Pokemon taught me a lot as a child. It taught me that violence is an acceptable solution to almost any problem I will ever have. It taught me that the only real way to get ahead in life is to beat up other people and take their money. It taught me that there's absolutely nothing wrong with training animals to maim and kill for my own amusement. But most of all, it taught me that every person I'll ever meet is criminally insane and will speak to me like backwards lines from a Dick and Jane novel before trying to kill me. I knew that the time had finally come for me to embark on this great quest once again to rediscover these important lessons of my past. Plus, I was really bored.
For anyone who's unfamiliar with the concept of Pokemon, they can be somewhat difficult to describe. This is largely because Pokemon can take on a variety of different forms: some are animals, some are plants, and some are objects that should be inanimate, but for some reason aren't. Still others are things probably best left unidentified for the sake of your own sanity. The one thing that all have in common, however, is that they exist for the sole purpose of murdering one another for fun and profit in a fucked-up world that ours would only have anything in common with if it were run by crazy cat ladies and people who stage cockfights.
And so, with that in mind, I turned on my Game Boy, started up a new game, and skipped past the condescending introduction that mostly blabs on about how I should venture forth and interact with as many people as possible during my "grand adventure" so that I can achieve "personal growth". Now, I prefer to achieve my personal growth through Swedish redhead porn and I tend to regard anyone who does so through Pokemon to be at the very least a few suits shy of a full deck. On the other hand, this game was made in Japan, and I'd fully expect that this sort of thing is considered normal over there.
The part that really gets me, though, is when it tells me that, "...at times, you will be challenged by others and attacked by wild creatures." I can't even begin to emphasize just how much of an understatement that is. I'd get into less fights wearing a Klan uniform to an NAACP meeting than I would playing Pokemon for twenty minutes. And even if I decided that I enjoy being stabbed and did just that, I sure as hell wouldn't have the gall to try and pass it off as a kid's game.
Following that, a guy in a lab coat calling himself "Professor Oak" shows up and starts muttering some nonsense about Pokemon before getting right down to business by asking me about my penis status. It's a yes/no deal only, as there's no "maybe" or "tranny" response. The manual suggests that I play the game as a character with the same gender as myself for maximum enjoy. I choose to play as a girl because my mommy didn't love me enough when I was a child.
After convincing Professor Oak that I'm a 10 year-old girl named Lisa, which was hell of a lot easier than it probably should have been, he has a "senior moment" where he can't remember the name of his grandson, whom he identifies as my "rival". And since he doesn't seem to have his Alzheimer's cheat sheet handy, he asks me to just go ahead and give the little bastard a new name. So, I named him "Shitwad". Professor Oak again sees nothing wrong with this, and his rambling lecture continues.
More crap about the glorious journey I'm about to undertake follows. Oak fails to say anything even remotely helpful during his entire speech, which he eventually concludes by using his magic laser death ray to shrink my detailed portrait of 10 year-old girl into a character sprite that video game artists working for slave wages can actually animate. And here I thought that I'd get to terrorize and destroy villages as a 500-foot tall, fire-breathing loli. Now *that* would make a damn good video game.
The game starts me out in my bedroom sitting in front of a TV with an old-school 8-bit Nintnedo plugged into it. Less than two seconds into the game proper, Pokemon is already reminding me of the other, better games that I could be playing right now. I try for a minute to make my in-game avatar's life as pathetic as my own by demanding that she sit and play it for eight hours straight, but my 10 year-old girl seems to have ADD as she only manages a few seconds of Metroid before getting distracted by some string. And then she tells me that we need to get the hell out of her bedroom.
Ignoring her request to leave, I proceed to rummage around her room in search of anything that might catch my interest. The bookshelf is a complete waste of time, mainly because all anti-Pokemon literature in the land has been seized and burned by whatever this insane world's version of Nazis might be. How in the hell am I supposed to learn all about that special time in my life when a girl becomes a woman if every fucking book in existence is about Pokemon training? It's like you assholes *want* me to be ignorant.
One thing that I would quickly learn is that there isn't much of anything in this game that doesn't have Pokemon plastered all over it like stink on shit. I wouldn't be surprised if my 10 year-old girl was wearing Pokemon panties. But, since this game was made in Japan, I also wouldn't be surprised if I saw them at some point. Hell, I'd be downright amazed if they didn't somehow end up for sale in a vending machine somewhere in downtown Tokyo, but, hey, that's the Japanese for ya.
Next to the bookshelf is a dresser, which I try to examine further. After all, who knows when an extra pair of Pokemon panties might come in handy? I respond to myself only by acknowledging that the object I'm staring at is, in fact, a dresser, and that it has great stuff-holding capacities. Great job, me. Am I going to spend the entire game talking to myself as if I were a complete retard incapable of identifying even the most pedestrian of objects? (Yes, I am.)
