Gold star to anyone who says Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure
Back in middle school, I remember my classmates saying Pokémon was just a fad. It was 1998, school had just started up again, and the anime had just started up in preparation for the arrival of Pokémon Red and Blue in North America. I didn’t have a Game Boy at the time and couldn’t stand anime, so I didn’t really pay attention. But one of my classmates fell hard for the series, being the only guy I knew who carried a Game Boy Pocket in his backpack at high school so he could be Gold and Silver. He didn’t think it was a fad, and today, 25 years after Pokémon first debuted, he’s been proven right.
Pokémon has been nothing short of a cultural phenomenon since 1996. While the popularity of some franchises can wane over time, it seems to only be getting stronger with each passing year. Twenty twenty-one is already looking good for the series with New Pokémon Snap and the remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. And then there is that whole Pokémon Legends: Arceus launching next year.
Today, I’m a pretty decent fan of the series, but I didn’t play a proper entry in the franchise until Pokémon Emerald. Before that, my only experience with it came a few years earlier with Super Smash Bros. I couldn’t control Pikachu worth a damn and wouldn’t pick Jigglypuff because my friends might have thought I was gay…or, you know, figured out what should have been so obvious to them. But I loved the Saffron City stage and how Pokémon were implemented as random summons.
I gave up on Emerald around Fortree City. The next few games I bought (Pearl, HeartGold, and White) shared a similar fate, and I seemed destined to never understand the appeal of this global sensation. Then I played Pokémon Rumble for WiiWare, and everything changed.
It’s almost comical that of all the games that could get me into Pokémon, Rumble was the one to do it. It’s an excessively easy game and probably should be beneath somebody of my skill, but when it launched on the Wii, I would play until the batteries in my controller died. I loved it so much, I paid full price for Pokémon Rumble Blast on 3DS and put an inordinate amount of hours into Rumble World as well. Without it, I probably would have never played Pokémon Conquest or bothered with Pokémon Y, which was the first core title to actually hook me.
While I recognize there are much better games than it, Pokémon Rumble will always be the series spin-off I love the most for actually helping me get into the franchise proper. So that’s my favorite spin-off, and for this Pokémon Day, I want to know what yours is in the comments below!