A Long Time Ago…In a galaxy not so far away from my couch
Hello my Loyal Followers / Bloggers / and Gamers,
To start this story out, I got a very interesting email the other day from one of the managers from Man Crates. As I read the email from this new company that sends pretty much as the title dictates stuff that appeal to men, you can order awesome gifts for men like a Zombie Survival Kits, Whiskey Selections, and they have Nostalgia Crates for Gaming! I read up on the company and it sounds pretty awesome. I mean you have to open your loot with a crow bar! It’s just like in a Christmas Story it’s a major award, “FRAGILE, It sounds Italian.” Anyway I digress they wanted me to share one of my favorite gaming memories from the retro era of gaming. I have a lot of these stories. Too many of them actually. So needless to say it was hard to pick one. So I have decided to give you a peek into the life of the Gamer Keith of years past. As I played one of my favorite games of all times. I know it comes of no surprise to any of my followers but it’s a Nintendo game. This is one of the many legends that has shaped my life as a gamer. Here is the story of my gaming experience with the original Pokémon Red & Blue for Game Boy. Keep in mind I was a kid when this came out I was still in adolescence and this was all new, and Pokémon was not nearly as complex as it is today with Mega Evolutions, and contests, and breeding, and viruses and just everything! Also I had just watched Pokémon Origin on Hulu.
The year was 1996, if you can imagine the internet was in its infancy stages, and not the power house that it is today. Every morning I would wake up before school to watch WPIX which in my neck of the woods is channel 11 or what would now be referred to as the CW. I would wake up and as I eat my breakfast and struggle to get ready to go to school, I would watch a brand new Anime to me at least called Pokémon. You watched the adventures of Ash Ketchum (Really??) and his Pikachu as he would travel over the world of Kanto to catch and train Pokémon to become a Pokémon master. See when you’re a kid your imagination runs wild and fads become a way of life. That’s all some people would talk about in school was did you watch Pokémon this morning? Then I heard they were bringing the game of the same title to the US. There was not going to be 1 but 2!! One with the mighty Charizard a dragon with a flame on its tail on the cover called the Red Version, and then a Blue Version with Blastoise a huge tortoise Pokémon that had guns coming out of his shell! How bad ass was this? I mean in the show we didn’t really see these guys yet, unless you talk about the Pokémon name rattle off at the end of the show before the credits! So a lot was left to the imagination like what cool Pokémon are in here that we can see and compete with. So I asked for it, and my Mom rented it from a local video store if you are from New Jersey it was a placed called Palmer Video. She didn’t know which one to get so when I was with her I went with Red because I thought Charizard was cool. I popped the cartridge into my Red Game Boy Pocket and with delight the ding of the scrolling Nintendo Logo appeared on screen and you got the first cut scene of a Nidorino and a Gengar fighting. The game starts, you are introduced to Professor Oak, the guy from the TV show! We are in for a treat now you get to pick your character’s name then you get to pick your rivals name. Then the adventure starts and honestly it’s boring at first. You are walking around talking to sprites and you really don’t have an idea of when you are going to actually start battling Pokémon and catching them and fighting gym leaders. Finally after trekking around the small town for a bit you are able to enter a field and you start to learn the basics of the game. You get to pick your starter Pokémon, honestly little disappointing at first because in the Anime Ash is late to pick a Pokémon and is stuck with Pikachu why couldn’t I get Pikachu?!? It wasn’t until years later they released the Special Yellow edition for Game Boy Color where you actually get Pikachu as your starter Pokémon. Instead you have 3 starter Pokémon a dinosaur plant named Bulbasaur, a turtle named Squirtle, and another dinosaur with a flame on his tail called Charmander. Thinking the Dinosaur looked bad ass and in the little instruction booklet (Yes games actually had instruction booklets that actually enhanced the experience of playing the game) that they gave you called the Trainer’s Guide they showed you a small list of the 150 Pokémon you could catch and evolve and I saw Charmander evolved in to Charmeleon then into Charizard. So I start the game I fight my rival I kick his ass just barely and you start your adventure. Now the goal from the game clearly because it’s printed on the box is you “Gotta Catch em’ All”, you fill up a thing called the Pokédex the objective catch all 150 Pokémon, and be the very best that no one ever was!
