A few decades ago the masses believed video games were a waste of time for lackadaisical youths to pacify themselves while ignoring their responsibilities as both kids and young adults. As more and more people started understanding the benefits of gaming so too did the perception of what a video game is and, most importantly, the benefits gaming can bestow on a person’s life changed. Hi, my name is James Bullock and I am a gamer who has spent the better part of his existence testing the laws of physics, exploring the vastness of a world ruined, and been a champion inside various arenas courtesy of digitized worlds both driven by reality and created through pure unbelievable ingenuity unlike anything seen by human eyes. And as a gamer I’ve discovered something else video games provide: life lessons. Today I examine a game that started a pop culture revolution, “Pokemon”.
You’re Never Too Young to Follow Your Dreams (“Pokemon”)
It’s always interesting to see what becomes a pop culture sensation. After finding great success in its homeland, the “Pokemon” franchise had the opportunity to head westward. By the fall season of 1998, kids around the United States were catching the craze. For those who weren’t around during the 90s, playing video games during that era didn’t simply mean swiping on your cell phone. Usually the most appealing way a person could play games on the go in the 90s was by purchasing (or getting your parents to buy) a Nintendo Gameboy. With Sega’s Game Gear starting to meet its end and other companies like Tiger Electronics failing to understand what makes a good handheld gaming device, the figurative lane was wide open for handheld gamers to become Poke-maniacs; and I was one of them. Shortly before the holiday season that year I was fortunate enough to be the owner of a Gameboy Pocket just waiting to drain a copious amount of AAA batteries with this new game I was hopeful would be in stores when my parents, on a random outing, informed me they had enough money to buy either “Pokemon Red” or “Pokemon Blue” if one was in stock. With red being my favorite color there was only one option for me at the time. The anticipation was almost exhaustive waiting for my parents to finish whatever they were doing (my mind was solely on “Pokemon”) until it was time to enter KB Toys store. Everything worked out for yours truly that evening and I spent the next few hours after returning home exploring the fictional region of Kanto as a kid barely younger than me looking to become a “Pokemon master”.
While some might deem it irresponsible for a bunch of parents to let their pre-teen offspring enter the literal wild in hopes of capturing animals for combat, the fact is the original “Pokemon” series & its successors are digitized proofs that you’re never too young to start achieving your dreams. In the original “Pokemon” video game offerings the goals for success were simple, yet arduous for those unprepared: Defeat the Elite Four & your neighborhood rival, and capture all 150 obtainable Pokemon (Gameshark-hacked Mews don’t count). Just being an ordinary child with a dream, the player-controlled character goes around the world, through the depths of the seas and climbing the highest of mountains to accomplish a dream most including the likes of legendary Pokemon researcher Professor Oak couldn’t fully turn into a reality. Adults have a way of demeaning a child’s dream because of who it’s coming from – someone who hasn’t necessarily experienced anything other than what interests them at that moment. But if “Pokemon” has proven anything it’s kids can not only dream big, they can also live big by making their dreams their realities even if that dream is to explode a ball of poisonous gas with your fire-breathing dinosaur.
Have you learned any major life lessons from playing “Pokemon” or any video game for that matter? Leave them in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.