So, Pokemon is 20 years old. That means it has been around for a solid 80% of my life. I’ve played over a dozen of the games, caught thousands of wild Pokemon and collected hundreds of cards. So grab your Gameboy or your DS, and come with me on a MoshFish journey through my Pokemon years.
Part I: Picture Perfect
In 1998, young MoshFish didn’t know a huge amount about Pokemon. My older sister was given the Red version, and younger brother got Blue. The Yellow version was a shared gift between my other sister and I, and her tendency to keep restarting the game delayed my inevitable Pokedex completion significantly. Eventually I was able to make it past the first gym leader without having my progress reset when she was given Pokemon Pinball to play instead (which I probably played more than she did anyway). Through the combined efforts of Red, Blue and Yellow, I was finally able to help my brother complete the Pokedex in Blue — only for him to decide to start the process again. This was before the Mew Glitch was well known (if known at all) so let me tell you I was devastated that the work I had gone to get Mew from a friend has been deleted.
These late ’90s were also when I started collecting the Pokemon cards. This is back when a shiny background Charizard was the only thing that mattered, and no, I never got one of them. I got lots of limited edition cards released with the movie (because damn, I must have seen that first movie a hundred times) and a handful of Japanese cards through some shady back alley deals… by which I mean in the playground at school. The cards were banned from school soon after, but whatever, I had what I wanted. The Trading Card Game gameboy game came out soon after, and I learned to battle like a pro, but I never had anyone to battle with. That was probably for the best, though, because it kept my cards in perfect condition. I’ve still got my cards in order in a plastic pocket folder, all mint condition and untouched. I’ll be rich one day, and I’ll be able to thank Pokemon for it.
At this point, the Nintendo 64 was the best thing ever, and whilst most people were gushing over seeing their Pokemon battle in 3d through Pokemon Stadium, I was far more interested in Pokemon Snap. I didn’t have a 64 of my own, so I had to go to friends’ houses and apologise for boring them all by replaying the same levels of Snap over and over to try and get those perfect photos.
My favourite Pokemon of this first generation were Psyduck and Haunter; the former of which due to both his stupid nature in the anime, and because they are just adorable. Haunter was a favourite because he reminded me of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time boss Bongo Bongo. Both are still favourites, and I use Psyduck/Golduck and Haunter on all of my non-competitive teams.
Part II: Prospecting
After missing out on Blue and Red, I was determined to get one of the main games for Generation II, and the game that caught my eye was Gold – mainly due to Ho-oh looking cooler than Lugia on the covers. My sister once again bought the corresponding version, and through her Silver version I came so close to finishing the Pokedex for the second time, but it was only Celebi who eluded me. Chasing the three Legendary Dogs throughout Johto was a stressful time for me then, but the feeling of FINALLY catching even just one of them was enough to keep me going. Being able to return to the same places as from the first game was mind blowing to me, and the final battle with Red on top of Mt Silver is one of my all time favourite boss battles.
The new Pokemon movie was pretty good, for ten year old me at least. Seeing the Legendary birds on screen was quite an experience, and the twist of phrasing in the movie’s prophecy (“the world will turn to ash”) was so clever to me – though seems so very obvious in hindsight.
This second generation also introduced two more of my favourite pokemon, which are still staples of my team to this day: Ampharos, who featured in the story, and Crobat, giving me a real reason to catch one of those annoying Zubats. Because of the introduction of Shiny Pokemon, the possibility of a blue-flamed Ponyta was too much for me, and would soon become my ‘white whale’, so to speak.
But this was only the end of Generation II, and there is still much more to come on page 2!