I'm sure there was a question like this before, but I can't find it.

In the Pokemon games, the game doesn't allow you to carry more than 6 Pokemon at any one moment as you travel around. You can own more than 6, but the ones you aren't currently keeping in your party and actively using have to be stored in the PC. (How are living beings stored in a PC?... That's a whole other question...)

Most explanations I have seen have said that the Pokemon league only lets you in if you only use 6 Pokemon, but not all trainers are aiming for the league or even anything since they just train Pokemon for self-defense or companionship. In this case, why would they need to stick to 6 if they aren't aiming for the league?

(Similar limits exist in other games. For example, in lots of RPGs, you can only take 4 people with you on a quest even if you have recruited more than 4. The remaining people have to be benched or stay in an inn. Answers could address more general cases than just the Pokemon games if they wanted to, but should mainly focus on this particular Pokemon case.)

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, kumikan! If you have a moment, please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. You may also find Worldbuilding Meta and The Sandbox (both of which require 5 rep to post on) useful. Here is a meta post on the culture and style of Worldbuilding.SE, just to help you understand our scope and methods. Have fun! $\endgroup$
    – BKlassen
    Jul 24, 2018 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ @BKlassen, please check out this Meta post about comment scripts, and let's hope FoxElemental posts his script, because it's a good one. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ Kumikan, this isn't a worldbuilding question, but a question about the game Pokemon. It's better suited for Role-playing Games. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH ah, I see what you mean, missed the links in that, my bad $\endgroup$
    – BKlassen
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH Lol. This popped up in my inbox eighteen seconds before I finished the answer to that post, since I visit Meta frequently. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2018 at 0:06

3 Answers 3


The "Arbitrary limits" are the backbone and nature of gaming, whether with cards, dice or baseballs. The limits help set degrees of difficulty, create a volatile array of challenges, and just basically make it more interesting.

Too many rules, and you have a game that takes years, too few, you have 'Chutes and Ladders' - a happy medium of 'Arbitrary' is best.

Just my opinion.


Game mechanics don't always come to terms with a game world-logic and this may be one of such examples. As you mentioned, the Pokémon League explanation hardly suffice (wannabe league-challengers may stick to a team of six to train, but we can safely assume that most trainers don't even dream of challenging the League).

Pokémon is a pretty bad example when it comes to worldbuilding (imho), so we can only imagine plausible reasons.

Maybe pokéballs, when a pokémon is inside them, get somewhat heavy (due to some side-effect of the strange teleportation, space-compressing magic they run on) and carrying more than six would be unpractical.

More likely, the government forbids bringing along more than six pokémons to keep daily life somewhat balanced. The six limit could avoid accomplished trainers carrying a little army of monsters around. It can be seen as a matter of public security, also, seeing how pokémon are able to start fires, earthquakes, alter minds etc. This makes sense to some extent (since after all carrying 10 Rattatas isn't more dangerous that having a Gyarados) but again, laws need to be enforced...

Maybe it's just due to sportsmanship ;)


There are (and, critically, historically were severe) hardware and software limitations on how complicated things could be, how many images could be rendered on the screen, how many things could be animated, and how much data could be stored on game media.

So in addition to Joe's excellent answer about game balance for interesting play (when there's a choice to be made about a game being fun to play vs. being realistic, going with fun to play is smart), video games have hard constraints on how many "realistic" elements they can simulate.