Pokemon Silver is my favourite Pokemon game, and although I have a huge soft spot for Ruby and Fire Red as they were the others that I played just as much, but Silver will always be number one for me. Looking back now, it was more than just a game, it shaped my imagination as a child and many of my adventures have been pulled straight from pixels on a screen and into real life, Pokemon Go times a hundred.
Silver was my first Pokemon game (my very first being Super Mario Advance). I joined the Game Boy craze a little late for my age, I never owned the first Game Boy or a Game Boy Color, and I never owned Pokemon Red or Blue. I started Pokemon Silver on a Game Boy Advance, and when the Game Boy SP came out in 2003, the built-in light improved my gaming experience so much that it became my companion everywhere I went, in the car, on holidays, relatives’ houses, anywhere! It was all part of the experience, my virtual journey as a Pokemon trainer was every bit as important to me.
I was so invested in this game as I played through it, I remember where I was in real life as I experienced pivotal moments not just in this game, but in all the Pokemon games. I sat in front of the fire by the Christmas tree while I solved the Strength rock puzzle in the Seafloor Cavern in Pokemon Ruby, I sat on a swing in my grandparents’ barn as I battled my way through Team Rocket’s HQ underneath the Game Corner in Celadon City in Pokemon Fire Red, and many many more. Once I got the idea of writing this, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I just had to do it, I had to write about my experience with my favourite game, through the eyes of my 10 year old self as I played through the game for the first time. These memories I have are so vivid. Sadly I can no longer play my original copy of Silver as the game’s cartridge and internal battery has been gone for years.
I think it will be best if I write this in parts, I always used to watch YouTubers do walkthroughs of their Pokemon games and I was secretly envious, I knew my Pokemon games so well, too well! So now I’m excited that I’ve decided to write this and have a little personal series of my own. I want to take both you and me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane into one of the world’s most loved games. Maybe you don’t have your games or consoles anymore, and playing on an emulator is just not quite the same, let’s just embrace the nostalgia together.
Hopefully I’ll paint you a vivid picture so you can come on this journey with me. If you’re starting from the beginning, it’ll be a long one so I’ll give you a chance to get a cup of tea…
You good? Okay let’s get going!
So the introduction to the game, the Shellder at the bottom of the sea and the cute Lapras swimming by, followed by Pikachu punching Jigglypuff and then we catch a glimpse of the starters. The intro ends with a Charizard and his Flamethrower and we arrive at the start screen. In real life I’m sitting cross-legged on the couch in my living room in the town house where grew up, I feel happy and safe, and I’m excited. I press Start…New Game…and we come to the clock (I’ve always overslept, yikes!) Professor Oak tells us all about the wonderful world of Pokemon and how our adventure lies just in front of us (you bet it does!!). I always went with the classic AMY when naming my character, I was one of those kids.
I begin in my bedroom, I wouldn’t have gone for a brown wall in real life, but alright. I walk around, getting my bearings. Its not like Mario, I’m looking down. I check my PC…withdraw items…there’s nothing. Decorations…the bed and poster are already there, I wonder if you can get more? I must remember to come back to that later. I head downstairs. Mom jumps as I enter the room, chores probably (same as real life). But actually she tells me that Professor Elm is looking for me next door, and that my PokeGear is back from the shop…great! Whatever that is…Turns out that even if I tell her I know what it is, she’ll tell me anyway. Isn’t that convenient?
I go outside and I see my hometown, New Bark Town, ‘the town where winds of a new beginning blow.’ I like the sound of that! Little did I know when I was sitting cross-legged in my living room that an incredible story was only just beginning. I walk left and see a big building, that must be the Professor’s lab, and…wait what? There’s a guy with red hair standing at the side of the building, is he…is he looking in the window?! That’s weird…I walk up to him and speak, his response is not a friendly one. ‘What am I looking at?!’, I think to myself, ‘you’re the one who is…OH! He just pushed me!’ In complete disbelief, I speak to him again to repeat the conversation (a feature that would come in handy in real life) and yet again he tells me to scram and shoves me backwards…well! I go into the lab and walk straight up to Professor Elm, he’s happy to see me. He tells me of his friend Mr Pokemon (that’s lucky!) who has had a recent breakthrough with his Pokemon research, and he asks for my help. He tells me I can pick a Pokemon to take with me, this is it! My very first Pokemon!
