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Why I Couldn’t Fully Appreciate Pokemon Silver Part 2
I liked Pokémon Red because it was convenient to play in my strict upbringing. My family is largely invested in education and my mom didn’t appreciate any amount of time I spent on playing video games. Some video games require time for the player to build up skills to play them and others require the intimacy of reading lots of dialogue to piece together information in order to progress. People argue that the Pokémon games don’t require too much skill, but for me that is a pro rather than a con. For my childhood, I needed a game that I can pick up and progress and put down for a few weeks or months without having to deal with the frustration of forgetting the plot, skills or who the characters are and why they were charming. The Pokémon game series fulfill all these requirements. When I am not focused on my studies, I sometimes dream of going on adventures with people who are a part of my identity (to understand what I am trying to say watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlIkpf2fgYY). I feel like I have this sort of identity crisis due to my strict upbringing; a lacking personality that can only be full by surrounding myself with beings that are full of life and personality. The main series Pokémon games sort of ameliorates this crisis for me; I can befriend beings of all shapes and sizes and enjoy what they have to offer in my travels. Although the Pokémon (Typhlosion, Jumpluff, Quagsire, Umbreon, Girrafarig, and Ampharos) I am currently using in my playthrough of Silver aren’t competitive, I can still pull off wins with them by using strategies that don’t rely on brute strength. I was able to defeat the elite four and champion in one go without leveling up my Pokémon past level 40 thanks to my Jumpluff which had a great speed stat and sleep powder to put my opponents Pokémon to sleep on the first turn so I can switch Pokémon and make setups for great sweeps without taking too much damage and KOs. This made me realize that my perception of Chikorita as a useless starter revolves mostly around how powerful its attacks are rather than how great of a support it can be on teams with its support moves. It also helped me appreciate Team Rockets motives more since they want influence and power (symbolized by their takeover of the radio tower) through following a strong leader instead of building up their own strength with what they have. The Johto region is also full of obstacles that need to be overcome with HM moves, which aren’t competitive but makes the journey through the region feel more like you are traversing it with your pocket monster friends. I made sure that my main party knows most of the moves so I can get to place to place without having to go back to the PC often. Tamashii’s video made me learn that I didn’t took advantage of the game’s core feature: day and night cycles and events that revolve around the days of the week. Playing this game every other weekend and brute forcing through the first eight gyms and then giving up on defeating the elite four and the champion didn’t allow me to appreciate the game on the other days of the week and so I couldn’t envelop myself with the games main appeal: going back to previously traversed locations and discovering new things or taking advantage of special events. I now enjoy how getting from place to place is simple without the need for traversing through multiple floors of a cave or mountain. I would go to Kurt’s house everyday and get new pokeballs that can’t be bought in the pokemart and get haircuts for my Eevee in Goldenrod City so it could evolve into an Umbreon with high happiness. I also enjoy accessing new areas with new HMs I can use in the field once I get the gym badges, so I can find rare items and Pokémon such as Lugia (I chose Silver because of the 2nd Pokémon Movie). Speaking of items, most of the healing and held items I used when I battled the elite four were gathered daily from berry trees and optional areas spread throughout the Johto region making becoming champion more of a result of taking advantage of finding useful hidden items than over leveling my Pokémon. Another perk of going back to previous explored areas is rematches; some trainers will give you their phone number so you can battle them for a rematch or get information on when and where rare Pokémon appear in mass outbreaks. The rematches made it easier to balance the leveling up of my team so that one Pokémon isn’t 10 levels higher than my other Pokémon; as a result, the matches with some of the gym leaders became more challenging and I couldn’t fully evolve my starter until I reached Victory Road after defeating all 8 Johto gym leaders. The game clearly wants the elite four and trainer Red to be a challenge, so it is expected that I must make my team as well rounded as possible to be able to take whatever challenge comes our way even if the challenge is at most 10 levels higher. I guess this game is a successful sequel to Red, not just because it fixes some of the mechanics but also because it stops making the gym leaders big hidden personalities waiting to be discovered. Instead the game is about becoming intimate with the region in its entirety; appreciating all the hidden details waiting to be discovered within the days of the week and through the progression of the game. This game taught me that if I wanted to expand my horizons, I must interact and communicate with the people around me to discover and appreciate the special little things this world has to offer and not just speed through life expecting great rewarding relationships and opportunities to turn up out of nowhere.