Get With The Times Grandma

Where it all began...

Not that long ago I realised I was being a bit of a tit. Like the people of older generations who insist that all modern music is just noise, I refused to accept the continual change of a certain aspect of games land. What’s worrying, however, is that I automatically denied this change over ten years ago. To explain fully, I’ll have to take you back to 1999 (cue the soft harp music and squiggly vision).

On August the 8th 1999 I turned ten. Growing ever more frustrated with having to share games on a PC with my brother, and certain that I didn’t want my first double digit birthday to go by without an amazing present, I asked for a Game Boy Color. Even to this day, in my mind, this is the most extravagant gift I’ve asked for.  I also requested two games to go with it: Pokѐmon Blue, and Pokѐmon Yellow. I loved Pokѐmon Blue; I spent a good portion of the summer playing it and when I finished, I was thrilled, but it was Pokѐmon Yellow that carved a permanent spot in my heart.

Now, I wasn’t a huge Pokѐmon fan, but I had seen every episode in the first series, I knew all the words to the Pokѐmon rap, and I had a small but powerful collection of Pokѐmon cards. The thought of having an animal that loved me unconditionally and protected me, even though I’d been stupid enough to wander into the imposing and ominous long grass, made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Even better was the idea that an animal loved me so much that it didn’t want to be away from me; thanks to Pokѐmon Yellow, this was now finally possible. Nothing gave me a bigger smile than looking over my shoulder at my darling Pikachu and seeing his love filled face staring back at me.

The problem was that nothing ever topped Pokѐmon Yellow for me. I was a fan of the original 151 creatures and didn’t believe that there should be more. Why, I thought, can’t they just make new games comprising of the old characters? Naive I know, but remember I was a child.  As the games continued to regenerate and evolve, I grew ever more belligerent.  I stopped watching the shows, I outgrew collecting the cards, and I realised I could no longer name more than half of the Pokѐmon, let alone all of them. I thought it was just part of growing up, but really it was just fear and ignorance.

Human instinct drives us to fear the unknown. We will remain sceptical until sure, so when a close friend bought SoulSilver to pass the time, I found myself preaching about the evils of the new and suspicious creatures. Little did I know I’d be hooked once again. As I watched him play through the opening scenes of the game I was filled with nostalgia; I once again wanted my clunky Game Boy in my hands and the familiar creatures I had once adored. However I was hit with a conundrum, I had fallen in love with a HootHoot and, what’s more, I could have any Pokѐmon I’d captured follow me around, not just a Pikachu.  I pondered returning to the comfort of faithful old Yellow, then decided to take a leap of faith. I bought HeartGold.

Reader, I loved it.

And here is where you join me now; back at the beginning of my story. I’ve been a belligerent tit.  I’ve since played through Heart Gold, loving every minute of it, and I’m now frantically saving my pennies to buy myself a shiny new copy of Pokѐmon Black. Why I preached about the wonders of the original 151 I don’t know. Sure, the original lineup boasts some of my favourite Pokѐmon, but there have since been more interesting and wonderful characters developed (along with some duds too, but that’s expected), and the development of maps, cities, storylines and opponents leaves me wanting to play on.

So, to those naysayers, those of you who are still clinging to your retro cartridges and crying because you remember the good old days, don’t. I’ve missed out on what could have been years of addictive gaming and the love of many electronic companions. While nothing will replace the image of my first Pikachu with hearts in his eyes, there is nothing wrong with change. Pokѐmon, for me, has kept all of the addictive charm and developed with its audience. A difficult balance to master

Last five articles by Jo



  1. Adam Adam says:


    Pokemon make me happy, they all come across as semi retarded and how can you not love a semi retarded slave?

    It’s such a weird concept for a game/tv show/mug but I got into this massively (albeit much later than you Jo). I was put off the whole thing by so much of the Hype that surrounded Pokemon growing up and wanted nothing to do with it really till a few years later where I got myself a copy of Pokemon……Purple.

    I can’t quite remember the name, save for that it was on the GBA and it was a Purple cartridge (Sapphire – It was sapphire). I got hooked on it big time and working in a shop at the time, me and the manager would fight between ourselves for the opportunity to serve and customer who looked to be trading in a pile of GBA games. We’d always make sure that the second the kid had traded the game in, we’d nab a pair of GBA’s, steal the only GBA Link Cable (that we insisted was out of stock) and go sit on the floor of the office divvying up the goods. As a rule of thumb, first pick + the masterball always went to the person who ran it through the till and then everything else had to be argued on merit. I got to go home from work 2 hours early, paid for, because I surrendered an Alakazam without contest ^_^

    I followed up with Leaf Green and went just as mental on it, transferring all my sapphire Pokemon across to it and then purchased Diamond for the DS, to then never play the game ever again.

