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20 years of Pok'emon: Looking back to the franchise as an adult

Greetings RetroDazers, it's come to my attention that the 20th anniversary of Pok'emon has gotten some celebration around the world. Bear in mind that this is based on the 20th year of the franchise in Japan, and that the U.S. didn't get introduced to it until 1998. So, as better late than never, I've decided to dig a little deeper into my own history of how I became a fan, lost interest, and came back throughout the years of the series.

1992 was one of my tyke years that, like the next few years following, came and went. I was in third grade, I was neglected by my older siblings, and I was known for my mischief. My eldest sibling being my sister had gained the allowance needed for a GameBoy, and being the eyes-glued-to-the-game kid I was I began to get out of my anti-social shell and ask to play the two games she had on it, Kirby's Dreamland and Tetris (obviously I only had the experience to play Kirby).

Handheld gaming was a new thing for me at the time, but just like how I had my consoles my mom had a time limit set for my time playing any games on it, while my sister was oblivious about it. She was never really worried about having to pay for extra batteries, even though it took a handful of them. The blurry, diarrhea green screen did become a strain on the eyes after a while, but I'd grown to like the little system.

All that would change though as 1995 came around. Arguing and fighting were common for my parents, but my sister couldn't put up with it anymore. Not only did she move out, but she moved way down in Kansas to make sure that they wouldn't want to visit her from thousands of miles away. As for me, on the other hand I wasn't given any explanation on her abrupt leave. As I mentioned before I was never paid attention to, other than from the friends I made in the neighborhood, and at school.

As I began Middle School in 1998 I became a little more talkative, and as luck would have it I got my own GameBoy Pocket, but unlike my sister's it was preowned and came straight from a downtown thrift store. This was when I eventually had gotten introduced to the Pok'emon craze as everyone else I knew did. The two versions of the game, Red and Blue were what made the fad take off. Unfortunately due to how pricey a brand spankin' new GameBoy cartridge was, my parents had to wait for more money to come in after the taxes got paid. That, and I'd already owned a Nintendo 64.

But while I didn't have the money for the games, there was at least the anime that grabbed my attention, as well as the short-lived fun of the card game until it got banned from school grounds. I had to wait another year later when Pok'emon Yellow came out, but I also had to wait a while to buy it. Thankfully, just like my GameBoy Pocket purchase, I found a copy of it at a thrift store without the box, and a purple GameBoy Color bundled in. This was also the beginning of my parents no longer putting a limit on time spent playing on a game console, thus having me take responsibility of my own play time. On another good note, this also meant that I no longer had the restriction of waiting until the weekend to play my games, I could finish my homework in a matter of minutes and start right then.

Pok'emon Yellow, unbeknownst to me was a slight improvement over Red and Blue but didn't change too much from the original game besides not choosing a starter Pok'emon. As a matter of fact, it almost followed the anime. Rather than playing as the obnoxious Ash though, you still took the role of a mute Pok'emon trainer. The only con I could really give it is that after Pikachu is given to you, it's mandatory that he stays in your party, and the only way to get a Raichu is if you send one from a trade from Blue or Red. A nice little gimmick was added in for Pikachu, even if it can get irritating to have him in your party at all times, he follows you around, and you can check up on how he feels towards you.

Perhaps a lack of gym badges will make him disapprove of you being a trainer, or giving him enough stat boost items like Calcium and PP ups will brighten his mood. This was my very first experience of playing a Pok'emon game, and the days turned into months going through it.

By 2000, Poke'mon Gold and Silver had come out but I was still hooked on Yellow. While my older brother was spending his last few days with me and my parents, he decided to join the Air Force (which unknown to them was a plan on moving away from them as far as possible). This was a rather bummed out moment for me as I was beginning to have a bond toward him as I'd gotten into my teens. On a few private phone calls though he did keep me in the know on his situation, so I didn't stay sad for long and as funny as it sounded, Pok'emon Yellow was like an antidepressant for me.

It wasn't until the year after that I obtained Pok'emon Silver, and it was quite a step up from the three previous games. A real-time clock with a day to night system, a limitless stock of items, and the inclusion of a brand new region to catch Pok'emon in as well as going to the original Red/Blue/Yellow region after beating the game was the icing on the cake. This time around though, the Pok'emon had their own genders, and certain ones had their own baby forms upon breeding. I put just as much time into it as Yellow, but as the GameBoy Advance was rearing its head, I would be back in the fold of not keeping up with game installments. I did eventually get a GBA, but I never got a copy of any of its next three games, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald.

