Letting Go of Red: How Pokémon White Helped Me Escape the Grip of the Past
Pokémon Red is one of my favorite games of all time. I cannot put into words how much joy that little red cart has brought to me over the years. All I can really say is that I love it dearly.  Everything about Kanto, the world, the monsters, the rudimentary rules of battle, they were perfect to me. I played the game so many times that I had even come up with a perfect team for myself. Muk, Dodrio, Electrode, Raticate, Starmie and Parasect were *my* Pokémon. In my mind, there was nothing I couldn’t do with them at my side.

Red: Oh, a brand new monster! How exciting!
Unfortunately, a love that intense can seriously blind you. You see, even though I have always considered myself a fan of the series as a whole, Red and Blue were the only Pokémon games I actually liked. When Gold and Silver came out, I hardly batted an eye at them in favor of going through Red for the 20th time. Ruby and Sapphire passed me by with even more ease. I wouldn’t actually play a new Pokémon title until Pearl, and about halfway through the game I was a bit shocked to realize that I absolutely hated what I was playing. There were too many changes. It wasn’t Red at all… even the fact that it had all of the old Pokémon couldn’t change that.

Pearl: Um, you again? Okay…
In a desperate attempt to convince myself that I wasn’t just being a grump about the series’ changes, I went out and bought a copy of HeartGold. The general consensus is that Gold and Silver are the best of the series, so I thought maybe this game would have what it took to get me to like a “new” Pokémon game. It did not. I still hated Steel and Dark, the type effectiveness changes, the new TMs, berries and Poffins and breeding and contests and hidden stats. I resented all of the new creatures for not being my old Red/Blue team, and even though I could still catch many of them, it just wasn’t the same. I was so overwhelmed by my dislike of EVERYTHING that I put both Pearl and HeartGold down for good.

Johto: Why am I getting mad at you? You’re from Red! Isn’t that what I want?
My love was causing me to be completely close-minded toward new Pokémon games and I absolutely despised myself for it. I didn’t think I would ever be able to get past it. But then, on a whim, I decided to give White a try.
Every bad feeling I had for the two previous games melted away. Exploring Unova felt exactly like exploring Kanto did all those years ago; it filled me with a sense of childlike wonder that nudged me into learning all of the new rules and types that Pearl and HeartGold failed to make me care about. But most importantly, it had all new creatures to discover, WITHOUT any leftovers from the previous games to get in the way. As it turned out, this was the all-important factor that every game since Red and Blue has been missing, and the one that I needed to have in order to have fun playing Pokémon.  

Unova: … oh! A brand new monster! How exciting!!
It boggles my mind that they didn’t try to do this earlier. When they mixed in old monsters with the new ones, all I wanted to do was try to replicate my old Red team, and I was miserable for it. And it’s not just me; everyone has their old favorites that they either catch or import into their games in lieu of using something new.  But with White, I was forced outside of my comfort zone. It was amazing how quickly it caused me to let go and enjoy a new Pokémon game for the first time. Now I have a new team to love unconditionally: Swanna, Seismatoad, Garbodor, Scrafty, Gavantula, and Audino.
That’s not to say that I’ve lost those feelings for the Red team. On the contrary, I still love them just as much as I always have. But now I have a second team of brand new favorites to call my own, and I wouldn’t even dream of replacing them with anyone old. Pokémon White is now my second favorite game, but if future games have nothing but new monsters to discover, without any old guys around to get in the way of that feeling, I don’t think blinding love will ever be a problem again.
- Ashley

Letting Go of Red: How Pokémon White Helped Me Escape the Grip of the Past

Pokémon Red is one of my favorite games of all time. I cannot put into words how much joy that little red cart has brought to me over the years. All I can really say is that I love it dearly. Everything about Kanto, the world, the monsters, the rudimentary rules of battle, they were perfect to me. I played the game so many times that I had even come up with a perfect team for myself. Muk, Dodrio, Electrode, Raticate, Starmie and Parasect were *my* Pokémon. In my mind, there was nothing I couldn’t do with them at my side.

Red: Oh, a brand new monster! How exciting!

Unfortunately, a love that intense can seriously blind you. You see, even though I have always considered myself a fan of the series as a whole, Red and Blue were the only Pokémon games I actually liked. When Gold and Silver came out, I hardly batted an eye at them in favor of going through Red for the 20th time. Ruby and Sapphire passed me by with even more ease. I wouldn’t actually play a new Pokémon title until Pearl, and about halfway through the game I was a bit shocked to realize that I absolutely hated what I was playing. There were too many changes. It wasn’t Red at all… even the fact that it had all of the old Pokémon couldn’t change that.

Pearl: Um, you again? Okay…

In a desperate attempt to convince myself that I wasn’t just being a grump about the series’ changes, I went out and bought a copy of HeartGold. The general consensus is that Gold and Silver are the best of the series, so I thought maybe this game would have what it took to get me to like a “new” Pokémon game. It did not. I still hated Steel and Dark, the type effectiveness changes, the new TMs, berries and Poffins and breeding and contests and hidden stats. I resented all of the new creatures for not being my old Red/Blue team, and even though I could still catch many of them, it just wasn’t the same. I was so overwhelmed by my dislike of EVERYTHING that I put both Pearl and HeartGold down for good.

Johto: Why am I getting mad at you? You’re from Red! Isn’t that what I want?

My love was causing me to be completely close-minded toward new Pokémon games and I absolutely despised myself for it. I didn’t think I would ever be able to get past it. But then, on a whim, I decided to give White a try.

