I was first introduced to Pokemon with the cartoon anime. During my teenage years I had a slight interest in anime and I tried watching multiple cartoons to try to get interested. Sailor Moon, Orphen and the Final Fantasy anime based off of Final Fantasy V were the only ones to really catch my attention. A friend of mine named Don who some of you may know online as “Sobaer” or “TheSobaer” told me about Pokemon and that a cartoon was on about 6:30 A.M. I decided to check it out one morning before school and I thought it was interesting. The first episode I ever saw was about gym leader Sabrina and her weird psychic daughter or sister. I can’t really recall the details but it was both interesting and odd all at the same time.
Shortly after Don discovered that he could download the Japanese rom of the game. At this time it was a couple of months before the game released here in the U.S. and I didn’t have a PC at the time. For a week that’s all he would talk about. Sure the game was in Japanese, but he trudged through it and shared with me his adventure. I was interested, it sounded great and we got what the main focus of the game was about because of the cartoon. We all know how it goes: get the eight badges, beat the Elite 4 and become the champion. It’s the same formula they use to this day. I guess if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
One weekend it was sleep over time at Dons. His mom was cool and always went all out with snacks and what not when I slept over. I remember this evening quite well for some odd reason. She bought us a bunch of tacos from a local taco joint. Don ate a lot of the tacos (almost all) and she also got us a bunch of snacks. Nothing wrong with games and snacks! Most of this night was spent playing NES games as we were really into the Wizards & Warriors games. The next day he asked me if I wanted to have a go with the Japanese rom of Pokemon. Of course I did! After hearing him talk so much about it and getting involved with cartoon I couldn’t resist!
He got the emulator going for me. At the time this was all foreign to me. My real experiences with computers and the internet were at the library. After he got it running he sat down and found Pee-Wees Playhouse on tv. Don’t judge! It’s not strange that a couple of then fifteen year olds watched Pee-Wee! It was mostly for the laughs and nostalgia. As I was playing the game he would look up and direct me if I got lost. Right before Viridian Forest he informed me to keep an eye out for a Pikachu as he was in the forest. He could be found in the big squares of grass found to the left or right when you first enter the forest. If you were around back then we all know Pikachu was the big thing. He was Ashs main Pokemon in the cartoon and most toys were Pikachu. Even some parents referred to Pokemon as “that Pikachu game” or the famous “Poke a man.”
Don had told me it took him well over an hour for this Pikachu to show up when he played. When I entered Viridian Forest he showed up on probably my second encounter! Oh how he reacted! He couldn’t believe he showed himself so fast. All I could do was laugh and and tease him. That’s what friends do and boy did I do it! September came and the games were released here in the U.S. Sadly, neither of us got the game or Gameboy Colors until Christmas that year. I had some cash and one day we were at Wal-Mart and I saw the strategy guide. Back then they only cost $9.99 and I snatched it up. We studied that thing like our lives depended on it. I did let him borrow it here and there so he could get through the rom a little easier. By the time Christmas came we had read that strategy guide so much that we knew what to do without having to use it much!
Thanks to Don I became obsessed with anything Pokemon. Toys, cards, Burger King toys, dolls, plushies you name it I bought it. I still have all these collectibles to this day. We had a lot of late nights battling and trading Pokemon. Back then I had a Persian that knew the move Body Slam and that beast could take out about anything! We went on to get any new entry in the series and we always made sure we got opposite versions. Sure I lost interest here and there with new installments, mostly Ruby/Sapphire, Black / White and Black2 / White 2. I’m not sure what is about those ones but I just couldn’t get into them. So here I am, thanking yet another friend for getting me into a series I may not of even bothered with. Thanks Don, continue “to be the very best, that no one ever was!”