42 CommentsRandom / By Scamp /

All the cool kids like Pokemon

I’ve always got on well with kids, whether I wanted to or not. My next door neighbours had two boys, aged about 4-5. After babysitting them for one day for some quick cash, I instantly became their hero and they’ve been bugging me to play again with them ever since. I generally made up excuses, saying I had work to do or whatever. But there’s only so many times you can do that before you start to feel like a real dick. One day, when the older brother’s friend was over, they asked me to play football with them. I was going to fob them off with excuses yet again and watch their poor expressions fall faster than Gonzo’s stock price, but a few minutes earlier I had heard them talk about Pokemon. If I was going to play with them, I might as well do some research as to the popularity Pokemon still had amongst kids today.

The first time I had any contact with Pokemon was when I was about 7 years old played a friends version of Pokemon Blue. I hadn’t a clue what a Pokemon centre was for the first time I played, and relied on Potions and blacking out to restore my Pokemons health. I never got passed Mount Moon, surprisingly enough. It was about a year later that Pokemon exploded in popularity with Pokemon Yellow coming out along with the TV series and the trading cards. The peak of its popularity must have been the first movie with Mewtwo, which even I went to the cinema to see (and getting a Mewtwo movie special trading card too).

You would think that the Pokemon fad would have died since then, but nope. New games are still being released. My sister buys every new generation and I play them when she’s done. Going on the internet though, you’d swear the only people who played Pokemon games still were those from my generation. There’s almost this assumption that, because you only hear each other talking about Pokemon, only people from your age group are playing it. It’s still a kids game though, and a kids show. What did the new kids who were getting into Pokemon think of the new games? Especially since there are over 400 bloody Pokemon by this stage.

Playing football with kids is kinda fun though. My general tactic is to leave the ball just far away enough from me to look like you can tackle me pretty easily. Then, when the kid swings his foot, pull the ball back just at the right time so he loses balance. Repeat a few times until just before the point the kid gets frustrated and starts kicking you in the shin. He wins the ball and runs off delighted, teaching him a valuable lesson in perseverance. I made the suggestion that we should all pick Pokemon to be while playing football. After originally being shocked that I knew about Pokemon, instantly gaining myself a few extra Hero Points in their eyes, the two boys opted for Ho-Oh and Lugia as their choices, because they owned a copy of Heart Gold and Soul Silver respectively.

I chose Snorlax when I was in goal (obviously) and Drifloon when I was playing outfield. I deliberately picked Drifloon because, asides from being one of my personal favourites, he was a bit of an obscure Pokemon from a later generation. They knew him as “the balloon with an X on his face”. The problem came about trying to justify why a balloon would be playing football, especially since his legs are essentially just pieces of string. They decided that he, being a balloon and all, must have to blow up when he kicked the ball, which I ran with and visualised by collapsing in a heap whenever I kicked the ball.

Meanwhile, their friend stood off to the side, looking a bit worried about something.

“Hey you, what Pokemon do you want to be?”

*mumble mumble mumble*

“What was that?”

“C-c-can I be a professional football player instead?”

The kid felt left out because he liked football instead of Pokemon. Oh the role reversal~

“Of course you can. Which player would you like to be?”

“David Beckham”

It’s funny to think, as Beckham tried to place his penalty kick beyond the massive belly of Snorlax, that my strangest discovery of the day wasn’t that kids wanted to play games that were popular in my generation. Far more surprising was that kids still want to be a footballer who was only big back before they were born.

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  1. Posted February 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Imagine my surprise when I caught some little kids trading Pokemon cards a while ago. “I used to do that ten years ago” was all I could think. That made me feel old, if anything. I think I still have that card from the movie. I grinned like an idiot when I saw that card appear in the second movie.

