The story of my first Pokémon game is a special one. See, I was rather late into the gaming world. I was 8 when I got my first console, the PS1, and it had already been out for a few years. Though I had grown up playing games with others, that was my first personal system.
I’d always wanted a Game Boy, but my dad wasn’t feeling it. Figured I already had the PS1 and didn’t get the idea behind the less powerful Game Boy. Luckily my childhood friend from down the street, Derek, was always kind enough to share his games. We went halves on an N64 and new Game Boy Color, as well as several games for the systems. We’d spend all day playing Pokémon Snap or Pokémon Red and Blue. All while eating snacks from our local gas station, full of real early 2000s vibes. It was an amazing time, but I still wish I had a Pokémon game that was just mine.
Then it happened. For my 10th birthday, my dad had given me one of the greatest gifts of all time. A new Game Boy Color and of course, Pokémon Silver. My first, personal Pokémon game. I actually cried I was so happy. But before I could even open the box, my dad told me I wasn’t allowed to play it until everyone had gone home after the sleep over.
It was hell. Sure I was happy to pal around with my best and closest friends, but I had to do it while Pokémon Silver was just sitting there in the bg, begging to be played. Every time I got a second away from a friend, I would read a bit of the back of the box. Studying the images over and over. Counting down the seconds til I could play.
Lucky for me, all of my friends were early birds and I was a bit of a night owl. With my friends all asleep and me very much awake, I asked my dad if I could play my game. He said sure, so long as it was only for a little. Well… needless to say that didn’t happen. I was IMMEDIATELY sucked in. I get to choose my own Pokémon? Well I pick Totodile of course, aptly naming her Slasher. And who is this rival? What!? He stole a Pokémon? Well clearly we must name him something evil. But what?
Well, sadly, due to not having played a Pokémon game alone yet, I got my butt nearly handed to me by his Chikorita. What a jerk I thought. So when I got the chance to name him, I knew it would be my chance at revenge! Little did I know about the game’s 7 character limit. So alas, my rival’s name… was Butthad. Clearly meant to be Butthead, but honestly, I feel like it wouldn’t have been as memorable had I named him correctly.
But boy, did I love that game. I don’t think aside from Monster Rancher or Bioshock, have I ever put as much time into a game as Silver version. I scowered that game. I had the strategy guide but I didn’t use it unless I was absolutely stuck. The mystery was just too good to ruin. I remember when I first solved the moving tile puzzle in the Ruins of Alph. I felt on top of the world and scared to death. Man or the time you realize that there’s basically a whole second game when you go to Kanto. Shit I was so happy when I found the girl trading a Chansey for an Areodactyl. Memories of gambling, bug catching, cloning items and finally fighting Red. Words cannot describe how much I love that game.
I still play the Pokémon games today, but none of them have really captured the magic Silver did for me. Though I’m thankful for all the memories it gave me. Maybe one day I’ll own it again.