GUEST POST: Fire Red is Fire Yes (Alana rambles)

I’m…not good with titles. Sorry.

Anyway, Misties, our good friend Nick is sick today, so I’m filling in for him. Yes, you will have to wait yet another day for the end of his best of the handhelds series. I have been granted permission to give you a hint, though. It is not Chicken Shoot. Sorry to everyone who just lost the office pool!

I just cost you 15 bucks! BUCK BUCK BUCK.
Image via Wikipedia

As the title was trying to suggest, I am going to talk about Pokemon: Fire Red. I was in middle school during the initial Pokemon craze in North America, so I remember well kids going apeshit over the trading cards, getting suspended for fighting over them, begging for them at the grocery store checkouts, and running home after school to watch the cartoon. Also there were only 150 Pokemon and phones had cords AND THAT’S THE WAY WE LIKED IT, goshdarnnit! 

Totally worth punching your best friend in the mouth.
Image via ioffer.com

Anyway, the original games that helped fuel the fury were Pokemon Red and Blue (green, in Japan, because Nintendo knows Americans hate plants and therefore plant-based pocket monsters). Naturally, all the kids either had a copy, or really, really wanted one. Pokemon were hot commodities, and unlike the card game, Red and Blue allowed to get a full Pokemon experience in the palm of your hand. More than that, the starters matched Ash’s team in the anime: bulbasaur, squirtle, and charmander. You could pick your favourite, and if you played your figurative cards right, as opposed to your literal cards, which I guess you could also use to do this, you could have the same team as the cartoon. AMAZING.

Shut up. I was like 10.
image via IGN
What I wasn’t was a Game Boy owner. I never had a game console growing up, handheld or console. Consequently, I enjoyed Pokemon as a spectator, not a player. I have fond memories of the show, and jealous memories of people who’s parents bought them expensive electronics to play with as children.

But it’s a one time cost. It’s not like you have to buy a bunch of expensive games or … oh, right.
image via Wikipedia
Some years later, the games were re-released as Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green, because by then vegetarianism had taken off in America, and we were all about conserving water, not blasting things with it. It was 2003, and I was too busy being a surly teenager to give a shit. Also, I still did not have anything to play them on. 
It wasn’t until 2009 or 2010 that I actually started playing the damn games. My partner has a pretty pink DS (yes, he is a dude), and a copy of Pokemon Platinum. I was steadfastly ignoring it, because I’m not into this whole “gaming” deal, when one night, as a joke, we downloaded Pokemon Snap! from Nintendo’s virtual console. Some of my childhood friends had that game, and also you could play it at Blockbuster for awhile, so it was the only Pokemon game I had actually played before. Along with a friend we played the entire game that night, laughing ourselves silly. It triggered a huge swelling of nostalgia, and instead of seeking medical attention I sought MOAR POKEMANS. 
Highly addictive material: one hit is all it takes.
image via myconfinedspace.com

I’ve gone on to play Platinum, Heart Gold, and Black. All fine games, in and of themselves, but they didn’t have the one thing I was looking for above all else: a fucking charmander. Yes, that’s where this was all leading. Charmanders are adorable dinosaurs of fire, and therefore the best pokemon possible. What, you think that there are better Pokemon? Ones that have better moves, or more versatility, or objectively better stats? Well, shut your stupid face. Hey, you knew this was a nostalgia thing. I made that quite clear. 

“Love me!” “I will, little buddy!”
image via mugen.wikia.com

Anyway, Fire Red can be played on my pretty pink DS (oh, how I wish it was black), or it could be, if I could find it. But of course, several Pokemon games have been released since then, the Game Boy Advance has been replaced several times over by more advanced handhelds by Nintendo, and nobody is selling these games. Whenever I get hauled into the video game store, which is a lot, I give the used GBA games a sweep, and I have never seen Fire Red in almost three years. I had pretty much given up on ever getting my charmander. Until. 

You don’t think I would ramble this long for the ending to be “and then I never got one, the end”, did you? I ended a story like that once and I’ve never heard the end of it. While Nick and I were browsing at a flea market that was strangely full of video game vendors, he suddenly told me to “Hold the guy here” and ran off. Mystified, I stood guard over the general PS2 section, because I misunderstood what he was looking at. He came back, plucked up a GBA game, paid some cash and told me happy birthday. 
Fire Red, bitches! I’m taking charmander all the way! 
And THAT is how you end a weird, rambling, pointless story. BAM. 
WINNING.
image via giantbomb.com

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