Pokémemories – Our favourite Pokémon moments
Pokémon X and Y are set to change the Pokémon world forever. With fancy 3D graphics, more online capabilities than ever before, and the fact it’s going to go back to the beginning and give some of the original 151 new Mega evolutions – there’s something Pokémon for everyone in X and Y.
But how did we get here? Why 16 years after the originals were released in Japan are we still in love with Pokémon and what in that time have we loved the most?
Here at Vooks we have a wide age range of people contributing, not everyone started at Pokémon Red and Blue, some of us didn’t even have the games. Our Pokémon memories are different, we love the same thing for different reasons – they’re written below.
We’d love to hear your favourite Pokémon memories in the comments too, let’s get nostalgic before the launch of X and Y and then jump into the future.
Wayne – 28 y/o
I was just starting high school when Pokémon first aired on TV. Hearing the announcement that a new cartoon was starting that day made me feel a little uneasy. How dare this new show change up my morning routine. As the opening credits began and I saw Mew floating about in space and I shouted out to my sleeping brother that there was a new show about flying cats.
I watched the whole episode and like most kids, loved it. I watched it religiously and when I had to leave early for school I would record it on one of those VHS machines that none of you young’uns know about. Unfortunately for me, I never owned a Game Boy. I never got to play the early Pokémon games. At school I would see the weird kids linking up their collective Game Boys with some fancy-like cables to play Pokémon together.
I can’t say that I was jealous, because I didn’t really know what I was missing out on. Fast forward to over a decade later to the era of the DS and I was working at a video game store where all the other employees were buying the new Pokémon – which were in fact remakes of old Pokémon: HeartGold and SoulSilver. I wasn’t sold on trying a Pokémon game for the first time, just because the cool kids were playing it… BUT A FREE POKEWALKER! I was in. When I booted my copy of SoulSilver for the first time I was pretty impressed.
It was cool having a little Poké-pal follow you around. I even found a Sentret! He was all fluffy and cute. Really though I had no idea what I was meant to be doing. What the heck were these weird level-up things? I had no idea. I think I sunk about ten to twelve hours into SoulSilver. Not much time really compared to most people. Actually I didn’t even beat the second Gym Leader. I was pretty horrible at it. I transferred my Sentret to my Pokéwalker to level up as I walked around and so that he was always with me. I never transferred him back.
Even though the battery to my Pokéwalker has since died, I like to think he still lives on in there somewhere… dreaming about defeating the Gym Leader I never could.
Steven – 24 y/o
I spent far too much of my high school life not studying, and instead playing Pokémon. I was lucky enough to find a couple of friends who were just as Pokémon-mad as I was, and it only made the obsession more intense. Having someone to constantly compete with meant I was always playing, always training for the next encounter.
The Pokémon games really started experimenting with connectivity at this time as well. Some of the most interesting innovations were the secret bases in Ruby and Sapphire. You could establish a little spot in the game world, and make it your own with furniture and other objects. When linking with someone else, your secret base would be copied to their game, along with your current team. Other people could find your secret base in the game, check out your digs, and most importantly, battle your Pokémon team once a day. This was invaluable for high-level training, and the customisation aspect brought some of what was so enjoyable about Animal Crossing into the Pokémon universe.
All of this added up to a more connected world. Instead of feeling alone, you felt like the people you knew in real life also had a place within the Pokémon world.
The idea has of course been expanded on since then, with wireless adapters and internet connectivity, but the way it worked in the Ruby and Sapphire generation is the most memorable form of Pokéconnectivity for me.
Liam – 24 y/o
One of my favourite memories of Pokémon would have to be when you first receive the bicycle in Red & Blue. It might sound a little bit odd, but as a kid with overprotective parents, it sort of acted as a small slice of freedom. It was an integral part of the Pokémon game experience, and one which I did not take for granted when I was young. Once the bicycle had been acquired, you could go just about anywhere within the region of Kanto. Not even your Mum could stop you because your father was nowhere in sight!
Later down the track Ruby & Sapphire introduced the Running Shoes and two different types of bicycles – the Acro and Mach Bike. A new sense of freedom was born. No longer did I have to walk through grass, caves or even towns. I could now run around like a madman, jump up hills, and then speed straight back down them. Although the bikes were a novelty for most parts of the game, the running shoes were not. They cut many hours off my often long journeys.
