Last week I bought a Gameboy Color under the delusion it was some sort of thought experiment. Wouldn’t it be interesting, I lied to myself, to buy an old Gameboy and boot up the copy of Pokemon Blue I kept for no reason (deep seated psychological issues aside). Like some sort of digital time capsule, I mused, an insight into the terrible t(w)eenage years. I would examine my choice of player name, the pokemon I used and what I’d called them. I would peer into the pixellated psyche of my preteen self, I bluffed, and share the results. People will love that, I just plain wrongly told myself.
I scoured ebay and bought one (well two, I’ll be damned if I lose an ebay auction) and waited. Not really that long and it isn’t an important part of the story so I don’t know why I mentioned it but here it is. Flash forward four(ish) days to the hallowed beast’s arrival. I assure you it was no coincidence the precious cargo arrived by myHermes messenger service. The Gameboy Color (limited edition Pokemon version) is truly gods’ gift to man, and I mean the proper old school, ancient gods here. Forgot the gift of life or fire, Pandora can go and jump, the real box of myth and legend is made from yellow and blue plastic and has Pikachu on it. As I opened the box the clouds parted and the heavens opened. Angels sang. I audibly gasped. There was a parade in honour of the very moment as it happened. This is what Link must feel like I dementedly thought. I also thought I probably shouldn’t have Coke(ca cola) for breakfast again.
I cradled it briefly, much in the same way I had held my newborn godson, fear mixed with reverie, reverie mixed with fear. I jammed the blue, Blastoise adorned, cartridge in its back (the Gameboy, not the godson) and held my breath. Gameboy game batteries last about fifteen years (the more you know, huh?) and mine is a little older than that. I slid the switch and the console pinged into life. The familiar scene of a sparring Gengar and Jigglypuff played. Joy levels achieved critical mass. I anticipated the amazing, creative names I’d given my pocket monsters, VENAFART, PIKAFART, FARTLETT, I was nothing if not a mature child and lower case was not an option (seriously though, it wasn’t). The battery, and therefore save function, was in working order. So far things were going better than planned but as I loaded the file disappointment set in.
At some point I’d obviously decided to restart the game giving up soon after. The present save file was of a player called RUNE, from that time I thought I was misplaced Scandinavian royalty, and had two pokemon, a Charmander and a Metapod. My first ever ever pokemon, a Bulbasaur who evolved alongside me into Venasaur, was gone. Forever. I dropped to my knees. The skies turned black, the heavens opened (again) and a tempest fell upon me. I howled in anguish, eyes to the sky, hands by my side having torn apart my shirt. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the pulling of hair and beating of breast. Nah, jk I just turned it off and took some pix for Instagram. I mean, what use is having something if not everybody knows that you have it? I’ll just play through it again like any normal person in their mid-early-late twenties with two limited edition Gameboy Colors and a blog.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the amazing design choice of putting the power ON light in Pikachu’s cheek? Give than man, or woman, a medal.