    Those were the days.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      I’ve still only seen the first Pokemon movie. Wait no, I’ve seen about half of the one with Entei in. I’ve been thinking of going back and watching the series again one day, for nostalgia’s sake

      • Poro
        Posted February 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        oh the nostalgia

  2. Posted February 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Aww dammit when I first read “football” I thought like an American and derped when you described it.

    Nice to know you’re not a Gen I&II elitist.
    But are you one who still cries over Kasumi/Misty’s departure?

    By the way are you going to play Black or White? :0

    • Scamp
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Apart from Drifloon, I never quite took to Gen IV. Hoenn is my personal favourite.

      I didn’t watch Pokemon to the point that Misty left, so I have no thoughts on the new chicks. Also I’ll be buying White because I like the look of that black dragon pokemon

      • luffyluffy
        Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Awesome, you’re a Hoennfag too :D

  3. Taka
    Posted February 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    See I was convinced you were talking about soccer. Then when you had your description of how you play all I could think of was that it sounded like how Lucy fucks with Charlie Brown whenever he tries to kick the American-style football. You sadistic bastard.

    Anyway, I only played the first 2 generations, but recently I’ve been bumming around on the interwebs and Pokemon is pretty immersed in meme-based internet culture. So I started getting interested again, I wanted to buy a DS and get Black/White when it comes out but eventually that urge faded. (though I did go back and play the old versions for a month or two)

    I am however watching the new tv series Pokemon Best Wishes. I don’t entirely know why but it is surprisingly enjoyable. The show seems to move along at a rather quicker pace than I remember when I watched s1 many moons ago. The characters are also more endearing, I personally would blame dub vs. sub but who knows. It doesn’t have any of the old characters thus far and is kinda like wiping the slate clean. A little suspension of disbelief is required whenever Pikachu loses to anyone as that thing has gotta be Lv. 99 by now.

    • Posted February 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Level reset!

    • Scamp
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      I briefly considered watching Pokemon Best Wishes but decided against it. Speaking of kiddie shows though, I did watch and sorta enjoy the first episode of Suite PreCure. Which made me want to check out the rest of the PreCure franchise. And check out Pokemon again. In short, I’ve been finding myself slowly gravitating towards the more kiddie series as time goes on.

      My fandom is proceeding along the lines of this post to such a scary degree…

      • Posted February 11, 2011 at 3:40 am | Permalink

        Best Wishes has…better…pacing…I guess…sort of. Getting rid of Team Rocket every week was a good thing, but the consequence of that is major character derailment. :/ They’re doing small things related to a larger subplot, but they’re absolutely boring and serious now. I just hope that after the special in April (or March? idk) they’re going to get some good character development before leaving on the bus.

        After Suite Precure I want to watch all the Precure series now…

        For kiddie shows you should watch Inazuma Eleven. It’s ridiculously entertaining. (Too bad that is cut right after the banana scene.) You could start when it changes its time slot in March. It hasn’t been officially announced but it’s obvious that it’ll start adapting the fourth Inazuma Eleven game, which starts a new story with a new protagonist and characters after a time skip. So yeah pretty much a new series but without a title change.

        I rambled on more than I thought I would…

      • Scamp
        Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        The only thing I know about Inazuma 11 is that it has a massive fujioshi fanbase…

      • Posted February 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Don’t most anime/manga with a large male to female character ratio have a massive fujoshi fanbase?

  4. Posted February 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I too have had that similar “BWUH?” moment when I found out all the kids I teach at my dojo still play the game with as much passion as I did when I was little. I thought our generation was the only one still playing too. It’s amazing how it’s still popular, and that it’s the COOL thing now….

    lol poor Beckham kid. There, there.

  5. Posted February 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Tell me I’m not the only one who is creeped out by that Feraligatr drawing.

      Posted February 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      it is creepy in the best way possible thougb D:
      I want to know who the artist is. :c

      • Scamp
        Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        I normally link to artists page when I use fanart, but the Pokemon stuff on my computer I generally come from a late night image trawl so I don’t know where they came from. But I did a bit of searching and here’s the artists homepage.

