So… This week I hope you are all ready for a Pokémon blog. See I was just going to do a retro review of Pokémon Red, but this just turned into a story of my love affair with the game. Anyway, I can’t really think of much to write for an introduction this week so we might as well just start.
I’ve been a huge Pokémon fan ever since I saw a friend playing an American import of Pokémon Blue in 1998. From that day I pestered my parents into getting me the game. I can’t really remember how long I pestered them for, but I know it was long enough for me to do enough house hold tasks to build up the £30, or how ever much it cost. I remember the day I got the game very clearly. We were on the way to visit my Nan, as we did every Saturday of my childhood, and we stopped off in town. I pretty much ran from the car park to Electronic Boutique (oh yeah! Back before Game bought them out). When we go to the shop there wasn’t a single copy of Pokémon Blue. I was most devastated. I had to get a copy of Pokémon Red. I didn’t realise as a kid that they were basically the same game. On a side note this day also marked a key moment in my life as a gamer. You see this was the first game I ever bought for myself. Not the first game I ever had bought for me mind; that was Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. I purchased the game and went to my Nan’s. I remember sitting in her house just wanting to go home so that I could play the game. I really wanted to play this game so bad. When we finally got home I ripped of the packaging and put it in the Game Boy and my obsession proper began, (once more my first obsession was Sonic, but I was only allowed to play on that downstairs, when my parents weren’t watching TV. This was the first time I had unlimited access to video games).
I remember sitting on the living room floor deliberating over which starter to pick. I had no idea which was which. I didn’t even know the name of a single Pokémon. So I just picked Squirtle because it looked the coolest. I now know I was wrong; Charmander is coolest. Anyway I left Pallet Town and began my adventure into the big wide world… Then got lost. Yeah I managed to get lost on Route 1. I didn’t know what I was doing. Luckily Nintendo were nice enough to put a short guide in the instruction manual that helped me out, and I was able to progress through the game. On a side note to this story, I’ve always wondered why Nintendo put that guide in the manual; could have made some money out of confused kids, who get lost on Route 1, phoning a hotline when their parents weren’t looking. Anyway, back to the story. This being the first RPG game I’d ever played I had no idea about levelling up, or training, or any of that stuff. I just ploughed through the game catching every Pokémon I could and reading all the trainer tips. The game took up a huge part of my life. I became a student of the game. I wanted to know everything about these monsters; I wanted to know which ones to use when, which ones were strong, which were weak, where to find the rare ones and how to get through Mount Moon.
From this point in the story onwards I go from being a lost and confused child to being a Pokémon master. See the millennium was coming up, and to celebrate the fact that we were all going to die when Skynet took over, or what ever the millennium bug would do to us, my father decided to buy me a Pokémon guide book. I’d finally get through the rock tunnel (I’d escaped Mount Moon somehow, but was lost in a new dark tunnel). The guide book was awesome! There was a cool image of Blastoise on the front and inside it told you how to find every item, every TM and how to get through each dungeon. There was also a handy but at the back telling you all about each Pokémon and their move lists. With this little aid I stopped getting lost and began to learn to play. I stopped just using random Pokémon and started building a team that complemented each other. I became a unbeatable powerhouse at play time. Nobody could beat me. I’d gone from student of the game to the game itself, or so I thought.
When I finally did get beat it was the worst feeling ever. My world crashed around me. While I’d been my cocky self sitting at the top, everyone else had been getting better. I’d got lazy and it cost me. I did learn form the loss though. I learnt that in Pokémon you’re never the best (especially now, with Ev training and the like. God I hate doing Ev training). This is all before the days of online gaming too, so due to me winning at Pokémon, I thought I was the best. I have since learnt that I’m actually not that great at competitive battling. But hay I was young and full of self importance. Anyway lets get back on track. When I found out that Pokémon Gold was coming out I got super excited. There was going to be 100 new Pokémon, there was going to be a new region, there was going to be new moves, but most importantly there was going to be a new series of the anime.
I’m going to stop here, because next week I’m going to carry on my exploration of my love affair with Pokémon with Pokémon gold. Who knows some of you might even come back and read it. Fell free to leave your comments about your experience of the game at the bottom. Peace out peeps…
By Matt Husselbury