Pokemon is probably one of the most defining aspects of my child hood. As soon as I got a Gameboy and the Pokémon games, I started obsessively trying to collect one of each and every Pokémon. It wasn’t all that difficult to achieve in the first iteration of the games (Pokemon Red and Blue), it just required you to have a friend with a gameboy and the opposite game to you. For me, this slot was filled by zel, my younger brother. Sadly, we never made it to an event to get the elusive and adorable Mew, but still, 150/151 isn’t bad going.
There are now nearly twenty games in the main series, and many spin-offs such as Pokemon Snap (N64), Pokemon Colosseum (N64), and Pokemon Trading Card Game (GBC) to name just a small handful. There are also other areas of the phenomenon – there’s a Trading Card Game, an anime series, and more merchandise than you could shake a stick at. Pokemon fever really did sweep the world and from the young to the young-at-heart, Pokémon became a part of our culture.
I was young (maybe about seven or eight years old) when I first came across the adorable, collectible creatures. Young tends to mean impressionable. The major philosophy behind the games was ‘Gotta’ Catch ‘Em All’ and so this innocuous game involving (something I now consider slightly questionable) catching small creatures in even smaller digital balls, and making them fight until one passes out has had what I consider to be a fairly large impact on my life, or at least my psyche.
In the field of psychology, the question of nature or nurture rages on. I don’t know if I was predisposed towards completing and collecting tendencies, if Pokemon awakened these traits within me, or if the game created them in me from scratch, but what I do know is that since I was a child I have taken pleasure in collecting. From glow in the dark plastic shapes to achievements to Magic: the Gathering cards.
So, before you pick up that DS to play Black or White (the latest installations in the series) ask yourself if you really want to ‘Catch ‘Em All’.