Recently, I got to thinking about the video games that were important to me during my childhood. Those that shaped my daydreams, my imagination, and even my writing style. I was fascinated by many games for various systems, from the Nintendo 64 to the Xbox 360. In this post, I will share the games that shaped my childhood and impacted me so much they are recalled with fondness now. This is part three, in which I will focus on Pokémon games.
System: Game Boy Color
Release date: June 28, 1999
This game was one of the first Pokémon games I ever played. My favorite part was the rumble feature, which was built into the cartridge itself, which required a battery. It is basically a pinball game, but with opportunities to capture Pokémon.
System: Nintendo 64
Release date: July 26, 1999
I think this game was super creative. Who wouldn’t want to be a photographer taking pictures of wild creatures? Professor Oak rates your pics of each Pokémon and determines which is better. Photographs are rated on size, pose, and getting the whole Pokémon in the frame, with bonus points for special poses. The game includes stages such as the river, the beach, a tunnel, etc. It is fun trying to improve your album over time. This game could truly be considered a “cult classic.”
My family now plays the new version of Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch. In some ways it is a better game, but it lacks the nostalgic feel of the original.
Pokémon Yellow Version/Special Pikachu Edition
System: Game Boy Color
Release date: October 19, 1999
This is the first normal Pokémon game I played. Looking at pictures of it online now, I realize how monotone the Pokémon are, but at the time I did not notice the limited color palette and flat Pokémon. The game was revolutionary for its time, but did not age well.
Pokémon Yellow introduced me to Pokémon battles. At first I felt a real connection to my Pokémon and was upset when they fainted in battle. I liked that the Pikachu, my first Pokémon, would follow me around outside of its Pokéball. (Most Pokémon are kept in ball-shaped capturing devices called Pokéballs, and are only released during battle.)
I hated having to share this game with my siblings, because I grew so attached to my Pokémon.
Pokémon FireRed Version
System: Game Boy Advance
Release date: September 9, 2004
This was the first Pokémon game I did not have to share with my siblings and I adored it. I decided I wanted to become the best Pokémon trainer ever and was shocked that my one friend used cheat codes in her Pokémon games. I intended to become the best the old-fashioned way–with hours and hours of gameplay. I managed to get my Charizard (the Pokémon featured on the front of the game) to level 100. That’s the highest level you can reach. I spent hours using the VS Seeker, an item that convinced Pokémon trainers to fight you again and again. I used it in an area that had a bunch of bikers because they were decently high level, but it must have taken ages to get to level 100.
The art style and animation were already great improvements over Pokémon Yellow.
Pokémon Red Rescue Team
System: Game Boy Advance
Release date: September 18, 2006
I loved this game because it went outside the norm of playing to be the best Pokémon trainer you can be. Instead, you are a person who was mysteriously turned into a Pokémon and has developed amnesia. The game decides what Pokémon you will become by asking you a series of amusing questions in a sort of personality quiz. You join a rescue team, undertaking quests and saving lost Pokémon. The combat is still turn-based, but it feels more free-flowing because you can try to get away or throw items or move around. The hardest missions were escort missions, because you had to take a usually weak Pokémon along with you on a mission.
Release date: March 22, 2004
In this 3D role-playing game, I played as Pokémon Trainer Wes and, alongside my partner Rui, identified and saved Shadow Pokémon. Shadow Pokémon are those whose hearts have been artificially closed and can only use shadow moves. They can only be helped by battling alongside them and growing closer to them, after which they can be purified/healed. That is desirable because in their shadow state they are often disobedient and can go into hyper mode, in which they do not listen and may even hurt themselves in this rampaging state. Another cool aspect of this game is double battles–battling with two Pokémon at once! It’s a super creative game that I loved, and may be my favorite Pokémon game.
I have played many more Pokémon games than just those I mentioned, but these ones were the most impactful. Have you played Pokémon? Share which game in the comments!
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