I’m not sure when I learned that Pokemon Gold and Silver were coming out, but I know my first experience with some of the new Pokemon was the first Pokemon Movie, as I’m sure it was for many kids my age. The fun opening, with the Pokemon at the park / recreation area, meeting new Pokemon like Snubbull and Marill, Ash battling a Donphan in the opening credit sequence, were are very exciting for me, and my mind quickly filled with excitement wondering what the new Pokemon would look like, the story and every aspect of it filled my mind with excitement and creativity.
By the summer of 2000 we had moved about 15 miles away from where were living in the early part of the year. I spent most of my free time playing my sister’s old Nintendo 64, and of course playing Red / Blue/ Yellow, but once again I would be late to the Pokemon party, despite begging, pleading, screaming, and crying for my mom and dad to buy me Pokemon Gold, I never got it in the months that followed. Fast forward to Christmas of 2000. This our first Christmas in our own home, with our own things, since 1998. I do remember, that I was particularly spoiled that Christmas. I was given all of the Pokemon things that I could manage to hold onto.
First up, was my own Nintendo 64, the special Hey! You! Pikachu! edition, that came with the aforementioned game, Super Smash Bros, and Pokemon Stadium (though, we’ll talk about these later on…) That would have been more than enough to keep my happy, but my mom told me I had three more presents. I had no idea what they could have been, I mean I already got a new system, and 3 new games, but that made me even more excited. What presents could be so special, that they would come out after the amazing gifts I had just received. Three square boxes. None of them very big. I opened one of the small boxes….and Pokemon Silver version was staring me in the face. This had just become the best Christmas of my life, and yet there was more. The second small box…now I was really pumped…I was hoping…dreaming that it might be…and it was! The second bit of wrapping came, and gave me Pokemon Gold version. Gold was really the one I wanted, because I recognized Ho-Oh from the first episode of the anime (though I didn’t know his name at the time).
Even after all this, more than any child could’ve asked for, I stall a box left waiting for me. This one was bigger than the other two, so I knew it wasn’t a game, I was puzzled, but excited. What could top Pokemon Gold and Silver…? The limited edition Pokemon Gold and Silver Game Boy Color! I didn’t even know it existed. I opened it as fast as I could! The shining paint, changing from metallic, flaky gold , to a metallic silver, blew me away. It was beautiful. It may seem like I was spoiled, but I really wasn’t. This was a rare time in my life that both my mom and my dad both were making good money, I mean, my Christmases were never crap, but this one was truly a special one. Now if you seen the image at the top, of my Gold and Silver carts, you noticed that Gold was Japanese, sadly, my original Gold and Crystal versions were stolen in the mid 2000s (along with my Emerald, and FireRed versions) and I just happened to find the import Gold version for five dollars at a flea market earlier this year.
It was time to play. I put the Gold cartridge into the matching system, and started it up. I named my character Andrew, as I always do, even though I really dislike my name, and prefer to be called AJ. It’s just part of my Pokemon ritual, I suppose. I picked Cyndaquil, because I loved fire types, they’re still my favorite, overall. I was so excited to see all of the new Pokemon, I was at level ten before even making it to Cherrygrove City for the first time. When you first met Silver, he introduces himself as “My name is ????? blahblahblahblahblah…” and so, when I went back to Elm’s lab and the police officer asked my rivals name, I put in “?????” , I mean that was his name right? That’s what he told me.
To be honest, I thought Gold and Silver were easy compared to Red and Blue. I had a Quilava before I even made it to the first gym (and boy was I surprised when Cyndaquil evolved on level 14!). I probably spent a good day (real time, not game time) lost inside the Ilex Forest. So here I was rolling through the gyms with my Quilava, Sentret, Wooper, and Bellsprout. When I make it to Whitney. Again, not much to say. I creamed her Clefairy. Then came the Tank. The Miltank. I didn’t understand what Rollout was doing, and why it got stronger each turn. It confused me. I never lost so many times in my life. I would get so mad at that cow I would cry in a fit of rage. Not once did it occur to me, to catch a Geodude, or trade my Bellspout for an Onix.
