Ok, so I'm officially on the Pokemon bandwagon again since I started Pokemon White which I am really getting into. I'm 5 hours and 30 minutes in now that may not seem much to all of you who have a dozen level 100's and clocked in at 80+ hours and what not but I am just starting and I can already say that my playtime with Pokemon White is already interfering with some of my day to day tasks.
However, I'm not here to talk about Pokemon Black/White. I'm here to talk about Gold, not Heart Gold, just Gold. Pokemon Gold came out on the Gameboy Color back in 2000 and takes place in the region of Johto. Back then there were only 250+ Pokemon and before it came out, we only knew 152.
Now most people from my generation would say that their favorite Pokemon game would be Red/Blue. Most of my friends had the Blue version since it was the "superior" version. I joined the Pokemon craze pretty late in the game when everyone had already finished it and kept talking about it on the school playground. By the time I started playing Red, the fad was dying.
Pokemon Red/Blue was a great game and I had my fair share of "gotta catch em all" with it and my missing no. item duplicating madness. When Gold/Silver was released, I didn't have a copy of it on day 1. And again most of my friends got the Silver version cause it was the "superior version" and they though the rainbow bird (Ho-Oh) on the box looked stupid. When I went on a family trip to the US one summer, I was able to convince my uncle to get me a copy of Gold. My face was glued to the GameBoy Color screen for most of the vacation.
I enjoyed playing Gold more than I did playing Red and one of the reasons for that would be the games length. It felt like two games since you aside from exploring Johto with all the content it offered, you also had access to Kanto which was the region from Red/Blue. You ended up collecting 16 badges instead of the regular 8 and with the added 100 Pokemon to collect. That's almost double the number from Red/Blue.
I liked most of the new Pokemon and I enjoyed seeing and catching some of the old ones but what set this game apart from Red/Blue and what made really develop a special connection with Gold was that final battle you have at the peak of Mt. Silver after beating Pokemon Champion Lance. And that battle would be the showdown between you (Gold) and the most badass trainer, Red.
Since I had the Gold version, the name "Red" would be listed. He would be named "Blue" if you had the Silver version. It was a coincidence that I had Red and Gold so the names matched up perfectly. I felt like I was seeing myself, my old character, the hero in my past life. When you see him standing on the rock platform, he had his back turned. When you speak to him, you recognize the sprite as he faces you and then the music plays. When you see his close up and more detailed sprite. Instant fully realized "OMG" moment.
He throws out his first Pokemon and its a high level Pikachu, then I thought "No, that isn't me. Its Red". I started recognizing him as his character, the character that was meant to be portrayed by the creator of the Pokemon manga. Red, the trainer that catches them all.
Coming from the Anime and then playing the game, you'd obviously make a comparison of Red to Ash. But Ash is not Red. Ash gets his butt kicked constantly by new characters, meets all these legendary Pokemon but never catches them while Red just stuff every Pokemon in those little red and white balls.
To quote some random person on the internet;
Ash believes in friendship. Red believes in kicking your ass.
And I can assure you that is 100% true as I got creamed by Red's Snorlax and Blastoise during my first battle with him,
I've since played through Ruby, a bit of Diamond and Pearl and some of the 3D Pokemon games on home consoles but none of those games gave me the same sense of bliss, amazement and sheer terror as that one battle on Mt. Silver. I'm glad that Gold/Silver got a modern remake for the newer generation to experience.
Pokemon White is somehow giving me a drive to keep playing it which I have not felt since the days of Gold on my old GameBoy Color. A fresh new experience seeing a whole bunch of new Pokemon with new towns and areas to explore. It feels fresh and familiar at the same time. Fresh is something I haven't felt in a Pokemon game in a long time.
Gold / Silver
Heart Gold / Soul Silver