How to be a Bona Fide Pokemon Fan
I am a proud Pokémon fan. There’s nothing really odd about that, isn’t there? Not unless you think it’s odd for an adult professional at his twenties to still be passionate of a known children’s show. For me, it started out as a childhood fancy, and years after I’m still hooked. This article is a guide on how to be a bona fide Pokémon fan. However, if you have no intention of being one, take it as an exposition as to why I am.
KNOW THE ANIME
The Pokémon anime show was released in Philippine local television when I was 11 years old. Walking home from school, I saw through a window an advertisement saying that its premiere broadcast would be on Monday of next week. It came at an inopportune time, just when our TV was still broken. I can’t explain why, but at that time I was determined to see the show no matter what. Monday night came, and I was standing outside my neighbor’s window, craning my neck, ecstatic as the opening sequence of Pokémon starts. It was the start of many nights of tiptoeing, of skipping dinner, and of getting pissed at my neighbor’s exercise of his non-alienable right over the remote. The show had its highs and lows. More than once it made me cry (Bye Bye Butterfree and Pikachu’s Goodbye ). But those moments when Ash Ketchum sends out his Caterpie against a Pidgey, or his Pikachu against an Onix, I knew that I could be a better Pokémon trainer than him.
HAVE A POKÉMON COLLECTION
Miniature Pokémon cards became a fad shortly after. I had my fair share of cards, and played with them regularly with other kids. I saved up to buy cards, plushies and action figures. When my sister went to Japan, she brought me an authentic Japanese Pokémon activity book, as well as paper masks. After I graduated high school, I decided to give most of my collection to my nieces and nephews. As of now, I still have my TCG cards, virtually unused because of lack of opponents to battle against.
PLAY THE POKÉMON GAME TITLES
The first time I saw a game boy was in first year high school. My classmate said that he found the console and game cartridges in the heap of garbage in one of his trash picking escapades. That was the only time I wished I lived in a dumpsite. There was no choice but to be a mere spectator as my friend embarks in a grand adventure in Kanto. I rented the game boy for a night, and it was worth it. In college, a classmate learned about this fixation on the game and graciously lent me his. My friends and I, while walking in the streets, were diligently leveling up my Oddish. Suddenly, a guy forcibly grabbed the console, probably mistaking it for a cellphone, and ran away with it. In the years to follow, I played Silver, Ruby and Diamond in emulators.
PLAY COMPETITIVE POKÉMON
The game boy Pokémon titles are kid’s stuff. The real game is in competitive Pokémon. You either play Wifi or through simulators. I do the latter. Here you don’t go through the hassles of going into an “adventure” and “try to catch them all”. All Pokémon are available to you in the get-go. They can all be at level 100, and you can teach them any move as long as it’s in their movepool. Teambuilding plays a very important role. You make a party of six Pokémon, and battle it out with people around the world through the internet. This time it is not just a pointless game, but a battle of wits and strategy, not unlike chess. Winning a Pokémon match needs a great deal of skill (and maybe a little bit of hax). How can you jump into the competitive scene? Just follow these steps:
- Know all Pokémon. Do you still remember that part in the anime where they show a silhouette and ask you “Who’s that Pokémon?”? Well, I’ll bet you I can tell you who that Pokémon is, whoever it may be! That’s 649 Pokémon in total, and I know them all! I know their names, typings, abilities, moves and competitive merits. Sometimes I think this much information takes up too much bytes in my brain.
- Learn the Game Mechanics. You can’t play a game if you don’t know its rules, and in a game like Pokémon, there is much to learn. You need to master the type chart to know if the opponent is weak, resistant or immune to your moves. You need to know that a neutral rain-boosted STAB Hydro Pump deals more damage than a 2x effective Blizzard. There is so much more to take into account: move priority, stats, status, physical/special move split, natures, EVs, IVs, hold items, etc.
- Play the Game. There are things that I only learned after playing competitively. If my opponent sends out an Azumarril, Belly Drum to +6 Atk, and proceed to wreak my team with Aqua Jet, I know he’s using an illegal moveset. If my opponent’s Ludicolo deals 91% damage to my specially defensive Zapdos with Hydro Pump in the rain, I know for a fact that he’s wearing a Choice Specs so I can safely switch in my Dry Skin Parasect. After a KO, I can deliberately switch in my Ferrothorn into a Magmortar, baiting a Flamethrower to my Choice Scarf Flash Fire Heatran, ready to Earth Power the opposition.
- Develop a Playstyle. Whether you are the type who relentlessly attacks the opponent, or the type who takes it slow and whittle down the opponent to submission, there comes a time when you would need to know what kind of player you are. There are many recognized playstyles: Offense, Bulky Offense, Stall, Semi-Stall, Quick Stall, etc. Me? I’m still trying out whatever suits my fancy. Currently I’m tinkering with an Offensive Regenerator Trick Room team (Reuniclus, Slowbro), and a Trapper Team (Dugtrio, Wobbuffet, Chandelure).
SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Looking into the future, I think it would still be the same. I doubt Nintendo would stop developing Pokémon games, since it is one of their moneymakers. With each new generation of games, a new set of Pokémon is introduced, new game mechanics and rules to get used to. It’s certain that the Pokedex number would reach #999, and I wonder whether they’d make the 1000th Pokémon. Until then, I’m checking out the Black/White metagame and enjoying every moment of it.
If you are also a bona fide Pokémon fan, I would love to hear from you. Maybe share some of your experiences. And if you’re not, I’m sure you are a fan of something. “To each his own,” they say. What is important is that we do what we love doing, and are happy with it.
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