    I don’t quite no what happened but I somehow never did go back to it. I’ve tried but I just don’t know what half the Pokemon are anymore. Your article has inspired me to change that Jo :)

    Thankyou :D

  2. Kat says:

    I know nothing about Pokemon. When they first came about I saw it as a kids thing. Now I’d try it but simply don’t have the right console, yet.

    Also, you were only ten in 1999 *sobs*

  3. Mark_s says:

    For me it was red and blue. I had red and my little brother had blue. Been hooked wince then. As a player of red charazard is my pokemon of choice. Nothing beats the fire dragon! Great read. Brought it all back for me.

  4. Pete Pete says:

    1999? Bloody hell, I was almost 30 :(

    Never understood Pokemon lol Probably never will!

    Can you stop the wiggly vision now though please? It’s giving me a headache!

  5. Jo Jo says:

    Oh! Sorry, I forgot to turn it off! *switches off wiggly vision* My bad!

  6. Samuel Samuel says:

    I can really relate to this, I was so against the new Pokemon initially. And for me, Green and Yellow were the defining games of the franchise. I still have the Yellow cart in my GBA SP, sat beside my bed, oddly enough.

    However, a friend got me to look at Leafgreen on the GBA eventually and I wound up enjoying it. I’ve since played every game in the series. My favourite Pokemon are still of that first generation (Bulbasaur and Geodude are just too awesome compared to the new Pokemon, I’m sorry), and Yellow is the only one I replay over, but I do find a lot to enjoy whenever a new one rolls around.

  7. Ben Ben says:

    Pokemon Red will forever be my favourite and I suppose I should be thankful that not having a DS is likely earning me an extra degree classification.

    Back in the day I could likely tell you the names of all 151 Pokemon, in order and with evolution stuff thrown in. I think a part of me that eyes the new games with caution is that I doubt I could do that any more, I’ve gone from an expert into a scared little newbie sitting in the corner, and I don’t like that.

    I have a sneaking suspicion though that once Uni is finished a DS and Pokemon may well be my victory song, it’s been far to long and the urge to catch them all has never really left, I’ll even bring out the sideways wearing baseball cap for multiplayer.

  8. Tania Tania says:

    I owned both Red and Blue and used to borrow my sister’s Gameboy to trade myself the other starter Pokѐmon so I could have all 3 on my team. :) I loved Red, Blue and Yellow, but it wasn’t until Gold, Silver and Crystal that I found my true calling as a Pokѐmon Breeder. Caught wild Pokѐmon are for amateurs, ones you hatch and raise yourself are much stronger, you can choose all their moves from the beginning and you get that “My baby’s all evolved up” feeling! ;)
    That’s also how I got my first Shiny Pokѐmon! The egg started shaking, it cracked, hatched, *ching*, swirling stars! My baby Magby is orange when it should be red! The odds are millions to one! :D
    Out of the original lineup my favorite was Mew! Sooooo cute! *mew mew*

  9. Edward Edward says:

    I got Blue on Launch Day, and I spent so much time playing it and working everything out in the game it was unreal. To this day, Squirtle is still my favourite Pokemon and one of my favourite Videogame creations.
    However, while I did the exact same as you and took forever to get back into it, I did so with Diamond (the fire monkey probably helped) and actually found myself partially addicted, but also quite disappointed. Why do the battles take so long? Why can’t I speed them up? Why do moves that involve chance never work for me but get my pokemon every time? Why are none of these as cool as Squirtle? I swear the Final Fantasy games have battles much quicker than this, I could have finished a bloody dungeon in the time it’s taken me to fight 5 pokemon. Why is the storage system so menu-filled and slow? Why hasn’t this game changed in any fundamental way since Blue? Why didn’t I just replay Blue? Why are these battles so slow?!

    The only reason I kept playing was because someone gave me a ditto, the starters for all generations but the G/S/C one, Lugia, Mew and Mewtwo, and even then I think I stopped shortly after getting Dialgia. It just didn’t hold interest for me and I was quite saddened. I’m putting it down to SO MUCH of my childhood spent playing Blue that it spoilt Diamond for me all those years later.

    Great job though, Jo! :D

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