When I was a child playing Pokemon by myself, with no link cables and no friends to trade with, completion was a fantasy. I had both Pokemon Red and Blue, and eventually Yellow, but without a second Game Boy and a cable I could never complete the Pokedex. As a result, it became this almost mythical, unattainable desire for me. I knew all about the certificate one would see as they presented their completed Pokedex to the in-game Game Freak offices in Celadon City, but I feared I would never actually see it for myself. And after a while, I accepted that. Just as well, I wasn’t actually patient enough to raise and evolve dozens of Pokemon anyway.
As time relentlessly marched on, as it always does, Pokemon generations just kept releasing, seemingly faster and faster, and while I could name every Pokemon from the first four generations, that encyclopedic knowledge of the game didn’t keep growing with time. Eventually I started moving away from the franchise, and that dream of completing the Pokedex and being congratulated by Professor Oak just kept drifting further away from me. The current number of Pokemon stands at 898, and I have absolutely no idea how I could possibly catch ‘em all.
Even as an adult – an actual, fully-functioning, certainly-balding adult – I attempted to complete the Pokedex again on Nintendo 3DS, where I had two friends playing and attempting the same. But the moment they dropped off the game was the moment I, once again, was forced to acknowledge the seeming impossibility of completing the Pokedex – even if it were on an emulated version of the original game, where the number of Pokemon to catch is significantly less daunting.
This ambition of capturing and befriending 151 Pokemon just kept feeling like a flight of fancy, an utterly insurmountable task. And then, baffling the world, Game Freak announced that it would be remaking Pokemon’s Kanto region – again – for Nintendo Switch, with very different capture mechanics and only the original roster of Pokemon. Plus Meltan and Melmetal, but we’ll ignore those for now.
Taking Pokemon back to Kanto and once again restricting the number of Pokemon to just the first generation was exactly what I needed. I remember seeing the first footage of Let’s Go, seeing Pokemon waltz in and out of tall grass instead of triggering random encounters, and I knew this was it. It was finally time to complete the Pokedex, and for Professor Oak to give me the appreciation I have deserved for so damn long.
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee were exactly what I needed, both to finally complete that age-old ambition of mine, but also to feel a new love for the Pokemon franchise, by taking it back to where it all started. I still remember the layout of Kanto better than the back of my hand, and I still know exactly where to hunt for the Pokemon I need. Seeing them in the overworld, and not simply hiding invisibly in the grass, gave me a sense of motivation and purpose I had no idea I was so sorely missing.
Catching Pokemon rewarded experience, fighting wild Pokemon was gone entirely, and catching the same Pokemon over and over massively boosted the chances of catching shiny ‘mons and other rare creatures. This was what I needed to look at my Pokedex and say to myself, “this is surmountable. This is an achievable task. Professor Oak will be proud of me.”
Oh, and in addition to that, you could trade your Pokemon over from Pokemon Go. Once I had finally finished off the main game and decided to focus on that Pokedex, Pokemon Go became a resource that made the task of completing my Pokedex feel almost effortless. Finally, all of the collective hours and days of work I’d put into playing Pokemon since I was a child was paying off. I finally felt like I had caught them all.
But I can’t put into words quite what it was like to finally receive that certificate from Game Freak, to finally be acknowledged as a Pokemon Master. On the one hand, it felt like my inner-child could finally die and rest in peace, leaving my cynical husk to at last crumble to dust and return to the ether – but on the other hand, it felt like something was gravely unfinished. Sure, I caught the original 151 Pokemon, and I even caught Meltan, but this wasn’t over. There were multiple generations worth of monsters still to be hunted, and many more regions to traverse before I could feel like the Pokemon Master I always wanted to be. Even though I still feel so far from that goal, I have to praise Pokemon Let’s Go for revitalising the way I interact with and catch Pokemon, and finally giving me that certificate I always coveted.
I never did get Melmetal though. That takes way too much effort.
Next: 10 OP Moves In Pokemon Let’s Go
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TheGamer Guides Editor.
Am I supposed to write this in the third-person? Do you know how awkward it is talking about yourself like you’re someone else? No one would ever believe someone else has this many nice things to say about me.
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