Opinions and Stories

First Experiences

PokéCommunity members share their memories of their first Pokémon games! This kicks off one of a multipart series!

Hello and welcome to the very first edition of Pokémon Gaming First Experiences! This series is here to give you the unique viewpoints of different players and what they thought of specific Pokémon games the first time they played them. Adventure into the world of Pokémon through another person’s eyes! This time, we’ll be focussing on players’ very first Pokémon games.

Pokémon Yellow title screen. Pokémon Yellow released in Japan on September 12, 1998.

Achromatic’s First Game: Pokémon Yellow

“I honestly can’t remember what age I was, all I know is I was really, really young. I saw my sister’s Yellow version and Gameboy just sitting there, and she asked if I wanted to play. I was a bit taken back honestly, this would be the first video game I’ve ever played. So many thoughts were going through my head about what a video game would be like. When I actually turned it on (with the help of my sister) I remember asking her if it was a Harry Potter game. She was super into the books/movies and she mentioned the concept of magic in the games so that was the first thought that came to mind. But of course as I soon learnt… it wasn’t Harry Potter. It was Pokémon.

A Trainer with Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow about to start their adventure.

I was young however and had no idea what I was doing. At all. So, she said I probably wouldn’t enjoy it and took it away from me. Later that night I saw it sitting in the living room and started playing in secret. Learning the controls wasn’t too bad at all and when I got the hang of it I was in love. Too bad I didn’t know how to save. That was an issue.

But of course I should talk about the gameplay itself. It was… surreal for me. As I said I had never played a video game before this point so it was really something else. I remember being mad that Blue took the Eevee as I thought it looked way cooler than Pikachu. Still, I was stuck with the yellow rat. I remember when I talked to Pikachu I got a piece of text that said it didn’t like me or something and I was annoyed. I wanted to get rid of Pikachu right away. But nope. I kept it, and you’ll see why…

The first battle against your Rival in Pokémon Yellow.

After doing Oak’s errand to the Poké Mart and back, I could finally start catching some Pokémon. I’m sure I caught Rattata and probably Pidgey too. I was excited to get them, but there was one tiny problem… I didn’t know how to switch Pokémon. I didn’t know what a PC box was either so I was literally stuck with Pikachu. No matter who I was fighting I had to use Pikachu. Eventually I stopped believing that you could use other Pokémon simply because my Pikachu got so powerful that it wouldn’t faint. Ever. Well, that is until I met Brock.

Brock was a painful Gym Leader. And when I say painful, I’m talking about the fact that I could only use Pikachu to fight and that didn’t work at all. Pikachu was absolutely murdered by his Onix. That is the exact moment that I learned that I could use other Pokémon. But they were level 3 and got murdered too. I fainted against Brock many, many times. I’m not even sure how I beat him honestly but I’m guessing that I learnt how to switch after a bit of time.

A Gym battle against Pewter City’s Gym Leader Brock, the first Gym battle in the game.

I don’t have many more memories regarding my first experience with a Pokémon game as it was a very long time ago, but I do remember that I had a lot of fun. Pokémon Yellow opened up the immense world of Pokémon to me, so I will always remember that game as my very first and the one that I was head over heels in love with as a young child.”

Pokémon Pearl boxart. Pokémon Pearl was released in Japan on September 28, 2006.

Lostelle’s First Game: Pokémon Pearl

“My first experience with a Pokémon game… The first Pokémon game that I ever experienced was Pokémon Pearl. And it wasn’t even my own game! It was my brother’s. I remember watching him get the game for his birthday, and wondering what the heck is that? because the only Pokémon exposure that I had previously was watching the anime on TV. But then I saw him start up the game, and when he chose a Chimchar as his starter… I knew that I needed to play that game. So, as soon as I possibly could I managed to go out and purchase my own copy of Pokémon Diamond.

Meeting up with your Rival in the first route.

Playing Pokémon Diamond was a crazy experience for me. I was just a kid, that didn’t know anything about how the game worked. I knew nothing about what the types meant (beyond the obvious), and don’t even get me started on balancing a team. I somehow managed to stumble through the game, using basically only my Chimchar (which just destroyed everything it was so powerful) and anything else that I thought was cool (including a Buizel and a Pachirisu). I also remember using Close Combat for everything, because as I got further in the game I started actually bothering to use type advantage, but when type advantage didn’t work? Just use Close Combat.

In the end I somehow managed to defeat Cynthia, and from that point on I was hooked. Because there were no other DS Pokémon games at the time, I was forced to go backwards a generation and buy FireRed version, and the rest is history.

A battle against Sinnoh Champion Cynthia’s Lucario.

A few special memories I have in that game include: not knowing how to defeat Gyarados and just using Close Combat over and over until it faints, never managing to find anythingwith the honey trees, spending like two hours trying to catch a Pachirisu, knocking out Dialga because I didn’t know it was Steel-type, and then finally defeating Cynthia’s Garchomp with my lovely Infernape.”

Pokemon_Ruby_NA (1)
Pokémon Ruby boxart. Pokémon Ruby was released in Japan on November 21, 2002.

flight’s First Game: Pokémon Ruby

“It was… quite a story.

A Trainer riding the Acro Bike next to the Daycare.

I was in 4th-5th grade or so, and Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire just came out! I was really excited for the games, especially since it would actually be my first Pokémon game that I would actually own. I begged my mother since this was a Pokémon game that I was just so excited about getting, and, eventually, she caved and I got Pokémon Ruby first. This was actually the start of my Pokémon gaming adventure…

As for how I got into Pokémon itself? Wow, that’s hard to say! I just know that it has something to do with the Pokémon Anime. I remember Ash and his Bulbasaur and I loved watching their adventures! The more I watched, the more I became enamored with the series and just fell into it, so of course I had to get the games associated with it!

Mossdeep City during a storm.

But back into the gaming… my first thoughts? The greatest thing ever! Of course, when you’re 9-10 years old playing your own Pokémon game, that’s the first thing you think anyway, right? I mean, I get to train my own Pokémon, level them up however I want, and then kick other people’s asses! It was just amazing all around, especially since during the whole entire play-through, I had no idea what I was doing in the slightest! Teaching my Blaziken all fire attacks and hacking rare candies onto my Pokémon, all such dumb things that I did when I was a kid just so I can become the strongest trainer. The memories were awesome. :>”

Be sure to come share your own first experiences with Pokémon games in our Pokémon Gaming Central thread! And meanwhile, come check out Pokémon Gaming Year to celebrate 20 years of Pokémon!

Images courtesy of The Pokémon Company.