I used to be a die hard Pokemon fan. I havefond memories of my mother taking me to her job at Lucille Roberts (an all-women’s gym in America) during the summer. I would play Pokemon: Blue Version for hours on end on my GameBoy color until it was time to go home. I remember having long, heated talks with my classmates about which Pokemon was better than the other. I used to watch all the shows and could name every Pokemon on the “Who’s That Pokemon?!” silhouette challenge they would have during the commercial breaks. I knew which Pokemon was what type and what attacks they would learn sooner or later. Of course, I also knew every type’s strengths and weaknesses, too.
I remember having a strange and deep obsession with an Articuno I caught in Pokemon: Silver Version. There was a kid at summer camp who offered to trade me their much higher level Articuno for it just to taunt me. I remember yelling, “No!” back at him. For some reason having caught my own meant a ton to me. Even if I could have a stronger one it wouldn’t be mine, so I didn’t want it. I was that deep into the game.
I knew everything and played every single Pokemon game up until Sapphire. Crystal was my absolute favorite, by the way. I got that one because I thought Suicune was the coolest legendary Pokemon ever, next to Lugia. We won’t even mention how Entei got all the spotlight in that one Pokemon movie (which of course I saw). No one ever mentions him anymore, though! It’s totally not cool. Suicune forever, yo.
I decided to give up the Pokemon series after Sapphire. I don’t entirely remember why. After a while it just lost its appeal. Considering that all the Pokemon games are pretty much just rehashes of the previous versions with a few new things, I didn’t see a reason to keep playing. So I stopped for a couple of years until last week, when I decided to hop into a Gamestop and buy myself a copy of Pokemon X, a game I’d heard great things about. It had been several years since my last Pokemon game and I was looking forward to a nostalgia kick.
This was the worst decision I could have possibly made. I can’t put this damn game down!!
Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. I’ll play for a while, maybe an hour or two straight before putting it down to take a break or pretend to be productive. The 3DS is actually great for this, considering how the handheld can be closed and forgotten. But fifteen minutes later and I’m already running through all the ideas in my head of how I’m going to go about leveling my team, what Pokemon I may catch next, what I have to stock up on at the PokeMart before I leave towards the next gym… And before I know it I’m back in that game again. I even go out of my way to look for times when I can get away with playing it. “Maybe a half hour on my commute to work.” “Maybe I can get to class early and knock out a few battles before the lecture starts.” “Would it be too hard to eat dinner and play at the same time?” I am totally 100% obsessed again. I don’t know what to do with myself.
Aside from the obviously great quality of life changes from the previous versions I’ve played (graphics, music, etc.) there’s actually a nice advantage to not having kept up with the Pokemon universe for so long. It’s like I’m playing the game for the first time again! With the introduction of the Fairy type and the multitude of new Pokemon introduced since the original Sapphire I have no idea who does what or what’s weak to who! I’m constantly referring to Google on my phone whenever I face off against a new Pokemon as though it were my actual Pokedex. I also like looking up whether the Pokemon I catch can evolve or not and what their evolutionary forms look like.
Even some of the things I find annoying about the game somehow add to its charm. Like how it takes me 3-4 clicks just to throw a Pokeball, or how the Pokedex seems to serve no real purpose other than to add flavor text. Like, you’re telling me after several years, I still can’t use it in battle to scope out the enemy strengths and weaknesses like Ash could from season 1? Also, using happiness to make Pokemon evolve makes me incredibly frustrated. As though finding and using evolution stones wasn’t chore enough, now there has to be a brand new step added? I find myself questioning whether or not I’ll even bother leveling up all the Pokemon I catch after making this discovery.
But the truth is, I probably will. In fact, I’ll probably try to max out everything like I used to. I’ll also most likely collect every TM the game has (even if I don’t end up using almost any of them). I’ll be reading guides on where to find secret and useful stuff. Maybe even go out on a mission to catch all the legendaries like I did in the previous games. The truth is I see myself getting so knee-deep once I reach the mid-game that I’m going to have trouble going back out into real life again. I just know it.
That’s why I’m writing this article. In the hopes that some kind soul out there will care enough about me to send help! Let someone know that a once fully recovered Pokemon addict has started playing the games again! And let this serve as a warning to the rest of you! If you value your life, DO NOT PLAY POKEMON!! It will be the best worst mistake you ever make. You may not regret the time you spent in the game, but your family and friends sure will.