Pokemon Isn't Just for Everyone Else Anymore

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Last week I talked about the immense amount of fun I've had playing Pokemon Go. After another week of riding around town on my bike and wandering the downtown streets late at night I decided that Go shouldn't be my only Pokemon game. I know so many people that play Pokemon, and when I really examine my reasons for not buying any of the games prior to now, I come up short. I don't know why it has taken me so long to get into it, but I've finally broken that cycle. Yesterday I went out to our local pawn stores and bought a 3DS and a copy of Pokemon X.

I was about 14 when Pokemon Red and Blue first came out in the US. MY friend Kyle, who lived down the road from me was completely absorbed by it. He tore through the games, and proudly proclaimed that he had caught every Pokemon available. At the time that he and half of my school got into Pokemon, I was already wrapped up in Metal Gear Solid which I followed up with Fallout 2. As an egotistical, malcontent teenager, I figured my choices in games were far superior and dismissed Pokemon altogether.

As the years went on and more games were released, I watched them with some of that same cynicism I had when I was younger. Now that everyone like Pokemon, it was too mainstream. Because younger kids played it and it had a cartoon, it was too childish. It pains me to say it now, but I may have scoffed at a few people who recommended I try it myself. Even the few times that I did try it out, I was playing someone else's game usually somewhere in the middle of the grind with no idea of how the different types interact with each other. It was a recipe for disaster.

I picked up X and Wesley grabbed Y so we could trade and play side by side.

Eventually, I stopped really thinking about Pokemon. I had kept up my pretended disdain so well that it just dropped off my radar. It wasn't until I was working at Borders Books in Coeur d'Alene that I started to come around. My good friend Josh played Pokemon and was actually my travelling companion for my first PAX. His appreciation for the series rubbed off on me a bit and I stopped pretending that the games were without merit.

By the time Wesley and I got together, I'd reached a sort of ambivalent equilibrium with the series. Because I'd never really spent any time with the games on my own, I didn't have much drive to try them again, but I knew that Wesley loved them and was more than happy to sit and watch over her shoulder as she ran through the tall grass, trained and battled gyms. It was interesting, but I couldn't see myself playing it.

The moment that it all changed was last week. I spent most of the day out with my family, walking and riding through town, catching Pokemon, talking to other trainers, taking gyms and setting up lures for people. Despite being absolutely exhausted at the end of the day and getting caught in a rain storm at one point, I had a really great time. Without fail I would hear someone mention that this is what they imagined themselves doing when they played the older games and how awesome it felt to have that moment of childhood self-actualization.

Some day, little froakie, you;ll grow up into this badass.
I'm always on the look out for new ways to spend time with my family, and with my youngest daughter playing Pokemon Blue and Wesley's lifetime love of the series, I have a great support group to teach me the ins and outs of the game. It isn't really the Pokemon Go craze that has gotten me into the core series, just as it isn't the act of throwing virtual pokeballs at every Magikarp I find around town that really got me into Pokemon Go. It is the chance to connect with my community more, and especially with my family.