oh yes, this is a thread that needed to exist, and i’m glad it finally does. i’d thought about starting it in the past, but never quite built up the courage.
i relate so strongly to @rootfifthoctave’s idea about never loving anything as much as i loved and obsessed over Pokemon Blue as a kid. i almost think of it as an experience separate to “video games” because it was so much more all-encompassing, more social, more pervasive, and more fun.
this morning i listened to a TED Talk about the importance of fun in our lives. science journalist Catherine Price suggested a new definition for “fun” which is: the combination of playfulness, connectedness, and flow. if you’ve got those three things, you are going to have a meaningfully fun and memorable experience. if that isn’t a perfect description of what Pokemon is, and has been, at its best, then what the heck is, you know?
my history with the games is like this:
did everything it’s possible to do with Blue, then couldn’t get into Gold/Silver because it came out when i was slightly too old, and it was always going to be impossible to capture that Blue magic anyway. i took a long break from Pokemon.
i didn’t jump back in until i was in university, when i was obsessed with the Nintendo DS, and Diamond and Pearl came out. i remember walking over to the nearest GameStop and buying Pearl, which was the first full-priced video game i’d purchased in years at that point. i loved it!
then i played Soul Silver, didn’t finish it, and fell off again for a while…
moved to Japan in 2010, mere weeks before Black and White released. in those days, Pokemon didn’t let you choose which language you wanted to play in, and i thought my Japanese might be good enough to play the game in its original language, so i tried White. my Japanese was not only not good enough at that point, but all the Pokemon had different names, and it felt too alien. couldn’t quite wrap my head around it.
in 2013, i got Pokemon Y day one, and devoured it. this was my true return to the franchise. did the same with Alpha Sapphire.
i guess the height of my Pokemon fandom was summer of 2014, when i lived for a couple of months in Fukuoka all by myself. i didn’t know anybody, and had a weird combination of free time and money, so i decided to build a full living pokedex. i did this through a combination of importing the Pokemon i already had in my 3DS games, and then going to Book Off and buying cheap used copies of a bunch of the old games. back then, you could literally get DS Pokemon games for 100-500 yen (cartridge only), so it was like buying scratch-off lottery tickets. buy a bunch of cartridges, plug them in when you get home, and see what Pokemon are left on old save files. i sure did have a lot of fun doing this…
…and then the Switch games came out, and there was no way to import my full living pokedex into the new games. plus Sword kind of sucked lol. Arceus was a bit more fun, but i’m sort of more inclined to go back and experience the DS and GBA era games i missed out on than Scarlet and Violet. Pokemon just feels better in 2D.