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Pro-Tips: Pokémon Part 1

It’s been 14-years since Nintendo introduced the world to one of the best selling role-playing games of all time, Pokémon... and just like creatures you train, the game has evolved over the years. In this Pro-Tips, we’ll break down everything there is to know about those cute killing machines, how to become the best trainer like no one ever was, and what you can expect when Pokémon Black and White 2 hits store shelves.

If you’re one of those people who say…

Than you’re either a seasoned veteran with Pokémon knowledge beyond your years or you’re a juvenile hippy… and yes, I used a meme to express a statement I could have written. Deal with it! Anyways, when Pokémon Red and Blue combusted all over our hands on the GameBoy, there was only 151 Pocket Monsters to throw your balls at, but before we get into that let’s jump back and ask the condescending question, what is a Pokémon.

Essentially, a Pokémon is a wild animal that can be caught using the science of the PokéBall. These creatures come in all different shapes, sizes and elemental powers. Once caught, a trainer can in-turn evolve a Pokémon by battling or by using a variety of items.

Now that we have that little piece of information out of the way, let’s start our story. The player takes control of a 10-year-old boy who is about to set-off on a wondrous journey like all 10-year-olds do. But since grass is such a dangerous place for humanity, the ever wise Professor Oak presents you with three of his own Pokémon to accompany you.. In return he asks you to register every Pokémon in the Pokédex.

Now all of that is more of a sidebar to the actual point of the game, which is to become the Pokémon Champion. To do so, you must obtain eight badges by defeating gym leaders in various cities. Once all eight badges are yours, you take a trip down Victory Road and enter the Elite Four. This is kind of the playoffs of the Pokémon League. Lose once and you’re out… and by lose I mean your little bundles of joy have fainted. However, for the sake of time let’s just say you’re a boss and make it to the current champion. Defeating them immortalizes you as the Pokémon Champion… at least until you make another run at it. It’s the story that has transcended every version of Pokémon since existence.

Yes, nothing has really changed over 14-years. Some criminal organizations are still trying to take over the world by robbing 10-year-olds and kidnapping legendary Pokémon. Every region has eight gyms and a corresponding eight badges… and the Elite Four is still rather elite. While the story has seen minor changes, gameplay and graphics have seen a major overhaul.

We’ve gone from stand alone pixilated sprites, to interactive two dimensional characters. City’s and forests pop off the screen, creating a beautiful and stunning land to explore. While it’s no Skyrim, developer Game Freak has managed to transform a world most of us grew up exploring into a more depth defying experience.

Completing a Pokédex is no easy task… hell in my 14-years of playing I’ve only managed to do it once. Let me tell you, there’s something magical and rewarding about doing it. Back at the start of this article I mentioned the number 151. That was the number of Pokémon that roamed the landscape of Kanto in Red, Blue and Yellow. Just like the original show’s theme song indicates, “there’s 150 or more to see.” In fact there’s a whole lot more. Following the release of Pokémon Black and White the tally was brought up to 649… yeah, that’s a lot.

Don’t worry friends, because I got your back. In the next, Pro-Tips I’ll tell you how you can get the most out of your Pokémon, and explain a hidden leveling system that can take your Pokémon to the next level… figuratively and literally.