Normally a series as unchanging as Pokemon would have long ago faded into oblivion. We gamers usually demand a degree of change as we follow a series, so it should be a wonder that Pokemon has persisted so long without many major changes to the formula. It should be, but truly the fact that it’s still going isn’t surprising in the least. Pokemon is one of those rare games that got it almost exactly right on the very first try. It’s simple, but has depth. It’s cute, but that cuteness is offset by a sense of mystery about the world and the nature of its inhabitants. Finally, the battling and pokemon collecting are easy in theory, but structured in a way that can turn what should be a quick and easy encounter into a desperate struggle for the ages! It’s a game that makes great moments happen, and allows for them to happen at any time!
Whether you’re out collecting or in the heat of battle with a friend, the potential for something to exceptional to happen is ever-present; it’s just a matter of time and your own choices. Consciously or not, most fans of the games are able to see this, and all it takes is the right moment, that most excellent battle, to enable us to finally understand what it is about these silly games that we enjoy so much! Such was the case for me, way back in Pokemon Ruby as I found myself facing Groudon for the very first time.
There it was, Groudon, the legendary continent pokemon. I could have ended it in one stroke; used the master ball I’d stumbled across in Team Aqua’s hideout. It would have been so easy, one toss from my hand and this beast of legend would be all mine! But no…no there was a greater prize than this ahead, one that cause far more regret than this if it were to slip through my fingers. So with my mind resolute and my team at my side, we engaged in battle with Groudon, the legendary pokemon of old that had raised up the continents themselves. The beast scored the first strike, effortlessly bringing down my Golem with a devastating earthquake! A moment of consideration brought Pelipper charging forward with a vengeful Wing Attack, its tearing winds barely causing the ancient pokemon to take even one step back. It answered by using its Ancient Power, nearly bringing Pelipper to its limit. The bird pokemon still had enough fight to summon forth Surf, a great wave that threw Groudon back and quenched its magma lair. The enemy was weak, now was my chance! I loosed an Ultra ball, watched with baited breath as it connected, and waited as it rocked…once..TWICE..but it was no good. Groudon burst forth from the ball in a shower of light, this creature refused to be taken so easily!
It responded to the insult with another bought of Ancient Power, removing Pelipper from the battle. Now was the time to get serious, in came Raichu with Thunder Wave to paralyze it, followed by Sceptile with False Swipe to bring it to the edge…and still it fought on. Four Great were shrugged off like nothing, 12 Ultra balls couldn’t even hold it for a second. This was getting desperate, I’d already exhausted my half of my team, and Sceptile was only still in it because of its level advantage, but there was no going back now. Timer ball after Timer ball I threw, with none of them seemingly making any progress. I prepared one more Timer ball, noting that even thought I still had 4 of the 36 I had brought with me, this would likely be my last chance; Sceptile would only be able to take one more hit, and paralysis would only hold Groudon back for so long. So I pulled back, launched it high into the air and watched as it struck home like so many others before. I waited. Once…Twice!…Thrice!!!…..*CLICK*. It was mine! It took 45 minutes, 48 pokeballs and an almost entirely spent pokemon team, but it was mine! Groudon, the legendary builder of the continents was mine!! YESSSSSS!!!!!
Pokemon is a game of great moments. Random encounters, legendary battles, skirmishes with friends; they all have the abilityto give us an experience to last a lifetime. The potential is all there, built right into the structure of the game. All it takes to unlock it is playing the game.
What is your favorite moment/encounter/battle from your time with pokemon? A loss? A triumph? What was it that made you a fan? If not a fan, what’s kept you from enjoying it?