Pokemon celebrates 20th Anniversary
20 years ago today, Nintendo of Japan released Pokemon Red and Green to the public. It seems they had no idea of the global cross-media phenomenon this pair of Gameboy games would create.
I thought it might be nice to ask some of the Player2 crew what their favourite memories were of the series. It turned out they weren’t all as familiar with the series as myself, but as they say – different strokes!
Stephen del Prado
Pokemania wouldn’t hit Australian shores until late in 1998, just in time for Christmas. My earliest Pokemon memory is, I suspect, a common one for Australians of school age during the late 90’s – watching the anime series debut on Cheez TV. However, as much as I enjoyed the series at the time, I wasn’t able to convince my parents that a Gameboy was a sound investment. Naturally, when my youngest brother was given one for his birthday not long after, I felt a deep sense of injustice.
Somewhere between 1999 and 2000, I downloaded the emulator No$GB on to our home PC, along with a ROM of Pokemon Yellow, figuring this was my only route of experiencing the Pokemon game phenomenon. At this point, the family PC was stationed in the dining room of our small house, visible from the kitchen and right outside my bedroom door.
It became clear very quickly to my parents why they should have just caved and provided me with a Gameboy of my own. While I had always spent a fair amount of time playing video games, I think the placement of the PC and their proximity to it drove home just how much time I was spending playing Pokemon. After a few weeks, they broached the subject with me, unable to understand why I was coming home and spending upwards of 3 hours every afternoon ‘wasting my time on a video game’.
Thanks to good old teenage hormones, I cracked it at them in the most OTT way possible for dismissing my hobby, not buying me a Gameboy and whatever else I could come up with. This outburst was followed by a brief period in which they considered taking me to get some professional help, assuming I was deep in the clutches of video game addiction. Meanwhile, I’m sure my litle brother spent just as much time on his Gameboy, safe from accusations in the comfort of his bedroom.
16+ years later, I’m still playing Pokemon games. The biggest Poke-drama in my life these days is much more enjoyable however; my wife and I arguing over which one of us gets to buy Pokemon Moon (it’s her by the way – I’ve been relegated to Pokemon Sun).
I’ve only ever played ~30 minutes of Pokemon Red, so I’m probably not much help to you, sorry. I have a friend who has a Pikachu onesie, is that helpful?
The Pokemon series has touched the hearts and minds of countless millions of people – I was one of them. I hold some of my most cherished gaming memories closely, and a great number of them have stemmed from the Pokemon series. I initially found it quite difficult to identify which exact memory was my most cherished, but before long I’d found the truth in my heart – when I got my sweaty little hands on Mew for the first time.
For years I’d heard rumours of the fabled Mew. I’d caught all 150 Pokemon in Red/Blue and I was aware of all these supposed cheats that unlocked the mythical critter. Much to my disappointment none of these had worked, but I learned that gamers were slowly getting their hands on the fabled Pokemon. Much to my delight, Mew had gradually made its way around the world and into the Gameboy’s of two of my cousins. They’d transferred Mew over to me on the condition that I’d return it, just so I could have it in my Pokedex – it was a nice start, but no substitute for having my own Mew.
Things changed however when Pokemon Gold/Silver hit the scene. Not only did they fast become my favourite Pokemon games (an opinion I still hold even now), but even after I quickly scraped together all 250 Pokemon in the game, I lacked the one I wanted most – Mew. Lugia, Ho-Oh, Mewtwo, Zapdos, Entei… they were all fantastic Pokemon, but none had the appeal to me that the elusive Mew had, and my cousins had it – Mew was within my grasp! Everything changed when I discovered a bug in Pokemon Gold/Silver, an exploit that allowed me to duplicate Pokemon, items, whatever I chose. Naturally my first port of call was to my cousin’s place to show them the cheat.
The outcome was glorious. As soon as I saw them next I had them exploiting the bug, duplicating the wonderous Mew and trading it over to me in exchange for a measley Pidgey. I was in raptures, delighted at finally getting my hands on the mystical Pokemon that had eluded me for so long. In that moment, years of patience had finally paid off, and I couldn’t have been any happier about it.
Today’s announcement of Pokemon Sun and Moon opens up a wealth of new fantastic Pokememories, but it’s unlikely that anything can or will ever surpass the immense satisfaction that obtaining Mew gave me. I look forward to seeing what these newest entries can bring though. The Pokemon franchise has always delivered, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
I’ve never even played a Pokemon game.
I bought that Pokemon game that had the pedometer with the Pokemon trapped inside and then I realised that they deserved to be free…. of me….
Isn’t Pokemon those Japanese pokies?
It was whilst toiling away in the bowels of the now mythical Australian Gamer forums that Stephen’s attempts at writing were recognised by then up-and-coming Matt ‘Hewso’ Hewson as “not terrible”. Since then he has contributed to such sites as The Age’s now defunct Screen Play, the now-long retired Black Panel and currently serves under Editor-in-Chief Hewso for Player2.net.au, at least until the pattern of decline obvious in his previous engagements is picked up on by Hewso and he is exiled from games journalism forever.
Writes on Yugambeh land.