I am sure we have all heard those idioms: “one decision you make can impact the rest of your life”. I always believed in such statements, but I never really
realized what they meant until pretty recently when I began to look back.
My Pokémon journey began in 1997, with the release of Pokémon Red and Blue in the United States. I quickly acquired a copy of Pokémon Red, and fell in love with the franchise. While I was never particularly good at Pokémon at that point in my life (took me two days to figure out how to go outside), I was in love with this new world. I stuck with it.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m in 4th grade. I was eagerly awaiting my copy of Pokémon Gold and Silver. To bide my time, I sat around, looking at screenshots from Pokémon.com.
I remember the moment perfectly. It was a screen shot of Ethan (then Gold) facing south. He was standing near the entrance of the Ilex Forest, in Johto. I gasped at the “vibrant” 16-bit shades of green, seeing a new hero in a brand new land. It inspired me.
“I want to make other kids feel like I just felt. I want to make these games too.”
And it was right there, that I wanted to become a video game designer. Of course, being in the fourth grade and being restricted to the dial-up connection in school, I had no means of realizing what went into video game design. I vowed that I would learn and one day work at Game Freak.
I learned all I could about the games and the franchise. I quickly gained a reputation among my friends as a “Pokémon Master”. I could beat anybody with anything, and I knew everything that there was to know. (Or so I thought!)
I completed the Pokédex for the second time in the sixth grade as I awaited the release of Ruby and Sapphire. While looking for any news regarding the Japanese Ruby and Sapphire, I came across a few websites devoted entirely to Pokémon. I fell in love – there were several communities that just existed solely for discussing Pokémon. I was home.
Pokemon to Computers
I learned a lot of skills as I joined these communities. I had a desire at one point to build a website of my own, to cover aspects that other sites didn’t have. I taught myself web programming solely so I could further express my love for Pokémon. The deeper into the rabbit hole I traveled, the deeper I became surrounded less with Pokémon and more with programming. Three years passed and I suddenly found something I was really good at: computing.
I started fixing computers in my spare time, helping my peers, and I quickly gained a reputation as a human cyborg. As I grew older and hit high school, I realized that game design wasn’t particularly my calling, but I knew I had found my home among the computing community. Programming is now my second passion – next to playing Pokémon, of course.
I would say that computing has taken me really far, but I never forgot (and never will) where it all started – playing Pokémon. I stay very connected to Pokémon to this day: as we speak I have another tab with the Pokémon Adventures manga open, and on my desk lays my deck from the TCG. I don’t actively watch the anime, but I definitely keep up. My friends know me as the “guy who plays Pokémon”, and are sometimes impressed scared by my vast knowledge of the franchise. Pokémon is still a driving force for a lot of my projects too, which helps me stay pretty grounded.
I will always be thankful for Pokemon because I can’t imagine what I’d be doing if I were not computing.
Thanks Game Freak, for giving me a sense of direction in the world. You have a fan for life, no doubt about it.
My Pokemon journey continues.