Remember when you picked up your first Pokemon game, presumably Red/Blue, and were up to the moment Professor Oak gives you your choice of a Starter Pokemon? Just think, the glory days, a simple time where only 151 Pokemon roamed, trading was done with things called a “Link Cable“, and you were not able to get a Starter breed unless you had these creatures called “friends” (to trade with). Heck, there weren’t even colors! While it was tough knowing you would miss out on six Pokemon (remember two starters with three evolutions) you were going out to discover this new found world of Pokemon!
Yep those were the easy times, especially when you knew the starter’s names, now things have got less complicated using a device known as the internet. But still, lo and behold all these stats are still the preferences of the chooser. Many people play Pokemon in there own way; some play for the best team, some play for the adventure, some play for the music, and none play for the story. In addition to the many ways of playing Pokemon is the way, or should I say, art of choosing Pokemon.
Choosing Pokemon is similar in a way to playing the game, but once again to reiterate, a whole different cake. Some people choose their Pokemon because they look cool or cute, others are stat geeks and need only the best (seeing IV and EV and even restarting the game due to new feature of Pokemon “natures”) and others don’t give a crap! Still all in all with these stats and looks, it mainly comes down to a gut feeling.
See, picking your Starter Pokemon is different from picking or forming your team, or even just plain old catching and trading. Your Starter Pokemon has some type of effect on you, not only as the player, but as the trainer and friend to the Pokemon universe. This Pokemon grows up with you and by some unwritten rule always has to be in your party, until your first Hall of Fame (only unlocked when you are champion). Do you want to go Water type because the first Boss/Gym Leader is weak to that type? Do you want to go Fire-Type because they are usually best? Or maybe Grass/Leaf type because it’s evolution’s look cool?
Think, cry, bleed, maybe even grow a beard and shave it off, and by that all ends you will have made your choice and you will LIVE WITH IT. Like the bitter douche your rival is, he will of course choose the one your Starter is weak to, but that doesn’t matter because you live to kick his ass. It was why you were programmed! One last rule/code I go by though with my Starter, it must always, and I mean ALWAYS beat my rival’s starter. So yes, that does include when the rival has a level 50 Blastoise and I have a Level 75 Charizard, and you know why? Because it was my destiny ever since I chose that Squirtle in my Pokemon Blue cartridge to beat Gary and his Venasaur (or whatever you chose). Why did I chose Squirtle? Maybe it was because I thought of the Squirtle Squad Leader and I was like man I want my Squirtle to be a badass like him. Or maybe because Blastoise was on the front cover of my game so I felt I justified it by choosing my titular character. Maybe I also didn’t want to be like my older brother because he chose Charmander first and being a copycat back in the 90’s was pretty lame.
All in all I was happy with the choice I made and I was eventually able to obtain those two other starters, though I forget by which means, but that Blastoise will all always be my “boy”. Spare Rare Candy who get’s it? The starter of course. Need to get last kill against Gym Leader, go Starter Pokemon!
Looking at choosing, even to this day I still have trouble choosing my starter. It’s like asking me what I want for dinner. I CAN’T DO IT! Take SoulSilver which recently came out, I was at an impasse between Cyndiquil and Totodile, both awesome Pokemon. Totodile becomes the mega-awesome Feraligatr, who is super strong physically, has awesome design, and I can teach surf. But Cyndiquil becomes Typhlosion and I can just run through Gold/Silver.
Luckily and lastly the art of choosing your TEAM is 100% easier. From there you go for the strongest, rarest, and best looking Pokemon (fortunately the best looking ones come with the previous two traits). Mine usually consists of dragonites, a rayquaza, maybe an arceus, and my starter, but sometimes I like to make different teams if I’m running through Pokemon too easily. Maybe I make a “Ash” team where I use the Nintendo rarity “Ash’s Pikachu”, along with Charizard, Squritle, and other character’s he uses in his adventure. Maybe I make a “Red” Team, a legendary team, etc. Making teams is a lot more fun and a LOT less strenuous.
How do you chose your Starter? Do you look at the design and go I definitely want that one? Are you just a always choose Fire-Type guy? Do you have to walk to all three Pokeballs, listen to the noise each makes and then decide? There are so many ways to think about choosing, but only one you can choose; so how do you do it?
thanks to my main man shmuga, for inadvertently giving me this idea (here’s the blog)
If you wanted to know my list of starters…DON’T! I’m very old fashioned and have only played Gen 1 and 2 and SoulSilver. I played Pokemon White beat it and burnt it cause it sucked.
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina