Pok?mon taught me how to read and changed my life forever


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[Dtoid community blogger The Emolga Editorial shares a wonderful little story about how gaming changed his life for the better. Want to see your own writing appear on the front page? Go write something! –Mr Andy Dixon]

Do you remember the first time you experienced Pokémon? For me, I didn’t even know what I was experiencing.

I couldn’t yet read the words on the screen of my new Game Boy Color I had gotten for my sixth birthday. All I knew was that the game I was given was a very appealing yellow color with a cool looking character on the cover and it had a funny looking letter “e” in it. I hadn’t even seen the show yet, as I was given the game before the anime became super popular in my little town.

I was so fascinated by the game and all of the things happening in it, but I couldn’t understand the words that were on the bottom of the screen. My parents or my brother would sit down with me while I played the game and read what was being said to me for an hour or so a night. I wanted to be able to understand what was going on without any help so badly, so one day I pestered my brother enough until he agreed to explain to me what different words were and how to pronounce them all.

This was a big deal because at the time I wasn’t given any homework (I wasn’t given any real homework until the third grade, a few years later). I would actually spend several hours a night up in my room with magazines laying around the house, struggling through all of the sentences until I had a whole page down. I was so proud when I was able to finish a whole magazine. Slowly but surely, I started to understand what I was reading when I played Pokémon Yellow, and I would amaze my family with how I no longer needed their help for a lot of what I was reading.

I was so excited by my newfound ability that I would go to the library and get all of the books I found interesting and take them home to read. I would write down the words I liked best, and try to seem smart when I talked at recess or at the dinner table. I started naming all the Pokémon after my favorite protagonists in books I liked reading (many of which I can’t remember). I would spend tons of time just reading the signs on the various Routes and all of the Pokédex entries. I would recite all the information about the various Pokémon to my parents on car rides and they would grin ear to ear and listen like I was telling them some discovery into where The Lost City of Atlantis was.

I’m pretty sure the fact that Pokémon helped jump start me into educating myself will keep the franchise forever in my heart. I learned how to read from this franchise, my very best friends all love Pokémon like I do (and we can always play the games, and no matter how far apart we are now, it feels like we’re in the same room laughing over our battles), and I’ve actually met quality people from this very blog I write and discovering all of the similarities I have with some people. (You have no idea just how wonderful it is to meet people so much like you, and when you get to talk to them, you never know what to say because you have so much to talk about.) It has set so many goals in my life and motivated me through every time I needed a boost. Pokémon has been so vital in my life, it wouldn’t be the same without all of the countless adventures I go on with it.

What’s your earliest memories of Pokémon? Did you have a similar experience? Were you affected by it in some way? Did it help you through something tough in your life, or did it introduce you to someone? Let me know, I’d love to hear!