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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Pokemon: Blasting off Again

I think this is a perfectly normal compulsion that a guy around my age must have upon realising that the rest of his life will be spent working 9-5; Monday to Friday; on a job they don't necessarily enjoy. We yearn for a simpler life, one where pseudo blood-sports are played out by animals imprisoned in tiny red and white balls and only brought out when we are scouring the tall grass (careful, it's dangerous) for more unsuspecting creatures to lock up in my torrid world of badges and battlescars. What I'm trying to tell you is; lately, I've really wanted to play Pokemon.

Personally, I blame GW over at Geekologie for posting the chart of 493 Pokemon drawn as anime girls; finding that I could name all of the first 151 with ease, and at a push, at least recognise the first 250, really brought home how important this game was for me as a kid. Whilst I played Pokemon Red when it first hit the shelves here in England, in my mind the archetypal Pokemon game is Silver (I say Red and Silver as my brother would always buy the other version so we could trade, so he had Blue and Gold).
I bought Pokemon Silver in Singapore airport for a pittance, I believe it was before it came out here in England. We were on our way to Australia for a month long family holiday (during which I would burn myself to a cinder on Bondi Beach, climb the Sydney Harbour bridge, dodge a swarm of jelly fish and swim with dolphins on Christmas day), and our stop over was in Singapore for a couple of days. We'd spent the time there seeing all that was gaudy and bright to see in Singapore; we went on a tour which took us to some magnificent temples, saw some breathtaking scenery and also went to a factory where they took exquisite Singaporean artwork depicting beautiful birds with bright feathers and shimmering claws, and put blinking LEDs in their eyes.
On the way through the airport to catch our flight to Sydney I spied an electronics store with large advertisements for the latest anime comics and games, and there standing proud and feathered was Ho-Oh squawking at me: "Buy me, Will! Spend your holiday money here! Squuaar!!"; and I did.

I played that game for the entire flight from Singapore - Sydney, and every spare moment I had whilst I was in the big city, then on the Sydney-Perth connection flight, and then all the way back to England again. When I got home I bought the guide and me and my brother set about attempting "catchemall!" as the phrase goes. The land was far larger than that of Red/Blue, it was easy to get lost, and even after playing for that inordinate amount of time, months later I was still finding new places to explore. I loved that game with every fibre of my being, hurtling down the cycle path, being mobbed by Zubats in the caves (like the Cliff Racers of Johto), trying (by pure change) to work out that freaking trap door gym, training my Furret up to be a killing machine. Good.blemming.times.

I don't think I ever did catch every Pokemon, even with my brother's help (trading to evolve certain Pokemon, doing the mystery prize infrared thing every day) I certainly never got Mew - I mean, I'd have had to go to a Nintendo conference... and I just don't roll that way. Now, with my gaming experience and the confidence with which my life has imbued me, I feel it is time to return to Johto and get the job done. Maybe I'll wear shorts, because if I remember correctly, wearing shorts means you have to battle...

PS. come to think of it, I also blame the guy on Black Ops last night who sang the entire Pokemon cartoon theme tune from beginning to end. Kudos BO guy... kudos.

Pokemon! our hearts so truuuuue, our courage will pull us through! You teach me and I'll teach you. Pokeeeemoooon, Pokemon!

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