      • OHEMGEE
        Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        wow, thank you. <3

  6. Posted February 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    sadly i’ve never played a pokemon game though i watched the first season like a bandit and bawled at the first movie. it’s funny that pokemon is still very popular amongst the youngin’s of today. my only exposure to it now, though, is their inclusion in the super smash bros franchise. snorlax is still my fav.

    i find the same generation transcendent thing going on with star wars too. it just hit me the other day when i was playing lego star wars. darth vader is STILL so many little kids’ hero even though he was created over 30 years ago.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if Star Wars will ever fade. I mean, surely it will at some point, but toys are still brought out. I guess the recent movies kept the franchise alive

      • Posted February 11, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        As long as George Lucas is still alive, Star Wars will never fade. What also helped was the re-release of the original trilogy in theaters in the late 1990s. I’d seen Star Wars on TV before, but seeing it on a massive screen made me a fan for life, and I imagine it did the same for many others as well. So Star Wars was able to generate an entirely new generation of fans just like that.

      • Posted February 11, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        ^ WHAT I WOULDNT GIVE FOR THAT EXPERIENCE *jealousy forever*

        i just saw an ad in gamestope for lego star wars III for the wii. proof it’s still very much alive and VERY well. not to mention this superbowl commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R55e-uHQna0

    Posted February 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    “The kid felt left out because he liked foot­ball instead of Poke­mon”
    Talk about tragic, eh?
    No but really, I laughed so hard.
    That kid will grow up to be the manliest of men, I’m sure. <3

  8. Posted February 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Great story =D

    I too am surprised that Pokemon is still very well known among the kids today. When I started teaching an enrichment class about anime/Japanese at local elementary schools about a year ago, all the kids knew Pokemon, at least by having seen a few episodes of the anime (though there were a handful that were really into it and played the video and card games). Of course, they’re more familiar with the Diamond & Pearl generation, but they’re still delighted whenever they hear about Pokemon. As long as new games and episodes come out, it’s one franchise that will continue to bring joy to veteran fans like me, as well as new fans yet to come =)

  9. Morridin
    Posted February 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I used to play the original Blue one on a Rom aeons back with a shoddy emulator on Dos. Suffice to say it could hardly handle it, but I had fun.
    Still, so far I’ve managed to play every generation, albeit only the last one I’ve actually owned, and even now at 26 I reckon I’ll still get either black or white when it comes.

    I guess the reason Pokemon is still popular because it grabs 2 essential time sinks.
    1; It has the most basic element of RPG’s, meaning you get stronger through fights and that makes you want to keep on playing to see what the pokemon turns in to and what else it learns.
    2; The most important element, the collecting. You only have to look around amongst your friends, family or relatives and you’ll see how addictive it can be to collect stuff, be it trains, vinyl or well pokemon.

    I think the most interesting thing they did with the new games is the fact that they went for a clean slate and kicked out all the old and wellknown, but also worn down pokemon and went for a fresh batch.
    Sure, a lot of them will feel familair, but a fresh paint job is an easy way of making things seem ‘new’, just like when you’d repaint a room.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Apparently Black and White made a world where you couldn’t catch a single of the older generation pokemon. Which seems mad to me. Not even Magikarp? What will you catch with the old rod then?

      Or maybe they’ll get rid of fishing altogether. I never liked fishing anyway

      • Posted February 11, 2011 at 3:42 am | Permalink

        There’s only one type of rod now I think. No old rod.

      • Scamp
        Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        So more fisherman in generic house saying “A Good Rod is Good, don’t you agree?”

