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KeithTheGeek avatar 9:18 AM on 11.04.2012  (server time)
Kanto is Where My Heart is

Recently, I’ve noticed something odd about my gaming habits. For the past few years, I’ve replayed Pokémon Red annually. In between those sessions, I’ve replayed Pokémon LeafGreen. During this span of time, I’ve also replayed some other Pokémon games, as well as getting to enjoy HeartGold, White, and White 2 for the first time, but time and again my mind drifts back to the first Generation of Pokémon. Perhaps I should explain.

Pokémon Red Version, while not my first video game by a long shot, was the first one I could call my own. I got it on my 5th birthday along with a Game Boy Color. It was the first game to truly engross me. I still don’t know what it was, but it managed to push all of the right buttons. Tagging along with my beloved Charmander (whose final form is still my favorite Pokémon of all time), I explored the region, battling trainers and finding new, exciting faces to befriend. Even now, I love exploring the secrets in these games.

I’m 90% certain that I could out-geek anyone here when it comes to Pokémon. I studied up on glitches throughout Elementary and Middle School, taught myself how to make pixel art in the style of the games, and now eagerly anticipate any drop of news regarding new Pokémon games. I visit websites every day, from Bulbapedia to Serebii. Even as I type this, I’m listening to Pokémon music.

Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to play Pokémon all the time. Quite the opposite, given the number of games I own that I haven’t completed. However, I feel almost a compulsive need to play a Pokémon game right now. More specifically, a game featuring the Kanto region, the region featured in Red and Blue.

As I mentioned, I replay these games almost annually. Early this year, I finished a run of Red version. Right now I’m feeling the urge to play LeafGreen again, despite having an unfinished run of Crystal (still need to beat Kanto…) and my first serious attempt at a complete Pokédex in White 2 to work on. Something about Kanto draws me back to it. Hell, I know my way around the Kanto region better than I do my home state! You could probably call it nostalgia, but even so, these games have a quality to them that I feel is lacking in most games. I can’t place my finger on it, but time and again I want to go back to them. These games are as much a part of my identity as the color of my hair and the language I speak. I’m looking forward to see Oak’s words greet me at the start again.

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