Since Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are out Friday as I write this blog, I decided to share with you all my memories of the original. Sit down, as this is going to be a long one.
Back in the first 8 years of my life, things were rough. REALLY rough. I'd rather not talk about what happened in full detail, but I'll just let you know what I didn't have: Knowledge of game guides. You see, our family had a really bad internet connection. So most of the time I'd just play whatever flash game was on the disney channel website and whatnot, not knowing there were communities of gamers out there, or places where you could get help if you were stuck in a game. I was too young to know better, and my Mother was the only other person in the house.
Relief of sorts came in about the year 2001, where my grandparents gave me a green Game Boy Color for what I believe was Christmas. This was my first official video game system, and the game I got with it was none other than Super Mario Bros Deluxe. I loved it, and it got me into handheld video gaming. We had the Nintendo 64 at my mother's house, but most of the time I had no clue what to do, being as young as I was back then. The Game Boy Color was truly where it started for me.
Two years later, my Mother's friend's son came over to my home to visit. His name was Juan. (No relation to the Emerald Gym leader). He had a gameboy as well, and he showed me Pokemon Yellow version. I was blown away by how fun it seemed, and asked if I could try it out. He let me play in a battle, and I loved how fun and simple it was to play. I asked my mother if she could buy it for me, but she said no, probably because of the lack of money we had at the time.
Every time Juan came over, I got to see his (very slow) progress in the game. He had a Pikachu named A.J for some reason, and didn't seem to know how to beat the first gym leader. But for some reason Juan had to go home early that day. I didn't understand why he seemed so nervous at the time, as if he knew it would be the last time we would ever meet. Right before he left, he gave me his copy of Pokemon Yellow, knowing I really wanted to play Pokemon , and told me to beat the game he couldn't beat, as long as I promised to never delete his save file. I agreed, and he left.
From that day, I never heard about Juan ever again. My mother wouldn't talk about him, and the situation at our home got worse. But I didn't care, I was playing Pokemon Yellow! Eventually I managed to defeat all 8 gym leaders, catch two legendary birds (I defeated Moltres on accident), before finally defeating the elite four. I fulfilled Juan's request, and I desperately tried to find out why he couldn't come over anymore, so I could give him his game back.
My mother never told me, but I soon figured out he had to leave because our two parents never agreed with each other, so his mother stayed away from my family at all costs. I'm not even sure where he is now, but I hope one day I'll be able to tell him I completed his request.
Now you may all be thinking, Connor, what the heck does this have to do with Ruby and Sapphire? Well, I'm glad you asked! You see, thanks to my success with Pokemon Yellow, I managed to convince my grandparents to buy Pokemon Sapphire for Christmas of next year, along with a Game Boy Advance. Finally, a game of my own!
At first, the common complaints people had about Ruby and Sapphire when they first came out didn't bother me. Not able to transfer pokemon from the previous games? Didn't care because I didn't have a link cable. No Pokemon animations? Didn't care because I never heard of Crystal until many years later (And to this day it's the only pokemon game I've never played in the main series.). It was just like the first games for me, but much better. The region of Hoenn was just so beautiful, to the point I was amazed at the scenery. From the wonderful ocean around Ever Grande City to the beauty of Rustburo, the whole region seemed to be beautiful. I also fell in love with the numerous Pokemon in that region. I really liked Grovyle due to his super awesome design and the fact that he had a powerful Leaf Blade attack that would cause critical hits quite a bit! Eventually, I managed to complete that game as well, defeating the champion before simply… Goofing off.
If you played Ruby and Sapphire before, you may remember the Battle Tower at the end of the game. Well, when I first learned about it, I eagerly went there, only to be completely beaten in the first battle because I had no clue what the point of it was. So I pretty much ignored it and messed around with contests. Eventually the Gamecube Pokemon games came out, along with FireRed and LeafGreen. I got those as well, but nothing seemed to interest me as much as Hoenn.