        Kind of a shame that

  10. Posted February 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Being the titanic game-changer of children’s entertainment/merchandise back in the late 90s, and the formal introduction of yours truly into anime/Japanese pop culture, it’s nice to see the Pokemon franchise still going strong with the young-uns. But then again its not a huge suprise; I’ve said again and again that Pokemon is the perfect storm that appeals to kids of both genders and vastly differing ages and interests. Nintendo has also really refined the games with every iteration. A common complaint is that each game is exactly like the last, but really the core mechanics and interactions have subtly but profoundly changed over the years.

    As far as Beckham, like Jordan, he’s that transcendent star who lived in the right media age, where his image and deeds live eternally in the public’s consciousness. Thus this phenomenon of children idolizing players whose prime were before they were born.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      They’ve certainly refined the technique, but it’s become almost too technical. Maybe that’s just me being older and reading Smogon articles, but I sorta lose the fun when I find myself comparing numbers. If anything, I would’ve liked it if they didn’t show us your Pokemons stats until maybe at the end of the game. If feels more like you’re battling with creatures than machines that way

  11. luffyluffy
    Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    So, it’s confirmed.

    Everyone who’s cool lives far away ;3;

    • luffyluffy
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Also, you are adorable. Intensely adorable.

      I kinda wish you were my brother.

      • Scamp
        Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Only if you call me onii-chan

        …wait no, that’s a bit weird

      • luffyluffy
        Posted February 11, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Let’s play PokeSoccer Onii-Chan!

  12. Posted February 11, 2011 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    That is a cute story. I wish I could have seen the kids declaring themselves Ho-oh and Lugia.

    And makes me kinda want post a pic of my plush Drifloon cause you might get a kick of out of it. But that is creepy to do for an internet stranger. Still, I’m surprised by all the men at my former college who had a soft spot for him.

    And the best thing I ever did for society was make Pokemon cool again at my High School freshman year right before Pokemon Diamond and Pearl came out. No wonder I feel so unsatisfied currently.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      There was a great moment recently when I was out with my housemates going house hunting. In one guys room the girls noticed the poster of yer wan from Transformers, Megan Fox, while me and my friend instantly noticed the poster of the hand-painted Pikachu

  13. mcm38
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Bad memories… Yep, nothing but bad memories. I feel like T.T when I think about those day. My parents never gave me permission or money to buy or go watch any stuff about pokemon. And I was forced to play soccer at age 11, hence I never liked soccer. I was the left out kid, who always looked at others kids playing pokemon on nintendos. Yet I felt still happy the little time I got up early to watch the early broadcasts of Dragonball and Pokemon.
    This is also the reason why I watch anime and always act like a kid and always play with kids if I see them. And I play a lot of games to.
    This way you see Anime does have some realy important impact on people, especially children.
    That kid who likes soccer probably has a family and relatives filled with hooligans. The other kids most likely have parents who use the TV and let them watch pokemon and other kid series just to keep them quite.
    I wish every parent would be more careful about growing up their kids. Otherwise they will grow up to be sb like me who gets a lot of trouble, thanks to his incurable childish character. T.T
    *Wow, this turned into a post about education o.o. And this is not a post to receive pitty, so don’t even think about it!*

  14. Posted February 11, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    …You remind me of my brother.

  15. smallish
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    This was the cutest article ever. Seriously! Oh pokemon~! I look forward to buying a German copy of Black next month. It will take forever to read one fricken’ dialogue box, but it’ll be worth it.

    Cuz… uh, it’ll help me learn German. Yeah.

  16. ~xxx
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    seriously, even people in their 20’s play pokémon too.

    But I Rather play the RPG type.

  17. Duelit
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    Just went to a fencing reunion today, surprised my 17 year old friend says her most anticipated game of the year is pokemon. Who knew? ^^

  18. Posted February 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Haha, I also have that card. I went to see the first three Pokemon movies in the theatres, thus my possession of an absolutely brilliant Entei card.

    I love hearing kids talking about playing Pokemon, but at the same time, it makes me feel like an old lady. That and the part in HG/SS where someone explains what a Gameboy Color is. I felt positively ancient for that part.

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