Years on, running became a standard feature within the Pokémon series. The bicycle has also remained, and to this very day is my main quick select item. If I had to say anything else in regards to the series, I would make mention of a brief incident which occurs at the start of Ruby & Sapphire. Quite simply, you begin the game in the back of a removalist truck. You mean to say your parents decided to move towns and you travelled in the back of a locked and presumably packed-out van the whole way?! I was lucky a new adventure even unfolded after that little event.
Josh – 19 y/o
When I was asked to write something for this feature I was going to write about how Gold and Silver helped me make friends at a new school. But then I realised that all of the first four generations of Pokemon have helped me make friends in some way. For my early years of primary school we lived in England, and Pokemon Red and Blue were in their prime.
We’d all trade cards at school and trade and battle afterwards. There was one kid who would always pick on me. I can’t remember the reason why, if I ever really knew. I found out that he loved Pokemon too, and we started talking about it every now and then, but I was always too scared to approach him while his friends were around. I was having a birthday party- I was going to have a Pokemon cake, and all the invitations were decorated with Pikachu.
I, perhaps naively, considered this guy my friend because we both liked Pokemon, so went over to him while he was standing with his intimidating group, and gave him an invitation. His friends all pointed and laughed at me, but he stared intently at this invitation for a moment, and then told his friends off. He accepted the invitation and came to the party. This has been a common theme throughout my life- going to a new school and making friends through Pokemon. At my new school when we moved back to Australia, Gold and Silver were being released, and I discovered Pokemon was popular over here as well, so I got talking with people about it and made some good friends.
The day I saved up enough for my own Link Cable so we could play together was an incredibly happy moment. When we moved again and I had to go to another new school, people were talking about the secrets of the Unknown in Crystal version. Those people are now some of my closest friends, more than 10 years later. When some new kids came to the school as part of the OC class a few years later, one of them overheard us talking about LeafGreen and FireRed, and became a part of our circle of friends. I remember when he and I assembled a huge booklet on Secret Bases in the 3rd Generation of games, and crafting the best base that we could. Then when the fourth generation of games were released, I was just starting high school, and wouldn’t you know it- there were some other kids who were as excited about that as I was! We had countless sleepovers at each other’s houses, playing the games (almost literally) all day.
We stayed up til 4am because we wanted to see what happened when the guard who was guarding that statue left and you could touch it. The bitter disappointment we discovered when nothing significant happened at all still rings in the back of my head. When people go on about how games are stupid or antisocial, I just remember back to all the friends I’ve had over the years thanks to a cute, yellow rodent. I have so many positive memories of my time playing these games that I’ve been able to share with other people, and I don’t regret it one bit.
Troy – 24 y/o
While I started my Pokémon journey with Blue version, I had most of my memorable experiences with Pokémon Gold version. I remember my mum putting a pre-order down at the Tea Tree Plaza EB Games, back in Adelaide, and picking it up the day it came out. I was being dragged along to a games night my parents were going to, so I had to wait until the evening and after dinner to play it. And I think I stayed up to 11pm playing it, a huge deal to an 11 year old.
I guess this is the game I started my tradition of choosing the water starter, first with Squirtle, and then with Totodile. I remember having a friend over, with Silver, and we spent the whole day trying to figure out the mysteries behind Unown and the ruins. I remember feeling homesick at a sleepover, and when I went to my bag to get my home phone number, my mum snuck a link-cable in the top, which was highly sought after at the time. I felt a lot better about staying the night then, trading Pokémon with my friend and completing our Pokédexes.
Hope – 23 y/o
Regarding games, I had a bit of a sheltered upbringing as a kid. Sheltered in the sense that games are apparently the devil and no way in hell will our daughter be allowed any. Pokémon was probably the first hit to change all that, so I think that’s the reason it sits so close in my heart.
I diligently watched Cheez TV, like pretty much every other primary school kid in the 90’s. If you missed it, you’d risk being out of the loop that day in school, and although I don’t really recall anyone talking about the Pokémon cartoon on its first airing, I do remember how fixated I was, and how jealous I became later of other kids playing the game.
Christmas of 1999, I was 9, and I was one hundred percent certain I was getting a train set. I liked train sets, and I could see this series of presents under the tree, three smallish boxes that were joined together – it was obviously the cabooses of the train – and it was from Santa so you know that it was a good present. I nearly died while unwrapping it, my tiny heart palpitating so hard my 9 year old ribs could barely stand it.