Every bad feeling I had for the two previous games melted away. Exploring Unova felt exactly like exploring Kanto did all those years ago; it filled me with a sense of childlike wonder that nudged me into learning all of the new rules and types that Pearl and HeartGold failed to make me care about. But most importantly, it had all new creatures to discover, WITHOUT any leftovers from the previous games to get in the way. As it turned out, this was the all-important factor that every game since Red and Blue has been missing, and the one that I needed to have in order to have fun playing Pokémon.  

Unova: … oh! A brand new monster! How exciting!!

It boggles my mind that they didn’t try to do this earlier. When they mixed in old monsters with the new ones, all I wanted to do was try to replicate my old Red team, and I was miserable for it. And it’s not just me; everyone has their old favorites that they either catch or import into their games in lieu of using something new. But with White, I was forced outside of my comfort zone. It was amazing how quickly it caused me to let go and enjoy a new Pokémon game for the first time. Now I have a new team to love unconditionally: Swanna, Seismatoad, Garbodor, Scrafty, Gavantula, and Audino.

That’s not to say that I’ve lost those feelings for the Red team. On the contrary, I still love them just as much as I always have. But now I have a second team of brand new favorites to call my own, and I wouldn’t even dream of replacing them with anyone old. Pokémon White is now my second favorite game, but if future games have nothing but new monsters to discover, without any old guys around to get in the way of that feeling, I don’t think blinding love will ever be a problem again.

- Ashley

the mew was duped, and so was I
I think it’d be neat if my cartoonist/illustrator buddies shared some pokémon memories as comics too.
(One-pagers might be best for tumblr, but we can link to another site with all the comics, or insert the rest into this Caption area I’m typing in right now. It just looks super dumb on the dashboard when you do that.)
There’s no specific tone I’m looking for. It can be funny or sad or whatever! I feel like we all have stories about ~*pokémon culture*~, but we just don’t have a reason to share these things.
The /submit page is up, if you wanna jump right in. You can email me too, if you wanna talk about it first.
I want to be inclusive, and keep this open and not invite-only, because there are so many talented artists and storytellers out there that I don’t know yet. But!!! there are also crazy people who are CRAZY, and I need to tell these crazy people up-front that I’m not going to post every single submission we get. I hope you understand. (Even though you’re crazy.)
Okay. Anyway.
<3 maré

the mew was duped, and so was I

I think it’d be neat if my cartoonist/illustrator buddies shared some pokémon memories as comics too.

(One-pagers might be best for tumblr, but we can link to another site with all the comics, or insert the rest into this Caption area I’m typing in right now. It just looks super dumb on the dashboard when you do that.)

There’s no specific tone I’m looking for. It can be funny or sad or whatever! I feel like we all have stories about ~*pokémon culture*~, but we just don’t have a reason to share these things.

The /submit page is up, if you wanna jump right in. You can email me too, if you wanna talk about it first.

I want to be inclusive, and keep this open and not invite-only, because there are so many talented artists and storytellers out there that I don’t know yet. But!!! there are also crazy people who are CRAZY, and I need to tell these crazy people up-front that I’m not going to post every single submission we get. I hope you understand. (Even though you’re crazy.)

Okay. Anyway.

<3 maré

Unanswered Pokémysteries vol. 1: Gym Leaders

Let’s clear a few things up first if I’m going to talk about Pokémysteries:
This is mainly sourced from me having played all of the main Pokémon games and some of the crazy side-games (yes, I played Pokémon Ranger…I’m not going to discuss it). Having said that, most, if not all, of the discussion in Pokémysteries is about the WORLD that Pokémon occurs in as exposed by the many franchises. It’s important to disregard the notion of “levels” for Pokémon as they present a conflicting concept for the analysis of the world (i.e. by being tailor-made to the heroes journey in particular).

Walking home from work, thinking about Pokémon (like you do), I couldn’t get the following question out of my head:

How do you become a Pokémon Gym Leader?

There are 46+ Gym Leaders in the world of Pokémon (I counted the ones in the games, not the ones in the anime. We’re not going to get into the “Which is more canon?” debate right now), and, while some explain how they came to arrive at their position, there really isn’t an established process.

We can go over some of the ways we know Gym Leaders became Gym Leaders:

Family tradition: Like many dojos, once a given Gym is opened, the tradition of that Gym can remain through generations of the family who opened the Gym. (example: Falkner, of Violet Gym)

Nepotism(?) OR "Screw you mom/dad, I’m opening my own Gym": Instead of acquiring a Gym from your parents, you take your parent’s reputation as a Gym Leader to open your own Gym in another city/town. (example: Roark, of Oreburgh Gym) 

Chosen by the Pokémon League: This seems to be the most official way to become a Gym Leader, especially if you’re to become a person who hands out badges that certify people in the Pokémon League in the first place. (example: Whitney, of Goldenrod Gym)

Vacuum of Power: Maybe you’re a trainer at the Gym, you’ve dedicated your life to the way that Gym has established, and suddenly, your Gym Leader decides to leave. Do you duke it out with the rest of your fellow Gym Trainers? Do you figure out rationally, by deciding who best embodies the spirit of the Gym? Whichever way, the point is, you were at the Gym, your leader left, you became the leader. (example: when Giovanni leaves the Viridian Gym, Blue takes his place)

Self-appointment: Super shady if you ask me, but apparently anything goes. So, maybe you’re a pioneer and you ride into a no-Gym town in a region and decide it needs one. (example: unclear, but likely Clay of Driftveil Gym).

That seems to cover all the bases. In fact, you could argue that any trainer of some generally accepted repute could become a Gym Leader if they decided to. It seems the key of becoming a Gym Leader actually relies on getting that certification from your regional Pokémon League.

What you need to do to become a Pokémon Gym Leader

Get a theme: If you don’t already do this, get yourself a theme, preferably a Pokémon elemental type (may I suggest Dark? it would be original). It’s also usually a good idea to already be in a hobby or profession related to that elemental type. in some regions, your theme should be exemplary of the place you put your Gym, which brings me to my next point.

