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Pichu, Pikachu, Raichu! I Choose You! A Personal history of Pokemon

TIME :2022-07-03

When the “Pocket Monster” games were announced for their state-side release under the title “Pokemon” back in 1996, I wasn’t interested. Later, I read more information about it through Nintendo Power, as well as their short run of the anime-based comic, persuaded me otherwise. It introduced me to a more dynamic world than most other games of the time. That a creature of mine would change drastically, statistically and physically, in most cases had a particular appeal. As well as the ability to choose what moves each individual on my team would have, for the time, was astounding. Very few games in that era allowed for that form of freedom. I watched for the release day and, on it, got myself my first copy of the game, Pokemon Blue. It was about 2 months later that I got Pokemon Red. I was anxious to get home and start playing. My old Toaster Game Boy became a wonderful friend from then on (though a hungry one when one got a small allowance and had to buy lunch in High School). I set several habits I would follow throughout my now lengthy Pokemon career. I also found my own Pokemon which I fell in love with and endeavored to use as much as possible. Many people developed a fondness for one of the starters (Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur) or joined the legions of Pikachu fans. Me, I joined a smaller group, as soon as I learned about Eevee. I had never encountered a single creature within any games that with any sort of influence could change into 3 different kinds of creature, permanently. With that I knew I was hooked. That in one game I could level a Pokemon up, have it evolve, trade it and have it evolve or use one the stones on it to evolve it; how could I have been silly enough to resist such a complex game? I even went so far as to organize a small tournament at my High School with the other Pokemon players a few times. I also attended and won at the first Nintendo Sponsored Tournament, the Spring Training Tournament. I still have the Hat that proves all this. All this though, marked the beginning.

While we all waited for the next full version to come out, we wiled away the time with Pokemon Yellow: Pikachu Edition. I liked this version for the fact you could have a Pikachu tail behind you at all times by having it in the party. Of course evolving this Pokemon using the Thunderstone would stop it form following you or trying to have any other Pikachu do this. This version of the game introduced a more anime-centric version of the game that more people could relate to. If nothing else, think of taking a children’s game and making it even more kid friendly. As well as the inclusion of the Surfing Pikachu mini-game made it a bit more varied than the original Blue and Red. I enjoyed it, not just because of that game, but because it introduced an alternate move-set for a great number of the Pokemon. I played it, wait it out, then got my reward, Gold and Silver.

While with Red and Blue, I got both version, ultimately having 2 copies of Blue and one of Red, I only got one of the second generation; Silver. I knew a lot of people at this point so it was no problem at all for me to find people to trade with or to do the daily Mystery Gift. I got the Pocket Pikachu as well to help myself in getting all the little goodies that were scattered throughout the game world. The introduction of the now famous “Pokerus” as well the ability of hold items and the introduction of the new types “Dark” and Steel”, changed the face of Pokemon battling. I had to upgrade to a Gameboy Color for this game and got myself a battery pack to cut down my battery cost. As well as this version introduced Pokemon Breeding in a very simple form, compared to now, into the game, making many ambitions previously time-consuming or impossible much more likely. I was able to breed and make an entire Eevee team. The games for better. Silver redefined the world of Pokemon to me and it contented me to play for many long hours. I will also note that this generation, to me had the best starters. I loved my Bulbasaur throughout, but my Chikorita could beat it down any day of the week.

The Third generation got a bit interesting. As it took Nintendo a while to make a half-way decent Game Boy Advance I stayed away from these versions the longest. Once I did get myself a Game Boy Advance SP though, good luck struck and my then-lover found, and gave to me, a copy of Pokemon Ruby. I started all over again and remembered why I had loved the series so much. I liked the starters, the improved graphics a fair number of the changes made throughout the game. My involvement here though was easily the most limited of any generation of Pokemon. I was simply out of touch from any group of gamers that played Pokemon. It was this generation that made me realize just how much the game encouraged being social. I’d talk about Leaf-Green or Fire-Red, but frankly, I‘ve already done that as they are both remakes of Red and Blue and I didn‘t play them back in their proper time. As for Emerald, it hasn‘t had a lot of pull to get me to play it. This generation was the first to truly feature wireless, but I never got to try it. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until the next generation that I found everything fitting again.

This now brings me to the present, fourth, generation of Pokemon with Diamond and Pearl. I broke my trend of the Grass starter (nothing wrong with Turtwig, but it just lost out here) and went Fire for my Chimchar. This game took a lot of features that had been seen previously and brought them to fruition. It became much easier to navigate the various storage boxes as well as manage the collection. Especially with Pokemon Ranch on the Wii, having the ability to store my Pokemon outside of my DS made it ideal. It also introduced one thing I hadn’t forseen but was an excellent move from any collector’s stand point. Bonuses for connecting the third generation (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire-Red, Leaf-Green) into the DS at the same time. As well as the Pal-Park, allowing you to import Pokemon from the previous generation into the present. I also saw the introduction of two new forms of Eevee, bringing the total to 8 forms (including the original, unevolved form). The wireless format as well lends itself well to things as we don’t ever have to worry about having link cables on hand as was the case in most of the previous generations. The DS’s built-in wireless made it incredible, allowing for global access and a measure of just convenience that just hadn’t existed before in any of the previous generations, where you always had to buy the connector. One key thing that changed in this generation as well was that I once again found a solid group of people that I could play and trade with. The world of Pokemon once again opened up to me and I again had found myself in a game world I knew I could enjoy.

I still am looking for a Chikorita and a Totodile to finish my starter set. I have every Eevee evolution and have begun working on building a full-Eevee team for the first time since the first two generations. I am looking for some good free Wi-Fi places so I hop onto the GTS as well as battle people all over the world. I definitely can look back and fondly remember walking out of the Kay-Bee Toys with my new copy of Pokemon Blue and smile at everything that one choice has brought into my life.