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20 Years of 'Pokémon' and Why I'm Still a Fan

'Pokémon' was cute, it was creative, and ultimately - it was easy to learn.

20 years ago I was the kid who had no friends. I was the quiet one. I preferred the darkness of my room over being out in public. I preferred sitting under my lamp with a book in my hands, a controller in my lap, and empty coke cans laying around the floor around me in my "shrine". 20 years ago was also the first time I'd ever heard of the series. Before it I found myself surrounded by games such as Mortal Kombat, G.I. Joe, and even Battletoads still.

It wasn't until I started going to my Middle School's library did I find myself sitting at a tablet, cards in hand from a fellow classmate, and I would soon find out why these kids were so enthralled by a card game. It was cute, it was creative, and ultimately - it was easy to learn. Much like the card game, the Gameboy game's soon caught my attention when my mom took me to the store. Before long I was sitting on the couch, Gameboy in my lap, and Pokemon in my Gameboy as my newly found digital friends and I took to our adventure across the Kanto Region.

Courtesy of Nintendo Insider

We would find ourselves overcoming impossible odds with trial and error. We would eventually find ourselves also training to be the best of the best as creatures such my, by default, Bulbasaur would come from his Pokéball with the most digitized "roar" ever. It was the first time I had also found myself indulged in a world that would soon help me relate to others, make friends, and even learn to maintain parties and learn the benefits of a synchronized team that benefits one another.

It would also be the first time I would learn that I needed to cooperate with others in order to complete my game and my team. It took time for me to find the right people to get the ones I need such as Ekans, Arbok, Oddish, Gloom, Vileplume, Mankey, Primeape, Growlithe, Arcanine, Scyther, and that fluffly yellow with black stripes creature named Electabuzz. With time, help, and patience - my experience grew into something majestic over time, something that would take years to complete, and in many ways, will never complete as each title launches. But, we all can agree, what makes Pokémon such a captivating franchise to its fans and what has kept me coming back for the years?

Everyone experiences the games differently.

Courtesy of Nintendo of America

When it comes to games, it's hard to say that there is a series that has pushed for immersion, for attention to detail, and for fans to get together to share their adventures. While many of us will share similar experiences, none of us wills hare the same reason behind our memories. Some of will have some about how we went about capturing our first Pikachu. Some of us will have memories about the moment they first encountered Team Rocket, Team Flare or even Team Aqua who sought to use their Pokémon for their very own reasons.

Each of us have different ways about how we completed each of these missions. Some of us perhaps went in using base starters from each of the games while some of us went out of our ways to obtain every Pokémon possible in the games. For some of us, like myself, this was the case throughout the games. Being able to carry Pokémon from title to title remains important as many of us carry on our legacies through every title. Many, like myself, still have our teams from 20 years ago thanks to Nintendo's ability to allow us to carry them over.

It's because of these shared experiences that us fans have a chance to enjoy the games in different ways over the years. Whether it's training, competing against one another, or simply enjoying the together to share an experience unlike any other.

It's a franchise anyone can enjoy over the years.

Courtesy of Nintendo of America

Even as the franchise grows in age, it's ability to entertain the masses haven't faded over the years. Instead, Nintendo is able to keep the games welcoming and enjoyable for fans of all ages. Thanks to the creativity behind the team, the same enjoyment I received 20 years ago remains unique, fun, and enjoyable. So much so, that I still make an endeavor to collect the cards, the collectibles, and even the games over time.

Even with Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, the series garnishes the attention of long-time fans such as myself. It's a series that brings both forth nostalgia, artistic creativity, and even a humour to both the cartoons as well as video games. It brings in a sense of enjoyment for fans new and old alike. With cartoons ranging from kid friendly to semi-adult oriented, Pokémon is here for people of all ages and all types of preferences.

With new card game sets, new anime installments to its cartoon series, and new games coming out occasionally, Pokémon can keep us busy for years to come and seems to plan on being here for fans for quite some time.

It's a series I plan to enjoy even as I grow older - I'll always be a fan.

Courtesy of Nintendo

20 years later I still sit here, hands around my hand-held, and my eyes set with attention focused on tomorrow's highly-anticipated release o tomorrow. With anticipations high, I'd be the first to admit that this is a franchise I plan on enjoying for years to come and fully intend on sharing with friends, family, nieces, nephews, aunts, and even uncles as the years pass. Not just because it's a franchise that offers nostalgia unlike any other.

It's because the franchise teaches a multitude of things for fans to enjoy. It offers ways to bond with people. It can teach children how to read if parents motivate their kids. It teaches people how to communicated and socialize with those around them as they hunt down the Pokémon they want. It can also help provide a way for kids, teenagers, and even adults to share their memorable moments and show off their bragging rights with fans from around the world with live competitions, and even local competitions.

If anything, Pokémon keeps me as a fan due to how it helped me meet new people as I grew up, it taught me the importance of friendship, and even how to discuss hobbies in common.

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20 Years of 'Pokémon' and Why I'm Still a Fan
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