I did something that I’ve never done before, and that is last night I waited in line for the newest of two Pokemon games, Pokemon Omega Ruby (and the alternative version that a friend is getting, Alpha Sapphire). This was a bizarre experience because I had nobody to stand with me while I waited, so I was essentially there as a people watcher and hopeful friend maker.
I’ve been a fan of Pokemon from the beginning. The animated cartoon ran on television when I was in middle school all the way up through high school, airing conveniently at 6:00am, right before I had to get ready to catch the bus. I was thrilled by the adventures of Ash, Misty, and Brock and have seen most of the show – including many of the movies.
As for the games, I’ve played a majority of them. The first one I played was Pokemon Red on an old Gameboy black and white – one of those boxy things that brings nostalgia to people who remember them in their backpacks. The interesting part about playing the older games was that there was only one save slot (as there always is) and, being in a large family, I had to take turns playing the game with my siblings. So, my sister would get the game and progress to a certain point, and then I would take over and continue. It was truly a lot of fun, and I count those moments as some of my favorite memories of growing up around Pokemon.
Fast forward to today. I resisted getting the latest Gameboy, the 3DS. It felt very gimmicky to me, and I always seemed to be on the back end of the newer technology. Just when I thought it was safe to buy a DSi, the more affordable version of the DS, the 3DS was released and the games for the system I just bought became obsolete. So, I stubbornly decided that I would not play the newest Pokemon versions last year when they came out. I could skip those and continue playing the older classics that I have.
However, the bug was biting me, and soon I did some research. I have a friend who is a diehard Pokemon fan, and she introduced me to the new Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire trailers. They looked so different from the games I played as a child. I was really intrigued. Could they still be fun like they used to be?
I broke down and tried out a 3DS XL, the larger format of the 3DS. I was shocked to find that the graphics were gorgeous on all the next-gen games I demoed. If Legend of Zelda was this beautiful, how amazing would my old Pokemon friends be with this new technology?
So, I took a chance on them. I stood in line (a thankfully short line) and chatted with people about the games. When did you first play them? How were you introduced? One woman in front of me joked about last year’s launch where people were in a frenzy to get the X and Y editions. She said, “Nobody let Team Rocket in,” and I chuckled. This felt like my kind of people.
At last, the doors opened at midnight and I walked in to get my game. In ten seconds I was out the door and on my way home, eager to play. My fingers trembled as I put the cartridge into my game system and turned it on. Then, from that point on for the next hour and a half, I was completely transported back to the world of Pokemon.
The world that Game Freak has created is beautiful. I was very impressed with the animations and the storytelling. All the characters are interesting, and this time it felt like they were actually interacting with me as a player instead of the little character that gets my name stamped onto it. Even the 3D felt refreshing in this age of blah graphics. I am happy to say that the new Pokemon games look like they will be entertaining for months and maybe even years to come. And to think I haven’t even gotten to battle my friends yet! Wait till they see my Pokemon all leveled up…
If you’re one of the Pokemon freaks like me who picked up a copy of the game, I say have tons of fun! Maybe I’ll run into you sometime and we can battle!