In the corner of my bedroom is a computer that demonstrates just how advanced the technology in this world is. Apparently the bastard spawn of a PC and an Everlock safe, my desktop is capable of storing physical objects inside of itself in the form of raw data. All I have to do is hop onto any computer in the world, cram whatever I don't feel like lugging around into the USB port, and it gets sent straight back to my hard drive here at home. However, due to the fact that there's absolutely no limit whatsoever to what my 10 year-old girl can carry in her backpack, this feature is worthless.
I withdraw my personal stash of mind-altering opiates, which the kid-friendly game simply refers to as a "potion", from its digital hiding place, and then proceed to check my electronic mail, or "e-mail" for all of you techies out there. Much to my dismay, my inbox is devoid of any correspondence. No amount of desperately machine-gunning the "check mail" button results in anything beyond spam messages asking me if I want longer and fuller pe1nS, and words simply cannot express how much my 10 year-old girl doesn't need one of those. What she needs is some friends, since she's obviously an isolated loner that nobody even cares enough about to send me a fucking email that isn't about ousted Nigerian royalty or prescription meds at discount prices. I run crying out of my bedroom.
On my way downstairs, through a veil of tears streaming forth from my eyes, I see a posted notice on the wall that says if I'm confused to press "L" or "R" for help. Seeing an official notice posted in my hallway seems strange enough, but the cryptic advice it offers mystifies me to no end. I eventually conclude that it somehow concerns my 10 year-old girl's budding sexuality, and it simply wants to let me know that my parents will always hate me regardless of the choices I make in life. So, why not have a little fun, then?
I see my mother in the living room downstairs and attempt to confide in her about my feelings of loneliness and growing attraction to other girls. With a reassuring hug and a smile, she completely ignores everything I tell her and responds only by saying that she knows that all girls dream of travelling one day because she saw it on the TV. So, in addition to being an insensitive cunt, she's also a stupid bitch who believes everything she sees on television. You know, people like her are the only reason that Nancy Grace still has a job telling paranoid housewives that their children will be brutally raped and murdered if they even think of setting foot into the outside world. Naturally, Mom is none too happy to send me on my way.
Sitting on the other side of the room is the evil television that so effectively controls my mother's mind. According to my 10 year-old girl, it's presently displaying an image of a girl with pigtails walking down a brick road, which may or may not be yellow in color. She doesn't immediately recognize it as The Wizard Of Oz, which could be either because of copyright issues or because this is the insane Pokemon world's version of Die Hard. Either way, I again tell myself that it's time to leave and continue trying to shove me out the door.
Before leaving home forever, though, I stop by the kitchen to acquire some provisions. I comment that it smells like somebody's been cooking, which seems like an odd thing to say given that "somebody" is obviously my mother because, well, she's a woman and women belong in the kitchen. Despite my statement implying the yumminess of the prepared edibles, however, my staunch refusal to eat any of it paints a much different picture. It looks like I can add "shitty cook" to Mom's growing list of shortcomings. It's no wonder Dad left her.
I leave my house and walk around town, speaking with the local denizens. They all tell me helpful things, like "technology is incredible!" and "signs are useful, aren't they?" The girl who speaks of signs and their inherent usefulness is standing confusedly in front of one that reads, "Trainer Tips: press start to open the menu". And although this did seem like the most logical thing to do after pressing L and R for help, I wasn't about to let my 10 year-old girl start playing with her start button in public. This is a family game, dammit.
Another sign identifies the village I'm currently in as "Pallet Town" and then goes on to say, "shades of your journey await". This is a precursor to many, many bad puns throughout the course of the game, and also possibly a drug reference. Moreover, it's the first written notice I've encountered that doesn't instruct me to press imaginary buttons to make nonsensical things happen.
Further exploration reveals that the entire settlement consists of two houses and Professor Oak's lab. The mailbox of the house next door to mine says that it belongs to Shitwad - rather than to, say, any responsible adult who might also reside there. Though, as this game was rapidly teaching me, there is no such thing as a responsible adult in a world where children are routinely sent out to journey the Earth alone because the TV says it's ok. In retrospect, this is probably why my own mailbox has received the same treatment.
I head on into Shitwad's house, not bothering with any of that tiresome "knocking" bullshit. Politely waiting to be invited into someone's home is for chumps and commies. Inside, I meet Shitwad's sister, Daisy, who mistakenly assumes that I'm looking for her brother and tells me that he's out at Professor Oak's lab. My mother had also said something earlier about Professor Oak looking for me, but I really wasn't interested in finding him, either. Hey, Daisy, maybe you and me can get together to press L and R and play with my start button so that I can see your menu, you sexy thing. Signs are useful!
