Pokémon: Tryin’ to Catch ‘Em All

Pokémon: Tryin’ to Catch ‘Em All

I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with Pokémon for most of my life. I watched the anime as a little kid in elementary school, when I was mainstreaming from an ESE class to a regular class on a daily basis. My brother collected some Pokémon cards from the first generation, if not all, and I fell in love with the artwork they put into them; I didn’t care much about the trading card game in general. One day, my brother stopped collecting the cards–he didn’t even make it to the second generation–and to this very day I’m still pondering where he even hid his binder of Gen I cards. When I was 7 years old, I had a crush on the most powerful Pokémon at the time: Mewtwo. Long story short, I had a dream where Mewtwo saved my life from some kind of villain whose name and face I have completely forgotten. My crush on Mewtwo didn’t last very long, though. My cousin and brother laughed at the mere thought of a Legendary Pokémon being my “true love”–it would be out of my league, anyway.

In 2007, when I was in middle school, the Pokémon franchise became popular again on its 10th anniversary (in the U.S.). We entered Gen 4 with Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl, yet I was still into the anime, not the games. However, I had a classmate named Joshua who was the biggest Pokémon fan I ever met. There was only one problem that got in the way of his Pokémon Training, though: religion. And by religion, I mean Josh’s parents. The sect of Christianity they were in–Baptist–deemed Pokémon demons created by the Devil to corrupt the minds of children, which I found very hard to believe. The belief perturbed me even more so when Josh came to me one time, if not more, complaining that his parents took away his Pokémon cards in accordance with the Baptist doctrine. Josh’s parents came around and allowed Josh to continue playing Pokémon, which he was proud of. I haven’t spoken to Josh since the 7th Grade, but I know he’s very happy to be a part of the Pokémon community (if he’s still active in it at all).

In my senior year of high school, close to graduation, my classmate in Psychology showed me the trailer for Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, which wasn’t due until the fourth quarter of 2013. Watching the trailer on his Galaxy SIII, I was surprised at how much the producers enhanced the graphics–everything was full-blown CGI. Again, I didn’t care much about the games, only the anime series (the graphics improved in that area as well).

Now that I got my life story out of the way, let’s fast-forward to the 2014 holiday season. I was at GameStop trying to get Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo 3DS), which was extremely popular. I downloaded the free demo from the Nintendo eShop, but I wanted to play the full game. It wasn’t on the shelf, as is the case with some popular video games, so I browsed around some more only to come across the most recent Pokémon games: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. I thought long and hard about getting one of the two versions, and getting into the Pokémon games at all. Okay, Super Smash Bros. is out of the question because it’s nowhere to be found, I thought to myself. As for Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal… well, as much as I love Sonic, I don’t want to take any chances on a game that’s more God-awful than Sonic ’06. Oh, what the hell, I’ll take Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. This might actually give me the opportunity to play something I should’ve played when I was younger! 

So, on Christmas Day, I officially became a Pokémon Trainer. My starter Pokémon? Torchic, who quickly evolved into Blaziken within a week or two. I caught some other Pokémon along the way–due to their ability to Evolve, I think it’s best for me not to name the Pokémon I acquired because it’s exahausting–and today I have 422 out of 719 Pokémon in my Pokédex. I would’ve had more than 422 Pokémon or maybe even closer to 700 if not for a couple of problems: trading and Legendaries. In my brother’s time, you needed a wire to trade Pokémon from one Game Boy to another, which wasn’t an issue if your classmate didn’t mind giving you a special Pokémon. Now that the recent Pokémon games have wireless Internet capability, it’s easier to trade Pokémon with your close friends and other people around the world–not to mention a huge headache. Right now, I’ve proposed a trade to at least a dozen people from Italy, France, Japan, Spain, the UK, Australia, and even here in the US, and they have not gotten back to me. If someone does accept my trading proposal, I would offer them a Pokémon that I could care less about in exchange for a Pokémon that may interest me. Here’s where the trading process gets problematic. Sometimes, if I offer a Magby in exchange for a potential Legendary (for example, Diancie) I would accept it, but then the other person would cancel that trade. Speaking of Legendaries… If I go to the Global Trading Station and seek Diancie, Mew, Shaymin, Jirachi, Deoxys, or any other Legendary Pokémon, I would see that the people who deposited them into the system are seeking other Legendary Pokémon that I should’ve caught by now. I would give them my left arm in lieu of a Pokémon I don’t have for all I care! And another thing about Legendaries is, unless you caught them in previous games and transferred them to another game already, you have to receive them at promotional events–movie premieres, expos, festivals, even actual Pokémon Center stores (if there’s one near you)–which not everybody can attend. Don’t believe me? Here’s a link with a list of all the Legendary Pokémon to date: http://nintendo.wikia.com/wiki/Legendary_Pok%C3%A9mon. Find them on the XY & ORAS Pokédex on Serebii.net and, when you want to find out where they’re located, there’s a text that reads “Transfer required” and/or “Transfer or receive from event,” depending on which Pokémon game you’re playing.

I have a lot to learn about Pokémon Training, battles, and trading–nearly 20 years worth of it.


Confessions of a Gamer Girl

I’ve been playing video games for at least sixteen years.
Although I take great pleasure in playing on every console and handheld system,
there are days when I wish I could’ve read more substantial books
in lieu of spending all my time grabbing rings and diamonds
in Sonic, beating Heartless in Kingdom Hearts, and training real hard
in Pokémon, trying to, as its slogan says, “catch ‘em all.”

How is it that I came to be a gamer girl at all?
It all started when I was at a tender five years
of age. My brother was trying to beat a hard
level of Yoshi’s Island on Nintendo’s golden system,
the Super Nintendo. I was watching him get through a cave of diamonds
whilst reading from a kindergarten book.

At the age of nine, I started reading monthly gaming books
from the stands in Publix and Walmart. But of course, all
I wanted to read was articles related to Sonic, whose colorful diamonds
make him faster and stronger. However, as the years
progressed, I developed an interest in a new system
of gaming—role-playing games—which is not extremely hard.

Unfortunately, the part about being a gamer girl that’s very hard
was the bullying. In middle school, I would hide behind my scholastic books
to shield myself from the slew of taunts and hateful remarks—courtesy of a system
of raging hormones and selective discrimination. As I reached high school, all
I needed was a friend who could understand my interests. Then I met a guy five years
my senior, and we began a friendship more precious than digital diamonds.

As our friendship blossomed into nerdy romance, we helped Sonic collect diamonds
and cosplayed as the blue hedgehog and his pink lover on Halloween. Then a new, hard
challenge appeared in the gaming community: immaturity in Sonic’s fanbase. In my years
of gaming, I had never seen gamers go nuts over changes in recent Sonic games. Gaming books
even displayed harsh criticism at Sonic’s endeavors since 2005. I never bashed at all
the Sonic games I got because I enjoyed playing them regardless of the console system.

Of course, with the release of any new console or handheld gaming system
came the money-burning desire to play the games designed for them. They’re like big diamonds
out of Sierra Leone, and it was every gamer’s job—and mine—to save money to buy them all.
However, for some gamers, coming up with the finances to purchase a new console is hard,
so we would have to go to our accountant’s offices to look at our checkbooks
and wait to get our desired gaming console in a few years.

I’m not sure how many gaming console systems
a gamer girl like myself can own in a lifetime, so I might as well shop for some faux diamonds
and get into a gamer’s alternative hobby: reading Japanese comic books.