I Believe In Pokemon

I Believe In Pokemon

Professor Oak, Charmander, and Pokeballs, these were the ingredients of my childhood. They allowed me to connect with my siblings and peers and were a huge reason for my love of travel.

My mom always made sure my brothers and I had something to do while travelling. During road trips, she would sit in the back, among the rabble, making sure that we had activities that kept us occupied or were comfortable if we wanted to sleep. As we got older, our demands grew. We were no longer satisfied with our coloring books, we desired more engaging forms of entertainment. This was when my parents bought us all Gameboy Colors and Pokemon Red Version. Right away, I found myself totally hooked by Pokemon. It was easy enough for my young mind to understand while maintaining a level of complexity that made it fun to play over and over again.

The concept of Pokemon was very simple: capture monsters with different powers and abilities and train them to beat opponents of ever-increasing difficulty. What made the game complex enough to keep playing was the fact that you could play with different monsters each play through. At first, I would train just one type of monster and brute force my way through the game, but as I developed an understanding of how the game was played, I started to catch monsters whose abilities complemented the rest of the ones that I owned. There was always more for me to understand, but the simplicity at the core of the game was always maintained.

Pokemon never got old to me because the more times I played, the more I learned about it. It quickly became the only game that I played on my Gameboy; it was impossible to put down. My Gameboy, with the Pokemon cartridge plugged in, made hours stuck in my family’s Suburban or the dimly lit cabin of a Boeing 757 disappear. Sometimes, I enjoyed the journey as much as the destination itself because I would be on my own, Pokemon-inspired adventure. Even today, although I no longer play Pokemon, I enjoy long flights and drives partly because I have learned, through Pokemon, that there are ways to entertain myself in those situations. As a result of my love for flying as a kid, I don’t have any anxiety before boarding a plane as a young adult. I no longer view flying or road trips as half-day prison sentences. Rather, I them as a means of learning about and exploring new places, the plane becomes another part of the adventure.

Pokemon has given me the gift of loving the journey. Every road trip and flight was spent on my own digital adventure through the Pokemon Universe and I will always cherish the memories of those adventures, in much the same way that I will cherish the memories of the real-life experiences that Pokemon let me enjoy.

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