In honor of the biggest event in gaming this week, E3, let’s share the moment we fell in love with video games. I’d like to share my first time playing Pokémon.

Pokémon was my first childhood love. I first played it with my friend’s old black and white Gameboy machine. I live in Southeast Asia so gaming platforms were really, playthings for the wealthy kids. Us ‘commoners’ had to make do with playing in computer shops or pirating games on our old PCs. That’s how I first started playing Pokémon. I had an old laptop my mom used for work and I got a copy of a Gameboy Advance emulator from one of my friends along with a pirated copy of Pokémon Ruby. I first found out about Pokémon from watching the anime on TV, but I didn’t know that Pokémon was based on a game, back then I just thought they made a game for the anime.

Ash still looks the same even after all this years. Sadly, I do not.

It was my first time playing any video game that wasn’t called ‘Hangaroo’ or ‘Text Twist’. So basically, I had no idea what I was doing in the game. I remember choosing Treecko as my starting Pokémon (really, who chooses a grass-type as their starter?) and got so thoroughly killed by the first gym leader, Roxanne, and her rock type Pokémons that I vowed never to choose a grass-type as my starter ever again. I couldn’t beat Roxanne so I started over again (okay before calling me a noob, remember that I was like in elementary school), this time choosing Torchic. Torchic was a bit of a better match to Roxanne compared to Treecko but just to make sure, I leveled my Pokémon up and looked for a water type to counter her rock Pokémons.

I had to create a new character just to beat Roxanne. Pathetic.

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When I went into the gym, I had only two Pokémon. The idiotic strategy I came up with was to one hit her with my water-type. I can’t really remember what water Pokémon that was, but I spammed water gun (or was it still bubbles?) till the other guy got knocked out. My back up plan, if ever my water-type fainted, was to beat the remaining Pokémon into submission with my leveled up Torchic. It wasn’t a good plan by any means, but it worked! I beat Roxanne and proceeded onwards to grab the next gym badge.

Beating my first gym leader for the first time, I was absolutely ecstatic. I’ve felt this feeling of excitement and satisfaction from a video game before. Every moment within the battle I was on edge, constantly thinking of contingency plans to counter the what ifs - what if Roxanne drops a one-hit move, what if she uses a super-potion, what if my water attack miss?

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That constant push and pull between me and my opponent was absolutely exhilarating. The thrill of outsmarting or out muscling your opponent was absolutely addicting.

By the end of the battle, I was hooked.

I played for the next four hours, enough to gain the ire of my mom who disapproved of me playing with her work computer not to mention staring at a screen for hours straight. She forced me to go to bed. I had to comply, but that night, I was lying in bed awake, thinking of what I was gonna do next in the game, thinking of strategies to strengthen my team and get the next gym badge.

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Early the next morning, I was back again in front of the computer, playing the game.

Pokemon Emerald is still my personal favorite Pokemon game.

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Since that fateful evening, I’ve played most of the Pokémon games in various platforms. Heck, the only reason I bought the 3DS was to play Pokemon X and Y (I’ve since traded it for a Vita after only playing Pokemon). I never really got into other Nintendo franchises like Mario or Zelda, but playing that game did introduce me to the joys of gaming. As a teen, I’ve enjoyed playing games on my weak, totally not-for-gaming laptop getting introduced to mainstream franchises like Call of Duty and Assassins Creed. Later on, I was finally able to afford a console, the PS3, helping introduce me to console exclusives like Uncharted and the Last of Us.

It’s been more than ten years since that day, and ever since I have enjoyed the modern marvel that are video games; and I owe it all to that quiet Friday night ten years ago.

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Afterthoughts: Man, was my laptop slow. It had like 500GB of RAM. Alright for word processing, not so great for gaming.

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What was your first video game memory? Share it with us in the comments below.