When I first heard about the release of Pokemon Black and White, I thought to myself Oh, another Pokemon game. While I had been an avid fan back in the days of Kanto and Johto, I found myself lost after the second generation. I had dabbled in Pearl for a while and contemplated Platinum, but other than that, I had lost interest in the fandom. It’s not that I’m one of those people who refuses to acknowledge the existence of Pokemon past generation one, but rather that I just couldn’t keep up anymore. There were too many Pokemon, too many regions, too many gym leaders. I just couldn’t keep track anymore. Not to mention, Pokemon is not exactly the cheapest of hobbies. As a first year college student, I don’t exactly have all the money in the world to blow away on video games and merchandise when I have overpriced textbooks and dining hall food I need to buy. So needless to say, I was not one of those that awaited generation five with bated breath.
However, my friends were. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were full of exclamations such as ‘Pokemon White is THE BEST!’ or ‘GENERATION FIVE, MARRY ME’. My interest was piqued. There had not been this much rave when the other games had come out (either that, or I just wasn’t paying enough attention). My little brother was also begging my mother to buy us the games. When I returned for spring break, I found the Pokemon Black case sitting on our dining room table and decided to kill some time. Within the first few seconds of watching the opening short film, I was hooked. I had already fallen in love with the graphics and the character designs. I eagerly started up the game and chose Oshawott/Mijumaru as my starter, charmed by its round face and the scallop on its chest. My journey had started.
I spent the rest of my spring break hunched over my DS, eyes practically glued to the screen. Looking back, I do feel a little guilty for not being a bit more social during the holidays, but I have no regrets. The characters were all so incredibly cute and quirky – I definitely do not remember them being so loveable. I was especially charmed by Cilan/Dento and his cute, shy demeanor during the first gym battle. The graphics were positively breathtaking. During the Ferris wheel cut scene in Nimbasa City, I felt my heartbeat speed up, which of course had nothing to do with the incredibly romantic spin I was taking with that green-haired, green-eyed wonder. The different perspectives of Castelia City, not to mention that fantastic bridge, almost made me cry. Later, I showed it to my friend who was feeling equally dubious about the game. She just looked at me and said, “Is this a joke?”
I was absolutely hooked. When I wasn’t playing the game, I was watching the anime online or reblogging Black and White fanart on Tumblr. When I returned to school, I drew numerous sketches of N, Black/Hilbert/Touya and White/Hilda/Touko in the margins of my notes. I also began to collect Pokemon plushes, figurines and cards online, making it a high priority to get whatever merchandise I could get my hands on of Reshiram. I even caught up on all of the movies, just so I could be up to date. At first, I thought it was just a phase I would grow out within a week or two. However, here I am, still just as addicted as I was when I first pushed the game cartridge into my DS. I keep up with the anime, eagerly awaiting each new episode, and practically stalk eBay and Amazon for generation five merchandise. Currently, I’m planning on starting a Reshiram collection and am obsessively checking my mailbox every day for a Reshiram strap I ordered online the other day.
For those of you who are still on the border debating whether or not to try out the new Pokemon games, I definitely recommend them, especially if you have enjoyed the previous generations! The gameplay is fun, fast-paced and attention-grabbing. The graphics and music are absolutely stunning – a great round of applause to the creative team! The characters are all loveable. And of course, the Pokemon are great. While admittedly, it was a little off-putting to be thrown into a new region with absolutely none of the old characters, towns, or even Pokemon, I quickly fell in love with the Unova/Isshu region. In my opinion, Pokemon Black or White is a game all Pokemon fans have to at least try. When you’re hooked, we’ll be waiting for you with open arms!