As you all are probably aware now I’m a huge fan of Pokemon. Or, maybe some already figured that before the last post considering my gravatar image has me wearing a pikachu beanie. Whether you did or not I assume most wouldn’t really care anyway, it’s just a video game after all. To some they’re just video games, to others they’re life, escape outlets, happiness and addictions.
For me, Pokemon was the first game that really gave me joy and a sense of accomplishment. I’m gen Y so I grew up watching the series on Cheese TV (Australian early morning cartoon show) every morning before I went to school. My brother gave me my first gameboy colour when I was 4 along with my first Pokemon game, Red. Red shaped me as a person, my favourite colour is red, the starter Pokemon I always picked was Charmander because he was a fire type. I started associating myself with the fire element, red and fire were both things of passion, which I consider myself to be rather heavily.
Pokemon wasn’t the only video game I played though. I got my first PlayStation, the original fat one about a year later. I have 3 brothers, the one that gave me the gameboy was more of a fan of Nintendo then Sony (this was before Microsoft decided to have their go with the Xbox), he was also a bigger part of my life. My second brother was a fan of Sony’s PlayStation because it was cutting edge at the time so he was all about the ultra realism and awesome graphics, Nintendo was always about the story line of the game. Anyway, mum decided to listen to second brother and got me a PlayStation because he convinced her it would increase my hand-eye coordination skills. To be fair, it made me pretty quick, it did help me read but it in no way helped me catching balls in sport, not in the slightest, was still incredibly useless at that. I was playing games like Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Hercules and the ridiculously violent Tekken 2 which mum seemed to just over look the violence in because I was entertained by it. Although those games immersed me for a little while, they did not compare to the simple black and white graphics and gameplay of Pokemon Red. And every time I stayed at brothers house, I was much more excited to be playing the Nintendo 64 over the PlayStation.
Pokemon attracts me for a wide variety of reasons. Mainly it’s the collecting aspect of it. Gotta catch em all! That’s the slogan, and in the first game there was 151, technically. Secondly it was the training of your team, your cute little 6 Pokemon team. All the Pokemon had their different elements, some had 2 elements in one. Depending on what elements you Pokemon has its going to be really strong against some things and really weak against others. Your Pokemon also had stat’s, some had 2, 3 or no evolutions. You want to have a team that will be strong against everything you come across. Everything about Pokemon was high strategy gameplay, you had to think strategically. But of course, the TV show was always about love and friendship with your Pokemon, so they added that perk into the game itself. If you keep letting your Pokemon be poisoned and faint, or something else like paralysed ect then your Pokemon is going to start ignoring you, not listening to instructions. If you do all the right things and heal when they need it then you may get cool things happening like critical hits.
Pokemon helped me because I felt accomplished and I cared a lot for my Pokemon. I didn’t have friends in school, I was the unliked picked on kid. When I got home I just played Pokemon and felt the love off them, stupid as that sounds. It eased my loneliness, it immersed me in a different world, kind of like what books do but you get to physically interact with it instead. Or in the case of other games, you are the main character. The main protagonist, the hero. You’re the one saving princesses, kicking bad guy arses, collecting money, gems, apples (crash Bandicoot). The future of the story line, the character, is in your hands.
This is the coping mechanism used for most kids that I knew of in my generation. It was an interactive switch off from the world, a place to go where your only objective is doing whatever quest you need, where you as the hero is valued and important. I know that’s the feeling I got growing up when I turned on Pokemon. That game really shaped me, taught me a lot of good lessons too, treat every life form with respect, understand everyone’s story, bonds of love will always conquer evil, and lastly travel while you’re young. The main character is fucking 11 when they get thrown into the Pokemon world to start their adventure! I can still remember the excitement I felt when I first stood in prof Oaks lab, being asked which Pokemon I wanted to take on my journey. After you’ve played one game that question doesn’t have the same impact anymore:
Video game addictions are a very real thing though. World of Warcraft is like the equivalent of crack in the gaming world, not only do you spend a lot of money on it, you also spend a stupid amount of time it’s so fucking addictive. I know, I had a hard time weening myself off my wow addiction. Babies have died from their parents neglecting them to play wow. People have died from ignoring their body prompts like go to the toilet or drink some water or eat because of this game. I’m serious look it up. Amazing game though, it really is.
I was born in the generation where they were just starting to perfect console gaming, they were just figuring out how to move it from side scrolling to 3d. Most kids I see would rather play a mobile or ipad game over console, which is sad because those games are highly addicting money hungry apps that are about the developers making money off people, not providing real entertainment. On the other hand with things like the PS4, Xbox One and Wii U, gaming is as immersive as I’ve ever seen it.
I can’t wait to see them continuing to evolve. Because video games are not a bad thing, on the plus side they do improve your sensory perception, can improve your mental state, provide accomplishment, improve team building skills and cure boredom. If abused it can do the opposite of these things, but hey, everything’s fine in moderation right?
There’s no way of stopping the process of technology and evolution. May as well embrace it.