Thanks For The Memories: Pokémon

Thanks For The Memories: Pokémon

Whilst there are many game series that have worked their way into my heart, none have been as big a part of my life for as long as Pokémon. It was the first series I really sunk my teeth into on my translucent blue Game Boy Pocket when I was around six years old. I discovered the games after catching the end of an episode of the TV series one morning before school on good old Cheez TV (a weekday Australian children’s cartoon show). I was suddenly filled with a huge desire to know everything about my new discovery and I made sure to watch the TV at the exact same time the next day so I could learn the name of the show. I remember picking up Pokémon Red version first as my main game, loving that the cartridge stood out, all vibrant red against the typical grey of most Game Boy Pocket cartridges.

Pokémon was starkly different from all of the other games I had, predominantly platformers which dominated all other genres at the time. I loved, and occasionally hated (not another Zubat, please for the love of God) the thrill of coming across a monster in random encounters that I hadn’t seen before and trying so hard to add it to my collection. The collectibles aspect of Pokémon has certainly influenced my gaming style, I always want to collect everything I can! Later I added Yellow to my collection and loved walking around with my originally grumpy Pikachu, which slowly grew to love me. My dislike of Gary in the TV show percolated into my gaming where I equally loathed my rival and gave him stupid names like butthead (wasn’t I mature). The first games had an amazing 8-bit soundtrack to boot, though I will admit to always quickly turning down the sound when a Pokémon would use the dreadful Screech attack, especially if I was sneakily playing at night when I should have been asleep. I get reminded of Generation 1 on my birthday every year as at least one of my gamer friends will send me the iconic screenshots from Cinnabar island about the birth of Mewtwo, with whom I share a birthday.

The scientist’s diaries in the Cinnabar Island mansion

In the transition to the new millennium I upgraded to a Game Boy Colour and got to experience my first new generation in Pokémon Silver. This generation brought new discoveries coupled with nostalgia with the return to Kanto, as well as one of the biggest batches of new Pokémon including one of my absolute favourites, Ampharos! Generation 2 was also a time for me when I had found other gamers and allowed me to progress further with my Pokedex than ever before, though I don’t think I did ever quite finish it.

After enjoying the muted colours on Game Boy Colour, moving to the vibrancy of Pokémon Sapphire and later Emerald on Game Boy Advance deepened my love for the series. Generation 3 is still to this date one of my favourite generations due to so many cool Pokémon, variable landscapes and environs, a female trainer option, amazing music, Pokémon contests and secret bases. There was so much more to do other than just completing your Dex and becoming champion, and I think these games were pivotal in Pokémon’s growth into the franchise it is today. A year later when the remasters of Red and Blue/Green came out I finally got to settle an old score. Due to the my limited access to the internet at a young age, I’m ashamed to admit I never managed to figure out how to unlock the Cinnabar gym in Pokémon Red. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen allowed me to try again, revelling in the nostalgia as well as enjoying the option of being a female Pokémon trainer this time. The Game Boy Advance also introduced the wonder of wireless trading thanks to a clip-on dongle, which saved the hassle of detangling and extracting link cables from deep inside your backpack.

If I can get one in the game Ampharos is always on my team!

After enjoying the muted colours on Game Boy Colour, moving to the vibrancy of Pokémon Sapphire and later Emerald on Game Boy Advance deepened my love for the series. Generation 3 is still to this date one of my favourite generations due to so many cool Pokémon, variable landscapes and environs, a female trainer option, amazing music, Pokémon contests and secret bases. There was so much more to do other than just completing your Dex and becoming champion, and I think these games were pivotal in Pokémon’s growth into the franchise it is today. A year later when the remasters of Red and Blue/Green came out I finally got to settle an old score. Due to the my limited access to the internet at a young age, I’m ashamed to admit I never managed to figure out how to unlock the Cinnabar gym in Pokémon Red. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen allowed me to try again, revelling in the nostalgia as well as enjoying the option of being a female Pokémon trainer this time. The Game Boy Advance also introduced the wonder of wireless trading thanks to a clip-on dongle, which saved the hassle of detangling and extracting link cables from deep inside your backpack.

New tech and new systems brought new joys, I always managed to jump day one into every new Pokémon game and I still will going forward. Pokémon Bank and the newly announced Pokémon Home will allow me to keep each and every one of my Pokémon, to form my almost complete living-dex and preserve many memories. Thanks to having just enough backwards compatible systems I still have Pokémon with me from my original Sapphire version as the games any further back are too antiquated. The announcement of Pokémon Sword and Shield had me jumping for joy. I found the visuals breathtaking and marvelled at just how far we’ve come. It was also the first time in a while where I liked all three starters and I think I will just have to play with them all. I’m excited to start a new fresh adventure, for all the new memories I will make and for all of the new players joining the franchise for the first time. I can’t wait to venture out into Galar and try to be the best like no one ever was.

Just some of my Pokémon collection, the new with the old

When Eleanore isn’t trying to figure out how the Earth works she’s trying to pay off her loan in Animal Crossing, complete her Pokedex or finishing one more RPG or platformer. She is a lover of great characters, cute or creative art styles and awesome game soundtracks.