20 Years: How Pokémon Changed Our Lives - Day 1

By skylight and Finchinator. Art by Tikitik.
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february 22nd, 2016

dear diary:

Garchomp by Tikitik

What got me into Pokémon

I got into the in-game aspect of Pokémon when a couple of my elementary school friends were playing the generation 4 games right after their release and I thought they were quite interesting. In the past, I had sporadically watched the anime on TV whenever it was on, and I always wondered what it would be like to actually play the games. During the summer of 2007, my parents got me a DS and Pokémon Pearl, which was my first game. I played for hundreds of hours with my level 100 Hydro Cannon / Hydro Pump / Drill Peck / Blizzard Empoleon on that cartridge and then eventually did the same on other games that I got—next came Diamond, then I got generation 3 games (FireRed and Emerald), and eventually Platinum and Soul Silver when they came out. After I had been playing in-game for a solid three years, generation 5 came out, and I was watching Let's Play videos online of various Pokémon games when I came by someone who has been doing them since October 2007: Slowflake. Slowflake was interesting because while he played in-game, he often spoke about different topics, one of them being competitive Pokémon and Smogon. Eventually, the fact that I could play at a competitive level against actual people without having to grind out breeding or EVs appealed to me, so I found a Pokémon Online download and lurked Smogon a bit—I never looked back from there!

My favorite Pokémon memories

Over the years, I've experienced many enjoyable things while playing Pokémon, especially on Smogon. My first and probably fondest memory has to be back when I was getting into competitive Pokémon in Black and White, when I was laddering with some crazy rain team with a Volcarona and no Steel-type. I kept losing to the same Dragon-types, but as time passed I began to adapt how I played and got better and better until I managed to climb the ladder. Hundreds of hours mindlessly playing games and ingraining myself in the community were a great experience to get the ball rolling for me and competitive Pokémon. Another memory that I feel the need to mention is my experience on the Ever Grande BIGS during the sixth Smogon Premier League. When I got drafted, I was still not very well known throughout the community, and I was just trying to do my best for my team and make a name for myself. As this tournament transpired, I found myself having lots of fun and making plenty of friends because my team was very welcoming and everyone got along well. I don't think it's possible to emulate such an environment in the future despite there being plenty of close teams out there, and the experience I had on the BIGS that tournament was a remarkable one, regardless of the sour ending. Overall, I'm grateful to have started playing competitive Pokémon and have a plethora of other memories that I've amounted over the years, too, which shows how much I enjoy the game and community.

How Pokémon has changed my life

As crazy as it sounds, Pokémon and this community specifically have functioned as a major means of gaining maturity and character development for me over the years. When I began playing Pokémon, I always got upset over the smallest things that didn't go my way, even if it was just a ladder game that I got haxed in. Now, I've noticed that it's not worth my time to get angry over things that are out of my control, and while even the best of us fail to keep our composure all of the time, it's good to do so as much as possible, in life or in Pokémon. In addition, I've learned to have as much fun as I can while playing this game and interacting with community members because, at the end of the day, no matter how much we catch ourselves up in all of the facets of the game and Smogon itself, everyone's end goal is to have fun. I'd like to conclude by thanking everyone for reading and hoping that everyone, also, has fun playing this game!


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