My Pokémon Story:
So recently I posted up a Pokémon survey which was placed on my Facebook Group, this blog, and then on the Pokémon Forum within GaiaOnline. The reason behind this survey was merely to see what the similarities within Pokémon players were…comparing and contrasting their ideals on certain things, and looking if age group had anything to do with it, and etc. etc. etc. I also used this to see how many people really liked Pokepastas and how people had gotten interested in Pokémon in the first place.
While for an 80’s child they could have gotten into Pokémon because it looked cool and they were old enough to really understand the gameplay and storyline, for us 90’s children, it’s always a different story. Most people my age (according to the Survey) were introduced to Pokémon via an older sibling or relative. But I did not have anyone that introduced me to Pokémon. According to me Father, I had asked for the games for Christmas. He said I either asked for Red or Blue, but because he could not remember which one I wanted, he ended up getting me both. But the thing is that I do not remember ever knowing about Pokémon until I got the games. I had not seen the cartoon, did not have the cards, nothing. I might have gotten the idea from a boy at school or maybe one that lived in my neighborhood, but when I rack my brain for information (for the most part), I draw a blank.
Still…that was where my Pokémon adventure began, with the release of Red and Blue. I got it that year for Christmas and have been hooked on Pokémon ever since. I mean, I cannot tell you just how much that game really meant to me. As a child I was not popular in school. I was the kid that most others avoided, I got bullied, and I never did keep a friend for long. I acted out just to get some sort of attention, even it was the negative kind…and while it’s hard to admit it, it is true when I say that things going on at home had me pretty messed up in the head as well. Pokémon was a way for me to really get past all the bad things happening in my life. I was a Trainer on my very own adventure, exploring the world, catching monsters and training them to be stronger. I was saving the world all while earning badges to prove that I was the very best. It was like an escape from reality…it was like I was living my real-life dream through a video-game.
I dunno. I was struggling with Gender-identity pretty bad as a younger child (way up until my teens at that) so the male Trainer was pretty much who I wanted to be. The pokemon resembled my love for animals (I wanted to be a Vet back then) and my deep desire to be friends with all of the animals on the planet. Defeating other Trainers made me feel strong and accomplished, and lastly, I felt like the game was so much more than just a cartridge that you stuck into a small handheld. I felt like the whole thing was more than just a pre-programmed blob of code.
I remember there was one battle that I had been losing terribly. I was down to my Growlithe and it’s HP was really, really low. I knew one more hit from my opponent would surely kill it, and when the Trainer attacked I screamed,”Please don’t die! We can do this!” At that moment, I felt like I was stuck in the cartoon. Growlithe was hit, his HP bar fell and fell. But somehow, even though the Crit should have knocked him out cold, my Growlithe held on by 1HP…but just enough to deal the finishing blow and win me the battle without blacking me out. I cried. I started crying out of relief and because I was happy. I was for sure (in my child-mind) that somewhere, the Growlithe had heard my cries, had heard my encouragement, and it had held on just for me so that we could come out victorious.
Now…I don’t remember the battle (I think it was my Rival) same as I don’t remember a lot from that time period because I was only 6-7 years old. Still, that was a moment that stuck in my mind forever, and it has been saved ever since. But…not only did Pokémon get me away from the troubles in my life, it also allowed me to connect with other kids: something I had been struggling with a lot. Pokemania had hit hard, and everyone was into it. So no longer was I the weird kid that no one wanted to talk to. Suddenly I was one of the cool kids with really strong Pokémon. I was actually declared the Pokémon Master of my school because I defeated all the other kids that wanted to battle me. It was a great feeling.
But just like every other trend and fad…Pokemania faded just as quickly as it had come. Most kids got bored with the Cartoons and Games, most girls never liked it anyways. A few nerdy boys kept up with the games and had started collecting cards, and, not wanting to lose hold on those friendships, I tried getting into the TCG too, but was never more than just a collector. Still it just dawned on me that Pokémon really helped me open up to people, and it started teaching me about life. Same as the game had Maniacs, Bug-catchers, and Youngsters…Life had the Nerds, the Preps, the Outcasts. School and life were always putting you into some kind of role, and it was only when you took charge of your own adventure that you could become something other than a label that society had given you (ooooh, deep stuff, eh?)
When Pokémon Gold and silver came out, I could not wait. I was not skeptical of it in the least (this is where the Genwunners would start to make themselves known). I looked forward to the new Region with all the new colors, places, and was even looking forward to the new Pokémon. Again, I was lucky enough to get both versions of the game for Christmas so that I could use my sister’s Gameboy to link the 2 and complete the Pokedex…but I’m getting off track.
I immediately fell in love with the Pokémon Starter: Cyndaquil.
I remember the first nickname I ever game my Cyndaquil was “Saiyan”. I had just gotten into Dragon-Ball-Z hardcore, and so, considering the fact that later Typhlosion’s main spiked up, I thought the name suited it well. I was excited about all the new features that these games had to offer. The night/day options…the different genders, and even the breeding mechanic which introduced baby Pokémon. But, as I mentioned before…Pokemania was starting to die. By now I was 9-10 years old. Kids my age were not playing Pokémon anymore and those of us who did got made fun of for it. This was the time where people were starting to say that “Pokémon was for babies” and even parents were kinda concerned that we still wanted to play such childish games.
