Some of you may roll your eyes and question the validity of a title such as Pokemon Black to someone of my age. Yes it may be primarily targeted at children, and it may be a grind-heavy RPG; but in what other game can you train a dragon? Or a mouse that harnesses electricity for that matter? None. No other. Pokemon was the first dragon/electric mouse/rock monster training simulator; and it is still the best.
I haven't engaged with any of the DS entries, but I've been riding these pint-sized monsters since the days of the Gameboy. Not that I owned a Gameboy. Instead, I used an emulator which really helped with the grinding aspect on account of the ability to accelerate gameplay. I completed Pokemon Blue with ease, (twice from memory) choosing Squirtle on each playthrough. It may not have looked too good blown-up on my SVGA monitor, but it captured my imagination and consumed many hours of my early teen years. Apart from a predisposition towards Squirtle and the TV series' moniker-spouting mascot, Pikachu, I can't really remember too much of what happened. I made a lot of monsters faint. Presumably a reaction to the unbearable cuteness of my Pikachu, whom I had creatively named, Pikachu.
I didn't play any of the other Gameboy instalments, waiting patiently for the release of the Gameboy Advance SP and Pokemon Sapphire. I can still remember the acquisition of my first Nintendo console. Faced with my first weekend alone with my first girlfriend (in her house no less), I needed something to occupy the late hours that I knew I would be spending alone. With no console in the house, I had to take action; purchasing a blue SP from Toys R' Us during my lunch break on the day before my romantic excursion. Along with the portable, I purchased both Metroid Fusion (freaking awesome, for anyone wondering) and Pokemon Sapphire (Ruby would not have matched my console's finish). Needless to say, I spent more time training Pokemon than I did with the lady. Love doesn't always conquer all.
Shit got crazy during my second dalliance with Pokemon. One of my best friends and I dueled regularly upon purchasing a third-party GBA link cable. He often bested me thanks to my reliance on Fighting Type monsters, but my Kyogre (an ice whale!) always put in a respectable showing. We even became embroiled in the Pokemon Trading Card Game, with our bouts being supervised by Sammy the cat (RIP). Ours was a deep, if fleeting love of the pocket monsters.
While I have owned a DS (two, for the record), I have yet to play any of the current generation Pokemon titles. This would be on account of both my current allergy to grinding, and my inability to effectively budget during my university study. Pokemon Black (or White, not sure which to go with at the moment) will change all of that, and one of two outcomes are likely:
- I learn the harsh lesson that Pokemon games have gone the way of the Murtaugh. Meaning of course that "I'm getting too old for this shit."
- I overcome my grinding allergy and rediscover my lover of brutally subduing pocket-sized monsters and become Pokemon League Champion.
Dutch Note: Last night I pre-ordered the Hero Edition of Infamous 2. May not sound like big news, but I placed my order for the paltry sum of $116.95 from JB Hi-Fi's online store. Considering that it will retail for $198, you may want to jump on this deal now.