Once again Zach passes over the Pokémon event horizon.
It was supposed to be different this time. Yes, I’ll admit, I fell head over heels for Red & Blue back in the day…we all did. When Gold & Silver came out Pokémon was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. In both games my Pokédex was complete. And let’s not forget the interesting sideshows: Yellow (which I beat) and Crystal (which I put effort into). You might say that after the GB/GBC run of the series I was satiated. Oh, I also bought the N64 Stadium games and Pokémon Snap. You did too, don’t lie to me. And even though I basically skipped the Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald games, which people tell me is for the best, I still bought both Fire Red and Leaf Green because, dammit, I loved those original games. I beat one of them, the other was purely for trading purposes. Despite that, I was clearly done with the series. I would go on to lead a meaningful life, trading in the time I would have spent catching more of them all to curing cancer, diabetes, and genetically engineering a woman to look exactly like Brandy Carter from Liberty Meadows (we all need hobbies).
Whatever, man. Pokémon Pearl and Diamond came out for the DS and I poured every second of spare time into that game. I bought a player’s guide and collected them all again. I logged well over 100 hours into that stupid little cart, staying up well past my bedtime to catch the 87 legendary Pokémon (seemingly) that these DS games introduced. There’s a reason Pokémon games only have one save file: it’s because of people like me, who collect every goddamn Pokémon and customize their movesets and give them all different items to hold. When Platinum came out, I actually beat the game again, using my secondary team from Pearl. Oh yes, I had multiple Elite Four ready teams. But that was it folks. After fully and completely digesting the DS Pokémon games, I hung up the towel on the series. You have to quit while you’re ahead, leave the party before it’s over, jump off the wagon before you fall off the wagon, etc. I dedicated my life to education, giving a lecture series on the Dinosauria at the Alaska Museum of Science & Nature and, between classes, I wrote and illustrated a twelve-issue Danger Girl miniseries that J. Scott Campbell personally endorsed.
Yeah, and pigs fly. Before too long Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver came out and I immediately noticed that it was a remake of my favorite games in the series. So I was on that like fly on stink, sinking months of my clearly aimless life into capturing every Pokémon known to man at the time. I participated in all the special “go download this Pokémon” events at GameStop. I got that Celebi that takes you on a unique quest in the game. I attached that Pokéwalker to my person and carried it around with the zeal that a proud papa would his new baby boy. I was more attached to that LCD screen than I currently am to my insulin pump, and the insulin pump is always attached to me. I used that Pokéwalker to catch special Pokémon, like Surfing Pikachu and Flying Pikachu and…other Pokémon with special moves that they wouldn’t otherwise learn and I achieved a living Pokédex.
If you don’t know what a Living Pokédex is, let me just say, thank god. Go spend time with your children or build a model airplane or something that’s actually worthwhile. But I don’t have children and I was never into model airplanes, so I spent all of my time breeding, trading, and catching Pokémon like mad in an effort to have one of every kind of Pokémon stored in the PC. That means I had every evolutionary stage of every Pokémon from every game up to that point. Do you know how many Pokémon that is? That is three-thousand, two-hundred and seventy-five Pokémon. At least, that’s what it eventually felt like. There came a point, probably during my millionth trip up and down the Bicycle Road (eggs hatch based on steps taken), that perhaps I’d taken some wrong turn down the road of life. But just as those existential thoughts snuck into my mind, the Egg I was carrying around hatched and I finally had that Magby that I’d wanted for so long. But I will tell you this: after I achieved this most illustrious of Pokémon fanatic goals, I was done. What was there left to achieve? And so I left the series with dignity, having completed all my goals. I hung up my Pokémon hat and went on to greater things; namely, game design. I designed and helped produce a side scrolling, Metroidvania-esque game featuring the Danger Girls in a prehistoric “Lost World” setting. Game journalists loved it, except for Polygon, who gave it a 3.5.
Look, we both know that’s a complete lie. Pokémon Black & White came out and even though I may have been feeling jabs of franchise fatigue, I bravely pressed on. But alas, this time the pull was weaker. I merely beat the main campaign then looped through the game’s surprisingly large second chunk of map area and ended up at the Elite Four again, who had actually gotten stronger. I didn’t beat them a second time; I just didn’t have it in me. When Black & White 2 hit stores, I didn’t even care. I bought Black 2 when it was on sale for fifteen measly dollars at Best Buy and I only plug it in when I need to download an event Pokémon at GameStop (yes, I still do that). Perhaps stupidly, I transferred several of my HeartGold Pokémon over to Black, thinking I’d be spending more time with that game. My Living Pokédex is no more, but my memory of that blessed event remains strong.
Of course, the series’ siren song was too powerful to ignore for long and I jumped on board with Pokémon X & Y without hesitation, despite my “meh” feelings towards the game immediately prior to launch day. Even Alex’s lukewarm review caused me to, at the time, double down on my rock steady intention to not buy the game at launch. Like Pokémon B&W2, I would wait for that inevitable sale. I am clearly an idiot, and also a consumer whore. I went to Best Buy on launch day and stood in line like a sucker and put down my $40. On the way out of the mall, I stopped outside of GameStop and downloaded my Shiny Giratina too. Upon turning Pokémon X & Y on, you are immediately slapped in the face by the sheer polygonal look of it all. Suddenly, Pokémon has made a quantum leap into the current century and I can no longer go back to how things used to be. Already I hear cries of fowl and wistful longings for the graphical style that defined the series for so long, but I think those people are idiots.
This is how Pokémon was always supposed to look. You know it, I know it, stop pretending otherwise. The graphical appeal is particularly impressive when you consider that there are something like seven hundred goddamn Pokémon now, some with different forms, including Mega Evolutions, and they are all represented with 3D character models. Now, obviously, the Pokémon Company is running out of ideas. There are Pokémon that are ice cream cones, bags of garbage, and gears. There are also now Pokémon that are swords that could potentially be held and used by other Pokémon. But seriously, I am back in at full volume. I've spent almost 40 hours doing whatever and I've only got four Gym Badges to show for it. I've become obsessed with finding and catching each Pokémon I come across, so I've developed a system for doing so. I'm also training a secondary team in case one of my primary team members starts to lose its appeal. My Chesnaught is at Lv. 41 and is already on the chopping block, largely because Grass is a worthless type and he's not learning any good Fighting moves (he's Grass/Fighting). His replacement may include Honedge's lineage, Amaura, or Salamance (currently Shelgon). I started training the Pansage/Pansear/Panpour trio, but I've already got perfectly good Grass, Fire, and Water Pokémon and those monkeys don't develop secondary types when they evolve, so screw 'em. I did just learn that I missed an Abra though, so that will be happening.
You may remember that, in Red/Blue/Yellow, the way to win was to pick up an Abra early, evolve it up to Alakazam, let it learn Psychic, and then beat the game with that guy ALONE. Because of Psychic's imbalance, Dark types were introduced in Gold/Silver/Crystal with the express intent of rebuffing Psychics and not much else. That's not really possible anymore since there are, like I said, about a million different Pokémon now with all sorts of occasionally contradictory types. Some of them aren't weak to anything,like Spiritomb, who is an asshole. It's difficult to keep track of it all now, and with X/Y's new Fairy type, I feel like it's a losing battle. I just know that I can't remember what Poison is weak to and why Trapinch (who is Bug, right?) isn't taking double damage from Flying attacks.
The point I'm trying to get across is that my name is Zach, I'm a Pokémon Addict, and I will probably also buy Pokémon Z (assuming that's a thing).