Just lately, I have had a bit of a thing over Pokémon again. You might say to me, “but of course! The latest game was out this month!” And I would have to admit to you – I am currently playing my first ever Pokémon game, the Platinum version. I am a disgrace. But hear me out as we divulge down memory lane…

Jolteon graphic. Made by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character

As a child of the 90’s era I am one amongst many victims of the massive Pokémon craze. Saturday mornings would not have been the same without getting up early for the latest episode and Ant and Dec’s Poke-rap on SM:TV. It was a very happy childhood. Memories of regularly trading and comparing Pokémon cards over the fence to the lad next door (the only time in my life I have really spoken to him), or drawing many pictures of various Pokémon things and saving them all in my Pikachu folder. Which I still have. Evidence:

My drawing of Charmander, Vulpix and Squirtle. Aged about 10.

Just a sample of my Pokémon collection from childhood

As you can see, my artistic talents blossomed early. I could have put in a picture involving people (my made up battle scenes a particular highlight) but I truly belive no other human being should have to witness that.

I still own all of my childhood memorabilia, it’s just buried in the depths of my cupboard. A fully functioning alarm clock, board game (both pictured above), a Pokémon index book, Pokémon Yahtzee, enough stationary to set up my own shop and Ponyta, Eeevee and Flareon wooden pictures my mum made are particular highlights. I think it will never be possible to realise how important this actually was to me when growing up. Alongside Digimon, Cardcaptors and Sailor Moon of course.

Then the games were released and initially I did all I could to boycott them. For me, Pokémon will always be the original 150 and nothing will change that and that time was when it was beginning to shift further into more than the 150. Maybe it was just bad timing, but I refuse to fully accept the new Pokémon – I will always hold firm on this. I think part of the fun was to be able to name them all, and when it gets to 600 odd you’d have to be a genius to do that.

However, about a week or so ago I decided to give the games a go, and I have to admit I am really enjoying it. I have started on the Platinum version and currently own one gym badge and four Pokémon – including a Starly named Peebles and a Zubat named Billy. I have no regrets.

Now I am in no way going back on my initial thoughts – I would still much rather play a game with the Pokémon I grew up with (and thus ones I could recite from heart) and it still stabs my heart a little when there is a Pokémon I do not recognise. It makes me feel old and neglectful. But the games are highly entertaining – I love building my little army and unleashing it on unsuspecting trainers who dare to challenge me. The game is a pure delight to play, the concept is simple but still effective, the gameplay is easy to use but still offers plenty of opportunities, and the characters make you feel happy and fuzzy when they chat all jolly to you. With so many “serious” and “epic” games out there, it’s ones like these that are the gems. These games put a smile on your face after a hard day, when you just can’t be bothered with proper video gaming. Taking a trip down memory lane, and getting away with it as a 20-year-old, is very refreshing and these games are a wonderful place to do it.

I think we should all revisit what made our childhood selves happy and recapture that. So does anyone out there have some Pokemon memories? Share them!

Vulpix – my favourite as a child. Graphic made by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character.

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