Get a building for a gym: Location, location, location. Seriously, the Pokémon League values a well placed Gym, mostly because they want a trainer to have experienced a wide range of Pokémon and people by the time they reach the Elite Four. Most gyms are evenly spread throughout a given region, which could easily explain why Pallet/New Bark/Littleroot/Twinleaf/Kanoko Towns don’t have gyms in them, despite being of similar size to other gyms that do. Once you have a building for a gym, I can only assume that the Pokémon League swoops in with some massive Pokégrant check so that you can trick out your Gym with cannons, ice, or giant dragon statues.

Get certified: This is the most abstract quality of becoming a Gym Leader, and probably what prompted this whole post. I’m going to try to define the qualities that it seems are necessary for a Gym Leader:

  • Willingness to run and maintain a Gym: sounds obvious, but keeping a Gym is hard work. You, unlike most trainers, have to commit to staying in a single town or city for several years. While it doesn’t seem you are bound to any contracts, and can occasionally leave your Gym, you do have to stick around.
  • Train those interested in your ways: a good number of people will look to you for guidance, about your particular elemental type or about life in a Pokémon world in general.
  • Great skill: Another seemingly obvious one, and although you don’t need to defeat the entirety of the Pokémon League, you should be able to hold your own against most trainers. 

After you meet (most of) these weirdly ephemeral criteria, the Pokémon League takes notice of you as a trainer and bestows upon you some certification and badges to hand out.

Comments? Inaccuracies? Feel free to tweet @DeMarko or drop something in my ask box on Tumblr. Please make sure you refer to this post. Big thanks to Bulbapedia and its contributors for helping me with some naggling bits. I believe we also have Discus enabled on this blog, so you can comment there.

Remember Prima Guides? Especially for Pokemon? They were analogous to the bible for me.  I carried them around like an ancient tome full of sacred information, consulting it whenever any minor problem popped up or if I had the tiniest curiosity about what pokemon would learn what move and at what level. What happened to them? Why don’t I buy them anymore? Why did I ever buy them?
                I think the answer lies in psychology my friends, specifically in Erik Erikson’s stages of development.  The age that these Prima guides were most influential to me was definitely for the Red/Blue and Gold/Silver generations (I was roughly 8-11 during these games).  No wonder that the Eriksonian stage of development from Age 6 – Puberty (Roughly age 12-15) is Industry Vs. Inferiority.
                What is Industry Vs. Inferiority? I’ll sum it up as best &amp; quickly as possible. It has to do with your view of your abilities and competency.  If one is able to develop positively through this stage – thanks to a positive teacher, supportive parents, etc – then usually the person comes away with the worldview  of “I got this, I can handle my shit, if I set my mind to something I am able to get it done” (that’s “industry”) However, if one does not develop positively through this stage – you have a crappy teacher, your parents put you down, you’re held up to impossible standards which you cannot meet – you develop feelings of inferiority – “I can’t do this, it’s hopeless, why bother, I’m a loser” (hence it being called ‘Inferiority’).
                So why did we all love Prima guides as we were younger?  These guides were a way for us to feel more competent and self-confident in our abilities and intelligence.  
Can’t get past that Snorlax? Consult the Prima guide.  
Can’t figure out Lt. Surge’s trash bin traps (by the way, weird on your part Lt. Surge)? Consult the Prima guide.  
Some kid in school said his Rattata knew Fire Blast? Consult the Prima guide.  (Then bring it to school and call him out on it!)  
It made us feel better that we could reference something on our own and answer our own questions without the help of a parent or teacher.  My guides quickly became dog-earred and ragged but I didn’t care, it contained so much useful knowledge that I felt it was just as important as the game itself – condition meant nothing as long as the print was still on the pages.
                So why don’t we buy these Prima guides anymore?  They’re still around being hawked by every GameStop employee in the country for every game that ever gets released.  I actually scoff at the idea of having a guide to a game I buy now.  That’s because we’ve grown older and appreciate that a game is SUPPOSED to have you guessing and make you work for your reward.  That’s one of the major things I look for in a game now – is it challenging without being overly hard?  Can I figure something out without having to visit gameFAQs or Google?  I want to feel that I’m competent enough that I can figure things out on my own without consulting an outside source.  However,  if I’m forced to look something up I know I can find the answer I’m looking for in a sea of other unimportant information thanks to what I’ve learned from hours of being nose-deep in a Prima guide back in the day.

By Joseph Schott
FYPblog |Twitter

Remember Prima Guides? Especially for Pokemon? They were analogous to the bible for me.  I carried them around like an ancient tome full of sacred information, consulting it whenever any minor problem popped up or if I had the tiniest curiosity about what pokemon would learn what move and at what level. What happened to them? Why don’t I buy them anymore? Why did I ever buy them?

                I think the answer lies in psychology my friends, specifically in Erik Erikson’s stages of development.  The age that these Prima guides were most influential to me was definitely for the Red/Blue and Gold/Silver generations (I was roughly 8-11 during these games).  No wonder that the Eriksonian stage of development from Age 6 – Puberty (Roughly age 12-15) is Industry Vs. Inferiority.

                What is Industry Vs. Inferiority? I’ll sum it up as best & quickly as possible. It has to do with your view of your abilities and competency.  If one is able to develop positively through this stage – thanks to a positive teacher, supportive parents, etc – then usually the person comes away with the worldview  of “I got this, I can handle my shit, if I set my mind to something I am able to get it done” (that’s “industry”) However, if one does not develop positively through this stage – you have a crappy teacher, your parents put you down, you’re held up to impossible standards which you cannot meet – you develop feelings of inferiority – “I can’t do this, it’s hopeless, why bother, I’m a loser” (hence it being called ‘Inferiority’).

