Memories of Blue and Silver [GO]
Oct 19th, 2012 by Dan

I never pick Squirtle, but he’s still pretty awesome. (Photo courtesy Giant Bomb)

Way back in 1998 (holy crap, that was 14 years ago!) Nintendo Power started the long game of hyping up this weird little Pocket Monsters game that was exploding with popularity in Japan. This quirky little RPG was coming stateside and they wanted us all to know about it.

I’m sure you can guess that I was once a proud subscriber to Nintendo Power and a bigger RPG fan then than I’d say I am now. In those days David and I still sometimes shared a room. We spent many a night chatting about video games and pretending we were superheroes.

Pokemon was an instant hit in our imaginations. A sweet Gameboy game that was reliant on trading and would allow us to battle each other? It’s perfect. When you have a brother you’re close with, co-op or otherwise 2P games are always a sweet proposition, not to mention that we’d have something to do together on road trips because it was portable.

That Butterfree doesn’t stand a chance (Photo courtesy Giant Bomb)


What torture, though, that the game was announced in January, but wouldn’t launch until September. Until then we were forced to look at pictures of the creatures and plan out our approach. David would get Red since Charizard looked the coolest. My starter would be Bulbasaur because it was cuter than Squirtle.

I might be mistaken here, but I doubt we even received it until Christmas. On that fine day it was finally ours and it was incredible. Our devotion to the trading game started early as we restarted our games to trade each other the three starters. There’s a memory kicking around in my head of doing this in the family van, probably on a road trip. It’s crazy to think of now, but this was all pre-Pokemon breeding. That meant we had to redo the intro and unlock trading five times to give each other a full set. Pretty involved stuff, but well worth having access to all three starters.

I used to think it was cheap that your Rival (named Dave back then, but always Min now) always picks the one you’re weak to. (Photo courtesy Giant Bomb)


I name my Totodiles Albert after the Gators nowadays (Photo courtesy Giant Bomb)

1998 wasn’t as tough as 1997 was for me, but I was still a 7th grader and the scars of the last year’s mocking and difficulty fitting in made me wary about sharing my inner Pokemaniac. There were friends of mine who openly played their Gameboys before class, but the consensus among most of the people I knew was that Nintendo’s Pokemon marketing was geared toward elementary school students. The hours I poured into Pokemon, the afternoons I spent watching the Pokemon episodes I’d taped that morning, those weren’t socially acceptable for me. I had friends who played video games, but I didn’t have friends who were video game nerds.

I sometimes regret not just being open about the things I liked, but that’s also part of growing up. It’s why Pokemon Silver, while still an incredible and epic journey (I mean, you collect the Kanto badges too!), captured my attention a little less. It’s also why I never bothered with Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald until much later.

David just found his Red/Gold carts and I’m sure I could find mine if I started a concerted search, but I can’t even imagine how many hours must have been logged on my copy of Blue. I mean, each version I’ve bought in my adult years easily have > 100 hours on their system clocks so Blue must be even higher!

The biggest shame about the series, really, is that the Gen I and II games aren’t compatible with Gen III and beyond. Sure, the mechanics of the Special stat and the lack of Pokemon Abilities would make it tough to move those guys forward, but I really wish I could have my first Mewtwo or my first Gengar still with me all the way from 1998. As it stands now, those poor guys are doomed to an inevitable death as their battery backup slowly fades.

Thankfully Phantasma (as I’ve named every Gengar I’ve ever caught from day 1) will always live on in my heart and memories.

Remember how the anime told us to use Gengar against Psychics, but his Poison typing and poor programming meant that this was a terrible mistake? (Photo courtesy Giant Bomb)

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