Pokemon Red and Blue | The Game That Defines Murr

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Pokemon + Chillstep = Perfect

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

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We’ve hit double digits, folks — it’s Day 10 of The Games That Define Us! 

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

We’ve been blessed with both members of the double-act Geek. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat for this collaboration! Today, amazing writer (and new father) Murr is going back in time to the halcyon days many of us experienced — walking around with out Game Boys catching Pokemon. After you get done here, you should definitely check out Murr’s domain over on G.S.R.R., the Geekly Reviews!

Gotta catch all pieces of The Games That Define Us, especially this one! Enjoy!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

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starring

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Murr @ Geek. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat.

Twitter: @Murr_GSRR

For Missingno

 

Game: Pokemon Red and Blue
System: Game Boy
Release Date: October 5, 1999 (E.U. …
yikes, that’s way later than everyone else… )

1P Start

Pokemon Red & Blue changed the world for everyone, but it certainly reminds me of one of the greatest times of my life when growing up. It was one of the most magical journeys of discovery I’d ever taken.

Pokemon RB.jpg

Pokemon, it’s the fad that isn’t going away. Sure the popularity and craze isn’t the same heights it was years ago, but you’d be foolish to think that it will ever stop selling millions of copies each new iteration.

I was introduced to Pokemon all those years ago by a neighbour who used to live across the road from me. He was a four years younger than me, but growing up, we’d always hang out after school and do standard stuff kids would do back then. Build dens, ride bikes and occasionally play computer games, either on his SNES or my Master System. I would eventually get a SNES and with it the ‘Super Gameboy’ which allowed you to play Gameboy games on the SNES. Ultimately it was sort of irrelevant before Pokemon, but I digress.

So my neighbour comes home from wherever it was he went with his parents one day, and he comes running over to mine with his Gameboy and this brand new unopened game. It was Pokemon Blue. Genuinely, I had not heard of this game at all. The TV Show hadn’t hit Sky One yet in the UK, or if it had, it hadn’t taken off yet. Pokemon cards weren’t big — it was just the early stages of this phenomenon in the UK. I can’t remember exactly how the conversation went all those years back, but it ended up with us digging out the Super Gameboy I owned, sitting in-front of my SNES and playing Pokemon Blue. So to start with I hand the SNES controller over to my neighbour as it’s his game after all. The process starts, the now classic introduction to Professor Oak takes place, along with the silly opening mistake of trying to leave Pallet Town without going to Oak’s lab first. All of this was occurring, and each line of text we read captured our imaginations more and more.

As it was back then, you’d always have to beg the parents if you could have a sleepover, and after hours of not moving from the TV while we were progressing further into Kanto, I do the deed of pleading with my parents, and then my neighbour pleading with his parents if he can stay over the night. They give the green light and we’re good to go. As the night progressed I selfishly ask if I can play and take control. I didn’t relinquish the controller then until the sun began to rise. Each day after school he’d come over and I’d again take control and end up playing the game for him. Four years his senior, I had the right to, right?

Pokemon RB2.jpg

In the end, I knew I had to beg my mum if I could have Pokemon Red. She had already bought it for me for Christmas (I was to find this out years later) and she was actually worried I was ruining the game by playing my neighbour’s version so much — after so much begging and pleading, she gave me my copy of Red early and this is where my journey began.

To this day, no journey has stuck with me more. Of course I’ve played some incredible games that will stay with me forever, but Pokemon Red was something entirely different. It became a sort of way of life for me. With every stupid thing kids believed in, like making wishes when seeing a shooting star or throwing pennies into wells, every wish I’d make was “I wish Pokemon were real.”

As we’re all aware, Pokemon certainly took off in a huge way. I know there are so many people out there that claim to be the biggest fans of such games, and now especially I can completely appreciate that there will be many people that adore Pokemon much more than I do now. But I legitimately think back in the Gen 1 days that I was the biggest Pokemon fan going and I sincerely mean that. As the TV show began to take off, I’d record all the episodes in the morning including the Pokerap. After school I’d come home an re-watch the episodes that I’d already seen in the morning, and then would sit there with a pen and paper and write down the names of the Pokemon featuring in the episode. When the Pokerap would come on, I’d pause it, rewind it, replay it and again write down all the names of the Pokemon trying to build up my own Pokedex of the 150 Pokemon. As I said, the craze was taking off, but the names of all the Pokemon were yet to be discovered, and while yes there was Internet, it was a more wondrous time of discovering these things naturally via other sources.

It got so crazy that my neighbour and I made our own Pokemon RPG in which I would draw out routes and towns and mark encounters with Pokemon on them. I’d created Pokemon player cards with circles representing health points which we’d colour in with pencil when taking damage (so they could be marked out when a potion was used and health was regained). I made cards for the Pokemon that you bumped into in wild encounters so again their damage could be marked down, and if you caught them, you’d attain that Pokemon card and it’d be part of your party. It got so deep, I’d worked out the system for experience gained from battles and leveling up. I’d use dice to give damage from moves and the higher the level the Pokemon you battled, the more the multiplier of damage would be. We loved it — we’d sit there with Pokemon on the TV playing this while playing link player battles and trades with our versions of Red & Blue. There was such a good competitive rivalry there between us.

