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The Pokémon Virgin: Confusion and Fun in X and Y

I finally decided that it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

DISCLAIMER: I have no prior knowledge of Pokémon games, or Pokémon at all apart from the Pikachu onesie I wear about the house, but that’s it, that is as far as it goes.

Girl in Pikachu Costume

I started off by asking the wise members of the Calm Down Tom crew just where I should start. Should I go back and play older versions or can I just jump straight in with X and Y? There is a massive list of Pokémon games so it was very daunting to think I might have to play catch up. I didn’t want to make the wrong choice. I was assured that I could jump into X and Y without previous knowledge as there is a tutorial that should help me along the way. I was warned however that there are over 700 Pokémon and therefore learning all the types could be a bit overwhelming, but just to take it slow and see how I get on.

I expected to be running screaming to the internet every time I come across a choice that had to be made during play. I have no doubt that the amount of Pokémon resources on the internet must be phenomenal, and it’s for this reason that I am going to attempt to stay away from all of it. There is no way on your nelly that I’m going to sit and read all of that.

One thing I do fear is that once I get into Pokémon, there will be no way out. I like to crochet and I’ve seen some weird and wonderful crocheted Pokémon. I don’t know the names of them yet, but I suspect that when I learn a few I’m going to be hauling out the crochet hook and yarn and when I’m not playing Pokémon I’ll be making them instead. Watch this space folks!

So here we are, a few days later and I finally picked up my very first Pokémon game, Pokémon X. I didn’t really have any reason for picking X over Y. If I am honest I preferred the cover of Y, but something, I don’t know what, made me pick up X instead. I’m not going to read the manual or the quick guide, I’m just going to dive straight in, and potentially drown. As Mario would say “Heeeere we go!”
After watching the little intro video I was quite impressed by the apparent variety of things that it looked like I’d be able to do. And that blue deer (sorry I don’t know it’s name yet) looks majestic as hell! The music made me feel like I was about to go on an real adventure.

Firstly I was introduced to Augustine Sycamore who looked a lot like Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen. Anyway he’s some sort of Pokémon Professor so I guess I’ll be seeing more of him. It appears as if I’ve just moved house and there is a bird in my kitchen. A little on the odd side but I’ll let it slide and venture outside to see what’s happening. I am greeted by some kids and told we’re all going to get a Pokémon. I meet up with my new friends at some cafe and all of a sudden I’m presented with 3 Pokémon for me to choose from:

  • Grass-type Chespin – I think he looks super cute
  • Fire-type Fennekin – looks really cool and kind of reminds me of the Pretztail from Viva Pinata
  • Water-type Froakie – I think Froakie looks a bit weird.

I decided to go with Chespin, then hesitated over the button, I kinda want Fennekin. Good grief how do you people do this with every game?! I know I can probably get them all later or something similar and I know there are no really wrong choices, but this is a hard decision. Thankfully I’m enjoying the music while I try to make my choice. Chespin…no wait…Fennekin..I think. Yes Fennekin. Done.
I was given a Pokédex and a letter for my mum which I promptly set off to deliver. But wait, Shauna wants to challenge me to a battle. I knocked out Chespin with my fire attack easy peasy and Fennekin is now level 6.

I continue on to give that letter to my mum who seems quite alright that I’m just going to disappear off on an adventure with some strange man she’s never met, but it’s alright, he has nice handwriting. So then this statue starts talking to me and I begin to think no one will believe me.

At this point I’m sort of lost as I’m not sure what I should be doing. Some guy said I should get pokéballs so I wander about a bit and stumble into a shop and buy 5. I have no idea how many I will actually need though. I decide it’s time to head across the bridge as it seems like the logical place to go.

Very quickly I think I’ve bumped into a wild Pokémon, a Pidgey, he looks pretty grumpy. Battle done and Calem teaches me how to catch Pokémon, shortly after I come across a Zigagoon. I’m going to try and catch it. *Throws Pokéball*. Success! I’ve caught my first Pokémon! I can quite see me being a “collector”. I decided to wander about the grass some more and battle to level up Fennekin. I can see from the battle interface that I can only perform moves a set number of times. I’m not sure yet if this gradually replenishes or if I need to do something to make that happen.

Fennekin reached level 8 pretty quickly. I dread to think what the max level is for these guys. Another battle with a trainer, naturally I harvest his tears by beating his Zigagoon to a pulp.

I really like how for most of the time you can see any of your friends who are online. There is also a section for acquaintances but this bit is empty for me. I’m guessing it will be people I streetpass that show up here, no doubt find out soon enough. The passerby appear to be people from all over the world, so I guess Nintendo just randomly pick some people. I haven’t tried to interact any anyone yet, I’m likely to get my ass handed to me if I wander into a battle I’m not ready for.
All this in just my first hours playtime. I’ve still to meet up with the Professor, and maybe get some more pokéballs, I think I’m going to need them. I can feel that I have barely even scratched the surface of what this game is all about. There is so much I still don’t know, but I don’t even know what questions to ask. It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Thankfully I won’t be on this journey alone, I’ll have Fennekin with me every step of the way.

I continue on through a forest area and eventually reach Santalune City where I find a Pokémon Centre. I stock up on pokéballs, potions and heal up my Pokémon. In the training centre I spoke to everyone to get as much information as possible. Turns out one of my Pokémon was holding an item that I would take from him.

At this point I’m a little unsure what to do next. Do I go back to the forest and run through all the long grass to catch as many Pokémon as I can? How do I keep track of all the Pokémon I’ve caught? I figured out how to store the ones I caught at the Pokémon Centre, and I know I can look at my Pokédex to see what I’ve collected so far, but when I encounter a wild Pokémon, is there any way for me to check if I have already caught one of this kind before? Where do I go from here? Do I still need to find this professor? Perhaps I’m used to World of Warcraft telling me exactly where to go that I’m feeling slightly lost at the free roaming nature of Pokémon X & Y. That is no fault of Pokémon though, it’s just not what I’m used to.

It occurs to me I still haven’t been prompted to switch on streetpass for Pokémon X yet. I’ve never come across a game where it’s just automatically enabled. Perhaps a good nights sleep and a fresh look in the morning will reveal something I’ve glaringly missed. Just before I head for bed I’ll maybe spend a little bit (famous last words) more time running through the long grass. If you made it to the end of the rambling of this Pokemon non-virgin then thanks for joining me on my ramblings!

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