                So why did we all love Prima guides as we were younger?  These guides were a way for us to feel more competent and self-confident in our abilities and intelligence. 

  • Can’t get past that Snorlax? Consult the Prima guide. 
  • Can’t figure out Lt. Surge’s trash bin traps (by the way, weird on your part Lt. Surge)? Consult the Prima guide. 
  • Some kid in school said his Rattata knew Fire Blast? Consult the Prima guide.  (Then bring it to school and call him out on it!) 

It made us feel better that we could reference something on our own and answer our own questions without the help of a parent or teacher.  My guides quickly became dog-earred and ragged but I didn’t care, it contained so much useful knowledge that I felt it was just as important as the game itself – condition meant nothing as long as the print was still on the pages.

                So why don’t we buy these Prima guides anymore?  They’re still around being hawked by every GameStop employee in the country for every game that ever gets released.  I actually scoff at the idea of having a guide to a game I buy now.  That’s because we’ve grown older and appreciate that a game is SUPPOSED to have you guessing and make you work for your reward.  That’s one of the major things I look for in a game now – is it challenging without being overly hard?  Can I figure something out without having to visit gameFAQs or Google?  I want to feel that I’m competent enough that I can figure things out on my own without consulting an outside source.  However,  if I’m forced to look something up I know I can find the answer I’m looking for in a sea of other unimportant information thanks to what I’ve learned from hours of being nose-deep in a Prima guide back in the day.

By Joseph Schott

FYPblog |Twitter

I’m staring at my DS screen right now. I’ve got a level 38 Unfezant that I’ve raised and evolved since it was level 13. I just battled a level 41 Rufflet and I know I should’ve caught it. I’m currently trying to bulk up my team in the quickest way before I take on the 8th Gym Leader, and then the Pokemon League. But for some reason I refused to let myself catch the Rufflet. It would’ve been stronger, and it’s evolution would’ve been even better. But I felt proud of my Unfezant, as weird as that is. I raised it, I made it strong, and it’s part of my team that I worked hard for.

When I was younger, I would’ve just bulked up my starter and let it tear through whatever battled me. I can distinctly remember my Charizard or Blastoise being a good 20 levels in front of my other Pokemon, who I hardly used other than against specific Elite Four members if my starter fainted. Playing like that was never a problem, though. It was no-frills, but I “beat the game” and I did it quickly. Winning was what made the game worth it (how very Gary Oak of me).

But now, I’m older, and for whatever reason (I fucking love Pokemon), I still play Pokemon. I picked up a copy of White about five days after it came out, and right at the start, I started thinking about my Snivy’s weaknesses. I refused to let myself Google the gyms in front of me (younger me always had a strategy guide), so I tried to catch Pokemon that could contribute what my Snivy lacked. Also, there were plenty of choices, but I refuse to play with Pokemon I don’t actually like now. I guess I’m old and grumpy.

So far, throughout most of my game, I’ve taken my time (the day FireRed came out I put in 7 hours and got my starter ((charmander)) to level 36 ((charizard)), I’ve put 30+ hours in White and my top Pokemon is level 44) and kept my whole team within a decent amount of levels of each other. The strange thing is, Pokemon seems like an entirely different game from what my memory holds.

Pokemon used to be fun to me, but it was easy, even childish. Now, I’ve lost to gym leaders, I’m running out of money, I’ve got to train ALL of my Pokemon if I want to continue, I’ve spent time yelling at the screen, I’ve had to let Pokemon go because their stats were bringing the team down, and the game has become exponentially more fun and engaging due to all that. I feel like I’m playing something more like Dragon Quest or Monster Hunter than a cutesy kid’s game. The video game and life experiences I bring to Pokemon now completely change how the game plays. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s why Pokemon is so timeless to people. If you’d like it, the game can mature right alongside you.

And that’s cool, not a whole lot of series can do that (I’m looking at you Final Fantasy). 

-Alex

Mewtwo and Me by Ian Andersen

My first introduction to Pokémon was through my best friend who had gotten the game a month or so before me, after seeing him play I was very excited to start my own Pokémon adventure, but I didn&#8217;t own a gameboy. It took some time begging my parents before I was able to set off into that fantastic new world of monsters and their trainers. Of course by the time I had joined in the fun my friend had left Pallet town far behind and had a vest quickly filling with shiny badges, so my attempts to enter into any link battle were ill-fated, I didn&#8217;t stand a chance.

Because of this late start I spent most of my time with the game raising my own Pokémon not getting a chance to test them against other real life trainers. By the time I had my own team verified by eight gym leaders and we had championed over the Elite Four my friend had gone onto the exciting task of raising his Pokémon to their peak of performance. His Mewtwo was trained to the maximum level with natural experience, no cheating with Rare Candies, there was no way I would be able to compete with the world&#8217;s strongest Pokémon, not without some subversive actions.

By this time rumors had spread of a mystical Pokémon off the cost of Seafoam Island which would magically duplicate items for the trainer willing to risk the dangers to seek it out. I was desperate. I found this Missing No. and luckily I survived and was a rich man for it, but I still needed a Pokémon.
That&#8217;s when I learned about Pokémon cloning. It was said that if two trainers who were trading their Pokémon turned their trading consoles off at a specific point in the trading process one of the Pokémon would be duplicated, the other vanished. I tried it out, using my some of my Brother&#8217;s Pokémon, I captured a weak Rattata and Pidgey and went through the process I was told.
It worked.

