Back in the day, when I was a pre-Iggle and still in primary school, we used to spend most of our recess digging shallow holes in the sand and competing with marbles. Of course my Power Rangers and Lion King marbles were never used in these competitions. Those are still in my forever collection. Then one day, at the magical time of 02:30 PM, all of our lives changed.
We were all mesmerized by the cute and colorful creatures who kept repeating their own names and who managed to live in small, red and white balls. The next day at school we couldn’t stop talking about the little, electrifying, yellow mouse and the wonderful world he and his master reside in.
Pretty soon we started playing with the power of imagination and threw handfuls of air at each other, calling out the names of our favorite Pokémon. Our competitive marble tournaments were long forgotten.
All of our text books were filled with the pencil drawings of various Pokémon and the lyrics of the playground’s most loved theme song. Every morning was filled with detailed discussions of the previous episode and predictions of what would happen next. There and then, a new generation of geeks were born. The Pokémon sensation grew with stuffed toys, stationery and the official soundtrack everyone wanted to get their hands on (I was one of the first kids to buy it, with a lot of hard earned money).
Pretty soon our favorite chip company introduced us to the wonderful world of Pokémon tazos. The collection craze began with households buying packets of chips every single day and kids trading their “doubles” among each other. The marble spot opened up again and became the official tazo gambling ground. Tournaments were held with the rarer tazos as the ultimate prize.
My favorite part of the Pokémon craze was the fact that the parents, especially the dads, were into it too. My dad asked us to record every episode for him so he could watch it after he got home from work. He laughed at Team Rocket’s blunders as if it was the funniest thing he had ever seen and his favorite Pokémon was Pikachu. My sister and I would often hear him saying “Pika-Pika” to himself after each episode.
My dad also had a list of all the tazos my sister and I needed to complete our collections. He kept his list at work and whenever he and his colleagues bought some chips, they compared tazos and lists (yes, all the dads had one) and went into the business of trading the round, plastic discs.
This continued for a few years as the number of Pokémon increased from 150 to too many to count. After a while the older kids started to leave the world of Pokémon behind. I felt that the number of Pokémon grew too quickly and that Ash caught too few. And Misty left the gang, which really bummed me out. I also started to indulge in more grown up anime and manga and left the Pokémon series behind.
But Pokémon is still here to stay. My sister (and many of her friends) still remain true to the show and the merchandise. And so does my dad. He still says “Pika-Pika” every single day.