In the Pokémon games, there are certain moves that you teach your Pokémon via a machine that comes in 2 varieties, Technical or Hidden.

The Technical Machine comes from the Japanese " わざマシン ", which translates to "Move Machine". This makes sense, as it teaches moves.

However, the Hidden Machine comes from the Japanese " ひでんマシン ", which translates to "Secret Machine". What is it that makes it secret?

Is there any canonical reasoning behind the naming of the Hidden Machine?

  • 1
    わざ means 'technique', not sure where you heard 'Move' from. Jul 14 '15 at 14:54
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft I was just going on what it said on the wiki page that I linked in the question
    – Matt
    Jul 14 '15 at 15:09
  • Was your question more about why the HM makes it secret or why it used the specific word 'Hidden'?
    – Jerry
    Jul 15 '15 at 6:38
  • @Jerry Why it was named Hidden (or secret) - I was wondering what reason they had for calling it that, so probably more the latter of your points. Although, I'd have thought its naming would be linked to it's properties, so the former has some relevance too - the two aren't mutually exclusive. When I asked the question, I was expecting there to be a specific in-universe reasoning, but that doesn't seem to be the case, as both you and 5pike have mentioned there's been no official statement.
    – Matt
    Jul 15 '15 at 8:29
  • Both answers are nothing but speculation. I am voting to close as developer intent, as there's no way to definitively answer this.
    – Frank
    Jul 21 '15 at 1:08

There's no official statement as to why they are called Hidden Machines, only speculation. Here are some that I found

  • +1 for pointing out that ひでん is a transliteration, and doesn't really translate to "secret" at all.
    – Set Big O
    Jul 14 '15 at 13:06
  • 5
    @Geobits except it does mean "confidential" which is pretty much a synonym for "secret". But in this case, they're probably going for the "secret tradition"/"special technique" meanings there
    – Sabre
    Jul 14 '15 at 13:28
  • 1
    @Sabre Ouch. I guess it makes sense then why it's not in katakana like I'd figured it would be. Teach me to jump to conclusions :)
    – Set Big O
    Jul 14 '15 at 13:31

I don't think there is any exact canonical reasoning behind the term, but from speculation, I believe the following reasons might explain the term used, specifically if we go in the context of Generation I games (the originals):

  1. HMs are rare - While obviously there exist several copies of the item, these cannot be bought, nor found lying somewhere for the player to pick up. You would rather have to accomplish something specific to get them (HM01: Help the S.S. Anne Captain, HM02: Talk to a secluded girl, HM03: Reach the end of Safari park, HM04: Give back the Safari Zone Warden his lost gold tooth, HM05: Register 10 Pokémon on your PokéDex).

  2. HMs cannot be forgotten - There were no move deleters and Pokémon knowing HMs could not be bred. This must mean that there was something rather special with HMs that make Pokémon unable to forget them if they learned it.

  3. HMs are reusable - Compared to TMs, these will not be 'consumed' after being used, so you can use it as many times as you want without having to worry about looking for another copy of the item.

Of course, these points now are no longer that much valid when applied to the subsequent games. HMs can be forgotten easily with the Move Deleter, by leaving the Pokémon at the daycare long enough so it learns another move that overwrites the HM and some HMs can even be forgotten through the usual course of gameplay.

Waterfall (HM07) can also be found lying in a cave in Generation II games (an ice skating puzzle has to be solved, but it is not obtained from a person) so the validity of the point raised above is no more that strong. Still HMs cannot be bought.

And of course, there have been HMs moving to and from the HM status. Whirlpool is the first one to do that, becoming a normal move in Generation III games and becoming back an HM in Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen.

  • 4
    I speculate that another reason was the value of the HMs. While a TM would teach your Poke'mon a move that might give you the upper hand in an important battle, HMs were required for actual game progress, and most (if not all) of them were required at one point or another to move forward in the story.
    – user106385
    Jul 14 '15 at 11:59
  • 1
    @Timelord64 Yea, the 'most' is a keyword here. I avoided that argument because people could argue that Flash was not required for game progression (I have avoided its use in the past, not easy, but definitely doable) specially in the original games where the screen would never really go pitch black like in Gold/Silver/Crystal and some later games. The reasons I mentioned however apply to all HMs in the originals.
    – Jerry
    Jul 14 '15 at 12:07
  • I knew I was forgetting one. Flash always did seem to be redundant, to me.
    – user106385
    Jul 14 '15 at 12:13
  • 3
    #3 - You forgot about Dig (which was a TM) and Teleport (which wasn't), both of which are useable outside of battle in gen 1
    – Pyritie
    Jul 14 '15 at 12:55
  • @Pyritie I did forget them, thanks. I guess I'll remove that point.
    – Jerry
    Jul 14 '15 at 13:55

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