I gave no thought at the time to what became of those lost Pokémon, I could have two of any Pokémon if I sacrificed another for them! Those lost Pokémon will come back to haunt me I&#8217;m sure, maybe they&#8217;re lurking off the coast of Seafoam Island. But at the time it didn&#8217;t matter, I saw an opportunity to win a real battle.

Somehow I convinced my friend to ignore the dangers of Pokémon cloning and used his trust and friendship to get my own ultimate Mewtwo. Little did he know I was planning to create a super group capable of destroying any other Pokémon team.

Late that night I used those duplicated items from the reviled Missing No. to max out the power points of my stolen Mewtwo then pumped him full of protein, iron, calcium, zinc and carbos. Then I went to the lab with five Pokémon, sentenced to the void for the crime of being weak and quick to capture. It was a long night of turning off the consoles at the precise moment to duplicate the perfect Mewtwo, but it was worth it.
The next time I faced my &#8220;friend&#8221; in battle he encountered not just the Mewtwo he had entrusted to me, but that Mewtwo improved with far greater capabilities and more endurance. And it was not just one of these super Mewtwos he faced, but SIX fully armed Mewtwo&#8217;s ready to tear through any opposing force.
To this day I wonder how many Pokémon I destroyed to create this monstrosity of a &#8220;team&#8221; and worry that soon the ghosts of these Pokémon will come to challenge me and I shall have no excuse but to fall upon my own Pokéball, doomed to an eternity of nothingness.

the end?
Mewtwo and Me by Ian Andersen

My first introduction to Pokémon was through my best friend who had gotten the game a month or so before me, after seeing him play I was very excited to start my own Pokémon adventure, but I didn’t own a gameboy. It took some time begging my parents before I was able to set off into that fantastic new world of monsters and their trainers. Of course by the time I had joined in the fun my friend had left Pallet town far behind and had a vest quickly filling with shiny badges, so my attempts to enter into any link battle were ill-fated, I didn’t stand a chance.

Because of this late start I spent most of my time with the game raising my own Pokémon not getting a chance to test them against other real life trainers. By the time I had my own team verified by eight gym leaders and we had championed over the Elite Four my friend had gone onto the exciting task of raising his Pokémon to their peak of performance. His Mewtwo was trained to the maximum level with natural experience, no cheating with Rare Candies, there was no way I would be able to compete with the world’s strongest Pokémon, not without some subversive actions.

By this time rumors had spread of a mystical Pokémon off the cost of Seafoam Island which would magically duplicate items for the trainer willing to risk the dangers to seek it out. I was desperate. I found this Missing No. and luckily I survived and was a rich man for it, but I still needed a Pokémon.

That’s when I learned about Pokémon cloning. It was said that if two trainers who were trading their Pokémon turned their trading consoles off at a specific point in the trading process one of the Pokémon would be duplicated, the other vanished. I tried it out, using my some of my Brother’s Pokémon, I captured a weak Rattata and Pidgey and went through the process I was told.

It worked.

I gave no thought at the time to what became of those lost Pokémon, I could have two of any Pokémon if I sacrificed another for them! Those lost Pokémon will come back to haunt me I’m sure, maybe they’re lurking off the coast of Seafoam Island. But at the time it didn’t matter, I saw an opportunity to win a real battle.

Somehow I convinced my friend to ignore the dangers of Pokémon cloning and used his trust and friendship to get my own ultimate Mewtwo. Little did he know I was planning to create a super group capable of destroying any other Pokémon team.

Late that night I used those duplicated items from the reviled Missing No. to max out the power points of my stolen Mewtwo then pumped him full of protein, iron, calcium, zinc and carbos. Then I went to the lab with five Pokémon, sentenced to the void for the crime of being weak and quick to capture. It was a long night of turning off the consoles at the precise moment to duplicate the perfect Mewtwo, but it was worth it.

The next time I faced my “friend” in battle he encountered not just the Mewtwo he had entrusted to me, but that Mewtwo improved with far greater capabilities and more endurance. And it was not just one of these super Mewtwos he faced, but SIX fully armed Mewtwo’s ready to tear through any opposing force.

To this day I wonder how many Pokémon I destroyed to create this monstrosity of a “team” and worry that soon the ghosts of these Pokémon will come to challenge me and I shall have no excuse but to fall upon my own Pokéball, doomed to an eternity of nothingness.

the end?

Hello! My name is Ashley, and Pokémon has been a huge part of my life for 12 years now. As such, talking about it comes like second nature to me, so I&#8217;ll be contributing some of my thoughts to Max Revive! To start off, though, I thought it might be nice to introduce myself with an origin story.
It&#8217;s weird to look back on how it all started, because I first learned about Pokémon entirely by chance. I mostly experienced new games based on what was on the shelves at the local rental store, which didn&#8217;t carry handheld titles. Videogames weren&#8217;t ever considered very cool among my peers, and my mother, the only other gamer in my family, had mostly given them up a few years prior. I was pretty shut off from any game-related news because we didn&#8217;t have the internet and game magazines were very hard to come by until the mid 90s.
Naturally, I got extremely excited when I started seeing stuff like Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro at our local grocery store. I bought a bunch of them and read them so much that most of the pages are still committed to my memory.
In one of these magazines was a preview for the Japanese Pokémon Red/Green. It was just a small blurb explaining what the game was all about and why Japan was going nuts for it. Nothing huge. I remember really liking the idea of caring for monsters but mainly I just glossed it over to get to the part about Donkey Kong Country 2 and other games I already cared about. Still, this small event was the starting point of it all.

