'Chikorita, I choose you!' I gaily exclaim as I hurl my poor, bewildered prisoner at an increasingly furious monster which, after recovering from its initial shock, proceeds to poison Chikorita to within an inch of its life. Seeing it was all about to kick off, I got the hell out of there.
Yes, you guessed it; this is indeed Pokémon, that loveable franchise where you get to capture innocent creatures and force them to fight for you. Oddly in this smartphone-dominated day and age, I am not playing Pokémon Go - at the moment. No, being a man of questionable maturity who owns a working Gameboy Color, I decided to revisit the glory days and dust off my version of Pokémon Silver.
Bathed in the comforting glow of the Gameboy's red power light, I wonder why Professor Oak, and Elm for that matter, continue to peddle rare Pokémon to random kids that turn up at their laboratory. Surely after years of studying Pokémon they needn’t dole them out in the hope of producing some new, hitherto unknown results?
Not that I’m complaining of course. I promptly choose the grass-type, Chikorita, as my starter.
As I head out into a brave new world, it dawns on me that I have no real idea where to go now. Suddenly stripped of the hand-holding so prevalent in modern games, I curl up on the floor, mewling like a new-born kitten at the lack of waypoint and HUD minimap.
Applying a philosophy which would probably be better suited to real life, I decide to talk to the people aimlessly wandering the starting town in the hope of learning something. A man with a shock of red hair, whom I presume is severely medicated, stares aimlessly at a wall. A tentative tap of the ‘A’ button initiates conversation but, in a remarkably cruel manner for a Pokémon game, he crushes my hopes immediately by physically kicking me away.
That would be my nemesis I assume. Jerk.
Wandering the wilds, I stumble across a plethora of Pokémon hidden in the grass. Using Chikorita to kill things seems to work well until I run into wild Weedle which, despite being several levels below my Pokémon, immediately poisons it. Run away!
With Chikorita’s life ticking down by the second, in a marked contrast to the smartphone game I violently curse the amount of wild Pokémon hiding in the grass. Why can’t they just let me be?!
As I wander around, bumping into walls and crashing through the undergrowth, another revelation hits me with some force: where are all the pokeballs? Was I supposed to talk to someone in the starting town to get some? Should I go back?
Looking behind me at the tall grass and the horde of Pidgeys, Sentrets, Spearows and Weedles popping out like some perverse game of whack-an-irritating bastard, I decide against it.