This post is all about sharing a really good video albeit probably ancient in internet time! Why not just share using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Bumblr, Cramn, or Wrevt? Well, because this is my website, baby! I make the rules. I’ve had this dang thing kicking around for nigh on sixteen years. I’m not going to stop now. The only rule of the hell network we all use, is you can never stop posting, no matter how bad the posts become!
This is not a bad post though. This is a very good to great post, not because I’m writing literal paragraphs to share a dang YouTube video, but because the video itself. It transcends mere presentations, or gimmicks. Brian David Gilbert has made some of my favorite videos in the past few years, but this one ups the ante.
It’s ostensibly about a new and improved Pokerap, but contains multitudes. A meta-narrative? A dance number? A challenge overcame and lessons learned? Yes, it has it all. If you like musical theater (which I usually don’t, so whatever don’t take my word for it, I’m just some dumb dumb with a blog named after an obscure Doug reference), English studies, or theatrical performance you should check this out.
When I say I was into Pokémon, I mean I was into Pokémon. I was sucked in the first time I read about it in Nintendo Power. This isn’t specifically about the game, which is/was/will remain fantastic. This is about the trading card game.
I was already wrapped up in the world of Pokémon when I heard about it. I may or may not (totally did) have a Pokémon binder among various other paraphernalia. I’m not totally sure how I caught wind of it, but I heard a couple of my friends were in an after school Pokémon card league on Fridays. Well, I liked Fridays, I liked after school, and I sure as hell like Pokémon. I didn’t know a thing about trading card games, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I convinced/whined and complained to my parents to purchase me a starter deck and promptly signed up for the league.
League was held at the now defunct: Big-League Baseball Card Supply
527 N. Sheridan St.
Crown Point, IN 46307
Luckily, those guys mentored me in the game and the atmosphere was welcome and inviting. For one glorious half-year (10/30/99-04/09/2000) Friday’s meant one thing. League 3-7 PM. It also meant Totino’s party pizzas, but while league is a thing of the past, party pizzas can still, and should happen.
It hard to explain how fun it was, but it was something I greatly looked forward to at the end of each week. It was fiercely competitive, but everyone was surprisingly nice for a group of mostly boys aged 9-12. We just all loved the game and loved playing it.
We kept scores and reported all matches so we had point totals and checked the website religiously to see our rankings. Sadly, due to the card shop closing the website is also a thing of the past. Luckily, the wonderful Way Back Machine archived the site. I have now mirrored the sites, as they were when I saw them, on my own site.
We were intense. The shop owner imported the yet to be released Japanese card packs and sold them to us for a hefty profit. I shutter to think how much money I sank into those cards. Because they were in Japanese we had translation guides found in the once great, SCRYE. We went so far as to have to have blacked out card back protectors when using the Japanese cards because the designs on the back of the Japanese cards were different from the American version and people could cheat if not blocked.
I became a “Gym Leader” in the 4th season of the league. This basically meant I could be a deciding voice in match disputes. I also was in charge of official scoring and mentoring. It was super fun!
We all developed strategies and analyzed weaknesses and spent hours building, tearing apart, and rebuilding decks. This culminated in a tournament held at Southlake Mall in Merrillville, IN.
It was an official Wizards of the Coast tournament, and this was the peak of Pokémania. It was massive with hundreds of kids and some teenagers playing. Because we played all the time against each other we were pretty confident in our abilities. One of my friends was like a savant. I almost never beat him. I managed to walk away with three victories, but lost early on. He made it to the final round. It was actually two Big League players who faced off for the championship. He ultimately lost, but it was clear we were the best players in the area. Which was brag worthy back then, but maybe (definitely) no so much now.
Like all good things that burn too brightly, it was done almost as soon as it started. When 2000 came around we were all started to become angsty teenagers who were more into girls than card games. That meant, sadly, Pokémon league was out the window. And so it went, but I can look back on it fondly as an amazingly fun was to spend a Friday night. I still have my decks, so maybe some Friday night the special, three move, Japanese, Team Rocket Mewtwo will make an appearance.
Most of the blogs I am reading these days are making a big stink about the Game Boy turning 20, as they should be. I thought I would write a lil’ something, something as well because it did have an impact on my life when I was growing up. For the first couple of systems I owned I was about a generation behind by the time I got it. My NES was a hand-me-down from my cousins and I didn’t get a SNES until quite a bit after it’s release. At the time I was quite oblivious to any real gaming news. My cousins who lived in New York were my source for all things video games. As far as I knew they were the best players around and had the inside info on all the latest games. One of their trips when they came to visit they brought along their Game Boy with Mario Land 2 and Tetris and let me have a go with it. I was blow the hell away. My tiny adolescent mind could not comprehend what I was doing. I was playing NES quality games (sans color) without being tied to grid or a TV. It was a spiritual moment for me. From that moment on I think the only things that came out of my mouth were, “Hey Mom, could I get a Game Boy?” That following birthday my consistent nagging finally awarded me with a shiny new Game Boy and a copy of Super Mario Land 2. That was the first new game system I had every received. That system got me through so many hard car trips and waiting rooms. If we were going anywhere that even sounded remotely boring, the Game Boy came too. After I became more hardcore into Video Games the Game Boy and I had a little falling out. I flipped in on every once in a while, but it mainly sat there collecting dust, and by collecting dust I mean sealed away in a container to protect it from the elements. I am very careful with my stuff.
In comes this new craze called Pokemon. Holy crap, Pokemon. That dominated about three years of my youth and made my Game Boy the number one attention hog for a while. I am glad it was not only me. All my friends caught on to. Recess meant link-cables would be flying all around. This is the first time I felt the magnitude of Game Boy. I don’t want this entry to shift towards Pokemon, but I can’t see how it didn’t lift sales across the board. Everyone had one. Even girls! That began my lifelong obsession with finding a girl who actually liked Video Games. Just for those out there wondering. They still elude me.
Anyway, the Game Boy is forever cemented in my mind as the system that brought Video Games into everyday life. It was possible to go somewhere and game without boundaries, provided you had 4 AA batteries. As a testament to it’s quality, my original Game Boy still works without fail almost 17 years later. Thanks Nintendo, and thanks Game Boy!