TMs and HMs. They stand for Technical Machines and Hidden Machines. Anyone who has played a Pokemon game has experience with them. TMs and HMs are undoubtedly useful, but not all of them, and while TMs are completely optional, a player must utilize HMs to advance the story. Throughout all the Pokemon games, there have been a combined 11 Hidden Machines: Cut, Fly, Surf, Strength, Flash, Whirlpool, Waterfall, Rock Smash, Dive, Defog, and Rock Climb. The current Pokemon Black and White series contain 6 HMs: Cut, Fly, Surf, Strength, Waterfall, and Dive.
In my experience, most of these HMs are a nuisance because they are mediocre at best, take up an attack slot, and are unable to be forgotten until further into the story. This results in having a 6th Pokemon that knows a bunch of HM moves, more commonly known as a “HM slave.” I find that only 3 out of 11 are actually any good. These are Fly, Surf, and Waterfall. Fly is a decent attack, but the instant transportation it provides is invaluable. Surf is my favorite HM. I don’t know what the general consensus is, but it’s by far my favorite and most useful HM. It lets you roam the seas, and it’s a great attack as well. I haven’t used Waterfall much, but it looks just as promising as Surf.
I wish Flash was not a HM, but I understand why it was. Flash was basically needed for one cave in Pokemon Red and Blue, and I don’t remember how many times it was needed for the other games. You didn’t have to use it for the cave, but it sure made it easier; especially since in Pokemon Red and Blue the cave was pitch black. Since TMs were one time use only, GameFreak made it impossible for a player to make a Pokemon learn it and accidently replace it. In Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Flash is no longer a HM, but Defog replaces it and has a similar function.
The rest of the HMs is forgettable to me. I understand they are used to add puzzle elements and to restrict certain areas at certain points of the story, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t find them annoying. I never really liked having to use Strength so much during Victory Road, islands, and etc. One of the best things changed in Pokemon Black and White was the decision to allow players to use TMs infinitely. I remember when I received my first TM from Chili and found out I could use them on each of my Pokemon. It almost felt surreal.
I think most Pokemon trainers reacted positively to the TM change in Pokemon Black and White, but what about HMs? Are we going to see a game without Hidden Machines in the future? Probably not, but I’m okay with that. I felt like every generation did something to make HMs less annoying and more practical to use. I really hope that GameFreak continues to implement their infinite usage TMs. Does it make the game easier? Maybe a little bit, but I never really enjoyed having to buy coins at 500 increments to purchase Ice Beam. Oh, and I’m hoping the 6th generation Pokemon games have infinite usable Carbons and Proteins.