Three years passed. I was watching my not-so-usual morning cartoon block before school when a new show called Pokémon unceremoniously appeared at 6:30 AM. It didn&#8217;t take long for me to become completely enamored by it. It got to the point where I, the girl who would normally find any excuse to sleep in, started getting up extra early every day just so I wouldn&#8217;t miss a new one.
I fell in love with the Pokémon world, Ash and his friends, and all the creatures they encountered. I learned the Pokérap, cried when Butterfree left, and even had a phase where I had a Pokémon for an imaginary friend (if I recall correctly, it was a Bulbasaur). But I didn&#8217;t make the connection between all of that and those games I had read about years ago until I started to see TV commercials for Red and Blue.

I had forgotten about the extremely short time period in which everything Pokémon came to America until I started researching it for this article, but man were they throwing us EVERYTHING at the same time. The show premiered in September, the games would come in October, the trading card game, toys and Pokémon Pikachu in November&#8230; but I like to think that Pokémon meant a lot more to me than than the total media saturation going on at the time. I was a lonely kid who daydreamed about having Pokémon adventures. Watching the show left me with this nice, fuzzy feeling I can&#8217;t quite explain. It&#8217;s how I started off every day, and it made them all the more better for it.

And now they were telling me that I could be a Pokémon Master for real?! Owning a copy of both Red and Blue suddenly became the most important thing in my life. I had about a month to make my wants known, as my birthday conveniently fell around the same time. I was both the most annoying and the best behaved little girl for those three weeks.
It all paid off exactly three days after my 13th birthday, and 12 days after the games had been released. The sun was shining. The car ride lasted for an eternity. Actually, it was probably more around an hour or so, but the wait was excruciating. Then we popped into Toys &#8216;R Us, and I got my two new shiny games from behind the glass. I was ecstatic&#8230; even though I had left my Game Boy at home!
This part was actually the biggest catalyst to my obsession. I&#8217;ve always had a love of reading back covers and game manuals, but the time I spent with Pokémon&#8217;s manuals on the car ride home was by far the best. It was amazing what Nintendo managed to cram into that standard-sized Game Boy booklet. It was a miniature guide to the game that led the reader all the way through to the first Gym Leader fight with Brock. It included a map of Kanto, an element chart, and tips out the wazoo.

This manual did a great job of explaining the world of Pokémon, but more importantly, it got me *even more* pumped to collect all 150 critters. In the very back of the manual was a bestiary; any Pokémon mentioned throughout the guide (which were mostly things I&#8217;d already seen on the show, like Pidgeys and Ratatas) had their pictures and names filled in.
But the majority of those pages were comprised of blank squares. The thing was not really practical for use, as it wasn&#8217;t a simple checklist you could just mark off as you progressed. Looking back on it, I&#8217;m convinced that part of the manual was just another hype tactic, and boy did it ever work. I wanted to know what secrets those empty boxes held. I had to catch &#8216;em all.
So when I got home, all of this built up Pokémon-related desire EXPLODED and I ended up playing Red/Blue for the next five years.
What about you? How did your fascination with Pokémon begin?

Hello! My name is Ashley, and Pokémon has been a huge part of my life for 12 years now. As such, talking about it comes like second nature to me, so I’ll be contributing some of my thoughts to Max Revive! To start off, though, I thought it might be nice to introduce myself with an origin story.

It’s weird to look back on how it all started, because I first learned about Pokémon entirely by chance. I mostly experienced new games based on what was on the shelves at the local rental store, which didn’t carry handheld titles. Videogames weren’t ever considered very cool among my peers, and my mother, the only other gamer in my family, had mostly given them up a few years prior. I was pretty shut off from any game-related news because we didn’t have the internet and game magazines were very hard to come by until the mid 90s.

Naturally, I got extremely excited when I started seeing stuff like Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro at our local grocery store. I bought a bunch of them and read them so much that most of the pages are still committed to my memory.

In one of these magazines was a preview for the Japanese Pokémon Red/Green. It was just a small blurb explaining what the game was all about and why Japan was going nuts for it. Nothing huge. I remember really liking the idea of caring for monsters but mainly I just glossed it over to get to the part about Donkey Kong Country 2 and other games I already cared about. Still, this small event was the starting point of it all.

Three years passed. I was watching my not-so-usual morning cartoon block before school when a new show called Pokémon unceremoniously appeared at 6:30 AM. It didn’t take long for me to become completely enamored by it. It got to the point where I, the girl who would normally find any excuse to sleep in, started getting up extra early every day just so I wouldn’t miss a new one.

I fell in love with the Pokémon world, Ash and his friends, and all the creatures they encountered. I learned the Pokérap, cried when Butterfree left, and even had a phase where I had a Pokémon for an imaginary friend (if I recall correctly, it was a Bulbasaur). But I didn’t make the connection between all of that and those games I had read about years ago until I started to see TV commercials for Red and Blue.

I had forgotten about the extremely short time period in which everything Pokémon came to America until I started researching it for this article, but man were they throwing us EVERYTHING at the same time. The show premiered in September, the games would come in October, the trading card game, toys and Pokémon Pikachu in November… but I like to think that Pokémon meant a lot more to me than than the total media saturation going on at the time. I was a lonely kid who daydreamed about having Pokémon adventures. Watching the show left me with this nice, fuzzy feeling I can’t quite explain. It’s how I started off every day, and it made them all the more better for it.

And now they were telling me that I could be a Pokémon Master for real?! Owning a copy of both Red and Blue suddenly became the most important thing in my life. I had about a month to make my wants known, as my birthday conveniently fell around the same time. I was both the most annoying and the best behaved little girl for those three weeks.

It all paid off exactly three days after my 13th birthday, and 12 days after the games had been released. The sun was shining. The car ride lasted for an eternity. Actually, it was probably more around an hour or so, but the wait was excruciating. Then we popped into Toys ‘R Us, and I got my two new shiny games from behind the glass. I was ecstatic… even though I had left my Game Boy at home!

