Part 66: Side Notes #21: Juggernaut of a Phenomenon - My Life with PokemonSide Notes #21: Juggernaut of a Phenomenon - My Life with Pokemon
What a time to be a kid during Pokemania. I sure as hell was, it's the whole reason I'm here. I started this series from more or less right from the start and I'm still here, all these years later. I can't help but think of Pokemon in a positive way, it's been a part of my life for as far as I can really remember, through the good times and the bad times. It's just been one of those constants: there hasn't been a single year where I have not played Pokemon in some fashion. The way Pokemon was successful is something that may never be repeated ever again. I mean, the closest complete saturation anything got to these days is maybe GTA 5? Just the sheer density that Pokemon had on the West is just staggering and something gaming historians will be puzzling out until the end of time. And it's something you can never really have again, the market these days is too saturated, information is everywhere and video games are such a massive, multi-billion dollar industry, that there's nothing that will really take the world by storm.
And that's the amazing thing about this franchise, everyone has either heard of it or played it in some form over the years. It's kinda weird, do you actually have people talk about Mario in a way? Or Zelda? A lot of people will say as much when referring to Pokemon, "oh, when I was a kid..." and that is definitely what happened: I was there, I played it, my friends played it, the kids in the years above us played it. Everyone played it. And it just shows that it has absolute staying power, that we can talk about it with such depth and with such enthusiasm even 20 years later.
But admittedly, it wasn't always like that. There was a period in my life, during secondary school, around the age of 11-16, when it wasn't cool to play Pokemon. No one wanted to admit it. It was very strange how in primary school everyone loved it, but it was cool to do so, since you were the oldest kids, you could set the rules and say what was cool and what wasn't. But then you moved to the next year, where you were the youngest and no one thought you were cool anymore. So while there were times that I felt ashamed for playing Pokemon (something I feel even to this day, you fucking nerds), I at least still played it. Just very much so on the down low. It's also the reason why I never completed the Pokedex: I had no one to trade with. And it really says something that, in all honesty, I've never actually physically met someone who has played the series and loves it as much as I have. Maybe that person doesn't exist. Maybe I will never find the elusive cute nerd Pokemon girl that's perfect for me in every way. Oh well...
In any case, I still played the games, still bought them when they were released. On the day Black and White released I was so impatient to actually played it, I just got out my DS while I was waiting for the bus, I couldn't wait until I was back home! But it's also quite weird that the main Pokemon thing I bought was the games. I didn't have the anime VHS tapes, or loads of merchandise, or played the TCG, or got into competitive stuff and spent hours on that. I just played the single player over and over and over. So that's kinda why I know the games more or less inside out: I've done this many, many times before and played these games to death. And I loved it, every generation, every game, hell, even every Pokemon, I love it all and I enjoy playing it all. I can't stop, won't stop.
So that's the kind of series Pokemon is. One that I still play with such enthusiasm 15 years after I first obtained the games. A series where I can make SSLPs such as this and go into every aspect of the franchise. A series where I cannot go a month or even a week without breaking out and playing. A series that is near and dear to my heart, even at the old age of 21 years, 9 months and 5 days. And I shall leave you with a quote from one denizen of Canalave City, Gym Leader Byron:
"I LOVE POKEMON!!!"