At the time Pokemon Emerald came out, my life was completely crazy. Again, I'd rather not talk about it so I wouldn't sound like someone out of a Lifetime movie, but it wasn't good. My games were "vanishing" left and right, being sold behind my back without my permission. Frightened, I held onto my copies of Pokemon Sapphire, Firered, and my GCN Memory card with data for Pokemon Colosseum on it. Thankfully those were never sold, much to my relief. Eventually my grandparents gave me another gift in the form of Pokemon Emerald. At first I was really frustrated with the game, as it seemed to be a copy and paste job from Sapphire version, until I started noticing some differences. Pokemon had animations, everything looked nicer, and some pokemon I never could find in Sapphire I could find in Emerald. It was awesome!
Eventually I grew to love the game a lot more than the others, and played it non-stop. When I caught Rayquaza (Who I actually thought was Emerald exclusive at first because I could never find the Sky Tower in Sapphire for the life of me), I felt like I was a pokemon master. Once again, I defeated the elite four with ease. (Even though back then I wondered why Wallace was the champion and why Juan was the replacement gym leader. I always thought it was ironic that the final gym leader in emerald had the same first name as one of my first friends.)
At that very same time, it was when my life was finally going to change. I would soon be living with my grandparents in a much better living environment. While I was scared at first, I eventually managed to get used to it, enjoying life a lot more now that I was in a safer place. I also got another GBA and a link cable, so I could trade with myself! Now I had friends at school who knew about pokemon, and when I reached the Battle Frontier, rumors spread around the school like wildfire. The most famous one was that you could go to Johto after getting all of the frontier symbols, since you could find a Sudowoodo in the battle frontier, I thought it was true, even though I only just finished Gold and Silver 2 years prior to this rumor before they were sold. Therefore, I was more determined than ever to clear the battle frontier. I figured since I completed Pokemon Yellow, Gold, Silver, Firered, Sapphire, Colosseum and the main story of emerald, nothing could stop me! I couldn't have been more wrong.
The Battle Frontier was the toughest challenge I faced yet. Not only could I only use level 50 pokemon to prevent my uneven team from getting defeated easily, but the trainers were very tough. Again and again, I kept getting beat. I never even made it to a frontier brain. But that all changed one day. I successfully made it to the battle pike, and finally completed as many rooms as possible before facing Lucy. The moment the battle started, I knew something epic was going to happen, with the battle music changing to the best battle theme in the main series.
Using my Salamence, I knocked out her Seviper with ease, but underestimated the power of her Shuckle. It caught me off guard to the point I had to send in my Nidoking to defeat it. Then the Milotic came out, and it destroyed both my Nidoking and Salamence. My last hope was my Latios, and sure enough, with a lucky thunder attack, I defeated her, gaining my first silver symbol.
I felt invincible, as if no one could ever beat me! However, as time went on, and the launch of Diamond and Pearl were getting closer, I only managed to face Tucker, Nolan, Anabel, and Brandon before the launch of the games. And even then, they all defeated me pretty easily. The Battle Frontier created a sense of tension and pressure I never felt in my entire life, knowing that if I failed I'd have to battle so many random trainers just to get back to the frontier brains.
But alas, I ended up forgetting about it when DP came out, and bought a copy of pearl and migrated my team to the newer games. From then on out, while I never completely beat the Sinnoh battle frontier or the Battle Subway, I had a much easier time with them than with the Hoenn battle frontier. Not only did it mark the end of my real life struggles, but it kinda inspired me to try my hardest in real life, as well. That's why when ORAS launches this weekend, I'm hoping they bring back the Hoenn Battle Frontier. Maybe, just maybe I can finally complete it once and for all.
I thank you for reading this giant wall of text, but I really felt that it was a perfect time for me to share my memories of the third generation somewhere. While I am living a much better and healthier life with my grandparents, father, and aunt, I'll never forget the memories I had growing up, with just me, and the Hoenn region on that small GBA screen...
Before ORAS: My Memories of Generation III.
Remembering the challenge I never completed from the rough time in my life