We all remember the excitement of our first adventure, that inexpressible sense of wonder the moment we stepped out of our routine lives and into the unknown. The best video games are built upon these kinds of experiences, and for those who grew up with it, the Pokémon franchise has been the source of many such moments over the course of its existence. With the release of its latest installments, Black and White, Game Freak has crafted an entirely new world unlike any other the series has ever seen, attempting to recapture that same sense of adventure that players felt the first time they stepped into the shoes of their two-dimensional avatars. In the spirit of this, we try to look at these new games through fresh eyes by literally placing ourselves in the role of their protagonist, providing you with a more personalized glimpse at Black and White than a standard preview would allow.
* Please be aware this story contains spoilers from the early portions of Pokémon Black and White. Those who wish to experience the games for themselves would be advised not to read any further.
I still can’t believe it. When Professor Juniper said she had presents for me and my two best friends, Cheren and Bianca, I never would’ve guessed they’d turn out to be Pokémon. I mean, each of us has wanted to be a Trainer for as long as I can remember, but I never thought we’d actually get the chance. That always seemed like the kind of thing you only see on TV, not something that could realistically happen. It was like a dream come true.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though. Before I even heard about the presents, it seemed like it was going to be just another normal autumn day. The leaves were just starting to brown, so the entire town looked really pretty, and you could already feel a hint of winter’s onset in the air. School was boring, as usual, but I did my best to stay awake through it. Can’t say I was completely successful, though. Only after I got out did I get a call from Mom telling me about the presents. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited to find out.
I rushed home as quickly as I could. Cheren was already at my house by the time I got there, but Bianca was running late, as usual. She finally showed up a half-hour later, not even acknowledging the fact she kept us waiting. I would’ve been angry at her, but I just really wanted to see what was inside the box. I read the note that was attached and couldn’t believe my eyes: inside it said were three Pokémon, one for the each of us. Since we were all gathered at my house, I got to pick first. It was a really tough decision ’cause each one of them looked cool, but I finally settled on Oshawott. I always liked Water Pokémon, so it seemed like a good choice. Bianca chose next and picked Tepig, which left Cheren with Snivy.
Bianca thought it would be a good idea to have a little Pokémon tournament in my room before everyone left. Cheren was hesitant ’cause space was pretty limited, but there was no talking Bianca out of something once she had her mind set on it. It was okay with me, though, and I gladly accepted.
She and I battled first. Oshawott had the type advantage, but he hadn’t learned any Water attacks yet since he didn’t have any training. That didn’t make much of a difference, though, because we were still able to beat her Tepig pretty quickly with a couple of powerful Tackles. It helped that Bianca didn’t seem to know what she was doing, recklessly telling her Pokémon to attack without thinking of an actual battle strategy. Still, a win was a win, and even though Bianca wasn’t exactly the best opponent, I was starting to feel pretty confident in my future as a Trainer.
Despite our best efforts to hold back, my room was a complete mess. Who would’ve thought these little creatures could be so strong? It literally looked like a tornado had blown through and scattered all the furniture around. I knew Mom wouldn’t be too happy about the mess, but we continued with our tournament anyway. Since I was the winner of the first battle, Cheren challenged me next.
He was far and away the more talented of my two friends– he wanted to become a Pokémon Champion ever since I knew him, and he devoted a lot of his studies to the art of battling. This would be the first real test of my worth as a Trainer. His Snivy was much faster than my Oshawott, so I knew I had to rely on a some powerful hits if I wanted to come out on top. Thankfully Cheren slipped up, and I was able to capitalize on his misstep to win the battle.
By now it was already getting pretty late, and we each had to get some rest for our meeting with Professor Juniper tomorrow. Cheren and Bianca apologized to Mom for the mess they made as they were leaving, but she just laughed it off and said it was fine. Of course, you know how mothers are– they put on their casual airs in front of your friends, but when you’re alone you see their true nature. I don’t think angry could even begin to describe her reaction when she saw my room. Anyway, I should get some sleep. Tomorrow’s my first real day as an official Pokémon Trainer, and the sooner I get to bed, the sooner I can start my adventure!
Now that I had my very own Pokémon, I was ready to set out on my journey. I have to admit, I was a little anxious about the whole thing– I never traveled away from home before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Still, I was really excited; I even woke up early just so I could get started as soon as possible. I was a little tired ’cause I didn’t get much sleep last night, but that didn’t matter– now that I was free from the tyrannical grip of the educational system, I’d be able to sleep in as late as I please for the rest of my life. Waking up this early one last time couldn’t hurt.
I met up with Cheren and Bianca outside Professor Juniper’s Lab. Cheren looked like he just woke up, too, but Bianca was as peppy as ever. I don’t know how she does it, and frankly I don’t know how I put up with it. Anyway, the three of us walked inside and found the professor.
She told us we had an important role to play in her research, and she gave us each a Pokédex to record information on all of the Pokémon we encounter. The device looked really slick, but it was practically empty. It would’ve been cool to see all the different kinds of Pokémon there are in Unova, but it looks like I’ll just have to discover them on my own.
After she gave us our Pokédexes, she led us out into Route 1 to show us how to catch a Pokémon. I’d seen it plenty of times on TV before, so I already knew the basics, but it was nice to get some first-hand instruction. She made it look easy– not even three steps out of Nuvema and she finds a Patrat. Her Minccino weakened it first with a Pound attack, and just when it looked like the Patrat was about to faint, she threw a Poké Ball at it and caught it.
