Man oh man has it been a crazy ride for the past 20 years. Pokémon has been an integral part of my life for such a long time, and though there are years I’ve spent away from my favorite Pokémon, coming back wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. At this point Pokémon = Nostalgia, and looking back on where it all began is a wonderful place to start.
Pokémon for me was all about the cards and the show in the beginning. Surprisingly enough, I had the toys and gadgets and a great collection of cards, but I never actually played the games. My routine was to wake up in the morning and watch Pokémon while getting ready for school, then come home and watch the new episodes after school. My Pokémon knowledge grew as big as my card collection and school became a social activity where trading holographics (the originals at the time, of course) was the lunchroom norm for everyone that had bitten a piece of the craze like I had.
I had my own little shoebox full of all the Pokémon cards I could get my hands on. Some bought from Target and Kmart while others were given to me by friends and traded for duplicates. But through all of this, I still hadn’t picked up the original games. Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow slipped through my fingers as I played with my 1998 Pokémon Electronic Pokedex from Tiger. I’m sure you know which one i’m talking about right?
Along with the Pokedex, I got my hands on the Pokémon Pikachu Walker/Virtual Pet. With this, my Pokedex and my cards, I was completely content to live out Pokémon in real life. Then one day…
I was reading in a magazine, not sure which one unfortunately, and they were discussing Pokémon Crystal, the updated version of Gold and Silver (I missed these games as well) with improvements on everything and new additions, including the first time Pokémon introduced a female character Kris, (allowing players to choose to play as a male or a female for the first time ever) added the legendary Suicune, improvements on sprites, and a few other things I didn’t understand. None of it really mattered though, because I pulled out my green Gameboy Color and tried my hand at a Pokémon game for the first time!
Of course, the addiction was apparent, and Pokémon Crystal lead me over to Pokémon Coliseum on the Gamecube, then I moved on to Pokémon Sapphire on my see through Gameboy Advanced. Then I had the lull that everyone else had and stopped playing the game that made my childhood.
8 years away from Pokémon, and then one day I saw Black and White, grabbed a 3DS and got back into the addictive title that formed my childhood all over again, and what a pleasure it has been.
Thank you Nintendo and Pokémon for forming friendships and bonds and creating social events that I still hold dear today. Making hobbies for girls and boys that encourage us all to “be the very best, like no one ever was.”