Wednesday Column

1998-2: Pokémon Red/Blue (Maintaining Your Identity When The World Wants You Broken)

InfernalMage “The following is a contributor column by the Infernal Accountant Mage.”

Young me absolutely adored Pokémon, and that fascination has continued to this day. Old me perhaps adores it more. I haven’t really wavered in that adoration even as the generations have progressed, the gameplay paradigms have changed and the monster designs have grown increasingly more complex. It’s been a staple of my gaming experience as I’ve grown up.

Young me’s peers weren’t especially fond of it. It was popular. It was cool. It was, therefore, not allowed, and young me felt the sting of that on a regular basis. While most of the people I knew around this age were into, of all things, breakdancing (?), I was over here with my Red and Blue carts, amassing an absolutely absurd number of hours over the course of weeks and months.

That fact did not go unnoticed. Young me ate no small amount of poop over this particular franchise. I mean, young me ate no small amount of poop over pretty much everything back in those days, but still – Pokémon was anathema to most of the middle school population. I wasn’t planning on giving it up. Refusing to quietly go along with the popular view is never a very popular stance, so this did young me few favors.

As one of the very few generally recognizable gaming franchises outside of Zelda, Mario and Sonic, though, this same reaction became pretty common throughout the mainstream. Pokémon, perhaps more than any other franchise, became the poster child when it came to video games being for kids. This – a very emphasized THIS – was something you were supposed to grow out of. Even in middle school I was transgressing by playing it openly, but I never really considered stopping – though I really only understood the concept later in life, on some level I realized that would be bowing down to forces I didn’t really agree with.

Time passed. I grew older. Pokémon stuck around. I didn’t stop playing, save for a short span where most of my gaming attention was spent with online games and I missed out on the initial releases of Ruby and Sapphire. When Diamond and Pearl hit, I was in college; friends and family alike had no reservations about letting me know exactly what they thought of my playing them. Well… fewer reservations than they usually had with regards to their thoughts on video games, which is saying something. Black and White came out and I was just out of college. By this point I had my own place and was absolutely free to enjoy in peace. Glorious.

More time passed… and things changed. Eventually 2016 rolled around. With it came Pokémon Go. You might recall that the Pokémon mobile game absolutely everyone was playing that summer. It was a smash hit with the mainstream and the hardcore set alike. Small businesses used it as a means of luring customers and their money. News sites produced so many fluff pieces that you could have used them to stuff an army of teddy bears – and the crux of many of these was that video games are big and everyone’s allowed to play and enjoy them.

As for the fluff pieces that I produce for The Well-Red Mage? Well, the crux of many of those, whether it’s clear yet or not, is that it’s great to feel vindicated. It’s certainly got my vote for one of the most satisfying emotions one can experience.

Take from that what you will.

This isn’t the last time we’ll talk about Pokémon. It’s been a favorite franchise throughout my life, as I mentioned, so I’ve got more to say on it – but much of that’s going to be a further exploration into the topics introduced here. We’ll come back for the releases of Diamond & Pearl, then X & Y.


The Infernal Accountant Mage believes the pen is mightier than the sword…well, depending on how sharp the pen and sword are. A child of the ’90s and a prolific writer, he strews his work about like Legos made of words, just waiting for your brain to step on them. He enjoys a devilish challenge, so when it comes to talking about some of the more difficult games out there, you might just run into the Infernal Accountant Mage. Some advice: hold on to your soul around this guy, and don’t sign anything. Read more at


Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to games writing. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a community of authors with paid contributors, a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream games writing! See our Patreon page for more info!




3 replies »

  1. I enjoyed reading about the writer’s experience of playing Pokemon Red and Blue, even though they were very different to my memories of how Pokemon was regarded at the time. Along with the games, I remember there was also a fashion for owning the cards. I also remember the cartoon series was also well known. I even remember people who did not play computer games owned Pokemon products. I, personally, did not watch the cartoon series and was never particularly involved in trading the cards, so I felt a bit like an outsider. I did eventually play the Pokemon Yellow games, which I really enjoyed. I have also noticed that the Pokemon franchise is still continuing, with new games being released, the creation of Pokemon GO and new films and cartoon episodes being made.
    Do you only play Pokemon games? Or do you own any other merchandise? What is your favourite Pokemon game?


  2. That’s interesting to read. When Red and Blue hit the UK, I was in high school. While the majority didn’t even mention the game, me and a few others in my small social circle played it plenty without any hassle. That persisted throughout my high school life too. It sucks that others took such a negative route with you over something like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pokemon has been a source that non gamers seem to at least be familiar with, but I do remember the initial hype and how it was cool to not like it as these things go. Regardless, I’m just sitting here excited for the Switch mainline game!

    Liked by 1 person

Kindly leave a civil and decent comment like a good human being

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s