I look at the three starter Pokemon, they’re not familiar to me. They’re all equally cute, and I like them all. In 2017, I still love them all and I still find picking one difficult! But I’ve always felt a pull towards fire type Pokemon, if Pokemon were actual real physical creatures in the real world, I would definitely be training fire Pokemon. Most of my favourite Pokemon are fire type. So I walk to the first Pokeball on the table, yes, I want this one. I press A and confirm yes. Cyndaquil is mine. *cue music*
(I should also mention that this is before I knew of the three starter glitch, I know I know, you don’t need to tell me!)
I don’t like giving my Pokemon nicknames, I prefer its own name, so my new buddy and me set off on our adventure to Mr Pokemon’s house on the far side of the next town, Cherrygrove City. Before we leave, Professor Elm gives me his phone number and his lab assistant gives me another Potion on my way out.
Leaving New Bark Town, I start walking on Route 29. The music changes and I like it, I bop my head from side to side as I play. I encounter some Pokemon I’ve seen before, Pidgey, Rattata, and a new Pokemon I haven’t seen before, Sentret. I don’t have any Pokeballs so I can’t catch anything. I meet a guy who says he’s going to take a break and save his progress. That’s a good idea actually, I save my progress just to be sure my game is safely saved up to now. I’m tempted to take a break…nah not yet! I keep walking, passing a couple of people and a tree that gives me a Berry, awww! I walk out of the grass and on to a path that leads me right into Cherrygrove City. I make a quick stop at the Pokemon Centre to heal before I continue on north of the town to Mr Pokemon’s house. He lives on Route 30. I encounter some more Pokemon that I know along the way, Weedle and Kakuna, I still can’t catch anything. I pass a little house also, it has a tree outside and I pick another Berry. The man inside also gives me a Berry. I continue north and then the grass clears. There’s a house with a sign outside – Mr Pokemon’s house! I go inside and he greets me instantaneously. He gives me a Mystery Egg, and then I also see another man standing behind a desk to my right. He walks over, its Professor Oak! I know that guy! He tells me I’m special and gives me a Pokedex…well okay, cool!
Mr Pokemon wishes me well and I walk outside. Then the screen freezes, I push buttons and they don’t work, oh no. Is my game broken? Professor Elm’s name flashes on the top of the screen and I realise my phone is ringing…phew! But the professor is panicking, he’s telling me to get back to the lab, it sounds like something terrible has happened. This pulls my concentration even further into the game, I’m even panicking myself. I race back down the path towards Cherrygrove City (this was before Running Shoes so I’m not really racing). I pass the Pokemon Centre, Mr Pokemon already healed my Pokemon before I left. I’m just leaving the town to head back to Route 29 when I’m stopped, there’s a person walking towards me. Oh my god it’s the red haired dude! He’s still as rude as ever, and then he initiates a battle. Bring it on, my first real battle!
He only has one Pokemon, it’s Totodile. He has the one that has the type advantage over me, clever. Luckily I battled all of the wild Pokemon along the way up to now so my Cyndaquil had already grown to Level 6. A few Tackles and Leers later, I win the battle. He’s upset with my victory and shoves me again. I quickly heal my Pokemon and keep walking back to New Bark Town. When I enter the lab, there’s a police officer standing with Professor Elm. A Pokemon was stolen, it was the Totodile. The police officer asked me if I had seen a red haired man and I told him that I’d just battled him. This was the part where I had to give my rival a name, so I did what any 11 year old would do in 2003…
…I called him GARY.
After the police officer leaves, I give the Mystery Egg to the professor. He’s amazed that I was given a Pokedex by Professor Oak, and suggests I take the gym challange…hell yes!! On my way out, the lab assistant gives me Pokeballs. I stop by my house quickly and Mom tells me she’ll save my money. And so we set off back on to Route 29, Violet City bound…
To be continued in Part 2…
(What did you think of episode 1? Is Pokemon Silver your favourite game too? What are some of your favourite childhood Pokemon memories? Please leave a comment below!)
All images used belong to Game Freak/Nintendo/The Pokemon Company.