This article was inspired by MAGNEDETH, former Editor-in-Chief of Bulbapedia. I’ve been playing this wild and wonderful game since 1998 and I’ve enjoyed the ride. I’ve decided to split things into each Gen with my thoughts and experiences for each.
The generation that started it all. I got Pokémon Blue for my birthday in 1998 and while I don’t remember asking for it or how I reacted when I got it, I know how happy I was when I played it for the first time. Blastoise adorned the cover so my first starter was Squirtle. That introduced me to my favourite type (Water) and my favourite Pokémon (Blastoise).
My strongest Pokémon memory came from Blue and my battle with Misty. My parents had gone out and told me to have lunch. While they were gone, I spent the next SIX HOURS trying to beat Misty with nothing but a Wartortle and a Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto didn’t last very long thanks to the OP Starmie and the dreaded Bubblebeam. Having no type advantage and a low attack, Wartortle was no match for Starmie and lost again and again. I wasn’t aware of grinding at the time so I kept at it. I beat her on the millionth attempt but didn’t have the lunch. Or any water. My head was pounding by this point from all the stress and staring at a little green DMG screen all afternoon. My mum banned me from playing for the rest of the weekend. I was upset but knew it was fair. I never played a game for that long without breaks again.
It took me a year to beat the game (no idea why) and Blastoise was the Pokémon I used to beat Blue’s Venusaur with an Ice Beam. By Christmas 1999, I got Yellow and immersed myself in that for the next few months. I enjoyed it but not as much as Blue. My Pikachu was left underlevelled at the bottom of my team and the sprites weren’t as good. Also, what the hell happened to Blastoise? I carried on playing into 2000 when I moved to America, but things took a dramatic turn…
My Gameboy was stolen along with all my games. That meant my original Pokémon carts were no more. I was devastated and to make things worse, Pokémon Gold and Silver were released and I had no means of playing it. I got my first experience in a Toys ‘R’ Us (first time there too) and played Gold on the display unit. It was an absolute dream. The graphics on the new Gameboy Color were magnificent and I really wanted one. My dreams were fulfilled on my 11th birthday when I was given a brand new purple Gameboy Color and Pokémon Silver. That didn’t take as long to beat the Elite Four and collect all 16 badges. I couldn’t beat Red though (more on that later). What I loved about Silver, other than the graphics, the colours, and the new Pokémon was the ability to return to Kanto and also fighting Blue again with new music and the revamped Kanto music. It felt amazing and still makes me happy to this day.
I got Crystal for my 12th birthday but didn’t play it as much as Silver. The animated sprites and Battle Tower were cool but by then, I’d already played Silver and enjoyed it. The game did give me my first – and so far only – shiny encounter. Unfortunately, it was my first encounter of the whole game, before I could get any Pokéballs so I had to leave it there. I was gutted but in hindsight, it was only a shiny Rattata.
2003 brought a new generation and a new game. My cousin brought over Pokémon Sapphire from the US and while I enjoyed the playthrough, it didn’t resonate with me as much as Blue or Silver. My defining memory was spending an hour of many Pokéballs and soft resets trying to catching Kyogre. I didn’t ask for Emerald for my next birthday but Game Freak made FireRed and LeafGreen. As there wasn’t a blue version of the remakes, I decided on LeafGreen. It was amazing to play the old games again in “3D” and marked the first time I ever played a link battle using the Wireless Adapter. I won both battles and I’ve yet to win a linked battle since. Ha!
It took me 7 years before I acquired a Nintendo DS. I actually bought one in 2006 but had to send it back due to an overbid on eBay (ah, to be a foolish 16-year-old again). When I finally got a DS legitimately, it was red and super cool. I’d lost interest in Pokémon by that point and Diamond and Pearl didn’t appeal to me. But in 2010, they released HeartGold and SoulSilver. I bought SoulSilver on the day it was released and relived my early childhood. I didn’t think it was possible to enhance my idea perfection but they managed it. I still own the cartridge and the box it came with and I still have the save game I started all those years ago. I still couldn’t beat Red though. Until two days ago. Yes, after seven whole years, I FINALLY beat Red. I plan to move the team into Sun & Moon but that requires beating another game…