The original Pokémon Red and Blue games feature a sign that says

Don’t throw the game, throw POKéBALLs instead!

There’s a video of this sign on YouTube:

I have never understood what this sign means. Is this a piece of wordplay that’s going over my head? Is this something that got lost in translation?

  • 8
    My guess is its a wordplay on "don't rage quit and throw your Game Boy"
    – Timmy Jim
    Commented Dec 30, 2023 at 4:07

1 Answer 1


To "throw the game" means to lose on purpose, either through deliberate misplay or lack of preparation.

To "throw POKéBALLs" is a core game mechanic of the series. It would be very difficult to win without doing it.

So yes, it is wordplay. Both in- (referring to competing in Pokémon battles) and out-of-Universe (referring to playing the GameBoy game).

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