This is an account of a life playing Pokemon from my friend David Rashwan, AKA Debido-san, AKA Ebb Flowe. If you’d like to see some of his artwork please check out his excellent tumblr http://ebbflowe.tumblr.com/
When Pokemon came out in the US in 1998 (about 9 years old and in 3rd grade), I had seen the commercials and the phrase “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” was so darn catchy. But at that point I didn’t own any sort of Gameboy at all. My first contact with the actual game was on the way back from the airport with my mom, we were sitting next to a mom and her son, playing his own Gameboy on the bus. I peeked over and saw two monsters on the screen, and I just had to put it together and ask “Is that Pokemon?” And he responded “yeah”.
The next time I saw Pokemon was at my best friend’s house. He and his little brother were both playing their own copies, meanwhile I couldn’t join the fun. This had to be rectified! So after some begging, my mom took me to a department store with the intention of getting a Blue Gameboy Pocket and Pokemon Blue. They had the Gameboy, but they were completely sold out of Pokemon, so I had to settle for Donkey Kong Country 2 as my first Gameboy game.
Maybe a week or two later, we went to another department store. They had Pokemon, but only Red version. I couldn’t wait any longer!!!! So I said to hell with waiting on Blue, I’ll take this Red right here, right now! For some reason I like to believe some things are fate, so from that day forward, since I was forced to get Red despite wanting Blue, I’ve gone “Red version” ever since. The one exception being that I got Silver instead of Gold (forgive my lack of understanding on color theory at that point). I eventually did get a Blue version, which I used to mess around with hacking after trading myself all of the starter pokemon. (I had a team of 5 Mews and a Dugtrio…wtf?)
I absolutely played the hell out of that game. Playing through a Pokemon game now, I can’t even fathom how it took me what felt like forever to play through that game, even playing as ceaselessly as I was. I remember playing hours a day, saving the game, and looking forward to waking up because every day was a new adventure. I clocked in at least 120 hours on the game, and caught all 151 Pokemon legitimately. I was lucky enough to be traded a Mew on a class field trip, and on that same trip I finally caught a Tauros to complete my Pokedex (the Safari Zone wasn’t exactly easy back then!).
I was late to the party on R/B versions, so I wouldn’t let that happen again. I was the first kid in my school to get Pokemon Yellow, and I got both Gold and Silver on release day. Generation 2 was for me, like many people, a real Golden Age of Pokemon. The progression from the previous gen was incredible! And the day/night cycle…at this point I got a mini flashlight so I could catch those night only Pokemon in the wee hours of the night. Unfortunately, I’ve never again completely filled a Pokedex.
After playing a ton of gens 1 and 2, Ruby and Sapphire came out, and for some reason I was pretty dismissive of them at first. I was strangely in no hurry to jump on board. Eventually I did though, and I had an absolute blast. I’m really excited for Omega Ruby, because in my opinion Hoenn was the most fun region to explore. It had so much environmental diversity, and the colors on the Gameboy Advance captured the world beautifully like never before. At this point, I started to experiment with NetBattle, and I finally learned about the intricacies of true competitive battling, though I never actually got into it.
Playing Ruby, Emerald, and Fire Red rekindled my passion for Pokemon, so once again I was on board to get Pearl on release day. If Hoenn was my favorite region to explore, Gen 4 had my favorite features: The poketch was awesome in my opinion, and I wish they could bring something like it back. I also had a ton of fun with this generation, but I skipped on Platinum for a while.
In Generation 5, I went with White version. It was a fun game to some extent, but this marks the first time that I did not obsessively complete a Pokemon game upon picking it up. For some reason, Unova just didn’t grip me. Which is sad actually, because prior to X/Y coming out, I played through “Volt White 2″ (a rom hack which allows you to catch all of the existing Pokemon in the series in the wild or through events). And I found the story to be pretty fun, actually. I have to say that the Elite 4 in B/W had such an epic presentation, I really felt like I was taking on the best of the best.
Then comes Y, which I bought a 3DS XL for just a few weeks before release. The game was a lot of fun, and even though I’ve played every previous generation, the game felt completely revitalized. Kalos was a beautiful region to travel through, and the new Pokemon were a mixed bag of some awesome and some just weird redesigns of already existing monsters, but I liked it nonetheless. As great of a game as it is, my primary criticism is that the post game is nearly non existent; once I beat the game, there was almost no incentive for me to play it anymore.
That said, I’m greatly looking forward to grabbing Omega Ruby. I really can’t wait to see Hoenn brought to new life.