But where the bullying got me down and the Church told me I would burn in hell for playing…Pokémon was my escape.
I recently started replaying my Ruby Version and it reminded me just how much I had done in order to get that game. I remember my sister and I were out shopping with my Dad. We had stopped at K-Mart to pick up some things for our vacation to Michigan which would be coming up soon. My Dad was also picking things up for my little sister. I had turned down new clothes, new shoes, and new school supplies…and then, I saw it in the gaming racks. I had not seen anything on the Tv about a new Pokémon game (this was 2003), had not heard anything on the radio, and I had no idea what internet was or how to use it. But there it was, right in front of my eyes…a new Pokémon game for the Gameboy Advance. I instantly went to my Father and told him about the game. He merely said,”I’ll buy it for you later.”
You see…when someone says,”I’ll buy it for you later” I always thought that translated to: “We will get that later today” --- I’m not sure why I thought this was the case, but, I quickly learned that when Dad said that he would get it for me later, he meant never, and he hoped I would just forget about it. Well, I wasn’t going to forget about it, and was worried that if I left the store right then that the game would disappear and that I would miss out on the chance to play it FOREVER (typical 12-year-old).
Not knowing what to do, I started to throw a fit. I told him he could skip my Christmas, told him how he had not gotten me anything I wanted all day but how my sister had gotten a ton of new stuff, and I even went so far as to try and convince him that getting me that game would keep me entertained on the way to Michigan. The man was not budging, so I went to Plan B. I sat on the ground, crossed my arms, and started to cry.
I knew this behavior was going to get me into trouble. But my mentality at that point was that if I got in trouble, it did not matter because I was never getting the game anyways. So yeah…my Father was highly upset and very embarrassed. He yelled, screamed, and eventually told me to choose one of the games and that I would not be getting Christmas because of this. I didn’t care…I had Ruby Version, and I was on top of the world.
Ruby was another magical moment for me…just as Gold had been. While at first I was not so sure about the Starters (and will never like Mudkip) I soon fell in love with Hoenn. This new realm was magical. The running Shoes made a bike mostly unnecessary and the 2 different bikes posed a challenge when playing the game. You now had Pokémon contests and the Trick House which always offered some distraction from the storyline (in a new way). Also there was weather added into the game which affected the way you battled and etc. There was the Dive HM which allowed you to even go to the bottom of the Ocean!!! Ruby Version was also where they brought first mention of Pokémon Gods and/or Demi-Gods. Kyogre was the Pokémon responsible for the Sea, and Groudon was the Pokémon responsible for the Continents. So, 2 Pokémon that created something essential to life, who constantly rage war with one another, and who control the tides and volcanoes all around the Region. To a kid, this was cool! This was (logically) something more powerful than Mew, Mewtwo, and the Legendary Birds! These were (thus far) the ultimate Pokémon! There were some other cool things about the game too…but those were all the things that stood out to me most.
The gamesync and secret bases were always really fun too. It was nice trying to find that perfect spot where you could fit all of your stuff. Not to mention that you could decorate your room AND your base, then gamesync with a friend and find their base: it was too much fun!
Still, people really beefed on Ruby and Sapphire and claimed that these were the worst games in Pokémon history. The game sold very poorly, and most people within my age group comment that the game was simply unmemorable to them, too complicated if anything, and required too much surfing around with a lack of post-game to be considered fun. Still, there were those who claimed that Emerald made things better and really tied the knot well when it came to the games, but most people had their eyes on the Kanto remakes and did not pay much attention to the real 3rd Gen.
After I lost my original Ruby Version I did not pick up Pokémon again for the longest while. I never got a DS until my sister gave up hers, and even then, I never got any games for it. I had started focusing more on my PS2 and PC gaming to be concerned with handheld consoles, and it was not until HeartGold and SoulSilver came out that the spark for Pokémon came back to me.
One of my childhood friends whom I considered my “twin” had been keeping up with Pokémon. He had borrowed my other friend’s Diamond and Pearl Version to play with, and as mine and his birthdays were quickly approaching (his was March 17th and mine was the 19th) he decided to surprise me with a little gift. Pooling all of his money together he showed up at my house randomly with a brand-new HeartGold Verison. He had gotten himself SoulSilver and told me that because he had spent the last of his money to get this game for me, it was mandatory that I play it. I was overly excited. Gold Version was my favorite out of all the Pokémon Games, and I had not heard anything about them making a remake. Still, this really brought me back to the good ‘ole days, and so I agreed to play.
The wi-fi features were amazing. Every night I was up in my bed in the Internet Lounge, meeting people from all over the world. I even met up with my friend a few times and we played Mini-games. I guess the rest is history from there.
While I no longer speak to the friend that got me my HeartGold Version, when I found out about Black&White being released, I made sure that I pre-ordered it and the limited edition hard-back guide. I got my other friend to make sure she got the opposite version of mine so we could complete our Dex (as well as battle), and I have been back in on the Pokémon scene ever since. I’m sure there will come a time where I might take a break from it again for just a little while…but for now, the feeling still run strong and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, especially since I am getting Pokémon Y for Christmas.
Sorry this was so long-winded. Guess I could have made it more interesting but I’m kinda just writing out a draft right now. Anyways, ttyl~!!!