As the craze continued to take over the world, my collection ever increased. Any magazine that even had a mention of Pokemon in it, my parents would buy for me. When the N64 came out, before any Pokemon game was even announced we were in dreamworld at just how amazing the Pokemon N64 game was going to be. While we didn’t end up getting that dream 3D RPG, we did get Pokemon Stadium that took us to another level of competition with our teams being uploaded to proper 3D visuals. The merchandise was taking over my bedroom, posters and cutouts all over the walls. Figures and plushies everywhere. Magazines piled up.

I can always remember in one of the daily newspapers Sky One included a blue poster with a picture of each of the 150 Pokemon on it in their Pokedex order with their name. This poster lived on the wall next to my head in bed and it was like a ritual every night before hitting the light off to stare at it and memorise more of them in their Pokedex order. That poster lived there for years. Other posters came and went, but that stayed there for as long as I can remember — oh how I wish I still had it.

I even started to get into theories about Pokemon after studying the guides so much. Like shouldn’t the evolution of Venonat be Butterfree, and Caterpie -> Metapod -> Venomoth based purely on their designs. And of course the infamous Cubone and Kangaskhan relation and theory, and the Clefable and Gengar connections. It was all I’d think about. I’d have notebooks full of drawings and scribbles about these silly theories and myths. The TV show would help fuel these notebooks of silliness with some of their unique Pokemon featuring in episodes like the huge Dragonite that came to the lighthouse and of course the infamous Ho-oH appearance in the very first episode.

While the craze continued to grow, so did the amount of Pokemon related stuff I’d carry around. Naturally I’d need my Gameboy with my copy of Red, I’d carry my Pokedex around with me, my folder full of Pokemon cards. I’d keep all this in a case designed to carry the Gameboy and a few games — this case was an official Pokemon one of course. On the front cover of one of the many magazines I had was a blurb of text about how Pokemon had taken over the world. I cut this paragraph out and kept it with me in that carry case at all times. So strange I know, but the impact of this paragraph of text reflected how important I felt that Pokemon had become. I actually have the cutout paragraph on the wall in my office today. This is the paragraph:

While I would go on to enjoy all the Pokemon games after Red & Blue, It was these games that of course started it all. I can’t explain how much these games mean to me. They’ve impacted me even now in my 30s. As silly as it sounds when abroad and seeing wildlife unique to that country or setting, I still think of it as seeing rare Pokemon in their region. Like in Mauritius, seeing sea turtles and octopi, I was just thinking of it as seeing them as Pokemon in their natural habitat and sort of like ‘ticking them off’ a check list having seen them. So strange I know for a 30+ year old to think like that.

I became a father in October of this year, and I’m already getting excited about when my son is old enough to appreciate the Build-A-Bear Workshop in our mall, taking him there and getting him his own Pokemon — I’m hoping he takes after his father and picks Charmander. I shall do my best to encourage and influence him to become the fire type fan that I was and still am, to be honest. In a few days, the Switch will be getting its first Pokemon title, and in terms of nostalgia I can’t wait to get a copy of Pokemon Let’s Go and retrace all those steps that I’m so familiar with in new beautiful presented visuals.

Pokemon Red & Blue changed the world for everyone, but it certainly reminds me of one of the greatest times of my life when growing up. It was one of the most magical journeys of discovery I’d ever taken. It captivated my imagination so much and still does to this day.

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Published by

Matthew // Normal Happenings

Matthew Estes. STL-based Blogger. Graphic Designer. Happily Married. One day I'll actually complete a book I'm happy with. I love pizza, video games, and using way too many ellipses...

3 thoughts on “Pokemon Red and Blue | The Game That Defines Murr

  1. This hit me right in the feels man. Pokemon was the first thing I played when I was a kid with my Gameboy Advanced. My brother and I would fight over who’s game was who’s and my mom would have to put our initials on the game so he wouldn’t be stealing mine (even though he did anyway to my version of Ruby Red later on down the line…. RIP). I took my game EVERYWHERE and guarded it with my life. Pokemon will literally never get old.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This story is so relatable! I remember when Pokemon Red and Blue first came and out and my brother and I (who were huge into Pokemon — we had the cards, watched the show, etc.) wanted the game so badly. All our friends had it and we begged our parents for it. However, instead, my parents bought us the Pokemon Yellow which came with the limited edition Gameboy (not that I’m complaining!). I LOVED this game and played it constantly. My brother eventually moved on to other games but Yellow was one of the best things to happen to me as a young gamer. To this day, I still have my original game which is tucked away safely in my memory box with my old Gameboy SP. I love how of all my favorite games, Pokemon still continues to rise and lead the trends in the video game industry (hello, PokemonGo!). Thanks for sharing this awesome memory. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Man, those first memories with Red or Blue are certainly special ones! I got my copy of Blue as a “present” to give me something to do during the travel and preparations for my mother’s wedding. I discovered the show at the same time and remember thinking it was so cool to have a TV show about the video game I was playing.
    It sounds like you truly were the biggest Pokemon fan back in the day! If you ever stumble upon that RPG you made, you should see how it holds up compared to Pokemon Tabletop United, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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