Can you remember the first game you stayed up all night playing? I do: Pokemon Blue.
I was in my early teens, and I’d just bought Pokemon Blue from my local Blockbuster store. Blockbusters…that’s a blast from the past, but for another time.
Pokemon wasn’t a huge deal at the time – I’d bought the game purely based on how cool the box looked – but I quickly got addicted to catching and training those little monsters called Pokemon. Then the TV show took over my school; the trading cards became popular, and suddenly everyone was on board.
I’d spend every free second I had playing Pokemon Blue; before school with breakfast, on lunch break sitting at the side of the playground, after school while mindlessly shoveling dinner into my face, then well into the night – and even all night, on occasion.
To modern gamers that may not seem like such a feat, but the only way to play Pokemon Blue back in the day was on the original Gameboy. You know, the huge grey brick with no backlight that ate through batteries like a fat kid and cake (I should know, I was one). So, I had to go to extreme lengths to get my late night gaming sessions.
I’d wait until my brother had fallen asleep and my parents had disappeared downstairs. When the coast was clear, I’d sneak across my room and get my desk lamp. I’d take the desk lamp under my bed covers, plug it in and continue my Poke-adventure. Oh, I was such a daredevil!
Yes, the lamp was roasting hot. Yes, I was sweating like a beast. Yes, I was basically a gaming fire hazard. But, did I care? No. I was playing Pokemon until the sun came up and no one knew. Sweet!
I fully entrenched myself in the Pokemon universe because of Pokemon Blue. I knew everything there was to know about the game and all 151 Pokemon included within. I even got suckered into trying to find Mew under a truck (and consequently learned that the internet is full of lies). Those were great times.
Every so often I try to dive back into the world of Pokemon, but I don’t have a 3DS to play the 3D iterations, and the older games feel a little stale now. I’ve tried the MMO versions and got bored within a few hours. It isn’t that I’ve outgrown Pokemon – heck no, the little bastards are still as interesting to me as ever – but because I want the games to give me something new.
Pokemon: Go is an interesting twist on the formula, and I’m glad to see something fresh being introduced to the franchise. But I want an adventure that I can have sitting on the toilet with a screen in front of my face too.
Give me a more engaging story, some new gameplay mechanics, a truly interesting world to explore…not just another 10,000 Pokemon to catch and a newly named enemy team to bring down.
Make it happen, Nintendo! Please.