The first box, was not a train but a power adapter for a Game Boy Color – I had no use for this device, no way I would ever be allowed a Game Boy. The next box, was a copy of Pokémon Yellow, I swallowed hard fearing that Santa had just assumed that I was one of those lucky kids who owned a console. The third box of course contained the limited edition Pokémon Game Boy Colour. Each and every one of my friends believed in Santa again from that day on because they knew there was no way in hell my parents would buy me a video game.
As one of the older members around here I can recall a time when Pokémon wasn’t even a thing, back when the original Game Boy got by on Mario, Zelda, and Tetris alone. The first I saw of anything Pokémon related was an old UK Nintendo magazine back in 1997 or early 1998. They had screenshots of the N64 Pokémon games, I had no idea what the heck a Pocket Monster was so really didn’t think much of them. It wasn’t until a few months later I was watching Cheez TV one morning before school when I saw a new show debut. Watching the intro it seemed like some random cartoon which looked like many others before it. It wasn’t until after the intro that it showed the opening cutscene from the Pokémon Game Boy games that transitioned into a battle on the show that my interest was really piqued. As an already massive Nintendo fan, the sight of anything Nintendo related had me interested, I had to watch all the way to the end of the episode now and from then I was hooked.
After a few episodes it dawned on me I had seen these “Pokémon” before in the N64 mag, I looked over the pages and was more and more excited to play the games. Shortly there after I found out that the first game was coming to Game Boy very soon. I got Pokémon Blue pretty much as soon as it came out and my little brother got Pokémon Red. We would trade together and some times battle each other, despite how much we would fight and annoy each other most of the time, it was always things like video games that would bring us together.
I poured hours and hours into my copy of Pokémon Blue, caught all 150 of the original and even got myself 2 Mew’s from the first ever Pokémon event in WA (one was meant to be for my brother but I never got around to giving it to him). Its funny for that despite my want for console RPG’s on the N64, I had one of the great RPG’s ever made in the palm of my hands and just never realised it. I stayed out of the whole Pokémon card game fad at the time and just stuck to the games. I even played the Pokémon Trading Card Game on Game Boy which I had a blast on as well. It wasn’t until after Silver and Gold came out that my interest did start to wane. I fell out of the loop with Pokémon and stopped watching the anime around the same time the Game Boy Advance was released. It wasn’t until many years later with the release of LeafGreen and Pokémon Emerald that I got back into the series. It’s a real testament to Nintendo just how long it has lasted. But to this day I will always remember sitting and watching Cheez TV one morning and being introduced to the amazing world of Pokémon.
Vook – 27 y/o
Being the second oldest Vooks staffer you might think my favourite Pokémon memories would be with Red and Blue. While I do love those games and remember playing them for hours on end, traveling for the Pokémon Tours to get that Mew – the real sweet Pokémon memories for me reside with Gold and Silver. My first memories with Gold and Silver are looking them up on the internet at high school in 1999. The sequels to the original games had just launched in Japan and someone, I can’t remember the site, was working on a walk-through for those who had imported. It took every ounce of my being to not read the walk-through and spoil bits of the game – but things never work out like that. Once I learned Kanto would be in the game – that was it, I was waiting the year it took to release to get here in English. No worldwide release dates here.
Pokémon Gold was the version I picked and it just blew my mind at the time. Real time clock? Pokémon breeding? Pokégear & Apricorns? All these things people take for granted in Pokémon games (and even in other games) – like the clock, were revolutionary at the time. Gold was also the first time my friends and I really got into battling and trading. While never being a ‘pro’ Pokémon battler back in the day I did have a great team.
Mystery Gift though was a great feature in Gold and Silver, it was a lot different to what Mystery Gift is these days. In Gold and Silver you could use the infrared port on the Game Boy Color to ‘gift’ with up to 5 people a day, you could also gift with Pokémon Stadium 2. Each time you gifted you could get a rare item to use in-game or to decorate your in-game room. Don’t tell anyone, but if you change the in-game clock on your cartridge (a process that could take up to 2 minutes each time) you can trick the game into mystery gifting more than the 5 times. Just saying.
Oh, and remember the Pokémon Pikachu 2? You could Mystery Gift with that too. Mystery Gift!
Pokémon got huge during Gold and Silver, perhaps that’s part of the memories for me. I was deeply entrenched in the franchise. I had and still have all the rare Pokémon promo cards, and even all the extra adaptors for Pokémon Stadium 2. It was a crazy fun time.