This part was actually the biggest catalyst to my obsession. I’ve always had a love of reading back covers and game manuals, but the time I spent with Pokémon’s manuals on the car ride home was by far the best. It was amazing what Nintendo managed to cram into that standard-sized Game Boy booklet. It was a miniature guide to the game that led the reader all the way through to the first Gym Leader fight with Brock. It included a map of Kanto, an element chart, and tips out the wazoo.

This manual did a great job of explaining the world of Pokémon, but more importantly, it got me *even more* pumped to collect all 150 critters. In the very back of the manual was a bestiary; any Pokémon mentioned throughout the guide (which were mostly things I’d already seen on the show, like Pidgeys and Ratatas) had their pictures and names filled in.

But the majority of those pages were comprised of blank squares. The thing was not really practical for use, as it wasn’t a simple checklist you could just mark off as you progressed. Looking back on it, I’m convinced that part of the manual was just another hype tactic, and boy did it ever work. I wanted to know what secrets those empty boxes held. I had to catch ‘em all.

So when I got home, all of this built up Pokémon-related desire EXPLODED and I ended up playing Red/Blue for the next five years.

What about you? How did your fascination with Pokémon begin?

Fangamer <3’s Pokémon:  PAX East 2011

(Sorry for all the reposts! Last time, I swear.)

After my last post, I realized that I didn’t make much of an introductory post, so I suppose this will double as one: Hello!  My name is Benjamin Carignan.  Foremost, I’m the editor and co-host of the Fangamer Podcast.  Fangamer is a merchandising company focused on creating subtle and stylish video-game-inspired designs for properties that haven’t been represented all that well.  On our podcast, we talk about gaming from an emotional and nostalgic standpoint, unlike most other podcasts that focus on gaming news.  We touch on the various reasons we love games, and sometimes why we love specific games.  We’ve had multiple podcasts about Pokémon, about why we love the series, to a community commentary playthrough series on Red and Blue, with another coming in a few weeks on Black and White (featuring Maré Odomo!).  But enough about that!

The reason I open with an introduction to Fangamer, is because this past week put me in Boston for PAX East 2011, in which I was working at the Fangamer booth.  Our booth was constructed mostly of whiteboard material, where anyone could come up and draw anything.  New to the booth this year also was a vending machine full of free pins, but also challenges for the recipient to receive a free sticker.  Many of those challenges asked people to draw their favorite Pokémon anywhere on the booth!  There were some amazing ones out there, as well as some great Pokémon sightings outside of the booth, and I’d like to share some of my favorites with you, for those who weren’t able to attend!  Enjoy the slideshow of adorable drawings and awesome costumes.

Never before have I felt so compelled to import a Pokémon game until the release of Pokémon Black and White in Japan.  News about the games had been creeping out fairly steadily for a long time back in the fall of 2010, and I had been turning a semi-uninterested eye to it all for a while.  I&#8217;m not sure what forced me to turn toward it and begin reading about the new generation, but as soon as I did, I was more excited than I had been for the franchise in years.  I read up on everything available, YouTubed all of the weird Pokémon Sunday clips I could find and not comprehend, started watching the anime again, and finally, in an act I still don&#8217;t quite understand, slapped down $70 on a preorder for the game&#8230; in a language I could not read.I became more and more childishly furious with RenChi, the site I bought the game from, with every passing day the Amazon orders had shipped before my own.  But once it arrived in the mail, all anger was cast aside, and I dove into the game immediately.I approached this game with a certain mindset that I was just going to play through the single-player story and be done with it until the English release.  The post-game, Dream World, trading and battling, everything extraneous, I wanted to save for my English copy.  I even went with my less-preferred game of choice and starter of choice (I bought Black and picked Snivy, when I wanted White and Oshawott) so that when the game came out in English, it would be that much more of a great experience.I knew that I wasn&#8217;t going to be able to understand this game much-to-at-all.  And with talk of a more interesting and complex plotline, it seemed pretty silly to get this game in spite of that just solely for the gameplay, especially considering an incomplete copy of HeartGold sat in my collection.  My decision was fairly nonsensical, but at the end of it all, I&#8217;m glad I did it.Starting this new game, I was going in with a sense of blindness and naïveté that I hadn&#8217;t experienced with Pokémon since I was a kid.  I was starting this journey as soon as anyone else in the world was, instead of having a six month gap in which little bits and pieces could&#8217;ve been revealed to me, eventually snowballing into a reading frenzy in discovering everything about the game before it fell into my hands.  With none of that, this was a fresh adventure for the first time in a very long time.And what an adventure it was.  With no text to be understood for miles (except for that one random guy who spoke English in Castelia City), I had nothing to rely on but myself and my Pokémon in a journey through a new world, encountering never-before-seen creatures, and taking on a whole new team of bad guys.  There was nothing out there at that point to tell me whether or not the creatures I had picked for companions were good or bad, and that was for the better.  On my team, I certainly had a couple who were in no way to be the powerhouses of the future competitive scene (I love you, Scolipede, but&#8230;), but I made use out of them and grew so much more attached to them because I had nothing else to connect with in the region of Isshu.Going through at such a basic level of understanding was sort of &#8220;enlightening&#8221; in a way.  Instead of focusing on story elements or characters, my focus was on everything else; the detailed graphics and art, the phenomenal soundtrack, and the adventurous and incredibly vast atmosphere the game had to offer.  Elements I don&#8217;t feel I could have as fully appreciated otherwise.  Basking in these aspects of the game that were once minor to me, I realized just how new and amazing this new game was above its predecessors, and it instantly became my favorite in the series.  After such an experience, would I do it again for Generation VI?  Actually, perhaps not.  I adore this generation of Pokémon; it has earned its place as my all-time favorite in the series, dethroning Gold and Silver as the previous holders of the crown.  In spite of that, though playing through in Japanese was that sort of an &#8220;enlightening&#8221; experience in how I was able to appreciate other things, it was also an incredibly lonely one.  Now that the game is in the hands of all of my friends, I realize what was missing in that adventure I had last October, and that is the incredible fun of playing games with other people.  Also absent was that sense of group discovery, when I noticed everyone discovering and getting really excited about the really cool aspects of the game that I had known about for months.  The desire I would have to tear through the game at breakneck pace is gone, because I already know how it goes, at least at a basic level.  I&#8217;m taking my sweet time.  It just doesn&#8217;t feel much like a NEW game at this point.  Do I still enjoy playing it again for a second time?  Absolutely, and I feel it will surpass my experience of playing Black in Japanese.  However, that innocence and sense of exploration of a new journey is gone, and would have been something I&#8217;d have liked to experienced with all of my friends at once.Despite that disappointment, you bet I will be rocking this game for months as we all will.  And as I said before, I do not regret importing at all!  It provided that perspective to the game, and gaming in general, that I couldn&#8217;t have gotten otherwise.  But I think that in the future, I can live with peeking at Pokédex spoilers for six months, just like everyone else!-Benjamin Carignan(PS. Playing in Japanese, I imagined N to be this super-cool guy, but no, he is maaaad-creepy in English!)