Most people probably had their first shiny experience with the red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage. Not me though, I ran into a shiny Drowzee, of course… I didn’t know what a shiny was, how rare they were, or anything like that. I thought it was a glitch, some kind of MissingNo. esque thing that would destroy my game. So I ran from it. Looking back, I was truly an idiot. I couldn’t tell you how long I spent pressing the switch in the Celdaon underground. No matter what combination I tried, it seemed like nothing would ever work, the same thing happened for Icy Path. Another awesomely hard trainer for me was Will, in the Elite 4. He destroyed me. He trounced me. Match after match, after match. Every time I would lose, I would get angrier, restart the system, devise a new plan. It went on for days before I realized I needed to grind more.
I thought the game was done, and so did everyone else. What was left after you beat the Elite 4? Not only was there stuff to do, we got to go back to Kanto and explore, and see how much the world had changed in the three year gap. I had a ton of fun revisiting places, and when I beat Lt. Surge and got my 9th badge, I was so excited to get the other seven! I personally loved the Power Plant side quest, with the Team Rocket member who never got the memo, and has terrible English. After I got the 16th badge, I thought- no I knew there was nothing else to do now, but fill out my Pokedex- until Prof. Oak told I could go to Mt. Silver! I spent a lot of hours there just training my team and filling out my Pokedex, exploring Silver cave…when I accidentally found a trainer hidden away, all he said was “…” and started a battle. My Pokemon were barely in their sixties, and he started out with high 70s. I was creamed, but I trained, and trained, and trained, and eventually overcame Red.
Pokemon Crystal was the first game in the series I got on launch day. We went to a toy store, either Toys ‘R’ Us, or KB Toys, I don’t recall, and they had a special bundle, you could Pokemon Crystal and a Kiwi Game Boy color for some low price I don’t remember, and I got it and the strategy guide. I didn’t really like the color, but I used it for my Red and Blue versions, Yellow stayed in the Teal Game Boy and Gold, Silver, and Crystal were to be played in their matching Game Boy. I also decided it would be a good idea, to take the guide apart, and put each page in a plastic sleeve (again, I was an idiot and lost a lot of the pages…) I actually played as a girl, which I now always do in one of the two versions (Crystal, Sapphire, LeafGreen), usually named Sara, I don’t know why, but I liked the name. I loved the changes and additions to the story, since Suicune was my favorite.
By the first week of August 2001 (approximately a week after Crystal released) my family decided to buy a home, and have it moved to where our original home had burned down back in 1999. So we moved from Virginia to Ohio, staying in very cramped, 2 bed hotel room. It was only supposed to be for a week. Due to some errors with paperwork or something, we were there a little over a month. Now let me put this into perspective for you. Me, my sister, my grandmother, my mom, my dad, and our dog all lived in a 2 bed hotel room for a month. The hotel was an hour and a half from where the house was going to be. Since we were supposed to be moved in before school started, there would be no problem, but we weren’t. We would have to get up at 4 and 5 o clock in the morning to get up, and drive the nearly two hours to school, every day, needless to say I didn’t have much time for Pokemon then.
We moved back into our house the first week (or early second week) of September 2001. We didn’t have water or electricity until the end of the month, so we would shower at our neighbors house. On probably the first or second day being fully moved in (probably around the 8th or 9th) my sister took a surprise picture of me, while I was playing my Game Boy. I managed to put the Game Boy in front of my face before she took it. I was only wearing a pair of boxers, no shirt, my pudgy 9 year old self with a Game Boy, and on the screen, if you look closely, you can see my Quilava battling. I’ll always remember where I was. I was on the last trainer, on the route going into Ecruteak City. I still have the picture somewhere, and if I knew where it was offhand, I would’ve loved to included it in this article.
Wow! Generation II really gave me a lot to say, I honestly didn’t expect to remember as much as I did, I got a White GBA for Christmas, and it became my main Crystal player at that time. All in all this was a weird time in my life because by the end of October, my mom and dad would be legally divorced, and my mom would start dating my soon to be step dad in mid 2002. I look forward to talking about Generation III soon enough. Until next time- remember- my Rattata is in the top percentage of Rattata!