Saturday, October 23, 2010

Glory days

Barely ten years old.
I didn't even know what was about to hit me.

My birthday, being in October, was right around the time of the best videogame releases.
I was well aware of this fact.

I had the entire operation planned to a tee.
My Uncle would get me the new Gameboy Pocket. It came with Wario's Blast, a game that pitted two long-time rivals, Wario and Bomberman, against each other. Thinking about that now, it would be like watching Carolina @ Dallas and trying to derive a game plot.

Armed with a brand, spankin' new GBP, I would finally be able to get my hands on a game I had heard so much about: Pokemon Blue. That game would, of course, come courtesy of my Grandfather.

Perhaps Tegan and Sara put it best: Blow by blow, I didn't see it comin'. Blow by blow, sucker punch.

I had, literally, no idea what I was about to get into.

The game turns on, and the first thing you get to watch is an unreal battle sequence. That, combined with one of the greatest background themes of all time, simply set the stage for what was to come.

You try to leave town. The grass looks a little tall. It might be hard to see what kind of creatures are hiding out in there. Suddenly, an old man invites you into his "labratory". Being a little boy, you obviously ignore all common judgement and follow him unconditionally.

His first question is, on the surface, such a simple one: "Now, RICH, which Pokemon do you want?".
Little do you know how much of an impact this creature is going to have on your future.
Not having a clue what I was doing, I clearly picked the coolest looking one.
Looking back on my life, I've always had a way of making things hard on myself. I never did my math homework properly in Junior High, which led to weak fundamentals, which led to me to an Arts degree. And I picked the Pokemon which I thought looked cool, which means that through my first two gyms I was going to have a hell of a time. I still remember trying to beat Misty's Starmie in the Cerulean City gym, losing time after time, blacking out and waking up in the Pokemon hospital. That story is strangely close to another person's. 

Of course, your rival always seems to have a step ahead of you, even when it comes to his ragtime-inspired theme music. But he never really posed a threat to you, he was more of an annoyance, always trying to take advantage of you when you least expected it. Challenging you to a fight not more than three seconds after picking your first Pokemon. Showing up on Nugget Bridge. But no time more critically important than after defeating the Elite Four. Broken, beaten, and scarred,  you struggle to beat Lance the dragon master, only to be informed that there is already a champion waiting for you in the next room.

I remember beating the Elite Four for the first time. I remember the day I caught my 150th Pokemon, a Tauros, in the Safari Zone. I remember struggling, possibly longer than I have in any other video game to date, to figure out how to get into Saffron City (the guard's only hint was that he was parched--> like I knew what the fuck that meant). 

I remember my own personal flirtation with performance enhancing drugs, of course I'm speaking of the MissingNo. glitch off the coast of Cinnabar Island. Much like Ben Johnson lost the trust of his home country, I too lost the trust of my game cartridge, as file after file became corrupted. It was then that I learned cheaters never win.

I nicknamed some of my Pokemon. I don't really remember any of them, except for one: I had a Metapod whose name was "My Penis". Confused? This was worth its weight in gold back in the day:

I used my Master Ball on Zapdos. I never regretted the decision, even when I was whittling down Mewtwo in that cave of wonders or whatever it was called, throwing Ultra Ball after Ultra Ball.

Although I'm not holding my breath for comments, here is what I want to know: What are your vivid memories from your first go at Pokemon? What still stands out in 2010? Did you "catch 'em all"? Were you loyal to your starters? I want to know it all.


  1. My grandfather also got me Pokemon. He got me red though because Eli Diamond-Goldberg said it was WAY better than blue. So I felt like I had to pick the red Pokemon because my game was red. I never took Charmander-Charzard out of my line up and only ever had one file. All until some asshole missingno. deleted my game and I gave up forever.

  2. Yup, forgot to mention I also told all my friends to go buy Pokemon Red so that I could trade with them. As a result, I was one of the only kids with Blue, and was pretty much a bull put on this earth to shit and to fuck (or in this case, trade with everyone).

  3. "I love using Pokemon to commit crimes"
    - Team Rocket Grunt