Pokemon Changed My Life, Just as “Game X” Changed Yours
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you call yourself a gamer in some shape or form. As a gamer, it’s likely that you feel nostalgic about a game or two from an earlier time in your life; a game that provided hours of entertainment and good memories, or perhaps game which transports you back in time with just the first few bars of its soundtrack or a view of its title screen. We’ve all got those games…but have you paused to think about just how profound an effect they’ve had on your life?
Gather round kids, it’s time for a story from The Book of Sam.
Roll the clock back around 12-15 years as we join a younger me sitting in school on one of the last days of term. Now at my primary school when it came to the last day of term, we all got to bring in something from home to keep ourselves occupied: whether it was to keep us or the teachers happy is a different question, but it is what it is. Now in the years leading up to this we generally brought in the standard device or “cool thing” of the time, (I remember a couple of us brought in Beyblades at some point, remember those? Didn’t think so.) but this year was different. A fellow member of my class had with him a Game Boy (he was the privileged child with parents that let him have one), and the game he had with it? Pokemon Red. I still remember to this day being huddled around this chunky brick of a handheld in the corner of the classroom watching him do battle with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures.
I was hooked.
After months of begging my parents and lots of pocket money spent on Pokemon cards, my birthday finally rolled around. What was waiting for me? A shiny new yellow Game Boy Colour (Yes, you heard me, Colour…jealous?). I’d been given Rayman with it, and I struggled to put it down. My Mum, in an attempt to “save” my brain from being melted by the system (videogames are evil, we all know this) set a 30 minute limit on gaming which continued to be in place for a significant amount of time throughout my life. But in the end, it only made me look forwards to it more…that half an hour each day was bliss, especially after I procured a copy of Pokemon Yellow.
The Pokemon series, over time, proved to be a staple of my life growing up, with each new iteration of Nintendo’s handheld devices came a new Pokemon game and – for me – a new addiction. Why tell you this? Fact of the matter is, Pokemon got me hopelessly involved in gaming and there will be a game that did the same for you too. What I’ve never realised is how much of an effect the hobby has had on my life. Gaming provides an escape for a lot of people and certain games over the years have done the same for me, but my hobby has actually had more of an effect on my social life. I’ve made friends for life through my hobby and my social groups are pretty much made up of people who share the common interest. It’s also inspired a number of life choices for me; my tastes in culture and my interest in art has spawned from the creations I witnessed in games (I started seriously getting into drawing when I started imitating the Pokemon and Megaman art). It’s also inspired my writing to no end: I would never have started if it wasn’t for games providing me with a topic I care about enough to even consider taking to the keyboard.
The more I think about it, the more I realise just how much of my life has been affected in a positive manner by this hobby. I’d never have the friends I have now, I wouldn’t even have my girlfriend if it wasn’t for gaming. It’s given me a cause to defend, a world to lose myself in, an industry to get behind. It affects everything down to the clothes I wear and the media I consume and has also provided me with some idols along the way.
Some of you will look at your hobby and see that it hasn’t really added anything to your life beyond entertainment, some of you will see that your life has been effected in ways I can’t even imagine. What we can all agree on however is that gaming definitely has the power to alter our lives in ways that aren’t so obvious on the outside, but are fundamental to the way we live.
Pokemon changed my life, and no, I’m not afraid to admit that.