Following a number of activities that can't be printed here, Daisy and I cuddle up together to watch some TV together. I note that there's a Pokemon on TV, and it looks like it's having fun. And either the same thing just happens to be on every channel, or the PNN (Pokemon News Network) has firmly established a monopolistic deathgrip on the world's airwaves, effectively banning all media that doesn't somehow concern the little bastards. I immediately thought back to the non-Pokemon related program that my mother was watching before I left. No doubt a team of jack-booted thugs had already been dispatched to deal with her for viewing unapproved material, and it was only a matter of time before she was hunted down and "cleansed". Sucks to be her, I guess.
On Daisy's advice, I head south from her house when I leave to get to Professor Oak's lab. In a town roughly the size of a gas station, it's nice to see that the game still thinks I'm retarded enough to need directions. As I step into Oak's lab, I notice that it's full of people who seem to worship the professor as some kind of a living diety based on the loads of unwarranted praise they heap upon him in response to me simply saying, "hello". They also apparently live there seeing as how the only two houses in town belong to myself and Shitwad. There's a bunch of equipment in the back that looks like the beginnings of a doomsday device, and three balls are laid out neatly in a row on a table. I don't know what kind of sick, twisted shit Professor Oak does here, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.
Instead of diplomas or whatever certifications one must have in order to be qualified to teach college-level Pokemon, the lab's walls are covered with more of those posted notices like the one from my house. One repeats the earlier advice of telling me to press start to open the menu, while another informs me that the menu has a "save" command and suggests that I use it regularly. So, what, I'm Catholic now? Look, when I said I wanted to be a sexy schoolgirl, this isn't really what I had in mind.
Since Professor Oak doesn't appear to be around, I decide to put my 1337 hax0r skills to the test on his computer to see what juicy, scandalous details I can dig up on him. His email account proves to be surprisingly easy for me to access, what with it already being pulled up and logged in. A message in his inbox from something caleld the "Pokemon League" begs Professor Oak to come on up and visit them. Being neither juicy nor scandalous, the message fails to captivate my interest and is promptly deleted before I remember that this isn't my computer. Also, Shitwad is standing right behind me.
Shitwad doesn't seem horribly concerned about me going through his grandfather's personal email, and appears far more interested in making snide, dismissive remarks towards me. He tells me that his grandfather isn't there, a statement which no doubt made Captain Obvious beam with pride. I turn to leave before his mind-blowing observations turn towards the anatomical differences between us.
Leaving the lab, and having had my fill of nonsense for the time being, I make a beeline for the town's only exit. I make it as far as the tall grass near the city limits when Professor Oak shows up out of nowhere and grabs me by the arm, saying that it's dangerous for me to go out alone*. Before I have a chance to yell "rape!", I'm being unwillingly dragged back to his lab, where he says that he's going to procure me some "protection". At least he's enough of a gentleman to use a condom, I guess.
*(Please note my restraint in avoiding the obvious Zelda reference here, although Oak's actions do lend themselves to a well-timed recital of, "YOU JUMPED INTO A SWORD, YOU RETARD!")
Alas, Oak's true intentions are revealed upon our return to his lab, where he points to his balls and urges me to touch them. I'm reluctant at first to comply, to which he informd me that his balls have wonderful Pokemon inside of them. And here, most other creeps just offer me free candy from out of the back of a van with all of the windows covered in duct tape. He assures me that it's only a "starter" Pokemon and that the first one is free. If only to shut him up, I give in to his offer, thus starting my 10 year-old girl down a dark path of addiction and chaos that could only possibly end in tragedy.
Shitwad, who was still here from earlier, witnessed this entire exchange. Professor Oak had seemed confused to see him when we first got back to the lab until he remembered aloud that he had asked Shitwad to come visit him. I that suppose it's a step up from not even remembering the kid's name, but it still didn't seem very promising - nor did it bode well for things to come. Shitwad now voiced some jealousy over his grandfather's insistence that I receive one of his balls. Professor Oak's reply was a stern, "Be patient, Shitwad. You can have one, too!" This also did not bode well for things to come.
I'm made to choose one of three different Pokemon: an overgrown Chia Pet, an incontinent turtle, and a flaming lizard. This isn't so much of a decision as it is the bemusing of a possible trick question, since any person in their right mind (of which there are admittedly few in this game) would obviously choose the fire-breathing lizard. I suppose that maybe, if I were a relatively normal 10 year-old girl with a non-traumatizing childhood, then I might possibly go for the turtle. But then I remembered that a man in a lab coat was trying to molest me, so I went with the lizard. Professor Oak called the little pyromaniac "Charmander". I named him Motorbreth.
