It’s been 25 years since Pokemon was launched, with the official anniversary being February 27, 1996. Pokemon Green and Red had debuted in Japan, exploding in popularity in the US and all around the world. Yes, this article is meant to make you feel old and nostalgic for the simpler times. The series has deeply impacted my life and brought joy to millions of players worldwide.
When I look back on my not-so-happy childhood, it was opening my Game Boy Color and playing Pokemon Gold that helped me cope. (Thank you, Nintendo!) A journey of a thousand miles began with a simple step, and for myself, my love for gaming began when I stepped outside my Pallet Town home for the very first time and chose Squirtle.
Here’s a quick list of 25 things I absolutely love about the pocket monster series in no particular order:
We have Junichi Masuda to thank for that. From the unsettling tune of Lavender Town, the chill National Park music to the super intense Trainer Battle themes, it didn’t matter if the music was 8-bit or a full orchestra kit was used. It gave life to the game as our pixelated self explored towns, caves, and seas. Each melody is deeply ingrained in my memory up to this day, thanks to the catchy melodies inspired by Super Mario and classical musicians, particularly Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich.
He is the first person I talked to in Pokemon Red aside from Mom. After 20 years, he’s still amazed, you guys.
Pokemon are simply delightful to collect, train, and love because they’re easy on the eyes. Their designs reflect their type particularly well, and they can use their body type (tails, claws, and head) to Body Slam, Tail Whip, and Headbutt. The evolutions and various forms, be it dragon or male and female versions of that Pokemon, are satisfying to witness as well.
I can never forget the amazement I felt when my Squirtle evolved into a Wartortle, and I’ve been hooked ever since on collecting various evolutions, baby versions, Mega Evolutions, and Alolan versions.
While I was traveling with a cute Pikachu on Pokemon Yellow, I was also watching Ash and Pikachu bond in Pokemon: Indigo League. It’s great to experience both the joys of the video game and TV series all at once as a kid, heightening my love and nostalgia for the franchise.
How satisfying is it to beat 4 uber-powerful trainers in a row, and still beat Gary? It’s difficult to keep a good number of Revives and Full Restores, too. But all the grinding and prep pays off. Remember the first time you’re registered as the Champion? Smell ya later, Gary!
If you managed to do it, you’re considered the coolest kid on the block.
Of course, who can ever forget wanting to be the very best? The theme song not only made us excited to watch the episode but it’s a clear mission statement. It’s the leitmotif of every aspiring Pokemon Master, no matter what gen or season you started with!
Ash needs to drop his skincare routine, because I swear that dude never ages. He’s an icon, a legend, a vampire of sorts. He should be 33 by now, but still stated to be “10 years old” when In the Shadow of Zekrom! aired. He probably shares the same curse as Detective Conan.
I bet you were in awe when it happened. Was it Moltres, Artikuno, or Zapdos for you? Catching Mewtwo was particularly scary but in the end I gave up and used my Masterball.
While I tried and failed to sustain Competitive Battling, I appreciated the grind. You need to beat Pokemons with the EVs (Effort Values) you need and maximize your Pokemon’s potential. I always tend to play Overused (OU) tier pokemon, mostly my starters. The dedication that players who do this day in and out amaze me.
Because Ice types were rare in the earlier generations, I loved collecting them: Beartic, Sneasel, ice-type Vulpix, you name it. They have a silver or light blue hue and of course, the ability to learn my favorite move, Ice Beam. My favorite towns happen to be snow-filled ones, too, like Snowpoint City, so I’m always excited to catch them even if they’re late-stage. I like that a lot of them are mixed Water types, like Lapras, so I always have an advantage over grass or fire types and even the super popular dragon types!
Honestly, the balancing act makes Pokemon so fun. You have a limited amount of Pokemon and they each only learn 4 moves. Pokemon Sword and Shield are a lot easier to finish, but if you didn’t have a well-rounded team back in Pokemon Red or Gold, you’re getting a Game Over.
‘Nuff said. Off-screen Pokemon activities are just as addictive. Every recess is spent trading or battling. Just recently I’ve added Rowlet to my stuffed toy collection from the Pokemon Center in Japan.
How proud were you when you took your first step into the Kanto region? I was crying happy tears. There were 8 more gyms to conquer and the adventure is still on. My heart skipped a beat! The victorious Route 27music heightened my feelings of wonder and accomplishment.
This moment gave me goosebumps. I had no idea back then that I’d face-off with the strongest trainer in the land. Why is Red so quiet? I was shaking because I thought he was a ghost. His level 80 Pikachu shocked my team and made everyone faint. I had to grind and make them all level 50 or higher and use more type advantages. Dang, Pikachu!
The only town in Unova with two versions of itself: past or future dependent on your choice of Pokemon Black or White. I picked Black so I had the futuristic version (techno vibes) but the past Opelucid City theme is beautiful and harmonious. In Black 2 and White 2, the whole city gets frozen. I love this city because you face either Drayden or Iris (both Dragon types).
Who could forget the secret bases in Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald! I had fun putting up baby Torchic posters and Clefairy dolls in my own super secret spot near Fortree City thankyouverymuch.
Eevee is a giveaway or prize in several versions, making it easier to fill in a type that your team is missing. Sylveon and Glaceon are my favorites.
The ghost girl is a “Hidden Character”. She appears in Pokemon X, Pokemon Y, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, and Omega Ruby. The music stops, the screen flashes…and she’s behind you. She floats and before she disappears, tells you “No, you’re not the one…”
There’s also a ghost girl in Hammerlocke (Pokemon Sword and Shield) who asks you to deliver her letter to a friend in a faraway town, revealed to be an old man, you find out she already died. While I played these games as an adult, I still got goosebumps. No one knows who she is to this day, though there are a lot of theories floating around.
It can be annoying if you’re caught off-guard in the wild, and suddenly Suicune is in front of you. Always have a Quick Ball on you!
Remember finding a secret entrance near Pacifidlog, solving Sky Pillar puzzles with your Mach bike, and fighting a majestic green serpent?
It’s cool that this feature was introduced recently, as in Pokemon Sword and Shield. I always wondered what Pokemon ate. Now that I know it’s curry made from different berries and ingredients, my mind is at peace. Plus I can play with them using different toys and raise their affection for me (makes battling a bit too easy IMO).
Some of the quotes I’ll never forget are the unexpectedly poignant quotes that NPCs throw at me. Not the bug catcher kid who really likes shorts. My favorite one is the quote that defeated players tell you after you beat them. It shows the sportsmanship and determination that you, as a Pokemon trainer, must have to grow stronger. My other favorite is:
“My face is reflected in the water. It’s a shining grin full of hope…Or it could be a look of somber silence struggling with fear…What do you see reflected in your face?”
Think you’ve won after you finished the Elite 4 and defending Champion? Think again. Aside from beating them a second time, you probably haven’t completed the Pokedex, explored bonus regions, finished every sidequest, and caught all the legendaries!
Pikachu needs to be on the 25th spot because Pikachu is #25 in the Pokedex. Pikachu’s cuteness is timeless and universal. This electric type mouse Pokemon appeals to all with their bright yellow coat, red fluffy cheeks, pointed black-tipped ears, and thunder-shaped tail. Not to mention the voice: “Pika pika!”
Thanks for being a Pokefan with us ‘til the end. We’re pretty excited for the next Pokemon installments, including Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl! And while you’re reading all about it, check out Post-Malone’s Only Wanna Be With You from the virtual Pokemon 25th anniversary concert.
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