Back to the Basics with Pokémon Origins

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Where my Charmander at?

I’m drying my eyes as I write this.

I’ve played a lot of games over the years, and have devoted hundreds of hours to individual game franchises. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard about 98% of all dialogue in Mass Effect, and the world of Azeroth has claimed entire months of my life.

Yet, there is one franchise that I think I’ve put more of myself into than anything else, something that has been my refuge during hard times and a source of never-ending entertainment. The first exposure I had to Pokémon was in the form of a book that a friend had in primary school. It wasn’t till years later that I actually got to play a Pokémon game, and yet I still knew the name, type, and an assortment of random facts about pretty much every single one. When I finally got to play the game, it was actually someone else’s profile that I ended up continuing, so my investment in it was only up to a point – though I still remember the bus ride during which we beat the Elite Four, and how we were jumping up and down and shouting the entire time. It was Pokemon Red.

So, as I mentioned – tears.

Pokémon Origins is a remake of the original Pokémon anime. I quickly lost interest in the anime when I was young, and the biggest reason was that the protagonist, Ash Ketchum, was special. Although the Yellow version managed to cash in on it, Ash was treated differently from the way you were in Red (and Blue), and I resented him for it. I resented him so much. I’m still not big on Pikachu because of the original anime.

Origins, as the name implies, goes right back to the beginning. If you’ve ever played Red or Blue, you will immediately recognise a dozen little things that will almost undoubtedly hit you right in the feels. The guys who’ve made this have obviously spent a great deal of time with their Game Boys to recapture exactly what those first few tentative steps felt like. From that first fight where you wasted a Poke Ball on a Pidgey because you hadn’t attacked it to weaken it, all the way down to how it starts up with the Nidoran – Gengar match-up and the Eevee that Professor Oak uses to introduce you to Pokémon.

I am only one episode (out of four) into it, and it has taken everything in me to finish writing this before I go back to see the rest.

If you’ve played the original games, please take the time to watch Origins… And if you haven’t, this might be the thing that explains what the whole Pokémon thing was about in the first place. The remakes of the original games, Fire Red and Leaf Green use a newer and much friendlier engine (along with graphics that are a lot less likely to make your eyes bleed) so if you feel inclined to give Pokémon a try after watching Origins, you don’t necessarily have to sour your experience by dealing with the ancient interface and sprites.

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