Within the many, many aspects of the new Pokemon scarlet and violet (PSV), from the Gym campaign to the Titan Battle storyline, is one feature that’s easy to forget: the Academy lessons. For the most part, that’s for a good reason – they’re amazingly boring. But there’s a moment, in the middle of a math class, that made me squeal with joy.
PSV‘s Academy classes are such a weird aspect of the game. As you start joining your school, finding your dorms, learning about the classrooms and facilities, it feels like this will be a central aspect of the game. But then you are told: “No, don’t worry about this place, go into the world and find your treasure!” In a very strange design, there is nothing that brings you back to the academy during the game, no narrative reason, ever return to base. Yet when you do, you’ll find that there’s a bunch of little nuggets and extras hidden amongst the boredom.
There are seven lesson types available – Biology, Math, History, Languages, Martial Arts, Arts and Home Economics – each with six lessons, two sets of tests and their own unique teachers. Attending class allows you to interact with the teachers outside of class, allowing you to form (clearly deeply inappropriate) relationships with them that grow closer and more trusting the more you interact. on the, there’s also the director to meet, and a whole bunch of stuff hidden in the main lobby library. For one aspect that the game completely forgets to tell you, there’s plenty to do.
The main problem is, the gist of it is awful. The lessons are boring, mostly superficial, and clicking through is tedious and extremely time-consuming. Additionally, the “midterms” and “finals” you attend often contain questions that weren’t taught, and occasionally the complexity of the information escalates and is poorly communicated. Good griefmath lessons go from bland questions to sudden prompts, juggling complex percentages and probabilities for numbers that disappear from the screen when you choose an answer.
However, there is one thread that is absolutely worth playing: History. Not because it’s better written, but because it opens up another series of quests to be completed in the main world as you pursue the “relationship” with Ms. Raifort. This connects to those weird chained doors you might have found and makes sense of those vanishing stakes and it’s just weird that this is hidden behind the horrific lessons.
So yeah, it sucks, and the only reason to trudge through it is to be able to complete the relationship threads with the staff or get those valuable XP candies you get for passing quizzes. Except!
There’s one moment in this mess of math classes that got me absolutely hooked. Ms. Tyme, your former math teacher, tries to get the class excited about probability and includes an example of a surprising result as a throwaway explanation of the mysteries of probability.
Because it’s part of those damn lessons, it’s not actually mentioned in the lesson that focuses on probability, but incidentally in the following class. But who cares, because it’s awesome! Ms Tyme explains,
Probability is a pretty interesting topic. Did you know that in a class of 40 students, there is a 90 percent chance that two of them will have the same birthday?
This is despite the fact that there are over 300 days each year. Isn’t that remarkable?
Well, of course I want to poke fun at that “300+ days a year” line, but I really have no idea if Pokemon takes place in our universe. Perhaps their planet revolves around their sun every 301 to 305 days, depending on Arceus’ whim? Let’s face it, let’s get down to basics: your odds work just like ours.
I love this birthday fact. I love it because it’s so counterintuitive, yet so relatable, yet so incredibly complicated to prove.
Known as the birthday problem, it is often referred to as a “paradox” when it is nothing like that. It’s just math, or what clever adults call a “truth paradox” – one that seems absurd but is perfectly reasonable. And it’s so much fun because there’s over a 50 percent chance that two people will share a birthday if you only have 23 people in a room.
23 people with 365 days when they could be born, but you have a better than 50-50 chance of two being born on the same day. With 30 people (a typical class size) that chance is over 70 percent, and as Ms. Tyme says, with 40 people it’s 89.1 percent. Add 50 people and you have a 97 percent chance that two people will share a birthday. It’s anything but guaranteed. And even then it is quiet so weird to get your head around
Yet simply because the math works out, it’s something that people can relate to anecdotally. Seven out of ten people were in a class at school where two children had the same birthday.
So why? Well, think about it differently. We need to start thinking about what the odds are that people Not have the same birthday.
If you have two people in a room, the probability that they have the same birthday is 1 in 365. But flip it around: the probability that they Not have the same birthday are 1 -1/365. That’s 0.997, or almost 1. It’s very unlikely that two randomly chosen people have the same birthday. (And for a useful perspective, your chances of Not The New York State Lottery win is 45,057,473/45,057,474 or 0.9999999778 – don’t play lotteries.)
With two people, you have a great chance that two birthdays will not collide. But what if you then repeated this 39 more times? The odds are still slim that 39 other people have the same birthday as that first guy because you have a 0.003 chance each time.
But that’s not the sum here. They run equal odds from all 40 people against the other 39 people. That’s 780 different birthday comparisons. So if that 364/365 chance of not happening is run 780 times? That’s (364/365)^780, which is 0.118. Turn it back, and with 40 people in that room, the probability that no one has the same birthday is 0.882, or almost 90 percent.
That is, when you compare 40 people to every other 40 people, it becomes incredibly difficult to avoid this seemingly small chance. They just run the odds too often for it not to become quite likely.
Well, I’m not a mathematician, so there’s a good chance I’m doing something wrong in one of the above calculations. But I’m happy to share that we don’t rely on me to the The birthday problem be true!
https://kotaku.com/pokemon-scarlet-and-violet-nintendo-switch-birthday-1849845841 Pokémon Scarlet & Violet contains the greatest fact of all time