The Memory Card – Pokemon Blue

Hello and welcome to the second entry into The Memory Card. After the last one, we had some trouble deciding on the next game we wanted to put into this. With many suggestions rattling around, several of which we will see in the coming weeks. However, there was one game that made sense to enter into The Memory Card. So joining Blinx inside our 15bit storage device, is Pokemon Blue/Red.

Now, if you follow my twitter feed then you might have noticed that I have been replaying this game recently. This was in fact the way that it came up for debate, it has also refreshed my memory about it. When this game game out in 1999, it looked good for a GameBoy game; but if you compare it to a modern handheld game, it’s on a level with the Nintendo Entertainment System. The sprites are blocky, and the controls sometimes seem to not be working, although that could juts be my GameBoy Advance.

But when I started it again, and the digital world booted up around my character, I felt the same joy that I did when I was eight and first played this game on my birthday. The people in the world, although not deep are just as good as they are in any other handheld games. The gameplay is solid and the controls make sense. Yet the best bit about playing this again, wasn’t the gameplay. It was the feelings that I had when playing it, allow me to travel back in time eleven years to my eighth birthday. This might take some time.

When I turned eight, there was only one thing I really wanted, a GameBoy Pocket and Pokemon Blue. I spent months telling my parents and the rest of my family this, boring them to death with my talk of it. But come the day of my birthday, they had bought me these two items. I wasn’t just happy, I was overjoyed. This was game my friends had, a game about the world I had been watching on the TV. Now I could play in this world. After lunch that day, I spent the rest of the day playing that game. I played for nearly a week, until I reached the Elite Four. Up until this point I hadn’t had much trouble with any battle. My rival had always been dispatched quickly, and the only gym leaders who had caused any problems were Sabrina and Blaine, but they were easily countered by a choice couple of Pokemon. But, all of my friends, who had been given the game or had bought it when it was released in May 1999, were all stuck here. They spent hours training up their Pokemon to try to beat the Elite Four. But none of them had made it past them.

Now, it was my turn. I had owned the game for the shortest amount of time out of all of us. But I had a well trained and well balanced squad consisting of: Venusaur, Pikachu, Slowbro, Fearow, Ninetales and Lapras. I was well stocked with Full Restores, Revives and Ethers. I saved my game before I entered, with all my friends who played the game gathered at my house, along with some of their brothers and fathers who had been drawn in. They watched as my Fearow took down Lorelei’s Ice-types with ease. Then as Bruno’s Rock types loomed, my Venusaur matched them and brushed them aside. My friends were saying that maybe I had a chance to get to the champion. Then came Agatha, I began the battle with my Pikachu taking out two of her squad, before it was crushed by her Haunter, then my Slowbro saved the day. This left Lance. The Dragon King. I was facing what everyone had told me was going to be my hardest battle. I healed all my Pokemon and walked into the room. My Pikachu quickly dispatched Lance’s Gyarados, but then he sent out a Dragonair. I hadn’t come up against many dragon types so far. So I switched out my Pikachu, which was dangerously low on health, for my Ninetales, it did some damage ridding Lance of his second Pokemon, and then being beaten by his second Dragonair. Then my Lapras arrived, until this happened, I had doubted if I would be able to beat the challenge of The Elite Four, but it went through the rest of his squad like a blowtorch through butter.

Thinking it was all over, this was before a large proportion of the internet so none of us knew what was to happen next. Everyone went mental, but then I looked down and noticed what Lance was saying, that there was already a champion. The he had beaten him just before I had come along. Everyone looked on nervously, wondering who it was. I walked through the doors, seeing my Rival there. I knew that this would be hard, that even the battle against Lance wasn’t going to compare to this. Everyone went quiet, even when the battle started, and we were battling was there any speaking. No one offering tips. Up until now, only a couple of my Pokemon had fainted, but now it was near equal with my rival. He started with Pidgeot, I started with Pikachu, one Thunder later and Pidgeot was back in his ball. Then Alakazam wiped Pikachu out, who was replaced by Fearow who quickly beat Alakazam. It continued like this, every Pokemon I used to beat him, was wiped out by his next. It came down to the last Pokemon, starter vs starter. The perfect mirror to the start of the game. From Bulbasaur vs Charmander, it was now Venusaur vs Charizard. Everyone help their breath. I scored a hit with a Solar Beam, but he did some extra damage with Flamethrower. I managed to send him to sleep. This seemed like the end for him, but just as I was about to chip the final bit of health off. The text ‘Gary used Full Restore’ appeared at the bottom of the screen. I though this was the end, but my attack did a critical hit, taking about half of his health off. Out of health potions and Full Restores, I used my last Solar Beam, it took a turn to charge up. Charizard struck, leaving me with less than 10 HP left. Then, Solar Beam hit Charizard. Everyone in the room, watching over my shoulder was hoping for the words ‘Critical Hit’ appear at the bottom of the screen. Then, after what seemed to be hours, they appeared. My last hope. His health trickled down, nearing the end of the health bar. Then, it hit the end. Charizard fainted.

It took a moment for it to sink in. Then I realized what had happened. I had done it. I had beaten this game. I done it before anyone I knew. I jumped off the sofa yelling. Everyone in the room went crazy. I probably cried at the excitement.

After I managed it, many of my friends beat the game. We all left it alone for a while. Then we heard that it was possible to complete the Pokedex. We all dreamed about owning all 151 Pokemon, we spent a year trying to do it. Not in competition, but together. Then the following year, we did it. Fifteen of us working together, had caught all of the Pokemon. And put them all into one game.

Anyway, present day. That might seem improbable that I remember that, but it was the first game I ever completed. It made me feel like the Pokemon League Champion. My teacher called me that when he heard that I’d done it. In fact, Pokemon Blue made me the game I am today. It is probably one of the biggest influences on my life. After my Grandfather and Star Wars.

And thats why it deserves a place in this institution. That’s why I’m saving it to The Memory Card.

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