After her little demonstration, Professor Juniper gave us each a handful of Poké Balls and left us on our own. Cheren thought it would be a good idea to see which of us could catch the most Pokémon, and I gladly accepted his challenge. I just had to prove I was better than him at everything.
The first Pokémon I found was a Lillipup. I had always wanted one as a pet when I was a little kid, but Mom never let me because she was allergic to their fur. I finally had the chance to get one, and I wasn’t going to mess it up. I sent out Oshawott to weaken it just like Professor Juniper showed us, but it still popped out of the first Poké Ball I threw. I knew another Tackle would knock it out, so I just threw a second ball and hoped for the best. Thankfully, it stayed inside this time, and I successfully caught my very first Pokémon!
I caught up with Cheren and Bianca on the outskirts of Accumula Town. We compared numbers, but it turns out we each only caught one Pokémon. Our contest ended in a three-way draw, but none of us really seemed to care. We were all happy with our new companions, and I was especially happy that Cheren didn’t have a reason to gloat.
Since the contest had taken the better part of the day, it was already dusk by the time I arrived at Accumula. Talk about culture shock! I had never seen anything like this place– there were more buildings than I could count, and they stretched way up into the sky. It felt like I had stepped into a different country.
I was pretty worn out, so I checked into the nearest Pokémon Center and got settled. I figure I’ll just explore the town tomorrow since today was busy enough.
So much for sleeping in. I woke up around 10:00 thanks to some commotion outside the Pokémon Center. At first I thought maybe that was just how busy Accumula got during the day, but when I stepped outside I saw some kind of demonstration going on. I pushed my way to the front of the crowd to get a better view, but what I saw just left me even more confused. The guy speaking was a pretty freaky-looking dude, wearing this long purple-and-gold robe like he was some kind of king. His followers looked just as weird, each one of them dressed up like a knight for some reason. Accumula didn’t exactly strike me as the kind of place that would hold a Renaissance fair, so there must’ve been some other reason these guys were here.
Cheren pushed his way through the crowd not too long after me. He seemed just as confused about this entire thing as I was, so we both kept quiet and listened to the creepy guy speak.
Turns out we showed up at the end of the demonstration, but we heard enough to know what was going on: apparently these guys were advocating “Pokémon liberation,” and before they left the speaker implored everyone gathered there to consider releasing their Pokémon. Cheren and I just scoffed at the idea, but the speech actually seemed to affect a few of the people around us, and we heard a lot of them talking it over after the demonstration.
Just as the two of us were about to leave, we met another strange guy. This one seemed pretty normal at first (especially compared to the demonstrators), but the more he spoke, the clearer it became there was something…off about him. He introduced himself as “N” (weird), and he seemed to really agree with what the freaky speaker was saying. I had just about gotten my daily dose of strange at that point and tried to ease my way out of the conversation when he said he could actually hear my Pokémon (really freakin’ weird) and suddenly challenged me to a battle. I hoped a decisive defeat would be enough to chase him away, so I sent out Oshawott to take care of business.
N only had one Pokémon, a Purrloin, so the battle didn’t last too long– a couple of Water Guns were enough to put his kitty away. He muttered something echoing the demonstrator’s ideals before he finally ran off, but I didn’t really pay him any mind– I was too busy reveling in my first real victory against another Pokémon Trainer to notice what he said. Cheren and I parted ways again, and I soon put all the weirdness of the day out of my mind. Still, now that I think about it, the whole thing was really shady. I wonder if I’ll ever see those guys again.
Wow. Just when I thought cities couldn’t get any bigger, I arrived at Striaton. This place is huge! Definitely a far cry from my little hometown. I didn’t even know where to begin. I definitely had to visit the gym, but I wanted to take in some of the sights before I went in for my big battle.
The first place I decided to check out was the Dreamyard. I figured with a name like that, it had to be cool, but when I got there it just looked like an abandoned factory. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed. I couldn’t even explore the actual building because a tree had grown over the only entrance. Talk about lame. Still, my time there wasn’t completely misspent– some girl gave me a Pansear to use in my gym battle! I totally took that as a sign she was hitting on me and tried to get her number, but no luck. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.
I went back to the city proper and found the gym. I gotta admit, I was a little confused when I first walked in. I mean, I heard gyms were designed to reflect their leaders, but this one looked like a restaurant. Not exactly what I expected based on the building’s exterior, but whatever.
Apparently this city’s gym has three leaders, but the one you actually battle will always have the type advantage over you. That didn’t sound exactly fair, but I’m not one to back down from a challenge. Plus, with my new Pansear, I was pretty sure that badge was as good as mine.
Cilan was the one who came out to face me. His Lillipup was no match for Oshawott, but I knew it wouldn’t be a problem– the real challenge would be Pansage. I sent out Pansear, but I couldn’t help but worry the monkey was a little undertrained (especially considering how recently I had gotten it). Still, I had a Lillipup of my own to fall back on if things got desperate, so I tried to stay confident.
Despite my type advantage, Cilan’s Pansage put up a good fight. Thankfully, though, Pansear came through for me, and I was able to eke out a victory with a well-timed Incinerate. I had done it– I won my very first badge. I was so excited, I ran out of the gym and called Mom on my Xtransceiver before Cilan even had the chance to give it to me. That was a little embarrassing, but I don’t care– I was on my way to becoming Pokémon Champion.
I may only have one badge, but it already feels like I’ve been all over the world. I can’t even begin to imagine what the rest of my journey has in store for me.