I have to be honest here for a minute.
I was completely stuck about what to write about this week. There are times when I get a billion good ideas and they basically write themselves, but this was not one of those weeks.
It wasn’t until I was going through a series of pictures I’d set up for next week’s Instagram that I realized that the perfect subject was sitting right under my nose.
Getting hooked on Pokémon
Pokémon HeartGold was the first Pokémon game I ever played. I loved it, but it did absolutely nothing to encourage my independence from such addictive sources of amusement.
Instead, it got me completely hooked on its completionist premise.
The whole idea of the games is to try to catch all the wacky critters you can find, so you can fill in that handy little Pokédex you’re given by whichever tree-based professor happens to be in the game.
Why a 10-year-old is tasked with an adult researcher’s primary responsibility, I will never know. But hey, it gives your character a purpose, so you roll with it.
Anyway, back on track.
Because I am the kind of person who likes making lists just so she can put satisfying little checkmarks beside everything, I obviously liked the idea of a game that encouraged me to put satisfying little checkmarks beside everything.
The only trouble was that when I finished HeartGold, I just wanted more.
That’s why, one day, as I perused the wares of a used game store not far from my house, I found my next challenge: Pokémon Pearl.
It would become more of a challenge than I’d anticipated, and it would be all my fault.
When I was playing through HeartGold, I came to the realization that you can’t get the rest of the starters natively in the game. I decided that with Pearl, I’d get out in front of that little issue and get all of them at the start of the game.
I started Pearl three times, using my sister’s DS to trade the first two starters over to my HeartGold game, then trade them back into Pearl. I was unaware of the whole traded-Pokémon-don’t-listen thing.
Although I shouldn’t have been, I was rather surprised when Tallulah the Chimchar decided that she’d rather loaf off than listen to me. I was off to a great start.
Then I made my second mistake: researching the Pokédex.
It’s a real Shaymin
I learned early on in HeartGold that if you look up where Pokémon are, it’s much easier to find them. I figured I could easily put the same concept to work for me in Pearl, so I could get a better team earlier on.
It was good logic, until I got nosy and learned about event legendaries.
See, Game Freak usually has a few events to promote the release of a new game. When I found it in the used game store, Pearl would have already been about six or seven years old—well out of the new-release window.
When it was new, though, players could obtain a rare letter from Professor Oak that would trigger an event taking them to the Flower Paradise, where they could encounter a Shaymin.
I was immediately enchanted when I learned about Shaymin, for multiple reasons.
- It was a hedgehog.
- It was the first Pokémon I’d seen that could change its form.
- The Sky Forme had a unique typing I hadn’t seen before, Grass and Flying.
I needed to find a way to get it.
But the more I learned about it, the more I came to realize how difficult it would be. I tried to think of all the possible ways I could get my hands on a letter all my own, and not a single one of them worked. If I wanted that item, I would have to hack the game.
And that isn’t what a Hermione-esque goody-two-shoes does.
I gave up hope for a while, until I discovered the wonder of the GTS. It was pure luck, or fate, or whatever you want to call it, that someone happened to be offering a Shaymin, and I could trade with them.
Only, it wasn’t just a Shaymin.
It was a shiny Shaymin, which is a beautiful shade of teal.
I could hardly contain my excitement as I went through the trade, and immediately added Isabel the shiny Shaymin to my team. The only thing missing was that I didn’t know how to get her to switch forms.
It would be several generations of Pokémon games before I’d get my hands on a Gracidea flower, which is the only way that a Shaymin can switch forms. See, up until X and Y, you needed to show a fateful encounter Shaymin to get a flower, which mine apparently wasn’t. In X, though, I only needed to show any old Shaymin.
I finally got my flower, and my quest was complete.
Since then, the series has introduced all kinds of new creatures, so now, there’s no shortage—and it’s getting trickier to focus on one rare Pokémon with that much dedication. I’m sure my next challenge is out there waiting!