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My First Pokémon: The GAMINGbible Team On Its Original Pocket Monsters

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My First Pokémon: The GAMINGbible Team On Its Original Pocket Monsters

Everybody's Pokémon adventures start somewhere. Here's some of the GAMINGbible team's first Pokémon experiences, published as part of our celebration of the franchise's 25th anniversary. Be sure to share your Pokémon memories with us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Pokémon Gold (released 2001 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, Creatures Inc
Pokémon Gold (released 2001 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, Creatures Inc

There's just one memory that springs to mind when I think about my introduction to the world of Pokémon. It involves the excellent Pokémon Gold, although I'm sorry to report that this remembrance is not a particularly happy one.

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Going back to this earth-shattering moment in my young life is as simple as closing my eyes. I let my younger sister play with my Game Boy Color in the back of the car on the way back from a family holiday in Cornwall, with the understanding that she'd have a quick run around Johto and play with my Pokémon. I was an idiot.

I recall the panic rising in me as I realised she'd started a new game and saved over my own progress. I'd just gotten to the Elite Four, and was confident in the Champion potential of my squad. Tears and insults followed, and in the end I was left with no choice but to start a new game and head back to where I'd fought tooth and nail to get.

In the end I think she probably did me a favour. I mean, who the hell picks Chikorita as their starter Pokémon? Ewan Moore

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Pokémon Yellow (released 2000 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, Creatures Inc
Pokémon Yellow (released 2000 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, Creatures Inc

The first time I stayed up all night playing a video game was because of Pokémon Yellow, and that really says it all about this magnificent Game Boy game. I'd never been so invested in a virtual reality before, so excited to see what lay ahead that I only stopped to change the batteries in my console (the bane of my childhood).

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From conquering the Vermilion City gym to exploring the S.S. Anne, I remember that night so vividly, even 21 years later. Looking back, that was the moment I knew I'd always play video games. Pokémon Yellow changed everything for me. James Daly

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Pokémon Red (released 1999 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, Creatures Inc
Pokémon Red (released 1999 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, Creatures Inc

I have incredibly vivid memories of where I was when I first beat the Elite Four to become the Pokemon Champion on my borrowed copy of Pokémon Red. In my mum's front room stretched out on a sofa, Corrie playing in the background. Mum was, at best, disinterested in my achievement, but I had an inkling that the adventure I'd started some weeks before was the crux of a turning point. Charizard, Pidgeot, Gengar, Alakazam, Pikachu and Dragonite became more real to me than any cartoon shows or toys I'd seen before. This was the awakening of a new passion that would come and go in waves, but would forever be a part of my identity.

My Game Boy Color was an invaluable extension of my body for the better part of a year. Only put down to (briefly) sleep, then taken to school to secretly swap Pokémon in class with a friend who had a copy of Pokémon Blue and, more profitably, a link cable. I never did quite catch 'em all, but to turn an old phrase, it's the journey, not the destination that counts. And in the case of Pokémon, it has been one hell of a journey. Mark Foster

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Pokémon Blue (released 1999 in the UK) and a Game Boy Pocket / Credit: Mike Diver
Pokémon Blue (released 1999 in the UK) and a Game Boy Pocket / Credit: Mike Diver

I was already well into my teens - indeed, almost out of them - when Pokémon Red and Blue arrived in the UK in late 1999. But I still found time to give Blue a chance, slotted into my clear-shelled Game Boy Pocket - which was something of a headspace-providing distraction when university work built up. I was expecting something hugely childish and far from the complete-feeling role-player I'd experienced with The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. But I was happily surprised - Blue was clearly much more than a tie-in title to complement a product range that, by 1999, covered cartoons (cheers, SM:TV), toys, the card game and much more.

Unlike others on the GB team, my first Pokémon didn't kickstart a fascination with the franchise - I've dabbled in a few titles since, most recently Shield, but rarely stuck with them long. Pokémon just never connected like Zelda or Sonic. But looking back at Blue from the perspective of 2021, it still holds up as a remarkable pocket-sized adventure that went beyond many titles with comparable, wider-franchise reach; and I know that it helped me gain a greater appreciation of what the Game Boy was capable of, into my adult years. Mike Diver

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Pokémon FireRed (released 2004 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, The Pokémon Company, Creatures Inc
Pokémon FireRed (released 2004 in the UK) / Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak, The Pokémon Company, Creatures Inc

FireRed was and still is the absolute best way to experience the first generation of Pokémon games, fact. In the summer of 2004, I remember playing this gem with friends in the school playground, huddled around on our Game Boy Advance SPs. We weren't always allowed to play video games at school, it was just for 30 minutes of 'Golden Time' every Friday but, oh boy, you bet we made the most of every single second.

Everyone was enthralled in the adventure of their first Pokémon journey - an experience shared between mates who would help each other out when they got stuck in a particular area, magical stuff really. One of my mates discovered Mew for the first time and we all completely freaked out, so much so that gaming was consequently banned from 'Golden Time' - it was the best of times while it lasted.

I wish I could say I still had my copy of FireRed or even my deep blue SP, however my mum threw it out along with my Pokémon cards that could well have been worth a small fortune today. Thanks, mum. Will McCue

Check out more articles in GAMINGbible's Pokémon Week, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the franchise:
Pokémon Red, Blue and Green: How The Nintendo Game Boy Hits Were Made
Pokémon Fans Have Made The Franchise What It Is, 25 Years On

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo, Game Freak

Topics: Pokemon, Game Boy, Nintendo, Retro Gaming

Mike Diver
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