It’s been over two decades, and there’s probably not a person on the planet who hasn’t heard of Pokémon. Spanning multiple generations of hardware and society, just about everyone has been influenced by the franchise.
The team here, along with a few of our friends and peers, have put together our favourite memories to share with you. Be sure to read until the end!
When Pokémon Red and Blue came out for the Game Boy, 12-year-old me was already obsessed with the colourful little creatures after watching the Anime on TV. I still remember the day my Nan took me shopping in Big W and bought me the Red version as a reward for helping her with the household chores that week. I took the game home and jammed it into my Game Boy Pocket, and from then on I was hooked, sinking more than a hundred hours into the game (which was a lot for someone who got bored with most games after five hours) and levelling my Venusaur and the rest of my party to over level 80.
Though it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to put that many hours into a Pokemon game (thanks to work and research), I still go and buy each new Pokemon game as it comes out, and I still feel that same sense of excitement and anticipation as I pick my starter Pokemon and set out into the world. With every new generation of Pokemon that launches, my friends and I get into detailed discussions about what starter we’ll choose, which version we’ll buy and how we’ll trade amongst ourselves to ensure we get all the legendary Pokemon and version exclusives.
Some people may grow out of Pokémon, but when I’m 80 and sitting out the front of my house in my rocking chair (lol, as if I’ll be able to afford a house, let alone a rocking chair to put in front of it), I’ll still be playing Pokémon on whatever handheld Nintendo has cooked up for us.
My Pokémon journey started about a year before Pokémon came out. I was staying at my Nan’s house for the holidays and I would read all the UK gaming magazines they kept at the library. Along with reading all about Sonic 3D Blast there was a story about the biggest new thing on GameBoy in Japan was Pocket Monsters. The article was about the phenomena that had taken off and yet to arrive on Western shores. It looked great but then there was nothing far as I knew, nearly 2 years later Pokémon shows up. I got Red for Christmas and it was as that article said, it was amazing, I could write way too much about my very first Pokémon game, but I won’t. I put so many hours into Red, caught everything I could, even went to Myers to get Mew put on my cartridge.
The game that stuck with me the most was Pokémon Silver, it was exciting knowing there would be all these new Pokémon to catch. Then Pokémon Silver/Gold went beyond that, there was an internal clock in the game which seemed amazing at the time in that it was reflected in the game. It made a difference when I played it, certain Pokémon would only appear at certain times and even simple things like it being dark at night was immersive for what was still a GameBoy game. Certain events in game also occurred depending on the day in real time. I always did my best to be there for the bug catching competitions even if it was rare I would win it. There was the PokeGear where trainers could give you their number for battles in the future, it was your map, the radio to tell you about Pokémon appearances. Along with Pokémon breeding, baby Pokémon, Corsola & Mareep and even evolutions of Pokémon from the original 151 everything about Silver felt like a step up.
Then when you beat the Elite Four and the Champion you unlock Kanto, essentially the whole original game!! Sure there wasn’t as much to it as if you were playing Red/Blue and some areas were just closed off, but it was essentially Kanto. I was 15 at the time and had played whatever game I could get my hands on, but this still was such a pleasant surprise to me. It also maybe broke me a little because how can you top that? How many games would offer you nearly the entire map of the original game along with everything already in the game up until then. Since the first Pokémon game the series has changed and given me well into the hundreds of hours of gameplay over the last 20 years, but this is my first favourite Pokémon memory.
I couldn’t think of one specific favourite Pokemon memory so I thought I’d just write how Pokemon has been a big influence on my life since childhood.
Before I got my first game I was big on Pokemon from watching the anime and movies. I loved to draw Pokemon and create my own designs which has now grown into me pursuing a career in art & design. Fast forward a few years I got into the competitive scene and started attending Nintendo tournaments so I could make friends who also loved Pokemon – and I’m glad I did as I’ve met some of my best friends from these events.
Even now Pokemon continues to have a positive influence on my life as it got my family together through Pokemon GO, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee will bring. I’m also pretty excited for the Detective Pikachu movie, 9 year old me would’ve been over the moon about it. So here’s to many more years of loving Pokemon and loving Nintendo.
While Pokémon has and always will be a special franchise to me, one of my most cherished memories is of a time where I barely knew what I was doing. I remember being around 6 years old and my Dad was driving us back home in pitch darkness. I had nothing but road lights to illuminate my Game Boy screen and to make matters worse for myself, I didn’t know what HM-05 Flash did… so I made my way through Rock Tunnel in pitch darkness while also hardly being able to see my Game Boy.
Part of what makes Pokémon so important is being able to overcome challenges and as a kid – something as small as navigating through the dark on your own can feel colossal.
I think, for me, Pokémon was one of the defining moments of my gaming history. We didn’t really have many games in my house growing up. Mostly just the unregistered shareware demos of games that you could get for free at the store. In around Year 7, all of my friends were obsessed with this game – it was all they’d talk about. Of course, I’d seen the anime, but I had no idea what that looked like in an interactive experience. It all changed one sleepover, when a friend lent me his GameBoy and a copy of Pokémon Red.
“You can play all you want – just don’t save.” I don’t think I slept that night. In between matches of Mario Kart and Goldeneye I played my first proper RPG. My first proper JPRG. My first proper Monster Collection Game. I was hooked, and I never looked back.
If I had to identify one Pokémemory that’s stuck with me from the games… Back in Gen 1, I’d challenged myself to play through the games with a mono-Bug team. Butterfree, Beedrill, Parasect, Venomoth, Pinser, Scyther. Got the final hit on my rival’s Charizard with my Beedrill.
So when I picked up my pre-order of Silver, I was already thinking about doing a mono-Bug run again. When, after getting my Pokéballs, the very first wild Pokémon I ran into on Route 30 was a shiny Weedle, I knew I had to take the challenge again. And I’ve done the same in every Pokémon game since.
I don’t know where to begin with a best Pokemon memory. The series has been a part of my life since I was learning to read, and has provided positive influences at each step of the way. There’s one that stands out though, because it captures something at the core of the games even when you’re not actively playing them – a sense of community; theorising and strategising with your friends, grabbing onto rumours and legends and trying to crack them together.
I was at a sleepover at a friends’ house. There were three of us, all avid Pokemon fans. We’d spent the day playing Diamond and Pearl together; battling, trading and exploring the Sinnoh Underground. Somehow (I think from the strategy guide?) we heard a story about the statue in the Pokemon Mansion. This mansion is an extravagant place owned by a rich Pokemon collector, with a garden of rare Pokemon that are cycled through every few days. In one of the rooms of this mansion, the owner has an expensive statue that he cherishes so much that he has a guard standing watch and preventing you from getting close. However, the guard supposedly goes on break at 2am.
Like the best of heisting crews we hatched a plan to stay up and see what happens if you break into the statue room at that hour. It was hard, but we kept playing and playing while wrapped up in our sleeping bags, fighting off sleep for just that little bit more. The time had come. We enter the room, buzzing with excitement. The intel was good – the guard was gone. We move up to the statue. We press A. The reward for our efforts was a textbox. “…! You got fingerprints on it…”
And that’s just up until now. We have plenty more to share over the next few days, so stay tuned- next post is up on Monday! And make sure to leave your favourite Pokémon memories in the comments!