Pokémon passed me by when the first games were released in 1999 in the UK. In my head, I was too grown up for it at 15 and had the awkward moustache to prove this theory. I was about to move on from the N64 and onto the Dreamcast. Although I dismissed it, it was hard to ignore.
Everyone knew a little something about it but it was around this time that a younger cousin became obsessed. He was deep into the anime and the trading cards and so secondary exposure was inevitable. His persistent invites to play the trading cards meant I knew exactly who Charmander and Jigglypuff were. Being around him when the anime would be on TV meant I knew all about Ash and Team Rocket. Yet his obsession was despite him not even owning the game, so I never played it either.
I was only a brief owner of a handheld then. Somehow a Game Boy Color showed up in my house and I was briefly living the simple life of being a farmer on Harvest Moon. I seriously don't know where it came from and it vanished soon after. No Pokémon was played. It wouldn't be until 2012 that I would own another Nintendo handheld, the 3DS XL. In 2013, I got a Game Boy Advance SP on eBay. The library of games available to me was enormous. Again, no Pokémon was played.
Pokémon just wasn't on my radar for many years after that initial exposure. It wasn't until the release of X and Y that something clicked. Suddenly, I was paying attention. Sure, Tumblr and Kotaku may have played some part. The hype was there, the reviews were positive, the screenshots looked charming and I wanted to pet Pikachu with the stylus. For the first time I wanted to play a Pokémon game. The time was right. But it wasn't X and Y.
Somehow I wanted the nostalgia of playing a game I never played. I wanted to go back to the beginning. Whether it was an attempt to connect to my youth, internet peer pressure or just to fill a gap in my gaming, I was ready. I did some research on how to spot fake carts on eBay and after setting myself a price limit, I went and bought Pokémon Blue. I'm so glad I did.
It taps into the need to explore and gain knowledge perfectly. I'm enjoying wandering around and then retracing my steps and then wandering some more. I'm not sure I want to catch 'em all yet. It bursts with personality. Some of the one-liners before going into battle are hilarious. The music is pretty great too. I think I made a good decision.
I'm only 7 hours or so in and have just left being on-board the S.S Anne. I now have cut! The 3rd gym is next but maybe I should track back and level up my Pokémon? I'm already looking ahead too. Do I go to Generation II or jump further along?
So Twitch played Pokémon. Now a fish is playing Pokémon. It took a while but now and so am I!