I’m about to nerd out again. You’ve been warned.
The new Pokemon video game came out a few days ago. Whether, you choose the White version or the Black version, you’re in for a whole new kingdom of Pocket Monsters.
I got the Black version, just to clarify. It took all my power to pull myself away from it to write this blog. Or shower. Or get out of bed.
The Pokemon franchise is something I’ve always been obsessed with. Make fun of it however you like, but I promise you that means two things:
1) You’ve never played a Pokemon game.
2) You have no idea what you’re talking about.
It has been around a long time, has a faithful following, several spin-offs, and has made a lot more money than you have.
Initially, I didn’t get into the card game (it looked too complicated) and didn’t pick up the original Gameboy game. I watched the cartoon after school, but I wasn’t too impressed with it.
I wasn’t sure what I liked about it, if not those things. But looking back, I think it was the world–the idea–of Pokemon.
It’s what Pokemon stood for.
Venturing out on your own. Completing a rite of passage. The world of Pokemon is a great metaphor for reality. It’s just more bright, vivid, and less bogged down with holy wars and politics.
Plus, I find it hard to believe if someone was told “Hey, there’s all these sweet creatures with super powers and you can use them to battle people and make money” that they would say no.
And yet people do. There’s definitely money in tournaments. Last year, Con Le took home $5000 by winning the Pokemon Trading Card Game National Tournament. And that was the National, not the World.
I bet you didn’t even know people were still playing with those goofy cards. I bet some of you didn’t even know you could play with them–they were more than just the second coming of Pogs. There is actually a very elaborate game that goes along with them.
And, FYI: it is rad.
Yeah, I play it. And so do a bunch of people my age. Couple summers ago, my friend and I even started a league. We got a bunch of coworkers and friends interested and playing. Building decks. Practicing. Just about every night when I would get done working I would send out a mass text:
Anyone wanna battle?
Were we all crazy? Why would an adult play a kid’s card game?
Because, unlike when I first tried my hand at the game back in the day, I had only the vaguest understanding of what the strategy was. I wasn’t exactly Machiavelli. If you think you have to think ahead in chess, try this or Magic: The Gathering.
You have a deck of 60 very specific cards. You better know exactly what each and every one of them does and how they work together. And you better hope you get them in the right order.
Speaking of individual cards; you know what I have a lot more of now than when I was in the 8th grade? Money. The ability to buy the cards I want.
The ability to win.
Instead of saving up my allowance, buying a booster pack (a smaller pack of random cards that supplement your deck) just to find out they all suck, saying shucks and waiting for Christmas, I can go to the store and buy all the fucking Pokemon cards I want. I can go online and order specific cards from eBay.
Do you know what a power trip that is? If I could go back in time and tell my 13-year-old self this, my head would explode! Of course if I did that I wouldn’t exist in the future and this whole blog would be irrelevant….
…..yikes. That’s heavy.
So other than money and power, what else makes the Pokemon card game fun for adults? Booze. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. You couldn’t have a beer in 4th grade while you were playing Pokemon! Or you shouldn’t have. Wow, I really hope you didn’t. That would be so, so sad.
My friends and I may or may not have made a drinking game out of it….
Anyway, all this aside, once you “Knock Out” your first Pokemon in the card game, you’ll be hooked. AND since you’re all growed up, you can say “Killed” instead of “Knocked Out.”
Well, not if you’re in a tournament. I think they have rules about that.
Oh, and in case any of you are reading this because you’re already Pokemon fans, here’s my top 5 favorite Pokemon.
(Please note Pikachu isn’t anywhere on the list. Don’t be so stereotypical.)