgeotto comes and picks it up.

I no longer feel remorse when I murder Magikarp. My girlfriend looks at the way I cackle when a Magikarp gets taken away by a fishing hook and gets scared. Magikarp Jump destroyed all of my Poke-empathy and I’m not sure I can ever get it back.

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