So if you're here, you're into Pokemon pretty deep. You all have an understanding of all the rules and systems that underpin battling in a Pokemon video game: IVs, EVs, Natures etc. I'm a Gen 1'er and have played every game since. I became aware of competitive battling community toward the end of gen 3 when i wondered why I couldn't win at the Battle Frontier; and began to look at my Level 100 Charizard that had a special attack stat barely over 200 a little differently. The realisation that all that hard work was essentially a waste of time hit me hard. By the time Gen 4 was in full swing I had a Smogon account, and was fully immersed in the wider understanding we all share. Then Platinum came around, which was the first Pokemon game that was released Post-Rabbit Hole. Instead of wasting my time with loser Pokemon I caught in the game, I pre-bred a bunch of guys and traded them over; knowing that Post-E4 i could EV train them and they would be competitive assets. I never finished that run through, because it felt completely soulless. Learning from this mistake, I decided to play Heart Gold as it was intended to be played - what I will refer to as a 'pure' run. I had fun - nostalgia is a powerful thing - but I can't help but be sad when I look at the team I used for that run through. Black was a similar situation, and the excitement of all of these new Pokemon was enough to push me through the creeping guilt of wasted EV points. I now stare down the barrel of my Black 2 run through, eagerly awaiting the English language release. As far as I see it I have three options: Play the game 'pure' as it was intended to be played. Breed six eggs from the Pokemon available in a normal run through of Black 2, and trade them over as soon as I am capable, in order to play through with Pokemon that will have competitive utility. Breed six eggs of any Pokemon I like - because why force myself to use Pokemon I don't like, and trade them over as soon as I am capable, in order to play through with Pokemon that will have competitive utility. I don't know which way I will go, and I will probably regret whatever choice I make. This in itself leads to a deeper question - am I just chasing a feeling of nostalgia that is no longer accessible to me. I wish I could go back to not knowing. No laddering session, no successful RNG or interesting theorymon discussion comes close to the happiness I garnered from being 8, hitting new game, hearing those first few tones of music. When I'm honest, everything I do with Pokemon now is attempting to recreate that feeling. Sometimes I wish I didn't understand that the Brave Latias I spent several weekends chasing around Sapphire at the age of 11 is useless. Don't get me wrong, I have some wonderful Pokemon memories post-competitive enlightenment. Evenings spent with buddies using our first competitive teams on the random search function of PBR come to mind, amongst others. But it still can't quite compare to those simpler gaming sessions of old. Apologies for this long rant, but it's something I have been considering for some time. I half expect this for no one to reply to this, but just in case... Points of discussion: How do you play Pokemon games now you understand about all the underlying systems? Is there any merit in playing the way I am considering with a bred team? Why do you play Pokemon? Do you ever come close to recreating that initial buzz that got you into Pokemon in the first place? Would you go back to ignorant bliss if you could? Are there any of you out there who have always known, who never had that simpler experience?