The Pokemon craze hit when I was in elementary school. Pokemon was everywhere you went, it seemed impossible to escape. Walking around school, I would see my classmates with Pokemon T shirts, Pokemon Hats, Pokemon Backpacks, even Pokemon Lunchboxes. It was crazy, and I was a victim of the craze. I had the Pokemon Trading Cards, but what I really coveted was my own Pokemon Video Game. I wanted to be like the other people who could train and raise their own Pokemon pet.
|The Pokemon craze was everywhere.|
It took a few years, but I finally got my opportunity. My neighbor had a copy of Pokemon Crystal, and I had a copy of Super Mario Bros: Deluxe. We traded games for a day. He liked Super Mario Bros. I liked Pokemon Crystal. I asked him if he wanted to trade games. He said yes. Success! It was painful to let go of Super Mario Bros: Deluxe, because I really did like the game, and I hadn't beaten it yet. The only way to remedy this was to take full advantage of the Pokemon Crystal Experience.
|The most important decision you will make in the game: Which Pokemon do you choose?|
Pokemon Crystal continues with the classic Pokemon format where you get to select your own Pokemon (out of 3) and go on an adventure, meeting cool people, battling familiar foes, and discovering new Pokemon creatures. When I received the game, my neighbor had already started a save file, so I just continued from where he left off. But thankfully, he was still in the beginning stages, so I didn't miss much.
|A Map of the Radio Tower. Buena is on the bottom right (Red Hair)|
One of my favorite memories from the game was a Radio Quiz called Buena's Password. At a certain time in the day, if you tuned in to Buena's radio station, she would announce a password. After hearing the password, you could go to her location in the Radio Tower and recite the password to her. Doing this would give you points, which you could cash in to get sought after prizes, such as a gold nugget. I often would get up early before school just so I could listen to Buena on the radio and accumulate points.
|A Gold Nugget: Worth 5000 coins.|
Pokemon Crystal was one of my favorite games because you wrote your own adventure. If you wanted to, you could breeze through the game in 20 hours. But for people like me, who wanted to catch Pokemon, explore new places, and just walk around the virtual world, it offered a lot more. It allowed me to escape from my house in New Jersey, and transport me to the Pokemon Johto region. It was there where I didn't have to focus on stuff in real life like trying to learn Chinese, the only thing I had to focus on was trying to find rare Pokemon.
To this day, I still would rather search for hours trying to find rare Pokemon than learn Chinese.