Looking back it was probably good timing on my part. When I was starting High School in 2003 I began to get piles of homework a day compared to the amount I got just a couple of years before. I did get my chance of starting on it every now and then while on the bus, but I wouldn't get a study hall class until next semester to cut my time.

2009 was the year when I briefly got back into Pok'emon with the release of Pok'emon HeartGold and SoulSilver, remakes of Gold and Silver with a fresh coat of paint for the Nintendo DS. The unique feature of this release was that both games came with a small pedometer that you could take with you with one of your caught Pok'emon, and achieving little rewards for having them with you while you walk, and the feature from Pok'emon Yellow with your Pok'emon following you making a comeback made it even more fun to revisit. What I remember most during my time going through it though was that I even got to trade a few of my Pok'emon to two RetroJunk regulars, MezaseMaster and Vkimo.

I pretty much missed out on the other Nintendo DS titles, Diamond, Pearl, Platinum as well as Black and White, but as of recent times, I've been going back and forth to playing Pok'emon Y as well as Pok'emon Alpha Sapphire, a remake of Sapphire on the GBA. As far as Nintendo handheld technology has taken us, it's amazing playing to see the series evolve into what it's become today. As more titles release, more interesting features get added.

Do I consider myself a fan of Pok'emon? Somewhat. I know its main focus from the beginning has always been a young audience, but even adults such as myself are still playing these games to this day, either for nostalgic purposes or because they've been a follower since its debut. It may have the visuals of a game for just kids, but as the old saying goes, never judge a book by its cover.

This is Benjanime, signing off.

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NOSAM11 Posted on Mar 22, 2016 at 09:29 PM

its a gr8 seris

Benjanime Posted on Mar 22, 2016 at 02:22 AM


in my opinion it felt like one of my better articles as i put more thought into it than some of my past ones. i don't really have much brainstorming to offer as far as article writing goes, but i'm glad you're giving this one attention, so thanks for that :)

mickyarber Posted on Mar 14, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Really fun article, wven though I had no point of reference since I never played.

I added your article to my Reading List for today at

munkysrench Posted on Mar 04, 2016 at 04:22 AM

"I was neglected by my older siblings" --- I resent that! Lol.

I do remember when it was out for a while and you had started collecting/trading cards that first year. I wasn't sure if you were actually playing the card game, or just collecting them just to have them. Actually, I still don't know.

I know we didn't bond much as kids, with what different likes we had, but I still loved you bud. I'm glad you lived with me for those 5 years, because we had bonded so much. Another great read, allowing me to stroll down another one of many memories in our home.

Rick Ace Rhodes Posted on Mar 01, 2016 at 05:22 AM

I still can't believe it's been 20 years. It feels just like yesterday I was watching the original series on Kids WB.

Mr Magic Posted on Feb 29, 2016 at 01:48 PM

I was really into the Pokemon craze when it was a new thing. I watched the show, I played the games. It was something that just clung to me.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 28, 2016 at 09:40 AM

I too missed out on the Pokemon craze. I actually had a lot of difficulty understanding it's appeal for a while. I would see and hear about this craze, and just scratch my head. I just didn't see the appeal of it. The same went for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Both seemed really overblown to me.

I would be lying if I said I now understand it. I don't. LOL. However, I think I have a better grasp of their appeal to those who did enjoy them, and still do.

Benjanime Posted on Feb 28, 2016 at 04:55 AM

i did get to play a bit of pok'emon white from a nephew of mine. can i just say that i'm one of the few people that's not fond of the recent pok'emon designs? lol.

go for it man. i bought the red version on my 3DS and i've been having a hard time putting it down.

massreality Posted on Feb 27, 2016 at 11:14 PM

That was a great break down of your relationship with the series. I was in high school by 1998, so I missed out on the Pokemon bandwagon. I remember watching all the kids on the bus playing and trading cards, and I felt like I was missing out on something big.

Back when Black/White came out on the DS, I bought a copy of Black just to see what all the fuss was about. I can't say that I fell totally in love with it, but I did enjoy the time I spent with the game.

My girlfriend has taken over my 3DS XL once I introduced her to Animal Crossing, so I ordered myself a new one that should be here on Monday. I plan on buying Yellow from the Virtual Console, so I can truly dig in on the old school Pokemon.

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