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Circus Rambles - On Pokemon nostalgia

December 17, 2017

I've recently been hit by the nostalgia bug, subtype Pokemon. I've always felt like kind of an odd duck as far as Pokemon fans go, because I've never owned a system newer than a Nintendo DS and thus Platinum/Soul Silver were the last main series games I played. Other than a road trip years ago in which a friend made me play a couple hours of Pokemon Black, I have no familiarity whatsoever with the fifth and sixth generations of Pokemon. The majority of my good memories with this franchise come from childhood, and I'm talking back in the day when there was no such thing as global trading, back in the day when finding a Shiny Pokemon was actually an accomplishment. I like to think of myself as a "retro" fan. I'm probably just, you know, out of touch with reality or something.

 

My first Pokemon game was Red, and like an idiot I somehow managed to run out of money, so let's not even count that one.

 

My first Pokemon game was Blue, and it was good fun. I always started with Blastoise like a scrub. I don't think I ever once started with Bulbasaur. Like I said, total scrub.

 

Yellow was awesome at feeling like a little bit more than just a remake. It added things to tie it in to the anime and it made things different enough that it didn't feel like you were just buying yet another version of the same game, even though you probably were. I remember having a physical guide to it that eventually got rather worn out, as they tend to do.

 

I got Pokemon Stadium in this bundle together with the N64 and two controllers. I think I played the minigames more than I did battling, because come on, that Clefairy minigame is a classic. Also I humbly propose that the announcer is the best thing about Pokemon Stadium, hands down. He sounds so invested in his role, minor though it may be, and I can't help but crack up laughing when he shouts "UH OH IT ATTACKED ITSELF!"

 

I didn't own Pokemon Stadium 2 as a child; I picked it up at a vintage game store a few years back and might have paid too much for it. Sadly I can't get my N64 to work with my old TV currently, so I'm not able to play it at the moment.

 

Pokemon Snap was, of course, awesome. The original cartridge came with these stickers and let you know that you could go to any Blockbuster and print out your very own stickers! Which I never got to do. But I did stick the original stickers that came with it all over the cartridge, in a very forward-thinking way. And I do have some awesome pictures on that cartridge, if I do say so myself. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to show them off.

 

I'll bet you don't remember Pokemon Project Studio, but at some point I had the Red version of this. I kind of had a thing for those studio type things; I also remember having a Mulan one. This is also making me miss the days when I had free access to a color printer...Wow, what a millennial thing to say.

 

Gold was the game on which I got my first love letter. The guy misspelled my name, but we were like eight or nine or something so what can you do. Kinda wish I still had that save file.

 

Silver, I lost in a teacher's car on a field trip. Le sigh. The only thing I remember about my team was having a level 40-something Jynx that I was planning on using for the Elite Four.

 

Crystal was also pretty cool. I'm also pretty sure I never actually caught Suicune or learned how the fuck you're supposed to pronounce its name.

 

Ruby was the game on which I found my first and so far ONLY legitimate, non-traded, non-hacked Shiny Pokemon. It was a Golbat in the Sky Tower. It has since migrated to my copy of Platinum and become a Crobat. I still adore it.

 

I like the version exclusives on Sapphire better than the ones on Ruby, but other than that it was pretty much the same amount of coolness.

 

FireRed was a good remake, although I remember getting vaguely annoyed with the number islands. I remember having a Growlithe and a Jolteon on there that I was particularly fond of.

 

I actually never did play Emerald OR Leaf Green! Oh snap!

 

Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire was such a timesink for me back in the day. It remains the only game I've actually completed the Pokedex on, if that even counts. It was also the first place I saw/caught Jirachi. Ruby field for life.

 

Pokemon Colosseum was certainly interesting. It took a lot of risks and I think for the most part they paid off. It was great to have access to some older Pokemon again, even if the numbers were limited.

 

Heh, the Mystery Dungeon games...My dad accidentally bought me Blue Rescue Team, not realizing that it wouldn't work on my Game Boy Advance SP. So that game ended up going to one of my nieces as a gift, and I got Red Rescue Team instead. I remember liking it quite a lot, although I seem to recall not enjoying the postgame and I still maintain that the way they made Kecleon so hard to catch is bullshit, plain and simple. I later ended up getting the sequel, Explorers of Darkness, as a gift from a friend and liked it as well. (I thought that maybe one of these would be the game where I could catch all the Pokemon, but nope.)

 

Never played Diamond and Pearl, but Platinum was and still is one of my favorite main series games. At one point I wanted to complete the Pokedex on it, but I never did. I still have all of my good Pokemon on there, my aforementioned Shiny Crobat, a bunch of Pokerus-infected level 100s...Long may they live.

 

SoulSilver was the last main series game I played. I thought it was an amazing remake. I loved the Pokewalker and wish I still had mine somewhere.

 

I never owned Pokemon Conquest, but I got to play a friend's copy for a few hours and found it somewhat entertaining, although I've never played the game that it based its mechanics on.

 

I was really optimistic about Pokemon Go when it first came out, and like so many others, I was ultimately a bit disappointed. I never took any interest in Gyms or Raids; I just wanted to wander around catching Pokemon and attracting weird looks. Sometimes I still break it out every now and then, especially now that I live in a city with actual frequent Poke Stops. (The first time I went to Seattle, you bet I was playing all weekend.)

 

...You know, when I first started writing this I didn't really intend for it to be my history on playing Pokemon games. So uh, maybe we should talk about something else. Like favorite Pokemon! Everyone talks about those, right?

 

Like a boring person, I love the Eeveelutions, with Espeon being my favorite of those. I also really like Togekiss, Cleffa, Cyndaquil, Pichu, and Chansey. I'm not sure if I have a favorite Pokemon, exactly; I've always had a bit of trouble picking favorites when it comes to things like this.

 

Speaking of favorites, if I had to choose my favorite Pokemon game it would probably be Platinum; it has a wide world to explore, access to a lot of different Pokemon, great mechanics, a FUCKING VS Seeker that makes training your Pokemon NOT a complete slog...etc. Even if catching Munchlax is, again, not cool in any way. (SERIOUSLY this is Feebas all over again WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU)

 

So yeah, I mean, I like Pokemon. I feel very out-of-touch with it these days since it's been so long since I knew what was going on. I don't know about Unova or Alola or any of these new-fangled games. I think it's really off-putting that a Rotom becomes your Pokedex in Sun and Moon. I dunno; maybe it's just me.

 

YAY POKEMON! Or something!

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