31/31 Day 10: My Pokémon Journey - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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31/31 Day 10: My Pokémon Journey

My time with Nintendo's blockbuster monster-catching franchise has been some of the best I've spent in all my time playing video games. This morning, while I was contemplating what to write for the day, I saw a link on YouTube for Chuggaaconroy's playthrough of Pokémon FireRed, and at that instant, I was inspired. So, today, I've decided to recap on my personal journey through Pokémon, including everything from the core franchises to the spin-offs.

I started with you...when you were so small...and I so young...

This will, of course, be chronological. In the past, I've explained how I didn't really start to play video games passionately until I played The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Wii in 2007. However, thinking back a little bit, I realize there was one game I actually did play before that that did really impact me, even though I didn't know it, and was really the true first time I played one game a lot. That game was Pokémon FireRed version, for the GameBoy Advance. One day, during the summer, of what I guess to be 2004 or 2005, I was with my grandmother at a Target, and I asked for the game, because I'd heard about it and was curious about it. Before this point in time, I'd only played small licensed games such as Harry Potter, and a port of Super Mario Bros. 3, so this was a big point in time for me. I was blown away by how deep the game was, and, well, I was hooked.

Unfortunately, I don't have any of my old GameBoys anymore, nor do I know where the original cartridge I used is, so I can't pull any data from them to show you guys, like I do below with the DS games I still own. In any case, I can say that after I beat the Elite Four in Pokémon FireRed, I wandered a bit on the islands, caught all the Legendary Birds, and just, trained some. I stopped playing for awhile, because at some point, my GameBoy Advance SP broke, and well, that was a time when I didn't play video games. A year later or so, I had moved, and one day, after I had gotten a Wii and had finally started console gaming, my brother came home with my mother from a wedding they went to, and in my brother's hands was a new GameBoy Advance SP. I was immediately jealous, and that very day, because he didn't feel like using it, I plugged in my FireRed cartridge, and played a new file for several hours, and got through several Pokémon Gyms. I was back in the game.

Now, at some point, I got a Nintendo DS, after this. I may actually have been wrong about when my brother came home with a new GBA SP, because it's honestly hard to remember. In any case, there is the fact that at some point after that GameBoy day, I think the next year, I got a Nintendo DS, which I was very excited about, and again, at some point later, we were, actually again, at Target, this time while on vacation, and I saw Pokémon Diamond Version. And yes, being the spoiled kid (well, I didn't get an allowance, so getting a game every few months was I guess my allowance), I got the game after begging saying please a few times, and well, that was the start of a whole new adventure.

NEW BEST FRIENDS.

A couple days later, when I got home, I talked with my friend a bit who was starting up his own new game, and he offered to trade me the two starters I did not have (I chose Chimchar-I always go with the Fire starter). I was very thankful, and so, with my new journey, I trained Chimchar, Turtwig, and Piplup all at once. Along with a Starraptor, Luxray, and Garchomp, I had a pro team, and went on to beat my rival with ease. I remember, just before you get to the Elite 4, your rival Barry challenges you, and I freaked out at this moment, because I hadn't anticipated this moment. My Prinplup hadn't evolved into an Empoleon yet, and so, I didn't know of the unique types that Empoleon is made of. I had my Infernape against his Empoleon, and thinking I had no choice, I did the move Close Combat on his Empoleon, and got a Super Effective attack, much to my surprise, because Empoleon is Steel type. I went on to defeat the Elite 4 in that file, which I still have, over 70 times, for training, and other purposes.

After doing some post-game content, and fighting the Elite 4 a couple times, I decided to work on completing the Pokédex. I did so for the Sinnoh region with ease, because I had friends who had the Pearl Version of the game, and also had my old FireRed game to import from. During this time, I also imported by old Charizard, Ditto, Lapras, Zapdos, Mewtwo, and others I'd caught, and decided to complete the National Dex.

I was so close...stupid Johto Pokémon I can't get...

493. That's how many Pokémon there were at that time. While I never did complete the National Dex, I did come pretty darn close, as you can see above, as well as how much time I invested in that file. I labored for the better part of a couple years, importing from friend's old games, to trading globally, to doing special events, and just, getting out there and training. I beat the Elite 4 so many times because a lot of them involved having some 6th Pokémon with an EXP share. Over time, I had a team of level 100s, including several from the FireRed file I started when my brother got a new GBA SP. Eventually, I traded those into my Pokémon Platinum file.

