About a week ago, while walking through a Target, I noticed that a brand new Pokémon game had recently been released. It was marketed as a whole new world of Pokémon; a complete new world with new characters, Pokémon, and locations. This got me thinking about how great the previous Poké-World was, and then I wondered why exactly the game was being redesigned. It’s the case of redesigning the mousetrap.
To begin, if you did not take part in the Pokémon craze then you’re an idiot this whole piece will make no sense to you, and stop reading now because the nerd factor is very high; if you were into Digimon , I order you to stop reading, I won’t stand for a show with such a ludicrous premise (♪..digital monsters, Digimon are the champions! ♪). Seeing these games made me decide that I would revisit the world of Pokémon games, and Pokémon cards just to see how it would translate now that I’m more mature (relatively speaking).
The new Pokémon games are the 17th and 18th versions of Pokémon for Gameboy, not including that Trading Card Game (buy packs of card on a video game? no thanks, I’ll go spend real money on them). Black and White are the new game, and I felt oddly compelled to buy one. So after being at Target, I went right home and started looking through old stuff to find my Pokémon games, where I found Pokémon Blue, Yellow, Silver, Sapphire, Fire Red, Emerald and Heart Gold1 games (So I’m a nerd.. big deal).
The games were for Gameboys from the Gameboy Original (although I had a Gameboy Pocket), Gameboy Color, GameboyAdvance, and Gameboy DS. By the way Gameboy DS is the stupidest Gameboy of all time, I don’t understand the novelty of two screens with one being touchscreen? But I digress, the plan is still to re-play a few of them, but as of now I’ve only played Fire Red, which is an updated graphics version of the original Red and Blue games. So far it has been a fun way to pass an hour here and there. My character factose currently has 7 badges, 25 Pokédex entries, and has been just kicking the shit out of his rival DonnyB. The novelty of the game will probably fizzle out soon, but it was fun while it lasted. Perhaps this whole new Pokémon world will reignite the fire, we’ll see.
Now onto Pokémon Cards, which were one of the biggest crazes of the late 1990’s, the kind of craze that caused stores to be sold out frequently. I even remember a conversation with fellow author michaelkeaton as a child that went a little something like this:
michaelkeaton: “You know the Pokémon craze is going to end right?”
myself: “I don’t care, I can’t wait because then they won’t be sold out and there will be more cards for me.”
myself: “Well maybe my love of Pokémon will someday be the subject of a blog post, did you ever think of that smart guy?”
Back to Pokémon… the cards were “collectible” but I used them to play the game. I even remember my deck type, Electric and Grass, and it was a deadly combo. Many friends were pwn3d at the hands of my Electabuzz, Zapdos, and Venasaur. The excitement that came from opening a pack of Pokémon cards was a feeling that was pathetic is difficult to match. I knew that the rare card in the pack was the third from the back in the pack of eleven, and I would always set that off to the side for an extra dose of excitement. As part of revisiting Pokémon, I thought I’d try to see what kind of excitement I got from opening a pack now. Well, the excitement was… less, significantly less, so much so that it is depressing. I would love to have anything give me the anxious feeling I had in 1999 when I would open a pack of cards (once again, pathetic). The last Pokémon cards I bought were part of the original set of cards, but now there is a seemingly infinite choice in “versions” of Pokémon cards. I bought myself a ten dollar package of three separate kinds (Supreme Victors, Rising Rivals, and Dragon Frontiers) just to give myself a chance to see what the new cards are all about, and they pale in comparison to the originals. For one, there were nine cards in one pack, and ten in the other two packs which shot my rare card system all to hell. Here are the highlights and lowlights of the whole experience.
- Holofoil Moltres, not as cool as old Moltres, but I’m a purist.
- Elekid, my favorite Pokémon was always Electabuzz. I’m still unsure how baby Pokémon work when they originally didn’t exist… do I need them prior to the original Pokémon, these are the type of questions I don’t want to ask. Quick side note: Electabuzz now evolves (Electivire!).
- A trainer card I recognized—Switch!
- SP Energy, my energy of choice.
- Two separate, but equally terrible versions of some crappy Pokémon called a Feebas2, like Magikarp didn’t have a monopoly on the crappy fish Pokémon market? Sorry guy in Mt. Moon Pokécenter, I don’t want to buy your crappy Magikarp for $500 (True Pokéfans will get that).
- A bunch of what I consider “made-up” Pokémon, I mean I can understand a bird that can shoot lightning/fire/ice, a swarm of rotten eggs, or a metal orb, but a bunny with ears that can shatter a boulder on extension? That’s the craziest f*cking thing I’ve ever heard.
- Supporter Card. This was a holofoil that seems similar to a Trainer. Whatever.
Well now on to the third part of my Pokémon re-visitation. Pokémon Adventures, which is an MMO Pokémon game, which in theory AND practice is awesome. I have only played the game a little, but had it existed in Pokémon’s heyday, it would have been huge. I have read with the new Pokémon games there is a way to battle over Wi-Fi, but I do not think it is like this game. Could you imagine if while playing Pokémon as a kid you could be walking around and bump into your friends and go on missions together? So simple, so elegant, so genius. Check it out at Pokémon Adventures.
Some would consider spending fifteen hours (so I lied about my play-time earlier… but my Growlithe is almost Level 60) a waste of time, but I disagree. Even though the excitement is gone, just remembering how awesome Pokémon used to be, it was worth it.
 For those of you who know Heart Gold shouldn’t be in my collection of games, it was bought during a different re-visitation in the summer of 2010.
 After a quick google-ing I found that Feebas, like Magikarp evolves into a powerful Pokémon (Milotic).