Friday Flashback: Pokémon, Part Two — Electric Boogaloo

Damn straight I went there. I told you I would.

Last week you might remember that we brought you a very special Friday Flashback in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the Pokémon franchise. And since we thought we could do better on the number of responses, we said we’d run a sequel post.

We… uh… we only got another two responses. BUT that doesn’t stop them from being really, really great ones! Thanks to both of you for your submissions, and once again to everyone who submitted last time!


“My first memory is not having any idea how to buy items and being like dang it, I’ll just keep using Charmander til I’m strong enough to beat Brock. Cue reaching the point it stopped obeying me, and then resetting the game and picking Squirtle.” — Becca M.

“I remember getting my first Pokémon cards from one of my nursery school friends when he and his brother realized they could create a super team by combining their cards. Michael discarded his weaker Pokémon and handed them off to me in a crayon box–I was elated! I developed my preferred Pokémon–Ponyta and Growlithe–by first grade, which I guess reflected my greater interests at the time. I had worked all of that year to earn a Nintendo 64 and Pokémon Stadium from my parents, which soon became my obsession that summer (and much later in college); I played through all of the different cups and mastered the minigames. After I got a Gameboy Color, though, Pokémon Yellow eclipsed the N64 games and I’d stay up late playing by flashlight under the covers until my parents caught on. Even though I never really played the card game properly, I collected and rearranged my cards compulsively, showing my holographic Charizard to anyone who’d pay attention. Elementary school was marked by Pokémon, but by seventh or eighth grade I began to lose interest; I played Pokémon Crystal every so often and then, eventually, I didn’t pick it up at all.

I hadn’t really thought about Pokémon again until college when I began to nanny for two boys who loved the cards. As we sorted through them one day, showing each other our favorites and identifying who we’d all be if we were Pokémon, I became flattered when they said I’d be Suicune (I think it had something to do with my blue and purple hair) and informed me it’s a legendary Pokémon. I was unfamiliar with most of the characters they showed me since my knowledge only extends partially through the second generation. And that’s when I picked up my old games again.

It wasn’t really until I became overwhelmed by me thesis senior year that I played regularly again. I was so disappointed when I realized Crystal no longer had the ability to save (especially after I played for six consecutive hours), but became thankful that I could instead play online. And then it hit me– I hadn’t beaten Pokémon Stadium. Hours upon hours I procrastinated by battling my way through the remainder of the cups I hadn’t completed; whenever my anxiety levels rose, I broke out the N64. My Pokémon nerd friends couldn’t beat me, even though they were way more knowledgeable than me, which made playing all the better. The night I finally beat it–15 years after I started–I drunkenly celebrated at a beer garden on campus at my school, celebrating and proclaiming my victory in a way I was slightly embarrassed of (but mostly thought was funny) the following day.

Pokémon has really allowed me to connect with a lot of people I otherwise would’ve taken longer to get to know; from my elementary school friends, to college peers, to the kids I’ve work with in summer camps and residential facilities. One of the older boys at a residence for kids who have mental health problems and autism gave me a Staryu card that I hung up on my refrigerator. Another of my regular residents asked if I could give him the Pokémon shirt I wore or if I could get him one. It’s made my job easier in so many ways.

For me, Pokémon transformed from a childhood hobby, to an anti-anxiety regimen, to a tool I use when working with kids that allows me to bond with, redirect, and even calm them when they present with challenging behaviors. I look forward not only to new Pokémon games (Pokkén Tournament) in the next twenty years, but to its application in my up and coming career in psychiatry.” — Colleen S.

And with that, we officially bring Pokémon Week to a close, a week-long celebration that turned into two weeks. And really, we could probably keep going on for as long as we want. There are plenty of games, movies, and TV episodes we haven’t covered, we’ve barely brushed on the card game, and there are certainly countless more memories to recount. But for now, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled program starting next week with a new Tuesday Tunes — this one’s been a long time in the making.

Stay tuned for more, and don’t forget to go like on us Facebook! Even if you read via the WordPress reader or some other way, your support means a lot to us. And who knows, it might lead to more people finding out about our humble blog. It really is a labor of love for all of us; we put a lot of time and effort into our posts, and we care about sharing it with everyone.




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