I want to be a Pokémon Master. I have done since I was seventeen, when Pokémon Yellow entered my Game Boy Color. Despite enjoying the Pokémon anime series which aired on Sky One, I hadn’t bothered with Red and Blue, though I had tried an emulated fan-translation of Pokémon Green. But there was something about having a Pikachu follow your character’s sprite - something not done in many RPGs even on full consoles. Something rarely done to this day.
So I loaded it up and found it thoroughly enjoyable. Go across the country collecting creatures in balls - it seems simple in concept, and this was clearly a cash-grab version of the game due to the success of the anime. But it worked so well.
Use one of each creatures’ four moves to knock down the health of the other creatures - then either capture them or “knock them out” for the XP. Rinse and repeat, using the XP to level up your team and let them learn more moves. Allow them to evolve into new forms for stronger attacks, or force them to stay in their original forms to learn moves faster. But if you don’t let them evolve, you can’t fill your Pokédex.
Ah, the Pokédex. There are 151 entries to fill, one per Pokémon and per evolution, and it was down to you - your character is ten years old - to fill it. But you couldn’t do it alone - literally. Each game had a slightly different array of Pokémon on it, meaning if I wanted a Jynx in my Yellow cart, I had to find someone with one and trade via a cable. Being seventeen in a school of non-gamers, I knew nobody who actually had a version of Pokémon.
It wasn’t until I went to college at eighteen with my copies of Pokémon Silver and Gold that I met another Pokémon player. She was still on the previous “generation”, so half of the 252 Pokémon in my newer Pokédex wouldn’t transfer “back in time”, unlike entries 1-151 would. See, every new type is a “generation”, adding about 151 brand new Pokémon to the last.
The Generations go up once every 3-4 years, depending on how many ancillary titles and remakes are produced. The Pokémon series gets more reboots than the Batman movie franchise… But back to the Gold and Silver Generation - these had a built-in clock memory, so if you wanted to catch certain Pokémon that were only available at night time, you had to play in the evening or at night. Some evolutions only occurred at night as well - it was brilliant.
A few years later a brand new handheld came out - the Game Boy Advance. And with it, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire - funnily enough the ones that have just been remade! The graphics were amazing (compared to the barely-colour Game Boy ones) and you could transfer Pokémon from any of the past games into it. As I was now technically an adult, the amount of people I knew with a copy of the game had dramatically shrunk. From one to zero. And so I took a break from the games, after completing both Ruby and Sapphire. Mainly because I felt that, having played Yellow, I didn’t need to play the remakes FireRed or LeafGreen,
I didn’t get Diamond or Pearl on the brand new Nintendo DS, not even Platinum - missing out on an entire Generation. Next were remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver, before Game Freak created the first editions to actually change it up. Rather than being strictly top-down, Black and White had some 3D sections, as well as muchly improved graphics.
However, I almost missed out on this Generation too, waiting until their sequels Black 2 and White 2 were out before even picking them up. And despite the fact that the X and Y Generation have
Despite picking up both games each time in the past, I simply don’t have the time or money to get through four DS games. I’ve only recently got around to getting a 2DS, so that’s four more Pokémon games, as well as Diamond and Pearl if I don’t want to miss out a Generation.been and gone, and the latest remakes Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire are here, I’m still on Black.
I still keep abreast of the Pokémon anime - it’s the one aspect of the franchise where it pays to have kids. But as for actually playing a multi-tens of hours worth of RPG, my time is limited. So it’s harder to be the very best, like no-one ever was - but perhaps it isn’t to catch Pokémon that is my real test; but the hours I need to play them.
Then I can finally be a Pokémon Master.