Pokemon is a beloved franchise by many, one that has been a continuous staple of the Video Game industry for over 20 years now, containing some of the most widely-known video game characters of all time. I mean, who hasn’t at least heard of Pikachu before? In this new mini-series of mine, i’ll be jumping back to my childhood, discussing the games that I grew up on, and how they’ve evolved and grown alongside me till now. Also, I totally could have ordered these posts in my personal play order, but I thought I should
While Gen 1 of the Pokemon games, namely Red, Blue, and Yellow versions are probably the most well-known and revered titles in the franchise, they were actually not the games that brought me into the Pokemon series, that honor going to Pokemon Crystal version. However, that doesn’t mean I have any less nostalgic feelings for the original games as I did for Gen 2.
I first got my hands on Pokemon Red version on my 5th birthday. I’d just gotten my very first sibling, and while I loved being an older brother, it meant my parents had a lot less time to spend with me, meaning I spent a lot of time alone in my room, playing Pokemon.
Of course, I picked a Charmander as my starter, because as a kid, Charizard was basically the coolest thing ever. I quickly filled out my team with the coolest and best pokemon I could find at the time, and my adventure was quickly well under way. I’m not exactly sure why my kid self decided that the pokemon I ended up with was the ideal team, but it eventually worked, and after about twenty attempts at getting past Lorelei, the rest of the Elite 4 were a cinch to beat, and 5-year-old me had beaten the elite 4!
I think one of the main draws to Pokemon for me, as a kid, was the amazing amount of player freedom you were given, something that was far beyond my wildest dreams. You could go anywhere, do anything, catch whatever Pokemon you wanted and train them in whatever way you felt like. The growth and power of your Pokemon was directly related to the time and care you spent raising them, and my little team of pixelly monsters grew to be some of my best friends along the way.
Pokemon Red allowed me to experience an epic journey, full of twists and turns, friends and foes, an evil organization that needed to be stopped at any cost, and over one hundred unique Pokemon to catch and raise along the way. In life I was just a scrawny little kid, but within the game I was a Pokemon master, able to take on an organized crime syndicate and win with relative ease!
Honestly, thinking back, Pokemon red was an absolute masterpiece. it strayed from the norms of many other games back then, opting for a massive, explorable world filled with characters and creatures beyond compare. The gameplay, though simple, draws you in, makes you hunger for more and more; you never want to put the system down. But even above all these reasons, these ideas and features, that made Pokemon such a great, monumental achievement in not only Video gaming, but in my own life and the shaping of my future… one thing still stands above it all.
Beginning with soft, gentle soundtrack of Pallet Town, the 8-bit soundtrack quickly melds into a sharp, upbeat tempo as you begin your journey, promising an exciting future and an adventure beyond compare. The eerie, sparse tones of caves, the sinister sounds of the Team Rocket bases, the epic melodies of Pokemon battles… it all blends together to create a true musical masterpiece. And then, when you arrive at the Indigo Plateau, your journey nearing an end, the music rises into a brilliant, emotionally-charged crescendo or unrivalled brilliance. Taking on the elite 4 and the champion… although it was really just turn-based combat, nothing could have felt more epic, more inspired. Pushing the limits of what the 8-bit electronic soundboard in the Gameboy was capable of, I truly believe that Pokemon Red, had one of the most inspired and ingenious game scores of the decade.
Well, all this reminiscing is getting me nostalgic, so… Here’s some stats and opinions from kid me:
Favorite Pokemon – Charizard. He’s a freaking dragon! Why wouldn’t I love him??
Least favorite Pokemon – Lickitung. I thought he was really dumb looking… also, Lick ALWAYS caused paralysis on me and I hated it.
Favorite legendary – Mewtwo. Um… Duh? He’s freaking Mewtwo!
Main Team – Charizard, Pikachu, Pidgeotto, Snorlax, Arbok, Butterfree.
Fondest memories – I remember one night, staying up for hours and hours just trying to beat Lorelei of the Elite 4. I can’t exactly remember why I had so much trouble with her, other than her Dewgong would destroy me, every time. granted, being so young, I didn’t really have a balanced team yet, or even really any knowledge of type matchups of movesets, so my Pokemon probably sucked pretty bad.
I was also a HUUUUGE fan of the Pokemon TV show back then, I watched it whenever it was on, and loved to pretend I was Ash, a professional Pokemon trainer. When i’d get together with my friends and go swimming in the public pool, we’d have “pokemon battles” where two of us were the trainers and the rest of us played the Pokemon in their teams, and of course we splashed in the pool to imitate the moves. Better splashes meant bigger damage, so i’m basically a pool splashing pro at this point.
If i’m being honest, I actually don’t really have any idea why I decided to write a little series like this in the first place, other than i’ve been feeling super nostalgic towards Pokemon recently. But, I suppose that’s as good a reason as any, yeah? Thanks for taking the time to read this awkward nostalgia-fest, though. If you’ve got any ideas I could incorporate into the next entry into this series, let me know!