Reader, I don’t know about you but my friends and I used to be Pokemon card masters. We never actually played the proper game but we did buy at least one booster pack a week. A game we used to call ‘flips’ spread across the playground like a plague. It was a simple game where two combatants would go head-to-head, with each of the players would play with one of their own cards. The aim of the game was to flip both cards and have them land the same way up. This would result in you taking both the cards. It was our form of gambling back then. We used to bet our best cards and the winner would always walk away with a pocket full of another child’s precious Pokemon. I remember the bigger kids in my life actually playing the TCG (Trading Card Game) and, from the view of a small child, they were Gods among men. Never once did I try to learn how to play this game, I just stuck to ‘Flips’, to which I considered myself quite the legend. Time passed and eventually I got to a point where I no longer felt the need to collect Pokemon cards like I once did, though I still loved the franchise and have followed it all the way up to the present.
The year 2000 came around and with it saw the release of the official ‘Pokemon Trading Card Game’. Do not to be confused; I’m now referring to the video game. This Gameboy Colour release was one that, unfortunately, I missed entirely. It was just a case of two ships passing in the night. It was released at a time when I both didn’t understand the rules and, in fact, no longer wanted to collect the cards. Instead I was more focused on the mainstream Pokemon video game titles which a played long after their initial release. Pokemon Gold and Silver got a release down here in Australia in the September of 2000 whereas the Pokemon Trading Card Game hit the shelves of local game stores in the December so, as you can imagine, a lot of the Pokemon fans closer to my age group were more interested in the new generation of monsters rather than playing a card game that only featured Pokemon from generation one. It has been fourteen years now and Nintendo has finally re-released the ‘Pokemon Trading Card Game’, this time as a part of the Virtual Console line of games on the 3DS. When I saw the news I immediately jumped online and bought myself a copy to sink my teeth into. I actually didn’t give the purchase a second thought. I missed out on the game all that time ago so I took it as a chance to make up for lost time. There are plenty of contemporary video game titles for me to occupy my time with but, for reasons not so mysterious to me, it was clear that I simply had to play this game.
I’ve played the game for a good couple of hours at this point in time and, to say the very least; I’m hooked. I’m actually very much addicted to this game. Not only do the sub-par graphics remind me of a simpler time in gaming but I’m actually learning how to play the game! I’m not sure you understand how much that means to me, reader. I have a deep love for card games and though I no longer play them, I long to find one I can indulge myself in even for just a couple of hours. The ‘Pokemon Trading Card Game’ delivers players a well-made card game system, a simple but effective story and the original 150 Pokemon in such a unique way! Much like the mainstream ‘Pokemon’ titles, you play as a young boy (this was before ‘Pokemon’ games had a female player option) living in a world that basically revolves around this game. You’re aim; to beat the eight Masters and collect the legendary Pokemon cards. Pretty simple. What this does, much in the same way all the other ‘Pokemon’ games, is instills a sense of adventure and wonder into the minds of the players, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the game. This is something the franchise has always done well and it is no different for the ‘TCG’.
I feel as though releasing the ‘Pokemon Trading Card Game’ once again was a fantastic move by Nintendo. It’s not that it is going to make millions of dollars or that it will make Nintendo anymore popular than they already are, what makes this a smart move is that it is video game titles like this that old-school players want to see make a return. There has been a a universal want from ‘Pokemon’ fans for Nintendo to release the original ‘Pokemon Red and Blue’ games on the 3DS through the virtual console and I truly believe we’re one step closer to seeing that happen. ‘Pokemon’ is a franchise that has survived this long because of the quality of it’s games, this is something we’ve always known but it is only when you go back and experience one of their early titles that you can truly appreciate what it is that the franchise has done! It may be somewhat of a small release but I don’t think that gives players any less reason to get excited.