Never before have I felt so compelled to import a Pokémon game until the release of Pokémon Black and White in Japan.  News about the games had been creeping out fairly steadily for a long time back in the fall of 2010, and I had been turning a semi-uninterested eye to it all for a while.  I’m not sure what forced me to turn toward it and begin reading about the new generation, but as soon as I did, I was more excited than I had been for the franchise in years.  I read up on everything available, YouTubed all of the weird Pokémon Sunday clips I could find and not comprehend, started watching the anime again, and finally, in an act I still don’t quite understand, slapped down $70 on a preorder for the game… in a language I could not read.

I became more and more childishly furious with RenChi, the site I bought the game from, with every passing day the Amazon orders had shipped before my own.  But once it arrived in the mail, all anger was cast aside, and I dove into the game immediately.

I approached this game with a certain mindset that I was just going to play through the single-player story and be done with it until the English release.  The post-game, Dream World, trading and battling, everything extraneous, I wanted to save for my English copy.  I even went with my less-preferred game of choice and starter of choice (I bought Black and picked Snivy, when I wanted White and Oshawott) so that when the game came out in English, it would be that much more of a great experience.

I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to understand this game much-to-at-all.  And with talk of a more interesting and complex plotline, it seemed pretty silly to get this game in spite of that just solely for the gameplay, especially considering an incomplete copy of HeartGold sat in my collection.  My decision was fairly nonsensical, but at the end of it all, I’m glad I did it.

Starting this new game, I was going in with a sense of blindness and naïveté that I hadn’t experienced with Pokémon since I was a kid.  I was starting this journey as soon as anyone else in the world was, instead of having a six month gap in which little bits and pieces could’ve been revealed to me, eventually snowballing into a reading frenzy in discovering everything about the game before it fell into my hands.  With none of that, this was a fresh adventure for the first time in a very long time.

And what an adventure it was.  With no text to be understood for miles (except for that one random guy who spoke English in Castelia City), I had nothing to rely on but myself and my Pokémon in a journey through a new world, encountering never-before-seen creatures, and taking on a whole new team of bad guys.  There was nothing out there at that point to tell me whether or not the creatures I had picked for companions were good or bad, and that was for the better.  On my team, I certainly had a couple who were in no way to be the powerhouses of the future competitive scene (I love you, Scolipede, but…), but I made use out of them and grew so much more attached to them because I had nothing else to connect with in the region of Isshu.

Going through at such a basic level of understanding was sort of “enlightening” in a way.  Instead of focusing on story elements or characters, my focus was on everything else; the detailed graphics and art, the phenomenal soundtrack, and the adventurous and incredibly vast atmosphere the game had to offer.  Elements I don’t feel I could have as fully appreciated otherwise.  Basking in these aspects of the game that were once minor to me, I realized just how new and amazing this new game was above its predecessors, and it instantly became my favorite in the series. 

After such an experience, would I do it again for Generation VI?  Actually, perhaps not.  I adore this generation of Pokémon; it has earned its place as my all-time favorite in the series, dethroning Gold and Silver as the previous holders of the crown.  In spite of that, though playing through in Japanese was that sort of an “enlightening” experience in how I was able to appreciate other things, it was also an incredibly lonely one.  Now that the game is in the hands of all of my friends, I realize what was missing in that adventure I had last October, and that is the incredible fun of playing games with other people.  Also absent was that sense of group discovery, when I noticed everyone discovering and getting really excited about the really cool aspects of the game that I had known about for months.  The desire I would have to tear through the game at breakneck pace is gone, because I already know how it goes, at least at a basic level.  I’m taking my sweet time.  It just doesn’t feel much like a NEW game at this point.  Do I still enjoy playing it again for a second time?  Absolutely, and I feel it will surpass my experience of playing Black in Japanese.  However, that innocence and sense of exploration of a new journey is gone, and would have been something I’d have liked to experienced with all of my friends at once.

Despite that disappointment, you bet I will be rocking this game for months as we all will.  And as I said before, I do not regret importing at all!  It provided that perspective to the game, and gaming in general, that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise.  But I think that in the future, I can live with peeking at Pokédex spoilers for six months, just like everyone else!

-Benjamin Carignan

(PS. Playing in Japanese, I imagined N to be this super-cool guy, but no, he is maaaad-creepy in English!)