The year was 1998 and I was gripped with Pokemon fever.
I had started watching the anime on weekday TV, bought a lovely new Gameboy Color just to play Pokemon Red, and started collecting the mini-figures by TOMY.
My mate Luke and I used to walk into the city two to three times a week to visit the comic book shop, and while in the city visit video game arcades, video game stores or browse toys/collectibles in various shops back in my old hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand.
I bought more of those Pokemon minis than I can even remember back then and today I still have all of them loose in a box, waiting to be displayed twenty years later.
When I moved to Australia around the tail end of 1999, I remember my younger brother becoming another Pokefiend. He completed his Gameboy Color game, then we accidentally found out we could play the other games as ROMS on PC and he got into those.
My younger brother, sister and myself went to the first movie release of Pokemon the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back. My brother’s favorite Pokemon was Squirtle and I still remember the sparkle in his eye and cheer on his face when Squirtle appeared in the opening Pikachu short that preceded the film.
I followed the show a while longer while still living with my family and eventually moved to West Australia – where I no longer had access to any television for a couple years, and basically no money. When I did have a dollar or two I picked up some comics here and there, but mostly I just read nothing but library books for that period of time.
From then till now, my Pokemon journey seemingly ended – or at least took a detour. I was aware over the years of all the various other game releases, but never got around to buying any of them. And I never finished Pokemon Red. I did play it some more, as it was the only game device I had not dependent on a Television. My game time got up to 80 hours, I caught and trained loads of Pokemon, then put it aside and forgot about it.
I picked up Pokemon Silver and Crystal for my growing GBC collection, but never actually got around to playing them. I also picked up both Pokemon Stadium’s for N64, but hardly played them at all, finding the whole transfer pak process via the GB carts clever – but fiddly and annoying. And both N64 Stadium games were barely games to start with.
Then in 2018 I started selling off my older game consoles. Off went my pristine but well played Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Gamecube, games and more. Off went my purple Gameboy Color with ragged original box, and two Gameboy Advance SP’s and my entire GB/GBC/GBA collection. I kept my Sega Mega Drive and games (being my fav console ever) and everything else from PS2 forward.
Only in 2019 did I buy Pokemon Blue – this time on the 3DS Virtual Console store. And I’ve fallen in love with the game all over again, but this time I will finish generation one before moving on and playing all the other main entries in the series. I also picked up a cheap Pokemon Sun to see what it was like, and it is gorgeous.
Seeing the recent battle figures in my local chain stores – that I had ignored for months on my Transformers and TMNT figure hunts – I gave them a chance and was pleasantly surprised at both the quality and selection available at sensible prices. Lapras and Gengar are the two standout figures for me.
If I look back at what rekindled my passion for Pokemon – it was the release of the Detective Pikachu movie which my Mrs and myself really enjoyed at the cinema, and again at home. The Detective Pikachu movie got so many things right and had me out the following week looking at current Pokemon toys. It’s a fun all ages movie that I highly recommend for fans old and new.
Along with that Detective Pikachu movie I watched a heap of Retrospective Pokemon videos about the game series on Youtube, which really helped cement my decision to get back into Pokemon, and of course now I’ve started watching the show from the very start along with the twenty or so movie specials – and despite being a show being made for kids and an interruption to my non stop weekend marathons of Super Seventies Robot Anime – it stands up pretty well with fun gags, colorful characters and enjoyable stories.
Recently I finished setting up this animation themed display, and Pokemon were definitely a part of it, with a focus on the early Pokemon from the first series of the show and in particular the Pokemon of Misty, Ash, Brock and Team Rocket. Meowth is still in one of the loose boxes, I have not forgotten him. It’s kind of fun that Frieza and James happen to be in the same colors.
With the fever at full pitch I’ve pre-ordered (doh!) some nice Pokefigures by Bandai from HLJ.com in the Pokemon Scale Collection and checked out what is on the way from the mainstream TOMY releases at chain stores for the battle collection that include fan favorites like Snorlax, Charizard, Mewtwo and Gyarados.
Despite being so many years on from the first Pokemon game, anime and toys – I’m genuinely excited and feel like my Pokemon journey is only just beginning. As an overall franchise, who could have even predicted it would be still be around so many years later going from strength to strength with video games, the collectible card game, cartoons and loads of cool mini PVC figures and boundless Pokemon plush to keep things rolling along.
COMING UP NEXT ON YE OLDE BLOG: Dinobots