How to catch legendary Pokémon

The year was 2000, a few years after Nintendo made Pokémon Red and Blue. I was in grade 7, and had spent much of the last few years finding, capturing, training, and battling every Pokémon I could. Finally, I had caught all 150 available species and completed my Pokédex, and I desperately wanted Nintendo to make more.

Pokémon box-art mascots Charizard, Blastoise, Pikachu, Lugia, and Ho-Oh.

That Christmas, I got my wish. My 12-year-old eyes lit up when I unwrapped Pokémon Silver at my grandparents house: Colour graphics! A whole new world to explore! And a hundred new Pokémon! As soon as I could escape from present-opening, I raced downstairs and started playing. By the time it was time to leave at the end of the week, I already had four badges — and then, on the car ride home, I encountered a new legendary Pokémon with a very unique quality.

Wild RAIKOU appeared!

Normally, each species of Pokémon can be found in a handful of fixed habitats; for example, Jigglypuff can always be found on Route 46. But this new encounter, the legendary beast Raikou, didn’t stay put. It ran away as soon as I stumbled across it, and moved to a different route every time I stepped into a new location. Catching this roaming Pokémon would be an interesting challenge.

Jigglypuff can always be found on Route 46, but Raikou moves from route to route.

Months passed, and though I had long since beaten the rest of the game, I still hadn’t succeeded in catching Raikou. I had spent hours chasing it around the world map, only to have it run away each time I threw a Pokéball at it. Exasperated, I wondered: What strategy would catch the roaming Pokémon as quickly as possible?