I distinctly remember the first time I saw a Pokemon. It was a Bulbasaur, and it changed my life.
From the beginning, with Red Version in hand, I fell in love with Pokemon. I had been a gamer from the time I could hold the NES controller. Mario and Kirby were my bros, and I was an expert at all the random, obscure games that I could buy for $5 at my local video game store. Once Professor Oak asked me to choose my Starter for the first time, I recognized Bulbasaur. When the two of us set out together, I knew I had stumbled upon something special.
Pokemon was life for me, for years. I was part of the group who spent so much time trading the original TCG set at lunch, at our lockers in the hallway, and even in class, that we got Pokemon cards banned from school. When Gold was released, I invested more hours in that game than I had spent on all other games I had ever played, combined.
When Gen IV came out, I entered my "too cool for Pokemon" phase, a dark era in my life. I had abandoned my first true love, and spent time immersed in "cooler games" that I could play with "real people" instead. While games like Borderlands, Fallout, and Madden were enjoyable, they never filled that void in my gamer heart.
A little over 4 years ago, I got married, moved back to Denver, and started my adult life with my first real job/career. I was making more money than I ever had before, which admittedly, wasn't much, but it was enough that I was able to upgrade my iPod. I started browsing podcasts, and found a few Pokemon podcasts, which was enough to reignite that spark. I immediately went out and bought a Nintendo DS. Starting with SoulSilver, I quickly rekindled the flame that I had known for so long. I marathoned all of the Gen IV and V games just in time for XY.
Being a part of the Kanto Nation has done more than help me keep the flame alive of my love of Pokemon. It reminds me of a time that I really felt that community - the community I had in middle school that got Pikachu expelled. Things have been crazy in my life recently, so I haven't been able to be as involved with the Nation as I would like to be, but I really enjoy listening to Blue and Yellow banter back and forth on my commute to and from work, and on my early morning shifts at work. Interacting with Kevin, Pat, DRB, Chase, and the rest of the Nation is always one of the highlights of my limited time on Twitter.
Thanks for helping me keep the first love alive, Nation.