pokémon 20th anniversary

Cross-posted from Tumblr. Originally posted February 2016.

since it’s apparently pokemon’s 20th anniversary, i figured i’d type some words about my first experiences with the game for ~sentimentality~ or whatever

so i think my first introduction to the series was in 3rd grade. one of the kids in my class brought the instruction book from his game to school. he ended up showing me it either during recess, or maybe like while we were waiting for our bus numbers to be called over the loudspeaker at the end of the day, or whatever other downtime…

anyway, remember how in the back of the instructions there were some pages dedicated to cataloging some of the pokemon? like they had squares for all 150, but only showed maybe a few dozen. and it was basically totally set up to tease you and spark your curiosity.

well the kid was looking at that section and handed me the book, asking which one i liked, saying “my favorite is ‘rat-ta-ta-ta’“. i peered through the pages, somewhat enamored. there are so many of these things and yet it’s only showing me a few of them. what could the others be?? what could they look like???

after looking through, i believe i agreed that ‘rat-ta-ta-ta’ was indeed the coolest.

he probably talked to me about the game or whatever and i decided it sounded totally cool and i totally had to have it. this had to have been closer towards the launch of the games cuz i don’t remember pokemon fever really taking off till later on in 4th grade.

so i asked my parents for it and of course they said “maybe for your birthday” or whatever, as parents do. so i waited patiently for some months, till one morning i woke up to a copy of Red sitting in my easter basket and was toootally ecstatic.

i pretty much immediately opened it and popped it in my game boy and plopped down on the couch to play it while my parents moseyed off back to bed. that morning i ended up playing the game for something like 4 hours straight, which at that point was the longest i’d ever binged on a video game in a single sitting. i think my parents woke up again to me still sitting there playing the same game.

during all that time, i’m not sure i even beat the first gym … i may have just barely beat it, i dunno. also i picked bulbasaur because i read the instructions first and the book recommended it for beginners. yea i was one of those weird kids who read the instruction book before playing a new game instead of throwing it aside and jumping in.

anyway i spent many more hours with the game for months to come. and pokemania swept the country and pokemon was everywhere and every kid had to get their hands on whatever they could get. pokemon cards became practically as huge as the games themselves and eventually got banned from my school. i remember a couple of kids getting into a fight over a damned energy card… those worthless things that were included in booster packs by the dozens. and then the movie came out which was like a huge event. burger king got pokemon toys and i saw a kid cry because his brother got Mew while he got a Kangaskhan or some shit, weeping “why’d he have to get Mew?”

et cetera et cetera… it was a curious and ridiculous time to be a kid… the end.