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I originally asked this over on gaming.stackexchange.com as it concerns terminology used in a video game, but I was told it belonged here instead, so here goes.

In the video game Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky (and possibly Red/Blue Rescue Team as well; it's been a while), whenever the ability Illuminate activates, spawning a new enemy pokémon on the floor, the text "(pokémon with illuminate) blinked!" is shown.

Why the use of the word "blinked" here? I don't understand the connection between blinking and a new enemy appearing.

Is this perhaps some text left over from other (non-Pokémon) Mystery Dungeon games, in which context it perhaps makes more sense? I've not played any of them, but that's the only explanation that I can think of that would make sense.

  • Games often develop ideosyncratic jargon. – Barmar Mar 13 at 22:51
  • When a light turns on and off, that's considered blinking. A sudden appearance is like a light turning on. – Barmar Mar 13 at 22:52
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    @Barmar Except the entity that is said to be blinking is the one causing the new enemy to appear, not the new enemy itself. I know "blink" is used as a term for a short-range teleport in D&D, but for similar reasons that definition doesn't fit here either. I think it likely has something to do with other games in the series, which is why I initially asked on gaming.SE, but there it just got rapidly downvoted and comments were left saying to put it here... So I don't know where this question belongs really. – Hearth Mar 13 at 22:54
  • Maybe it's a trope reference to the television show I Dream of Jeannie. The show featured a character that often performed magic, including summoning creatures, by way of a ritual blink. – Trevor Reid Mar 14 at 0:19
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"Blinked" refers to the Pokémon briefly shining with light to attract other Pokémon, like a flare. It makes sense because the ability that causes this is Illuminate. It can't be interpreted as blinking eyes, since Staryu and Starmie probably don't have eyelids, even if they see out of the crystal in their center.

In the Japanese versions, the word used is またたいた, the past tense of a verb translates as either "to blink (one's eyes), to wink, to bat" or "to twinkle (e.g. stars), to flicker, to waver".

The actual visual effect in the game isn't very big, but I assume this was a design choice; having something bigger would be needlessly distracting.

It's a red herring to suggest that this has anything to do with teleportation or magical summoning. When this ability activates, the Pokémon are not spawned near you; it is supposed to look like they saw the signal and came to the floor. (After all, enemy Pokémon are always spawned somewhere randomly, instead of coming up the exit stairs or something like that.)

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