My first experience with Pokémon dates back to gosh, I think the VERY early 2000’s with yellow. Yes yes, I know, you will be quick to point out that: “Oooh, Pokémon Yellow came out in 1998.” Or “Aaah, I sacrificed my first born and his first born to the gaming gods to get a copy the first day!” Well, “bah humbug on you!” I say.
The interesting thing is, I don’t remember how I got it. My parents back then were not uh fond of those type of games. At least, mostly it was my dad leading the charge against it. Anyways, it just seemed to materialize right into my Gameboy color. Daily, I had bemoaned that I was missing out and what is the most awesome Gameboy game at that time. I howled that all the kids my age all had copies. I bewailed that it would keep me occupied during those looooooooooooong car rides to ye olde grandparent’s house. But it was not to be. My lamentations fell on deaf ears. They would not be persuaded, I had a greater chance of defeating the Hun army with naught but with my wits and irresistible boyish charm.
Then one day, as if the very gods of gaming heard my plea, it was there. I, to this day, have no idea where it came from (I am serious, it literally (not figuratively) showed up in that cartridge slot raring and ready to go). From then on, it was my quest to be the very best that no one ever was. Yes, alright, I can see the collective eye rolling, but in my 11-12 year old mine that was what I damn well intended to do! You know what? I went for it!
You also must know, that my gaming was extremely limited to an hour here or an hour there. Most of the time I could only play on special occasions, such as birthdays, long trips, Christmas, you get the picture. I did at one in point time during the school year managed to sneak the precious Gameboy and squirrelled it away somewhere in my room. I think I buried it underneath all the beanie babies, (Hey, those will be worth something one day!) or was somewhere underneath my water bed?
It was my escape, I have never been the most extroverted person so my class had to do one those everyone-must-participate-in-the-class-play, and everyone-has-to-have-lines dealibobs. Needless to say, I wasn’t very thrilled. So during those trying days, I’d run up to my room gently slam the door, dive in the corner of my room, whip out my….Gameboy and embark on the wondrous journey that is Pokémon. I would lose track of time (I did actually study my lines okay?!) losing myself in the Viridian Forest, wondering the accursed halls of the stupid Silph Co. building muttering underneath my breath, what I thought were curse words. Some of these examples include but not limited to: poopy head, stupid face, dumb idiot, dumb jerk. Whooping in excitement as I finally beat the Elite Four, only to have my hopes dashed when I realized I had to face “The Rival.” That bastard. I hate him. I hated his smug little pixelated face as he mockingly looks on me and easily defeats my depleted party. Most of the time it was that impudent Sandslash (DAMNIT. I DON’T NEED YOUR SMUG ATTITUDE ON HOW EASY THE BATTLE WAS). The insolence! It took me two maybe three tries before I finally defeated him, and then I had the smug smile and leered as close as I could and sneered at that frustratingly pixelated face. I also danced around the room like an idiot prompting the parental units to check what the fuss was, but that’s not important. What was important is that I had done it! I had won! YES! VICTORY WAS MINE!!! MIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(My smug face)
My journey was not over. No siree bob. My next goal was to collect every single of the little bastards. Thankfully, there was an neighbor my age down the street who had a link cable, and I had to weedle (heh) and cajole my way into getting her to trade me those precious few. I still remember like it was yesterday. I had one last Pokémon to get, and it was a...weedle. Yes a damn weedle. I was going to get right after school! I patiently waited for mom to pick me up.
, (Me waiting for mom circa 2000 something or other)
And then I saw it. My baby sister had my Gameboy. I panicked. I uh “retrieved” my Gameboy and my worst fears confirmed: It was all gone. Erased. Expunged. Obliterated. Purged. Liquidated. Eliminated. I don’t know how she got it or what possessed my mom to let her have it, but I am convinced it was an elaborate conspiracy by GameFreak to sabotage my efforts to complete the vaunted Pokedex. I tip my proverbial hat to the nameless agent that was assigned to me.
Since that fateful day, I’ve picked up almost every generation and each game still invokes childlike wonder as I embark on a glorious adventure in a new land. Thanks for reading, any got some internet beers?