Shoddy Battle was the main Pokémon simulator used by the competitive Pokémon community from July 2007 until November 2010. This page will provide a brief history of those 3.5 years. On another page, you can read about Shoddy Battle's contributions to competitive Pokémon.
In order to understand the context of Shoddy Battle, it is useful to understand the purpose of Pokémon simulators in general, so this section will provide a brief background on them.
About Pokémon simulators
Pokémon is a fairly deep game that involves hundreds of distinct characters, moves, items, abilities, and tactics.
Playing competitive Pokémon involves creating a team of six Pokémon (including picking their statistics, moves, etc.) and then playing against another person and her or his team. There are two levels of strategy involved — first, creating a team that will do well without knowing what team the opponent will be using; and second, picking the optimal moves during the battle with the opponent itself.
The official Pokémon games released by Nintendo® are primarily single player games. They include the ability to play against human opponents, but many players find that mode to be suboptimal for competitive play because making changes to one's team requires a large amount of work. Competitive players prefer to be able to make changes at will and try new things easily, which is not possible in the official Nintendo® games.
Pokémon simulators are computer programs that allow people to play competitive Pokémon matches against human opponents. These programs are optimised for competitive play and allow arbitrary teams to be constructed instantly, in order to facilitate trying new strategies easily.
History of Shoddy Battle and Pokémon Lab
Before Shoddy Battle, the main Pokémon simulator was "NetBattle", which was closed source and not actively maintained.
The 4th generation of Pokémon began with the release of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl in September 2006 in Japan and April 2007 in North America. The competitive Pokémon community was eager to play simulated 4th generation Pokémon, but it was not supported by NetBattle.
On July 5, 2007, Cathy and bearzly released Shoddy Battle, which was a free and open source 4th generation simulator. (See here for more information on the significance of Shoddy Battle's free and open source status.) Shoddy Battle quickly became the de facto simulator of the competitive Pokémon community. Shoddy Battle remained the main simulator of the competitive Pokémon community until the conclusion of the 4th generation in late 2010.
Shoddy Battle's statatistical data collection and user ranking functionality went live in October 2007 and helped usher in a new era of competitive Pokémon based heavily on statistical data. You can read more about Shoddy Battle's statistical functions here.
In July 2008, the then-largest competitive Pokémon community began hosting a Shoddy Battle server, which almost immediately became the most popular server. Until that point, Cathy had hosted the most popular server. Cathy did not originally intend to host a server, but she had done so as a courtesy to the community. Once other popular servers arrived on the scene, Cathy discontinued her server in favour of the wider community running its own servers.
One popular alternative server ran a modified version of the Pokémon game (the Create-a-Pokémon Project), which was made possible by Shoddy Battle's robust support for extension and customisation.
On September 13, 2008, Nintendo® released Pokémon Platinum. Thanks to Amazing Ampharos, Shoddy Battle was able to support Platinum starting on September 19, 2008 (very shortly after the release), which further enhanced the popularity of the program.
In April 2009, Shoddy Battle became formally affiliated with a number of popular Pokémon web communities, which increased adoption of the program.
Shoddy Battle reached its peak popularity in 2010, with the main server alone hosting around 700,000 battles per month. More information on Shoddy Battle's scalability is available here.
In September 2010, Cathy and bearzly released a major revision to Shoddy Battle, which was called Pokémon Lab (it had been called Shoddy Battle 2 during development). Pokémon Lab did not get as much use as the previous version because it was released near the end of the 4th generation; however, it still contained some interesting ideas.
With the conclusion of the 4th generation, Shoddy Battle has been superseded by other simulators such as Pokémon Showdown. Shoddy Battle remains notable for the changes it effected in the Pokémon community.
Cathy created the present
pokemonlab.com website in December 2012 in order to provide historical information on the significance of Shoddy Battle and Pokémon Lab.
Shoddy Battle significantly changed the landscape of competitive Pokémon. On another page, you can read more about Shoddy Battle's contributions to competitive Pokémon.
If you enjoyed using Shoddy Battle or have questions or comments, please feel free to email Cathy and bearzly at email@example.com and let them know. They appreciate hearing from you. After Pokémon, Cathy went on to litigate and win a landmark judgment for transgender equality rights. You can read about that at cathyjf.com.