I was committed.

In my Pokémon Platinum game, I didn't spend nearly as much time as I did in Diamond, as you can see below. While I did have fun in the game, I never was really as motivated as much with completing the National Dex, because I just, got tired of it. So, it was around this time, I started to fall into the side stories of Pokémon more than the core series, and found even though I spent less time with them, I loved them more. 

Not as much time spent, but a good time nonetheless. 

At some time, I'm not sure exactly when, I got Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team. After taking the quiz at the beginning, I was identified as being a Squirtle, and for my partner in the game, I had a Pikachu, named Luke, because I had a friend at the time named Luke, and it just sounded fitting. So, me and Luke set off into Mystery Dungeons, and fought for survival against the mysterious Gengar, and I had a grand old time with that game, with a very, very touching story. I continued playing this game, and when I heard that another game in the series was being made with the Pokémon from Diamond and Pearl, I was very excited. 

Coincidentally, I think that that sequel, Explorers of Time, was the first time I had a game preordered. In any case, I started the sequel, and this time, I was told I was a Chimchar, for which I was very excited about, and decided to, again, have a partnered Pikachu named Luke, to keep with tradition. We both embarked on the great adventures in store, and it was one of my favorite experiences of all time. The "ending" made me shed many tears, and after that, I continued with the post-game missions for awhile, even eventually going to face Darkrai, and barely managing to defeat him. A couple times I've replayed the game, though the original experience was one I won't forget, and made the game stay in my top games I've ever played. Since I never tried Explorers of Sky or Gates to Infinity, my time with the sub-series may be done, since the 3D transition isn't something I'm loving about Gates, and well, it seems that will continue.

CAPTURE ON!

Sometime after I finished Blue Rescue Team but before Explorers of Time, I also tried the Pokémon Ranger game for DS, and found it frustrating, albeit fun. The main problem with the original game was that you had to keep a continuous loop around a Pokemon, which was nigh impossible at times. In the sequel, Shadows of Almia, that came out a few months after Explorers of Time/Darkness, each Pokemon instead had a capture bar, that simply refilled if you weren't quick enough. This was a much-needed improvement, and made the game a favorite of mine.

I played the game quite a bit after receiving it for Christmas the month after it came out, and beat it several times, even capturing every single Pokémon more than once, getting even Regigigas, which requires doing several specific steps. I also did the downloadable missions a couple times, because they were just fun, and the stories were great. Sure, they were a bit cliché, but I liked them, because they were charming and fun to engage in. I never got the most recent game, but I'm thinking about trying it sometime. In any case, Shadows of Almia was one of the most enjoyable experiences I had on DS, and now I want to play it again...curses at myself for trading it in...

Your designs are awesome!...That's it! 

Finally, we get close to the present. The last two main entries in the Pokémon series-HeartGold/Soulsilver, and Black/White, were games I was excited for, but ultimately, didn't meet my expectations(I am ignoring B2 and W2, because I didn't play them). I was hoping for something good from the Johto remakes, but it failed to meet my expecations. I wasn't inspired to use the Pokéwalker, and I never even finished the game. Johto remains my least favorite region, because it's simply...boring, with Pokémon I don't really like tons in it. Lastly, I tried out Pokémon Black, but ultimately, I was a bit disappointed. I liked how they focused on story, but the design of the Pokémon, and the lack of motivating post-game content didn't motivate me, so I put the game down. 

Since that day, no Pokémon game has come out that I've been interested in, and so, I haven't played any since that day. However, I did get one, old classic. Pokémon Snap. I downloaded the game from the Wii Virtual Console, and enjoyed my time with it a lot. I found the game unique, and charming. A sequel is something I'm hoping for very much, as I think it could work very well on the Wii U. I'm crossing my fingers, and if you aren't, try the game out-it's a blast to play.

Well, that's it, where my journey has taken me. I hope you all enjoyed this little trip down memory lane for me, and I'll see you all tomorrow for Day 11. And no....that is not a typo, at all. Today is Day 10. Tomorrow is Day 11. Think about it, and props to you if you understand.

There they are...my team...who I've been with for years...and will hopefully go on more adventures with...

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