My good friend told me a story the other day that I just had to share with all of you because it not only relates to Pokémon, but it is also quite funny. My friend is a gamer, likes Pokémon, and is 24 years old. Here is the story of her quest to get the three Legendary beasts that were offered at GameStop this past month.
As some of you know, GameStop was giving away the three Legendary beasts of Johto to anyone that stopped by their stores and downloaded them via Mystery Gift to their Pokémon HeartGold or SoulSilver games. The special thing about these Pokémon is that they are shiny and once you trade them over to Pokémon Black and White, you can acquire the rare Pokémon Zoroark.
My friend just got into Pokémon again, and SoulSilver is the first Pokémon game where she has actually made it all the way through the Elite Four. Because she plans to get Black and White, she decided to head to GameStop and get them herself. Her first step was a bit daunting because it made her feel weird going in to download something - especially when there were other kids half her age doing the same thing. When she went in to get Raikou, she had to awkwardly ask the clerk how to use Mystery Gift, but he simply pointed to a sign that gave her the instructions.
Getting Entei was a bit more dramatic. Instead of going into the GameStop, my friend parked briefly outside the store, still in the radius of their wi-fi signal, and downloaded the Pokémon from the comfort of her car. She then drove off with the new Pokémon in hand. She told me she felt like a thief who had committed "drive-by Pokémon." Sadly for her, the punishment for her crime was ordained when she went back to the store to get Suicune on the last day of the giveaways. Unfortunately, her game gave her an error message stating that her Mystery Gift was full (I'm not really sure what that means.) And so she left empty-handed and disappointed.
I am a lot more subtle when I go into a GameStop to download one of their Mystery Gifts. But even when I go in with my DS in hand, I do feel a bit strange, perhaps even a bit embarrassed since most people, even other gamers, have a thing against Pokémon, and are under the impressions that it is a little kid's game. When I play a Pokémon game on the train, I sometimes hide my DS so people don't see what I'm playing. But then I say to myself, who cares what people think? Pokémon is a very complex game and anyone that plays it competitively understands how crucial it is to get your IVs just right and to maximize your EVs so that you get the most out of your attacks. Pokémon is a game suitable for kids, sure. But there is a deep layer of complexity and strategy behind its battle system that can appeal to anyone.
I wonder if others feel the same way I do about Pokémon or any other game that might be considered childish for someone in their 20s to play. Or perhaps you have a story like my friend's trips to GameStop. It is a haven for gamers and geeks, after all. There should be no reason to be embarrassed about anything.