Tumblr can sometimes be its own universe of awful and awesome. Sometimes the two collide to create something so absurd it’s ingenious, and that’s the corner of the Tumbleverse that the Pokeymans Project inhabits.
The setup is simple: Artist Noelle Stevenson was homeschooled until 15 and was never allowed to partake in Nintendo’s cultural pocket-monster-catching phenomenon (or Harry Potter or anything else). So naturally, one day she decided to start drawing Pokémon based on their descriptions alone, and the Pokeymans Project was born.
You can see some of the user-submitted descriptions in the gallery below, along with the resulting imagery. I’m not sure even I could have guessed which Pokémon some of these descriptions are referring to … .
GamesBeat spoke with Stevenson about the reaction the Pokeymans Project has received. “I think because everyone on the Internet knows more about Pokémon than I do,” she says, “they think it’s really funny, and they get to feel superior toward someone who’s clueless. It was just kind of a fun thing I’d do every now and then until it made it to the front page of Reddit, and I was completely inundated with requests. My Tumblr inbox was swamped with nothing but page after page of descriptions of Pokemon, burying all my other messages, and when I closed my inbox, I got requests through emails, Disqus, and Twitter.”
Unfortunately, not all the feedback was in the same fun spirit as the Pokeymans Project. “Not only that,” says Stevenson, “[but] I was getting accusations of faking not knowing anything about Pokémon to get attention or cheating somehow by looking up the picture before I drew it. Some people were downright angry with me for not being familiar with Pokémon. Also, there was a fair serving of sexism where the attitude was like, ‘She doesn’t know Pokémon because she’s a girl,’ which is pretty absurd. It was kind of a shitshow for a couple of days there, but as soon as I started a separate blog for the Pokeymans Project, things calmed down again. Although I think my message box is still labelled ‘Don’t Send Me a Pokémon’ on my main blog.”
Stevenson says that no one at Nintendo has noticed her work (to the best of her knowledge) but that she’s sure there are “other Pokémon fan-artists who are much more deserving of Nintendo’s attention.” She also hasn’t really seen much of an impact on her other projects, stressing that the Pokeymans are not a good indication of her artistic skill. “It’s still just a fun thing that I do sometimes,” she says. “It has taught me the difference between a sickle and scythe, though!”
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!