Pokemon: A Look Back


Pokemon Black/White came out today, and in a spurt of whimsy and nostalgia, I thought I would make a post about my history with Pokemon.

The year was 1998, and i was in junior high. I had been a long time subscriber to Nintendo Power magazine, and over the summer they sent me a video that heralded the coming of an all new game and TV show called Pokemon. A game where you would fight and capture creatures that you would train to fight for you and the fun surprise that if you train them enough, they would evolve into a whole new creature that was a more powerful version. Now, if you have heard anything about pokemon, most of what I just said isn’t news, but it was something new to me and a new concept. Yes, in previous games you could make a party and level up characters, but this was something where there were 150 characters to use, and things to consider like weaknesses, and strengths of each of the classes or types as they were known as in this new game. For me, I obsessed over the game, because in addition to the video (which i watched over and over enough times to memorize the theme song before the anime was actually aired in the US) there was a five part strategy guide that was sent in the issues of Nintendo Power, most of which were released before you could even play the game yet. When the game actually released, I played it all the time, and even got my sister into playing it, once I got a gameboy color, and we could be playing at the same time. I also watched the cartoon (looo0ooong time before I even knew what anime was) all the time, and soon discovered one amusing thing: Ash was a terrible trainer….which in hindsight was probably to encourage the children that weren’t all that good at the game. “Don’t worry kiddo, training pokemon is hard. Even the ‘great’ Ash Ketchum is terrible at it, but do you see him give up? No sirree.” Another thing that the show seemed to spawn was the Pikachu worship. I like electric Pokemon, and Pikachu was the earliest electric that one could get, but I ditched him as soon as I could get my hands on a Jolteon (fave Pokemon btw, because in addition to electric it learned Bug and Fighting moves).

This brings me to Pokemon Yellow, or Pokemon Special Pikachu Edition, which was more modeled after the anime. As a part of the story, one had to start off with Pikachu, and he would follow you around, but don’t you worry, because you still get all of the other starter pokemon from the previous games as a part of the story. This was the first game that really started to incorperate the idea of pokemon happiness. Keep Pikachu happy because it will effect his expression if you bothered to turn around and look at him. I’m not sure if this had any effect in battle, but certain character would notice whether pikachu was happy or not.

Then along came Pokemon gold/silver for the Gameboy Color, and with it the addition of an all new region and 100 new pokemon to capture and because of the also new baby form of many pokemon, there was introduced breeding. This added an extra complication to the game, and because i wasn’t actually interested in catching all the pokemon in the first game, i did a play through of this one, and didn’t really touch it afterwards, and didn’t really bother with the crystal version.

Then on another whole new system: Gameboy Advanced, cane Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire, which I got in my senior year of highschool. Being a senior, i didn’t have the time or dedication to bother with capturing all the legendary pokemon like i had in previous games, but i did play through Sapphire and Enjoyed myself.

After that was college, and me with no money and no job, when Pokemon Leaf Green/Fire Red came out, they passed me by, after all, I had already played and beaten that game. Initially, same was the case with Pearl/Diamond, because i didn’t have the DS needed to play. When i did eventually get a DS, Diamond was one of the first games I got for it. Unfortunately, once again, I wasn’t as dedicated as I once was. I also found it annoying that most the time when i was playing it, it was evening or night time, which meant i was missing out on morning Pokemon. And with the new system more able to connect to other systems via wifi, that was a big part of the game. I have a wireless router, but for some reason my gameboy couldn’t connect, and i didn’t want to fiddle with it to make it so it could….and i think that’s why i never really finished it.

But, with the release of this new system, and a glance at the guide that I got at work before the games release, i felt inspired to pick up the game, and the habit once more. So, with my copy of White, I make my Journey to become a Pokemon Master once more.

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