Please do not let the title confuse you. I am not new to Pokémon. The very first episode of the Pokémon anime series was released in the United States in September of 1998 – 1 month before my 13th birthday. This, of course, was the first generation of Pokémon that I know and love. I would often watch the show before school while waiting for the school bus to arrive. I had several little plush Pokémon. I would often pretend that I was a Pokémon trainer, off on my own or with a group of fellow Pokémon trainers. Trying to catch them all and battling them against rival trainers but in a nice way because we love our Pokémon.
I never questioned how odd it was that these kids where just running a muck without a true adult to make sure that they stayed out of trouble. And we all know that trouble always lurked around every corner with Team Rocket out to get Ash and his friends. However, when you are in middle school, no one stops too long to question the details.
Soon after, we were introduced to the playing cards in early 1999. This gave us way to actually collect Pokémon and battle other trainers. I was never personally involved in this element of Pokémon. However, there was a local bookstore that would host Pokémon trainers and battlers on Saturday afternoons. As a bookworm, this was a smidge problematic for me. I did not have an issue with the fact that they were there enjoying themselves. In fact, I thought it was pretty awesome that the bookstore offered them a place to gather. However, they filled the entire store with their binders full of Pokémon cards and their preteen/teenage bodies. No surface was left uncovered. They were at the tables, benches, and on all the chairs. The aisles were so full of these kids, seriously battling and trading Pokémon cards. They were sitting on the floor; down the non-fiction, the self-help, children’s stories and even the erotica sections. I would have to carefully weave in and out, between each group of kids, apologizing like I was doing something wrong just so I could get to the newest Stephen King novel. (Yes, I did read Stephen King when I was 13 years old! My grandmother raised me right.)
Then, of course, there were movies, Gameboy games, and new generations of Pokémon. All of which, I did not bother to keep up with. It became very overwhelming. My husband did for a while stay up to date with Pokémon culture. He continued to play several of the Gameboy games and watched a few of the movies for a while but eventual it became too much for him as well. More and more generations kept coming and like old people do, we lost touch. Later once our sons were older, they discovered Pokémon for themselves and fell in love. Their knowledge quickly surpassed our own.
So now, on to the topic of the article – Pokémon Go. There was much excitement in my home long before this game was released. My husband and oldest soon were constantly explaining it to me and showing me screenshots of how it was projected to look once released. I was happy that they were excited but I honestly did not intend to play it. I have a lot going on in my life. Work, stuff for The Buzz Kill magazine, recording my podcast (The Winos – go check it out!), reading, Netflix. You know- life in general. Rarely has phone game ever been able to keep my attention for more than a couple of days. I seriously doubted that this would be any different.
Once it was released my family was thoroughly enjoying it. I was considering downloading it when Katie, my fellow podcast co-host, threatened my well being and demanded that I download it immediately. I believe I have now been playing it for approximately a month so far. I am just now a level 10 which I blame on the fact that there are little to no Pokéstops near my home and my place of business is a complete dead zone. I am almost always out of Pokéballs which slows down the leveling process greatly. I have hatched a Porygon (which my son tells me is super impressive). I also like messing with my kids and giving the Pokémon nicknames. I like to call Oddish the blue guy with the pineapple head (partially because I forgot his name when I first caught him but now I mostly do it to irritate my youngest son). Or I’ll call Golbat the angry bat guy and Weedle little wormy. I’ve raised those boys! I have earned the right to embarrass them by giving the Pokémon stupid nicknames.
So, pop culture, you really win this time. This game really connected with the Millennials simply for the nostalgia. For the kids born in the mid 1980’s through the 1990’s, this game really helps to recreate a part of our childhood. You awoke something in us that most of us had forgotten. We are no longer imagining to be Pokémon trainers with our plushy stuffed toys, our trading cards, or our stationary Gameboys. Now we really are actually are outside exploring the wilderness with our fellow trainers (Go Team Mystic!) and catching wild Pokémon. However, this game also bridges the generational gap. It also appeals to our kids, little siblings, cousins, etc. Because while we were busy, growing up, going to college, getting jobs, they keep the fandom alive. They continued to learn about the newer generations and as the new updates release for the Pokémon Go game, it will be them that are teaching us.
One last note, I realize that there are a lot of people out there with negative views of this game (I have 2 dear friend in particular and you know who you are.) Not all Millennials are lazy, losers without jobs. Most of us work very hard. We are not out wandering around neglecting our responsibilities to catch imaginary Pokémon. We can enjoy this game and still be responsible citizens. We are your doctors, your dental assistants, your nurses, bank tellers, etc. I could go on and on. I am sure that you have plenty of hobbies that others would find stupid. Instead of insulting each other, least agree to respect each others fandoms and hobbies.
Love to all. Namaste!
It’s Sharon! I hope that you have been enjoying my articles. If you have any suggestions for new article topics, please feel email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow me on Twitter @sharonaisom
Another fun bit of news is that The Buzz Kill Magazine has recently added a new podcast to its family. It is called The Winos and I am one of the co-hosts. You can find us on Itunes and SoundCloud. Thank you for all of your wonderful support!