After about 1 day I was hooked I had to train, I would just keep playing for hours, fighting Pokémon, capturing Pokémon. So far I had capture probably about 9 Pokémon. One of which was a Caterpie, I am trying to live the show in my own adventure. So I am like well let’s try to get this guy to Evolve. I trained with him for what seemed like hours in the forest and he evolved into Metapod, which he had great defense but whittling down an enemy’s HP with just tackle was long and tedious. Eventually I had gotten him to level 10, and something was happening….Metapod was evolving! Metapod had evolved into Butterfree! Even better he learned psychic! I had picked this game up on Friday Night, and played it till Sunday I had gotten most of my Pokémon up to level 12 or so and I had already fought Brock at the Pewter City Gym, and after changing the batteries probably 3 times and doing homework, the rental had to be returned… It was returned that Monday morning or else we had to be hit with the dreaded late fees! I was a little upset, but I was determined! With the little money I had saved up I bought the Strategy guide. I was going to learn this game inside and out, I didn’t want to spoil too much so I kind of just looked at the back where you could find the Pokémon evolutions and there were stickers and all sorts of other cool stuff. The game was all a lot of people could talk about like how far did you get last night? What’s your Pokémon line-up? Eventually a month or so later my parents bought me the Blue Version, was so happy but in the same time I had to restart my whole game. I started again I picked Charmander…again. The scenario already played out for me. But I was determined to capture all these Pokémon. Every time I was home I played Pokémon on my Super Gameboy because I wanted to play it on the big screen dammit! When I was at school I brought my Game Boy and would play it during Lunch, if I was at practice for wrestling or what have you I would play it anytime I had a free moment. I was a Poke-Addict, I had a lot of Pokémon crap, figures a Poke-Ball, a lot of stuff. I got all the way up to Sabrina in Saffron City, and then something amazing happened they were holding a Pokémon event in the Mall! They were going to have the card game tournaments using the Link Cable (You see there was no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi you linked that together with a short maybe a foot cable) everything! I stood in line for about an hour. I played a few people I did some trades, that’s how I got my Golem, the only way you would be able to Evolve Graveler to his final form was to trade it with another Game Boy and it would evolve then if the person wasn’t a jerk they trade it back to you and boom new Pokémon. I didn’t stay for the whole thing unfortunately because you know parents they had stuff to do also couldn’t waste time all day at the Mall. This probably went on for a good solid 2 months on and off. On the weekend it would be me a bag of Doritos and a Pepsi (My parents never let me have Mountain Dew, it wasn’t till I was about 19 I had my 1st Mountain Dew, which is by far one of the best gamer fuels, I don’t drink soda anymore for this reason, ha-ha) playing Pokémon on my Super Game Boy. I would go to the Safari Zone and catch Pokémon, and train my Pokémon I continued the story because little did I realize at the time that this was an RPG. I did die a few times, I saw way to many Zubats at once in the caves. I wasted probably a good solid hr. just trying to catch an Abra in the fields after Cerulean city. I hunted for Rare Candies to level up my lead Pokémon. I had traded for the different starter Pokémon because I wanted the same lineup as Ash in the TV show. I had gotten my Pokémon somewhere in the neighborhood of LVL 50-60. I had beaten the head of Team Rocket who was also the Veridian City Gym Leader. It was time to go to the Indigo Plateau and fight the Elite 4. I was ready I had my Line-up and here how it followed, I had Raichu, Blastoise, Venusaur, Charizard, Alakazam, and Lapras. It took a while to actually beat the Elite 4 the first time but finally I had done it I had beaten the Elite, then just when you think you won nope. You gotta face your rival. That’s when the game got real! I trusted my skills with my line-up and I won he was easier than the damn Elite 4! The game however was not over. No! Now it was time to go out again into the world of Pokémon and capture more! I had to get the Legendary Birds, Articuno, Moltrese, and Zappados. This was frustrating, sometimes I had to save before battling them just so if I couldn’t capture them I could restart from that point. Then came the battle with Mewtwo. Ohh this was a long one. Frustrating because he was such a high level, he would kick your ass before you even knew it. And what’s worse is I used my Masterball Already and I couldn’t get another one! I had almost given up. Then like all kids at the time we had a thing called Game Genie :-). I had heard that in order to capture another super rare Pokémon called Mew, who was not on the roster whatsoever, you had to have one. So I went to Funcoland (What is now GameStop) and I got me a game genie. I am sorry but game genie was essential for a kid. I had to use my computer to go to the internet which again was still new to find a site to get the code for the unknown number Pokémon you had to capture it then you can get Mew. So while I was at it I got me some rare candies and leveled my Pokémon to 100 captured Mew and Mewtwo. Then I went on my merry way. Pokémon was probably the main game I have always played on a portable console from the first title to the current XY. I continue to play Pokemon since they made Pokemon Alpha & Omega on the Nintendo 3DS, it wasn’t as simple then the originals however you can do a lot more stuff on newer hardware. Though I still play them nothing will beat the original Red and Blue. It was a time of simplicity and gaming was straightforward. You played the game and you enjoyed it and you stuck with it there was no DLC or any game fixes or crashes. It was a complete game and it brought me hours of joy and memories. I look back at some of these times as the greatest gaming memories.
I hope you enjoyed this little blog, if you think I should share some of my more favorite memories leave a comment below or tweet now @thegamerkeith, post on FaceBook, or even email. If you like I may make this article a monthly section. If you want to look more into Man Crates visit them @ http://www.mancrates.com/gifts-for-men. . Check out the Retro Gamer Crate or the Super Retro Gamer Crate!