Wow 20 years since Pokemon started its path to become one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world. I was there since the beginning for when Pokemon was introduced to the UK, when the anime hit Sunday morning kids TV, Pokemon cards caused that much trouble that they were banned from schools and I was certainly there for Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow. But why have I never completed or even played one of these games? Let me take you back to my childhood to find out why it’s taken me so long to beat these gaming masterpieces.
What many people in my life were shocked by (some even disgusted!) was that I had never even played Blue, Red or Yellow before. These being the the games that started the Pokemon craze back in the 90s. When these games got re released for Nintendo 3DS for the 20th Pokemon anniversary I started to think, why back in my childhood had I not played these games? It turns out that the reason is actually one that to this day I’m not proud of.
The earliest I can remember back to was the original GameBoy being everywhere, every kid seemed to have one. At that time there was only one set of games kids were playing and going mental for Pokemon Red/Blue. At the time of release of Blue and Red in 1999 I would have been around 8 years old and already I had considered myself a gamer. The problem was I considered myself too much of a gamer, I was the bad kind. Why do I think this? Because back then for me it was all about the graphics. I remember looking at friends playing these games and just saying to them something like ‘That game looks stupid! The graphics are horrible!’. I recall calling the graphics ugly and blocky, why did the players Pokemon in battle look so distorted?
At the time this is actually what I believed, I somewhat can’t blame myself, I was born with a Sega MegaDrive controller in my hand, grew up to handle a PlayStation console and the whole 90s decade just was a time of graphical improvement for games. Back then as I kid this was a main talking point about a game, ‘Have you seen the graphics on this game!?’ or ‘This game is so much better because the graphics look amazing!’ was what most people spoke about, not about the gameplay or anything else. Graphics is still a big thing in games but it really isn’t what defines a great game anymore.
Eventually I grew out of this phase and got Pokemon Silver and a Pikachu Edition GameBoy Colour quite late in the GameBoy Colours life. Trying to explain to my mam on my birthday in ToysRUs that I wanted a GameBoy Colour over a newly released GameBoy Advance (for the obvious reasons of the GBAs lighting even though the GBC was the same with no lighting at all) is quite a vivd memory in my mind. Ever since then I’ve been addicted to the Pokemon games ever since with Silver still admittedly being my favourite.
I can happily say now that I have beat the Elite Four on Pokemon Blue and am moving straight onto Pokemon Yellow and are really enjoying them! If only I had played these games as a child and wasn’t such a snobby graphics gamer…