Landscape of the town of CruteakUsual game

My first Pokémon was a Chikorita named Chicky, and I loved this little green horse with all my heart. I got to Pokémon a little later than many of my friends and peers, after missing Red and Blue Pokémon by not owning a Game Boy, but I spent many hours watching others stroll through the spooky little cemetery in Lavender Town, or showing Pikachu’s smiley face in Pokémon Yellow.

I knew I wanted to be a part of this craze, so when I finally got my hands on a Game Boy Color, I made sure to tell my parents to have me Pokémon Gold. My little brother got Pokémon Silver and we shared ownership of a link cable. It was a magical time.

It's not Chicky.  This is a Lesser Chikorita, from the anime
It’s not Chicky. This is a Lesser Chikorita, from the anime (Image: The Pokémon Company)

At the time, I didn’t know much about the guy’s perks – and I didn’t care either. Pokémon, for most kids, is a game where you get a pet and have it fight other people’s animals, and although a rudimentary understanding of the basic rock-paper-scissor triangle of ‘grass, water beats fire, grass beats water “will get you quite far, it gets a bit more complex when you try to find reasons for bug type to beat psychic type or psychic type. combat beats the normal type. It’s best to ignore all of these things and make sure you have lots of hard hitting moves.

My dear Chicky was quickly joined by a host of other Pokémon that I mostly kept because they were cute. The Togepi you received at the start of the game was one of my favorites, named “Eggy” because kids are terrible at coming up with creative names. He had the metronome, a movement drawn at random from every available movement, and although the metronome was do not a good tactical Pokemon move, it made my fights look unexpected and surprising every time.

Boy, there are LOTS of steps.
Boy, there are LOTS of steps. (Image: Game Freak)

I also had a Mareep, named – points for guessing correctly – “Sheepy,” and a Golduck, “Ducky,” in an attempt to cram my party with a bit more power. My favorite of all was – and still is – Swinub, the kind of pork slime that, let’s face it, I probably called “Piggy.” I was incredibly disappointed when he turned into a big villainous Piloswine, but at least that meant we could be a bit fiercer in combat.

The Indigo plateau is a bit of an anticlimax
The Indigo plateau is a bit of an anticlimax

By the time I reached the seemingly endless maze of tunnels that formed the Victory Road to the final stage of the Pokémon League, I had a level 70 Meganium (Chicky), plus the Ho-Oh I came from. ‘catch, and my brother’s Lugia. that I made her exchange because I am a terrible sister. My first time against the Elite Four – well, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that my team, made up of Pokémon chosen for their cuteness, didn’t go very far.

Back to Victory Road to hit some Onix, and a few hours later – still no joy. I spent all my money on Revives and Hyper Potions, but barely had time to use them between elite elite one-shot moves. It didn’t look great on my team – we were devastated over and over again, and I couldn’t help but imagine each of the Elite Four seeing this silly kid walk into their room over and over again and feel a little sorry for me. But I wasn’t going to give up. It was a time before “playing something else” was an option. It was my game, and I was going beat that, even if it took forever.

So it’s time to get serious. Cue the montage music.

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