Pokemon and i have a long, rich past. i got into the pokemon craze pretty late in the game, in point of fact i hated it in the beginning. i knew only of the cards, and at that point i was already into Magic: The Gathering, which i felt was more 'adult' than pokemon. many years after the Pokemon craze had simmered a little, my grandmother got me a Game Boy Advance SP for Hanukkah, it came with the newest, hottest game, Pokemon Fire Red. a remake of the very first Pokemon game, Pokemon Red. I wasn't pleased. i wanted Advance Wars and Castlevania, not this kid shit. Anyway, a road trip back home from Grandma's with no game other than Fire Red left me with little options. i began my quest and picked Charmander as my starter. i realize now how much of a trial i would have had with the first gym, had i not caught a Mankey. in the 4 hours it took to get back home, i had reached the Cerulean gym, and was absolutely hooked. endless strategy, simple interface, perfect pace, it was easy to see why this was such a hit. i learned type effectiveness and weakness, i found favorite types (fighting and poison) and favorite pokemon (Primeape and Weezing.) i learned that some really crappy pokemon turn into valuable assets to my team (Abra, Magicarp.) i was completely addicted to this distinctive world. soon i was playing other versions of the game, i realized that most of the quests were the same, and the game had alot of inefficiencies and stupidly unspoken rules. and yet, i kept coming back to it, i kept wanting to play, wanting to raise new pokemon and become attached to them. when i got a DS, i played through Diamond and was ecstatic that i could transfer my Primeape, my Charizard and my Weezing over via the Pal Park after i beat the quest. but then came the realization that i wanted to do it all again, the story, the quest, the adventure of raising new monsters in new ways, but i didn't want to lose the monsters i had already raised. my solution came with the release of Pokemon Platinum Version, a more complete, refined version of Diamond and Pearl. my mother had a DS, she used to for maybe a month, then never touched it again. i asked to borrow it, and she had no problem with this. i spent days trading over all the pokemon i had collected and traded for and palparked over to my newly completed Platinum quest. catching more than 250 Bidoofs and Starlys to trade over for my old pokemon, and turning Platinum into a sort of Hub, i could now restart my other versions as i please, going through the quests and trying new things, wihout the worry that i was going to lose my old parties forever. currently, with the completion of the excellent Heart Gold version, my platinum file's pokedex turned over to 400. that means i've only got 93 pokemon left to see and capture. many of which are simply a matter of breeding some of my imported pokemon to include thier lower forms into the 'Dex. my first pokemon are still around. Charizard, Primeape and Weezing have joined Toxicroak, Vaporeon, Staraptor, Infernape, Luxray, Haunter, Mightyena, Sceptile, Shroomish and many other mainstay party pokemon i've grown attached too over the years and quests. i'm also applying to be a Poison-type gym leader in a Pokemon WFC community. my journey with Pokemon has been a long one, i've always fancied myself a media literate guy with a wide and well-rounded sense of taste. Pokemon is almost indefensable when it comes to good taste. it's childish and antiquated and repetitive, but at the end of the day, it's absolutely fun. it's addictive. it's a game made entirely of that etherial 'X Factor' people talk about in pop culture platitudes. Pokemon White and Black are coming soon, and they look like the first major step in making Pokemon current, and making them push the hardware it's served on. it's a late, late step, but it's a big one, and a welcome one. i can't wait.