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My Introduction to Pokémon

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My first run in with Pokémon is probably my fondest memory when it comes to the card game. When I was young, 7 at the time, my grandparents came back from a trip to Japan. They didn’t get me a normal souvenir from their visit, but a unique one instead. My grandma presented me with a big box with the word Pokémon on the cover as well as a cute little Pikachu. At the time I had no idea what either were.

She told me that these cards were the new, hot thing in Japan and they were just starting to appear in America. She told me they would be very popular and she wanted to start my journey into collecting the cards. Plus, she knew how much I loved animals and fantasy worlds.

Admittedly, I was a bit mad at the time. I was at that age where all I wanted was physical toys to play pretend with. I was thankful, don’t get me wrong, but a bit sad I couldn’t play with them. Luckily though, I soon realized that you could play with them. The box came with 2 decks, a starter deck meant for 2 and a second deck made for more experience players. Lucky for me mine came with the Power Reserve deck. This was great because my favorite animals at the time were kangaroos.

This is my replacement copy. The deck is different but otherwise this was what I had as a kid!

I immediately sat down and went through every card. The more I looked at them, the more I fell in love. I loved the creatures, they looked like something out of a fantastical movie. Not only were they pretty, but the game seemed so simple. I remember reading over the rules constantly, trying to memorize them to play. I even dragged my dad into a few games. He struggled but was happy to entertain me.

Not too long later, a new girl my age moved in next door. I was eager to make new friends and I decided to share my cards with her. She instantly joined me in fanning over Pokémon. We’d play pretend and imagine what they would sound like and do. A few weeks later, we got into the anime. Sadly, neither of us owned the games, but the anime filled us in just fine. Finally these creatures on the cards started to gain life. We saw even more than were featured on the 20 or so cards I owned. To say we were entranced was an understatement. Everything was Pikachu. Jigglypuff was Pika-Pink, Nidoran was Pika-Green. It was a mess.

Not long after, the cards started appearing in stores. Up til now, they were rare to come by. It hadn’t yet gained any popularity and was just a small novelty. My friend and I were instantly hooked. Soon my friend had her own cards to play with, then I got my second deck, then another. Then it was just a spiral down and I never looked back.

Who thought these random cards my grandma got me about half a year before the Pokémon boom would lead me into my life long hobby.

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