Monday, February 22, 2016

20 Years: How Pokémon Has Changed My Life - An Introduction

My first post to this blog, is, oddly enough, not a competitive Pokémon post. I know, it's weird, but I'll get there eventually. Basically, for this first post, I figure I should introduce myself, and talk about my personal history with Pokémon since I've got a bit of a history with this fantastic series. This is a bit of a spin on a post from Smogon about various community members talking about their past with Pokémon. You can read the first of many here.

Who am I?

I am your average seventeen year old high school senior who enjoys playing Pokémon. It started as a fun hobby (as you'll see in the section below), and eventually developed into a fascination. I've written a mathematics paper on the wild encounter rate and the probability of finding a random perfect IV Pokemon, (it's 9.31 x 10^[-10] by the way) and I've got notebooks full of notes on strategic Pokémon sets. play a wide variety of formats, including the current generation's version of Smogon OU, and the current VGC format. Additionally, I know how to play ORAS UU, ORAS LC, and BW OU. I'm always trying to get better, and this blog is my outlet for learning. I really want to get better at a wide variety of formats, and I figure the best way to sort of track my progress is through this blog.

What got me into Pokémon

My first experience with Pokémon that I remember came way back when I was about five years old. My cousin, who was two years older than I, had a Gameboy Advance with Pokémon Ruby, and occasionally let me watch. One fun time in particular was when we were out camping and he, my brother and I were in his camper, playing Ruby into the late hours of the night. Aside from that, I really got into Pokémon in an after-school daycare place when I was in first grade. I remember seeing a girl with a Pokémon Fire Red/Leaf Green strategy guide, and I remember thinking the maps looked super cool. I eventually made two of my best friends just from that moment, and those friends were the people who really got me into playing. 

Around 2009, during sixth grade and the Diamond/Pearl/Platinum era, I stumbled around through Youtube and found wifi-battling. I was immediately hooked, though I was not at all good at battling, considering I used mons I raised casually. I eventually, and randomly, stumbled into a random xat one day. Said xat was a "clan" on the forums, and they had some really strong battlers. It was there that I eventually met a lot of my long term friends, and made a few connections that would help me progress my Pokémon career through the next seven years.

My Favorite Pokémon Memories

As I previously alluded, I have a lot of fond Pokémon memories. there are the obvious ones, like beating each game, or perhaps having some really intense battle. I remember when I was in one of the clans on Serebii, a good friend of mine, Mazz as he went by on Smogon, helped me seriously study and learn all the things I needed to know for BW OU. He made me take notes and everything, and honestly, it was so worth it. I remember he compared us to the Sith with him as the master, and me as the apprentice. I still have the book of all the notes I took during Spring Break my freshman year, and I still sometimes remember the fun times I spent taking notes while I was in the rainforests of Costa Rica. Clearly I had my priorities in order on that vacation. There was a team I made on that trip that used Hurricane Volcarona in rain, sort of to reflect my time on the trip. Another really memeorable time I had playing mons was when I traveled 10 hours to play at the Ft. Wayne regionals for VGC 2016. I didn't get to stay for the whole regionals since it was a long drive, but I did get to play against some nominal VGC players like Jon Hu, so that was pretty fun. Just a really positive time as a whole.

How Pokémon Has Changed My Life

I spent many of my formative years playing a complex game of rock, paper, scissors, and yet it's strange. Pokémon has been a constant through my seventeen years, and I can safely say that it has shaped how I think and behave. I like to think that because of these games I have a bit more confidence that I truly can be the best if I put my mind to things. I also believe that the game itself has taught me to be a rational and sane person. I used to be that kid who would always make a big deal out of everything, win or loss. But once I came to accept that I would have to lose some games to win others, I feel that I really matured, and it was this game that taught me that. Additionally, I feel that as my skill in the game improved, my maturity grew too. Practicing the game and devoting myself to learning new things helped shape how I learn, and really taught me how to truly focus on something I enjoy doing. 

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