Tag Archives: pokemon

Pokémon, Part II: Intermission — The Trading Card Game

Part I: Prologue — The Pokémon Generation is just three posts below this one!

No picture this time around as I can’t seem to find my tiny, almost non-existent, collection of cards from the Pokémon trading card game.

There are many aspects of Pokémon, one being the trading card game (henceforth referred to as TCG). Despite being hugely popular when I was during my upper-primary school years, I never got into it.

Perhaps it was the fact that I was too young at the time to even fathom buying items for seemingly my own enjoyment, or perhaps it was because compared to the video games and the anime and whatever other aspects of Pokémon were popular at the time the TCG just seemed so boring and bland in comparison, I never got into it. Plenty of other people were, but I wasn’t.

I remember other people being awed by collections, and when “shiny” cards were produced people were awestruck. Perhaps one of the most famous cards of all was shiny Charizard, easily one of the most coveted cards of my particular generation.

I remember somehow acquiring a single Japanse card — it was either Psyduck or a Pokémon that I had no knowledge about (i.e. one of the ones introduced in generation III or IV).

I remember knowing the difference between a fake card and a real one, right down to the hue and intensity of the blue border on the back of the card itself, as well as the feel and texture of the card.

Mostly, though, I just remember not getting involved. I’m not sure whether it was the whole “collectors” aspect that didn’t appeal to me or the “battling” aspect that could be performed with the Pokémon TCG, but I just couldn’t care about it as much as I could the video game.

Which is interesting, because it was years later that I started to get into Magic: The Gathering. No real reason, but it seemed to be pretty popular in my early high-school years, and seemed like the right thing to do. I remember sitting the library at lunchtime and duking it out with the self-appointed master of Magic — but that’s a story for another time.

Whatever the reason, Pokémon the Trading Card Game just didn’t appeal to me. Shame.

Pokémon, Part I: Prologue — The Pokémon Generation

Original boxes for my Game Boy Color and Pokémon Gold

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.

Old-school cool.

Well, as old-school as I’m going to get while still maintaining forwards compatibility, that is.

Brisbane 2010 wrap-up

the view from a secret location in Brisbane

Hey, look, it’s been almost a year since this happened, but I am fantastic at procrastinating such tasks like these that involve a recount of a particular event. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I have a couple of ideas for things that need to be written, but those things depend on the very existence of this post (maybe not quite that much, but this post does play an important part). If this doesn’t make sense, read on anyway. I promise things will become clear by the time you reach the end.

Like I said, it’s about a year now since Brisbane 2010 happened — around this time last year I was in sunny Queensland, doing secret things with not-so-secret people. The fact that this is only being written now is testament to the fact that I am, if nothing else, a brilliant procrastinator.

In any case, Brisbane 2010 was mostly about doing a training course with work. That’s probably about all I’ll say about the purpose of the trip, suffice to say it was exciting and pretty awesome to go to Brisbane for a work-related thing (and ALL BY MYSELF) rather than with friends or family. Considering the last time I was in Brisbane was when my family  decided to drive to Brisbane all the way from Tasmania, I felt really grown up, and it was great.

During one of the sessions, as part of the introductory-type, get-to-know-you things, the leader guy asked why we had chosen to participate in the program that we had been selected to participate in. If that reads like we were chosen, it sort of does — it was opt-in for sure in that we had to do a basic application for the position, but we were chosen on the basis of our applications. I think, anyway. I kinda got in by default, but that is neither here nor there.

Continue Reading →