Friday, April 11, 2014

"My Curious Obsession with Pokemon" by Phil

Since the first day we got back from winter break, senioritis has been a plague that has seemed to slowly but steadily creep into my life. What started out as drifting off in class at times led to full blown afternoons of doing little to no work at all. I laugh out loud to think that I once upon a time told myself I wouldn’t be like every other senior, but alas, I’ve been dragged into the norm. And to think it all started going downhill on that fateful day when the original Pokémon series came out on Netflix. For wherever there is Pokémon, I will always be there.
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It was a dull and rainy Saturday afternoon as I sat and played with my action figures on the living room floor of the same house I live in today. But the day wouldn’t be dull for much longer, because today was the day that my mom was taking me to see my first movie ever in theaters. The name of the movie was Pokémon 2000, a tale in which main character Ash and his friends stumble upon three legendary Pokémon and fight bad guys to save the Pokémon from captivity. You can only guess where such an exciting movie like that took me.

Not even a year later, what had started out as a mild interest transformed into a full-blown obsession. I had Pokémon-themed everything: shoes, clothes, hats, posters, wallpaper, bed sheets, stuffed animals, and much more. If you name it, I’m pretty sure I had it! I fondly remember rushing home from school every Tuesday and Thursday, so eager to catch the latest Pokémon episode that was on at 4 o’clock. There would never be a time where I would watch my Pokémon shows without my favorite Pokémon blanket and stuffed Pikachu right by my side. I even recall at one point forcing my mother to buy me the new Pokémon cereal, of which I ate the whole box despite its bland taste. I even got plastic Pokéballs for Christmas one year, which I used every single day until they all were broken.  As I raced around the house after school with Pikachu in my arms, I would always imagine that we were embarking on a great adventure to become the best Pokémon trainer of all time! You could say I had quite the imagination when I was a kid, and it only continued to grow as I got older.

As the years went by, my love for Pokémon only grew. After the original series ended, I began to collect every trading card I could find. Without a doubt, my favorite two cards I ever owned were my shiny Electabuz and shiny Charizard, both of which were valued at around $25 each. I must have spent every penny I had as a child completing my whole collection, which ironically sits in a box in my closet untouched for years despite my still-persistent love for all things Pokémon. But back then, my Pokémon cards were my most prized possession; they would’ve been for any boy or girl my age. I loved being the envy of all my friends when I’d bring my card binder over to their houses and show them all my latest additions to my ever-growing collection. I even tried to enter in a local card game competition when I was eleven, but alas my parents said I was too young.

From that point I moved onto the new Pokémon games, which still to this day dominate the video game markets all over the world. My best friend gave me my first Pokémon game on my twelfth birthday, which went quite nicely with the Gameboy my parents bought me. I was a pretty lucky kid to say the least. The games were by far my favorite of anything that the creators of Pokémon came up with. It was not long until I had every single game from the first three “generations”, meaning I had a total of nine games at one point. Though it sounds ridiculous to have had nine Pokémon games at once, I certainly put all nine of them to more than good use, beating them all at least twice. The best thing about the games in my opinion was the fact that I could finally become the Pokémon trainer I had watched on TV and go on my own adventure. I could even catch whatever Pokémon I wanted if I searched for it! It was everything I needed at the time. All my friends played it and so did my brother, which made it all the more fun to keep playing it even as I got to be older.

One of the things I always kept in mind through all those years of Pokémon love was how much it meant to me and influenced my life. I think the thing that always drew me to Pokémon more than anything else was its ability to keep up with the popularity of all ages of children while still remaining nonviolent. When I look at all the popular games amongst children and teens out today such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, it makes me seriously wonder how the violence is acceptable. I am so thankful my parents never let me get any violent video games. Even now they are iffy about me playing any M-rated games even if I am seventeen. It is so strange to me to think about how much has changed in the last five years with gaming. I feel like gaming companies have lost their creative edge and have resorted to desensitizing children like the rest of society has today. And it’s not like violence receives so much of a better rating that what Pokémon has, so we know that kids are willing to enjoy nonviolent games just as much. I just wish that kids today were as much into Pokémon as I was. It was something that all my friends were as into as I was. I still play the games every now and then, and they are most certainly just as fun every single time.

Even now, I still share my love for Pokémon in many ways. I will talk the ear off of anyone who is willing to listen to me about it. Though the Netflix release of the show has affected my school work, I am so happy I get to relive the best parts of my childhood before I head off to college in the fall. It may seem childish to some, but I believe that Pokémon is a great link to my past that I can still access to this day. It’s a fad that may die down as I grow older, but will never die out completely. I may not seem like much of a nerd, but I’m the head of the pack when it comes to my love for Pokémon. 

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