So I have gotten in on the Pokemon Go craze, which is getting kids off the couch and into the great outdoors (unless you find Pokemon in your home). It’s a great way to get exercise, I must tell you. The only problem is that I can only capture these digital creatures in the vicinity of Wi-Fi networks, because my phone is so cheap, so I am very limited on my quest to become a Pokemon Master (my late ’90s dream).
When I finally get a phone with 3G/4G capibiities and is not dependent on Wi-Fi, watch out: I’m going to be on an epic quest across the land, feasting my eyes on Pokemon.
Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we reflect on our past and look back at the technology, events, and different kinds of culture considered nostalgic in our lives.
It’s time to go back to when there were only 151 Pokemon and the original Pokérap was a memorable thing for kids to watch and listen to. Any kid born in the early to mid ’90s would remember how crazy popular the Japanese creation was. Since my graduation from Pokemon and any similar children’s interest around 2002, there have been two more Pokéraps, which I haven’t listened to but look really bad on paper, really cheesy indeed. Also since the time I officially outgrew the series, there have been 570 more “species” of these Pocket Monsters introduced, new ones being “discovered” all the time in the fictional universe of Pokemon; it looks like the iconic Ash Ketchum won’t be able to “catch ’em all” anytime soon. Amazingly, Ash has hardly aged in the movies and anime series, staying 10-11 years old, as if hardly any time has passed between him meeting Pikachu and capturing a whole lot more Pokemon that weren’t even around when I first hooked onto the craze, long after all the boys in my second grade class obsessed about it everyday.
I remember watching the original Pokemon TV series on VHS, starting with the very first episode, but unfortunately I only got to see the first few episodes since obtaining the videos was difficult and rather expensive for my mom to buy. The great thing is the original and all the subsequent series afterward are available online for free, an implausible option 15 years ago when popping a VHS into the VCR was a thrilling feeling, that nostalgic whir-whir-whir and click! of the electric motors reeling the magnetic tape into place and the blue screen on the TV flashing the word “PLAY” before kicking into the video.
Above is a picture of me at around ten years old, wearing a Pokemon t-shirt and sporting a rather cool grin. Back when this picture was taken, I think just before the whole family began the trip to Williamsburg, Virginia (a really boring but historical place for me) one still had to have a working telephone connection to get on the Internet and whenever a person would pick up the phone, the connection would be lost. There was still a thing called a modem (a picture of a pool comes to mind) that made itself very apparent with its lengthy and noisy start-up. The last time I remember using dial-up was in 2004. Now Wi-Fi is available nearly everywhere and YouTube videos are able to be streamed in 1080 HD and beyond, whereas back in the web’s stone age would be virtually impossible.
Until then, here is a Pokerap by CollegeHumor for 718 Pokemon before three more were recently added – and it doesn’t look like the creators are going to stop anytime soon.