20 Years Of Pokémon: Tales From An Old Friend
I was 9 years old when I got my first Gameboy, one year or so before the North America launch of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. I played mostly the big games my family would buy for me like the Marios, the Kirbys…Kirbies? Kirb…The pink puffball, and so on. Raised speaking only French, I couldn’t play most RPG on my super Nintendo without being completely lost – I didn’t understand most of the English at that time. I still don’t understand why there are information boxes in Super Mario World.
On my eight birthday, I woke up and my Grand’ma was already in the house with my mother drinking coffee (yuk!). There it was, on the table, a Gameboy game shape gift. My eyes dilated as if I drank all the coffee we had in the house in an instant. What was it…What was it…Whatisit!
Carefully removing the gift-wrap from the box – yeah right…I tore it apart like the Tasmanian devil. For my defence, I probably wore a t-shirt that had Taz on it anyhow. After the birthday filled tornado calmed down, there it was, a blue box. What’s that? A tur…A turtle? Like a koopa? Is that a Mario game that you play as Blue Bowser?
I then ran into my room to try my new ”Blue Bowser” game.
Alright, new game, start. Oh that’s like in Zelda! I need to name my Save file. I’ll call myself Alex
Are you a boy or a girl? (yeah I had to ask…man I didn’t had any knowledge of English)
Oh…oh…there is a lot of text…wow…many words…(A) (A) (A) (A)
Alright it’s starting!
I hated it. I didn’t understand a thing, If I recall correctly, I took Charmander as my first Pokémon and called it Yoshi. Yoshi and I didn’t saw eye to eye. I understood its scratch attack, but what was the point for Leer? I dropped my Gameboy and went back to my family for breakfast, and intended on never playing again. Of course I lied to my Grandmother telling her that the game was good and I was going to play it again soon.
Later that afternoon, my classmate and friends from the neighbourhood came to my house for the actual event that was my birthday. We had fun and I’ve opened many gifts which, ironically enough, I can’t remember what they were. I guess I got a box of Lego at some point.
My best friend – he had a pool, that’s how I knew he was my best friend – Marc-André asked me what I received from my parents and my grandma, but I couldn’t really answer without looking disappointed. He was my best friend after all, I had to tell him the truth.
Me : I got a boring Gameboy game.
Marc André : Show me!
Me : I thought it was going to be awesome since the cartridge is blue.
Marc André : OMG WHAT, YOU GOT POKÉMON TOO!
Me : Huh, yeah I guess?
Marc André : OH YEAH! WE ARE GONNA TRADE TOGETHER AND BATTLE EACH OTHER IT’S GONNA BE SOOOO MUCH FUN!
And that’s how I got hooked! After he showed me how the game really worked – I hadn’t caught any other Pokémon, and I was wondering why the game was so brutal – it became my favorite game of all time. At recess, it was the number one subject of discussion. There even were rumours on how to catch Mew by using strength on that stupid truck. I guess the rest is kinda the same thing for any and each of you. Talking about who was the strongest Pokémon, trying to fill out the Pokédex, catching the legendary trio – Articuno is still my boy. I even got in a fight because somebody called me a cheater for using the Missingno Rare candy glitch. For my defense, I really wanted a level 100 Gyarados and didn’t had the patience to level its useless pre evolution red carp fish.
Then, a few years later, I moved on and never really came back to it. I had figurines, posters, and a truckload of TCG cards. I sold or gave them all. I grew up or rather I grew out of that ”kid game”. Of course, I discovered other more epic franchises like The legend of Zelda, Megaman and Banjo-Kazooie – by then, I understood a little bit better, the bird was rude and that’s funny. THAT’S TRUE COMEDY.
Pokémon was always in the back of my mind though. Some friends kept on playing and I didn’t…Until Gen 6 – OH MAN NINTENDO YOU BROUGHT ME BACK!
When I first heard of X/Y, I didn’t blink an eye. Another batch of Pokémon that I won’t care about. PASS. And then, there it was. That announcement. Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Yoshi. I’m buying this one! The more I learned about the game, the more exited I got. Mega evolutions? Sign me up! Mewtwo came back? Oh yeah! In 3D? Yeah whatever! Oh that kind of 3D? The one that pops out of the screen! I CAN FINALLY PET MY CHARIZARD!!!
I learned online about EVs, breeding, shinnies – and If you don’t know what I’m referring to, there are good articles on the IMGMR website.
I became an addict, like old times. This time, I didn’t call my Charmander Yoshi. Instead, I decided to create new memories. My Charizard was named Hyper, my Greninja Orion, my Gengar was…Well you don’t actually need to know the names of my team. You probably have your own team with their own names. Maybe like me you went back to the franchise after a long timeout. That game was both new and exciting as it is old and filled with memories.
And that’s what’s beautiful with Pokémon. Everyone has their teams. Everyone has their story. I’ve told you mine, it’s time to tell us yours!
Happy 20th anniversary Pokémon