Shitwad then goes in for sloppy seconds with his grandpappy's balls and selects the turtle as his surrogate guardian, thus leaving Professor Oak with only one ball. He remarks that his Pokemon looks a lot tougher than mine, which is a pretty stupid thing to say to a girl who hates you and is holding something that she can use to set your insolent ass on fire. Having had my fill of both this slimy family reunion and Professor Oak's naughty bits, I turn to get the hell out of Dodge. But yet again, I would not find myself making it very far.
As I try to leave, Shitwad follows in his grandfather's footsteps by trying to grab me. And while Shitwad is at least also a 10 year-old, attempted rape is generally frowned upon by most non-Afghani societies regardless of how disgusting the age gap is. What followed was a scene that will go on to repeat itself many, many times throughout the course of the game: Shitwad approaches me despite the numerous restraining orders telling him not to, acts boisterous and arrogant while attempting to get physical with me, I kick his ass while my Pokemon kicks his Pokemon's ass, he remains boisterous and arrogant as if that last step just didn't happen, and then he leaves. And as much as I enjoy beating the crap out of him, believe me when I say that the absolute best part is when he leaves.
Professor Oak, sensing that this is my first time being assaulted, tries to give me some pointers on kicking Shitwad's ass. Among several other painfully obvious statements, he tells me that the key to winning any battle is to inflict damage on my opponent - advice that should really have been given to Shitwad instead of to me. When a girl is telling her pet flaming lizard to maul its opponent while the special-ed reject she's up against is telling his pet turtle to growl at his, it should be pretty clear which of them needs a good talking-to about how not to lose a fight. I'm also told repeatedly afterward that the only way to make my Pokemon stronger is to make it fight. And again, the only person who stood to gain anything from this wisdom was the guy who hadn't already figured it out.
Also following my kicking of Shitwad's ass is a monetary reward for doing so. It's not that someone else found him as insufferable as I do and decided to finally take out a hit on him, but rather this is actual cash from Shitwad's wallet that I am taking from him as some sort of metaphorical money-shot for my complete and utter humiliation of him in battle. The game not only encourages this type of behavior, but actually goes as far as to mandate it as the official law of the land. The only reason it doesn't have me pee all over him and then rub his nose in it while spanking him and calling him a bitch is that at that point it would technically be porn (at least by Japanese standards).
It would appear that, as opposed to making any sort of an honest living for myself, my primary source of income in the world of Pokemon is going to be whatever I can steal from any idiot who tries to pick a fight with me and then loses horribly. The game refers to this as "prize money", which draws a much closer parallel to gambling than any responsible children's game ever should. I prefer the term "blood money", mainly because that's likely what it's covered in by the time it ever gets taken from anyone.
I leave the lab and once again head back towards the northern edge of town, where I have yet another encounter with the "signs are useful!" girl. She proudly displays her basic grasp of literacy to me by showing me how she copied down what the sign told her onto a sheet of paper. That's just... special. Hey, why don't you go show that to Professor Oak? I'm sure he'd love to cornhole yo... I mean, put it up on his fridge. Oh, and he also likes it when you call him "Big Daddy Oak". Just sayin'.
More than ready to leave this whole damn mess behind me, I take off and head north from Pallet Town along Route 1. I do this because there's literally no other direction in which I can possibly travel to leave this backwater hamlet unless I just feel like swimming out to sea. And even if my 10 year-old girl knows how to swim in the first place (video game characters are notoriously hydrophobic), I'm fairly certain that my flaming lizard isn't water-resistant. So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's to the north I go.
I accept a drink from a friendly-looking stranger along the trail who introduces himself to me as an employee of the Poke Mart in nearby Viridian City. The Poke Mart, he explains, is part of a convenient chain of stores that sells all sorts of items. And by "all sorts of items", he means "all sorts of Pokemon crap". He assures me that the beverage is 100% Rohypnol-free, which I guess seems like a nice bonus. Not wanting to bother with explaining this concept to its young target audience, however, the game simply slaps my Roofie Colada with the same generic "potion" label as the drugs I took out of my computer earlier and just tells me that it'll make me feel better if I drink it.
Angry pigeons and rabid mice beset me as I travel, to which Motorbreth valiantly leaps to my aid. Whether this is motivated out of a sense of obligation to defend his new mistress or simply a desire to destroy shit, I'm not sure. I recall the advice I received earlier regarding making my Pokemon fight to make it stronger, noting that the effects of this violence on his skills are near-immediate. Motorbreth clawed a pair of ill-fated pigeons to death before apparently remembering that he can breathe fire, after which everything that opposed us was promptly set ablaze by my new pet in a fit of pyromaniacal rage. I knew then that this would be the start of a beautiful friendship.