I am of the Pokémon generation.
Kids these days just don’t get it. I grew up with the original 151 in Red, Green, and Yellow, and later the 251 introduced with Gold, Silver, and Crystal (Generations one and two, respectively.)
Now there’s over 600 Pokémon to catch in generation five, and I’m really not sure how people are actually expected to catch all 649. Current generations actually go as far as encouraging players to only catch a small selection of Pokémon, but doing so is child’s play — not for Pokémon masters like myself.
My own Pokémon story starts way back in the 20th century, at the cusp of the millennium. The very first game I was exposed to was Pokémon Yellow, as one of my childhood friends had a copy along with his original Game Boy. Countless hours were spent at his house playing that game.
Then suddenly it was 1999 and Pokémon Gold and Silver came out alongside the Game Boy Color, and thus I entered the golden age of Pokémon. Those were the glory days — many, many hours were spent playing Pokémon, and many more hours spent training, honing my Pokémon to be fighting fit.
That year I remember my family went back to Malaysia, where even more Pokémon was played. One of my childhood friends there also played Pokémon, and as a present him and his family bought me a guide to catch ’em all, the Prima Official Strategy Guide for Pokémon Gold and Silver. I remember spending entire afternoons pouring through every detail, committing large sections of it to memory in order to apply it to game scenarios later on. I’m sure that if I look hard enough, it will still be around here somewhere…
People even complimented me on my Pokémon and how strong they were. I remember grinding through countless battles with the Elite Four, levelling up Dragonites to level 100 and then blowing away other Pokémon with the Hyper Beam move. Those were the days.
At the time, there also existed a set of “exploits”. Such exploits leveraged the use of bugs in the game to produce favourable results for the exploiter, such as the bug that allowed the duplication of Pokémon. It was this very bug that allowed trainers to gain access to Pokémon they normally wouldn’t have received otherwise. Legendary Pokémon were devalued somewhat with this bug, but that didn’t really matter, because catching them all was the main priority for a lot of trainers, myself included.
It was this duplication bug that allowed me to get such rare Pokémon such as Mewtwo, Mew, and Celebi through trading with other Pokémon players who weren’t afraid to trade away their legendary Pokémon as they had other copies.
Once upon a time I was also an avid swimmer, going a couple of times a week after school to swim for a couple of hours. It was during these swim sessions that I met a guy, and it just so happened that he was into Pokémon too. I can distinctly remember being in the change rooms one time — both of us had our Game Boys out, linked with the trade cable, and were swapping Pokémon. Looking back on it now such a scene just seems nothing short of ridiculous, but at the time it made perfect sense (we didn’t see each other at any time besides those swim sessions), and was perfectly normal for kids of our generation — the Pokémon generation.