Pokemon: This One's For All the Parents Out There

It's a boring story. A child becomes attached to a game or a show. That child may collect the trading cards and become engrossed in the fictional universe that is that show or game. The parents of the child say, "You may love _____ now, but just wait until you're 20!"

Because there's nothing strange about sending 10-year-olds off on their own in the woods...with an electric mouse.

Guess what?

I'm 20. And I still love Pokemon.

I can't blame my parents. The show was nothing fantastic--but the first season will always hold a special place in my heart--and the games are practically recycled every generation. With the fifth generation upon us in the U.S. tomorrow, can anyone really say it's that different from the first?

But what's wrong with that? Not every game needs to try something new to make it work. Some parts of a series should never change. There are different versions of Link in every Zelda game, but he's still Link. Mario's never going to get any taller and Princess Peach may never cease her worthlessness. Rather than sticking to the same characters, Pokemon sticks to the same foundation because that very foundation is its stable core. I can find no reason to fault them with that. Pokemon is successful because people enjoy finding the right Pokemon for them. Why fix something that isn't broken?

That said, I appreciate the changes that are in Pokemon. I remember when I first learned of the Pokegear in Gold and Silver or the ability to choose a female character in Crystal. These additions are what strengthen the already strong core. However, I have yet to see a new feature that has captured my interest as well as the first Pokegear did. I vividly remember late nights in the backseat of the car as my family drove home from vacations in the Poccanos. With the only light in the car coming from my Gameboy Color and attachable light, I played the radio on the Pokegear while training my Eevee to evolve into an Umbreon. The light drumming of the Poke March on the radio lured pokemon closer. My parents tuned out my music to the car radio and my sister had already fallen asleep. It was just me, that Pokegear, and my Pokemon team. As I get farther into Pokemon Black, I expect to enjoy myself in the dark corners of Black City. Perhaps this generation's use of wireless interactivity will actually try something new. Maybe I'm an anti-social gamer, but this has failed to capture my attention in the past. I hope something new comes out of it this time.

Of course, my goals today in Pokemon have changed. I have no intention of catching every Pokemon these days. I'm no longer the seven-year-old playing Pokemon Blue, going after Mewtwo in Cerulean Cave. I'm not even the thirteen-year-old reliving the first generation through my copy of Fire Red.

I hope both old and new fans, those both young and experienced, enjoy their copies of Black and White tomorrow. I know I'll be smiling as soon as I choose my Oshawott.

Because derps make me happy.

In the words of my sister, "You'll still be playing Pokemon when you're 40." I look forward to the next 20 inevitable years of Pokemon.