Confessions of a Recovering Pokémon Addict – Hypeway to the Dangerzone

Another of your allies falls in battle. With a grim taste in your mouth, you recall him from the front line. Five down, one left. Your rival sneers at you from across the field.  You’ve wanted to show him up since childhood, and this was supposed to be your big chance. Shame things never seem to work out they way you want them. Your hand reaches up to touch the small red and white orb hanging around your neck. Do you dare? Can you afford not to? Relying on its power is dangerous, and there’s no telling what the side effects could be. You think back to that puppy orphanage, six months ago. They’re still cleaning that up.

You raise your head, and lock eyes with the adversary. In his eyes you see the pride, the smugness, the total douche-baggery that you’ve hated for all of these years. Something inside you mans the f**k up. You don’t care anymore. You don’t care that he’s the old man’s grandson. You don’t care that there are thousands of innocent bystanders watching.

No. You’ve come much too far for it all to end here – to end like this.

You rip the orb from its setting, and push the small button on the face. In a blink, it goes from the size of a marble to that of a softball, filling your hand. You flip your hat around, brim to rear, and reach back, throwing the pokéball with all of your might and shouting:

“DANGERZONE, I CHOOSE YOU!”

Can’t type article: playing Pokémon X

Okay, so I picked up Pokémon X. I’ll get to that in a bit. First I suppose I should provide some context.

I was a kid when Pokémon Red and Blue came out. I played them. I played them so hard.

I legitimately got all 150 original Pokémon (my Boy Scout troop was working together on this one) in both Red and Yellow when it came out. I had a team of Level 100s. It was also the first game that I sunk more than 100 hours into. After that, my Poké-addiction cooled for a bit. I didn’t play anymore games until college when I tried picking up Pearl. Pearl had way too many new game mechanics and I just didn’t feel all that attached to that generation of Pokémon. Then I tried picking up Black, and I got a bit further that time. I played Black until I got to the point where I was just grinding EXP and realized I no longer had a lifestyle that could support the game’s needs. I was on the recovery band-wagon and had been Poké-clean for years. I thought I was done.

POKEMON X FOR XTREEEEEEEEEEM

I haven’t been so excited for a Pokémon game since Yellow. Thus far, I haven’t been disappointed. The updated game engine looks fantastic (so good in fact that it lags the 3DS). The 3D makes things pop out well and gives a sense of depth to the battlefields. I like that there aren’t a TON of new mechanics, and the mechanics that are there are either optional (yay… because they’re kind of boring) or well-implemented. Wireless trading and connection works simply and well. You can catch Eevees in the wild (F**KIN FINALLY). The music is also great; I was blown away when my first gym leader battle was accompanied by fairly badass techno.

Nostalgia for Pokémon

What get’s me most is how it plays on my nostalgia.

The beginning is very familiar. You start in your house, leave home, and go on an adventure. Your first route is filled with birds and mice, then you get to your first town. After some roleplaying and cutscene stuff, you then go through a bug-pokemon infested forest before reaching town number two and, subsequently, your first gym. This is a nice touch but plays second fiddle to the fact that THEY INCLUDED OLDER POKEMON.

Pokémon X and Y have Generation 1 Pokémon

X and Y use a mix of new and old Pokémon which is fantastic for an old hand like me. I’m not completely out of my depth with all new Pokémon that I don’t know the types or abilities of. And every time I see one, it takes me back to those simpler Poké-days (before EV training and natures and abilities and held items and berries and… f**k).

You know what? Here are some of my highlights thus far.

Pokémon X Highlights

(me): “Alright, a new Pokémon game! I’m going to catch all the Pokémon!”

(friend): “There are over 500 Pokémon in X and Y, you know.”

(me): “…I’m going to catch a reasonable number of Pokémon!”

“Ooh new starters. Aww, look at Fennekin. She’s adorable! Chespin’s kinda cute, but who takes a grass starter? Honestly. Well, almost everyone I know is going to pick Fennekin, so let’s see what they all evolve into. Fire/Psychic is pretty neat but-OH MY GOD THE WATER STARTER EVOLVES INTO A NINJA.”

Decision made.

While walking through route 1: “Fletchling, huh? Okay, I guess this is this game’s Pidgey.” Catch it.

Ten steps later: “OH SWEET CHRIST A PIDGEY?!?!”

I’m wandering around through tall grass when all of a sudden, a wild Abra appears. The following goes through my mind in the space of about five seconds: “I didn’t know Abra was in this game! I should catch it. I haven’t seen one yet, so they must be pretty rare. They always run away on the first turn unless you can stop them. I need to paralyze or sleep it. My lead Pokémon doesn’t have any status afflicters. Crap. My only chance is to throw a Pokéball and hope it gets captured. First try. At full health. With no ailments. ohgodohgodohgod. Wiggle. WIGGLE. WIGGLE. *click* BOOYEAH!”

Encounter my first Snarlax: “Get it paralyzed and into the red for health. Throw an ultra ball. Man, I feel bad about wasting my only Ultra-ball on-” He breaks free before the first wiggle. “never mind.”

That moment I realize I can name my character DABUTT (shoutout to Game Grumps!) and her nickname can be The D. All her friends call her The D.

Spending a day agonizing over whether I should take a Bulbasaur or Charmander: “On the one hand, I can take Bulbasaur and I’ll have a balanced party (water starter, fire starter and grass starter). Plus, he’s really useful because of leech seed and status ailments. I already have a fire starter, but if I take Charmander I can get Mega-Charizard X and have a sweet Dragon type. F**KIT MEGA-CHARIZARD X MOTHERF**KERS.”

That moment when you first encounter a new pokemon that NONE OF YOURS SEEM TO BE ABLE TO HURT AND YOU’RE LIKE: WHAT IN THE HELL IS YOUR TYPE?!?!
this dick

Looking at you, Honedge.

Wrapping up

There are a few things that have been getting on my nerves. There are sooooo many Pokémon that all of my money go to Pokéballs, and I have no easy way to sort out which ones are actually helpful yet (can’t wait for the Pokédex to come out, am I right?). The Herd/Horde battles are a PAIN IN THE ASS unless you have moves that hit all, and the day/night cycle means I have to spend a full day in EACH AREA if I want to catch as many new types as possible. These gripes aren’t enough to dissuade me from playing, though. And playing a lot.

You should play too.