Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years already. While my journey with Pokémon hasn’t admittedly been the most eventful one, it has most definitely been with me, for better or worse, for almost as long as I can remember.
In the late 90s, I was slowly getting myself into gaming, playing around sparsely with a Sega Genesis gifted to us by my parents. But living with a sibling, it’s hard to get gaming time to myself. As I soon discovered that portable gaming was even a thing, the word of Pokémon started to spread. I don’t quite remember how I was first exposed to the series, but I knew I desperately wanted the games. Around the start of my 6th grade year, my mom was very nice enough to treat me to a Teal Game Boy Color and Pokémon Blue. It was my first time experiencing turn based JRPGs, so I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. Thankfully, the series as a whole has been beginner friendly, so I managed to learn the ins and outs quickly, and played for hours on end.
While I wholeheartedly enjoyed Gold in the next generation, and Sapphire after that, it was personally tiring for myself. I was unfortunately the victim of multiple thefts of my games (middle schoolers can be dangerous creatures), which at the time led to my waning interest in the series. But when Diamond dropped on the DS, my love for the series was reinvigorated. The new region, the spectacular music, and wireless/online connectivity all made me fall in love with the series all over again. I continued to enjoy the series with HeartGold’s feature rich content, Black’s deeper story & lore (made you actually question whether playing Pokémon was even ethical), and Y & Alpha Sapphire’s 3D environments. Thanks to the series, I’ve built up various friendships and rivalries, and even got closer to my girlfriend through Pokémon (she already claimed Moon from the upcoming versions).
The amount of Pokémon I play these days vary now, what with juggling multiple games, school, a part time job, and even a publication company (the one you’re reading from right now), but with Pokémon being in my life since I got my hands on the games in ‘98, I have no plans of dropping the series any time soon.
Happy 20th Anniversary, Pokémon!