The year is 2000. The month: October. I’d moved over 4000 miles across the Atlantic to Atlanta with my parents as my dad got a teaching job there. The stay lasted six months but my parents enjoyed it as much as a trip to a Nazi dentist. there were some happy memories to take from the experience though. I’ll start with a little background info…
A few weeks into my stay, my Game Boy was misplaced and stolen. Amongst the games
A trip to a shopping outlet brought with it a unique opportunity, something I had always wanted to do even before the existence of Pokémon: go to Toys ‘R Us. This was the ultimate for me and after browsing all the wondrous toys, there it was: a Game Boy display unit. But not just any Game Boy. This was the brand-new Game Boy Color and a Pokémon Gold cartridge was sitting inside. I loitered around pretending to look at the other games, waiting for the other kids to leave. When the coast was completely clear, I swooped in and had a go. Johto was to be my homeland on G/S with a new
Best birthday ever
I don’t remember the other presents I received for my 10th birthday. All I do remember is my parents standing at the kitchen counter smiling as they handed me a wrapped box. I had no idea what they’d bought me but judging by the lack of presents, I knew it was something special. Turns out my desires were heard. I was the proud owner of a purple Game Boy Color with Pokémon Silver. I rushed to hug them with tears in my eyes
With water being my favorite Pokémon type, I chose Totodile as my starter and went on my way through this unknown land called Johto. My new rival, Silver, wasn’t as jovial as Gary aka Blue was. He sported red long hair and seemed almost obsessed with beating me and becoming the greatest trainer of them all. Professor Oak made a brief appearance at the start to give me my Pokedex (again) before the first gym leader. Unlike on Blue, I didn’t have a type advantage with Falkner’s flying types, but I pulled through after a few tries.
I’ve been playing Pokémon for 16 years, but for me, nothing beats this generation. It laid the ground work for future versions with its unique day and night system (including related evolutions like Umbreon who looks a bit like my cat but with long ears), communication with other trainers using the Pokegear, and new types of Poke Balls. But arguably the biggest feature to be introduced was breeding and, furthermore, the concept of gender. This was one of the biggest steps forward in Pokémon training as it allowed for cultivating better Pokémon with new moves it wouldn’t have previously learnt via TMs or levelling up.
Back to Kanto
Once I won all eight gym badges, it was time to face the new Elite Four, but this time it was just the four champion trainers and Lance and no rival in sight (except in a battle before you reach them). There was Will the psychic
Well, since Giovanni originally disbanded Team Rocket back in RBY, that left the Viridian City gym empty. Enter former champion Blue with an upgraded team and the same desire to win as before. It seemed fitting to end the Kanto part of my journey in the same way as I had in the preceding game. I’m not the biggest fan of playing Pokémon with the music on, but I always turned it up for Gary’s match. I always admired his ethos and the Pokémon he trained. After winning all the Kanto badges, there was only one trainer left to “complete” the game. Professor Oak re-emerged back in Pallet Town and allowed me access to Mt. Silver, a treacherous mountain where sitting inside was Red, Blue’s arch nemesis and the very character I played in Pokémon RBY. Now, I don’t mind admitting this, but I’ve only beaten him once in 15 years of playing. It’s more to do with boredom of constant training, but it was always a real test of my skills.
Unlike with Pokémon Blue, I had three years with Pokémon Silver until the new versions came out, and this was the start of a downturn in my interest with Pokémon. The appeal still lingers even today; in fact, I’m thinking of starting a new save with a team of Ice and Poison Pokémon, two types I’ve never trained before. Gen II’s advanced features and addictive gameplay have helped pave the way for future releases and kept me entertained for years.