Today is Pokémon Day, the annual celebration of the release of the first Pokémon games in Japan in 1996. Fans around the world are commemorating their favorite Pocket Monsters and sharing memories of the games that drove them to be the very best. NPR joined in the festivities by looking back at their most beloved Pokémon and what they meant to them. NPR Staff Shares Their Favorite Pokémon Memories on Pokémon Day.
Matt Adams, Acting Supervisor of Audience Engagement, shared that his favorite Pokémon game is Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64. While the game doesn’t involve catching Pokémon, he thought it was a cool and interesting new element to photograph them. Adams later studied photojournalism in college and admitted that he had never been through a rougher photo critique than the ones given by Professor Oak.
Software Engineer River Williamson shared that his current favorite Pokémon is Mimikyu, but he almost missed out on encountering one. Williamson didn’t have a 3DS when Mimikyu made its debut in Sun/Moon, and he also finished Pokémon Sword without encountering a wild Mimikyu. However, while joining random Dynamax Raid battles one day, Williamson came across a 5-Star Mimikyu. He thought he needed it for his dex, but after a tough battle, he captured it and pulled up the stats screen. He was surprised to see that his Mimikyu was in greyscale and then realized that it was shiny. Williamson’s first Mimikyu quickly became his lead Pokémon, dominating the post-game, and when he unlocked the judge function, he found that she was also perfect. Williamson believes that even if Mimikyu stops being his favorite, his lucky first one will always be his favorite individual Pokémon.
Finally, the article’s author shared their own memory of the first Pokémon games. They still recall the Atomic Purple Game Boy Color their father bought with Pokémon Blue, and while Blastoise graced the cover of the original title, they have put Charizard in nearly every one of their Hall of Fame teams since. Overall, Pokémon Day is a special occasion for fans to celebrate and reminisce about the beloved franchise and the creatures that captured their hearts.
As fans around the world celebrate Pokémon Day, members of NPR reminisce about their favorite Pokémon and what they mean to them. Rakiesha Chase-Jackson, the Member Partnership Project Manager, revealed that despite her usual preference for water and psychic Pokémon, Pidgeot was always her “ride or die” Pokémon. It was a crucial part of her strategy, saving the other heavy hitters’ HP, learning the HMs, and protecting them from wild Rattata.
Stacey Abbott, an Audio Engineer, expressed her fondness for both Pokémon GO and the card game. When her children were young, her husband brought back sets of cards from toy stores and the family formed strong feelings for the original set of Pokémon based on those. In 2016, they all got into the mobile game and took the opportunity to dig up the cards again.
For Yanius Alvarado Matos, Publicist for NPR Music, Totodile is his favorite Pokémon. He has been a fan of the series since the first games, Red and Blue, were first available in Puerto Rico, but none of the 150 Pokémon that started it all became his favorite. Then came the Johto league and the little gator with eye shadow that could.
The most interesting story, however, comes from the Acting Supervisor of Audience Engagement, Matt Adams. While he may have a deep love for the N64 and its games, it was the Pokémon Snap that stole his heart. The game didn’t involve catching Pokémon but photographing them, which was a cool and interesting new element to the game. Matt would later study photojournalism in college, and he admits that he has never been through a more brutal photo critique than the ones Professor Oak put him through.
Meanwhile, River Williamson, a Software Engineer, discovered her favorite Pokémon, Mimikyu, by chance. She missed their debut in Sun/Moon since she didn’t have a 3DS, and she finished Pokémon Sword without encountering a wild Mimikyu. However, during a random Dynamax Raid battle, she encountered a 5-star Mimikyu, which she captured after a tough battle. She later discovered that it was shiny, and her first Mimikyu became her lead Pokémon, dominating the post-game. Even if Mimikyu stops being her favorite, she knows that her lucky first will always be her favorite individual Pokémon.
Finally, there’s the story of a Christmas debacle that occurred in 2001 between two siblings who fought over their favorite Pokémon, Charizard. The parents had somehow finagled a way to purchase an unopened pack of cards that guaranteed a holographic Charizard, and they gave both siblings a packet of cards in their stockings. However, they mistakenly gave the guaranteed packet to the wrong sibling, causing an uproar on Christmas morning. Despite the pleas of the parents to “share the holiday spirit,” the sibling who received the holographic Charizard was reluctant to part with it, leading to a tense moment of sibling rivalry.
Flamigo from Scarlet & Violet was a Pokémon that caught Julie Zhou’s attention. At first, she thought the Pokémon was a bit too on the nose as its design was inspired by the flamingo. However, her encounter with the Pokémon in the open-world game was nothing short of thrilling.
Julie’s first run-in with Flamigo happened in the forests surrounding the town where the game begins. As soon as the Pokémon made eye contact with her, it made a beeline for her, attacking with high speed and attack stats. Catching it became a significant accomplishment for her, even more so than defeating a gym.
Once Julie caught the Flamigo, it proved to be an invaluable addition to her party. The Pokémon’s strength allowed her to defeat many other Pokémon within just a couple of moves. But that wasn’t the only reason why she grew to love it. Playing with Flamigo during a picnic showed off its cuteness, endearing Julie even more to the fiery bird. She found the gameplay mechanics in Scarlet & Violet to be interesting, as well. The open world allowed the Pokémon to chase you down, making encounters more thrilling than in previous games.
As for other favorites, some people preferred the classics. Stacey Abbott, an audio engineer, enjoyed the original set of Pokémon from the VCR tapes she watched with her children. They were a huge hit in her household, and it wasn’t long before they all got into Pokémon GO. Krish Thukral, a Salesforce developer, preferred Pokémon Battle Revolution on the Wii. Being able to sync the Pokémon he caught on Pokémon Diamond on the DS to the game made battling with them in 3D an exciting experience.
Ben Cart, a senior marketing manager, looked back fondly on his time playing Pokémon Stadium on the N64. The battles and tournaments were loads of fun, but the mini-games were the real standout. Likitung-ing sushi or mashing the A button in “Run Rattata Run” were just some of the highlights of his sleepovers with friends.
Margaret Price, a project manager, went from fighting with her brother over her favorite Pokémon to loving the much easier-to-obtain Mimikyu. Pidgeot was always her go-to Pokémon, though, being a key part of her battle strategy in earlier games.
For Yanius Alvarado Matos, a publicist for NPR Music, Totodile from the Johto league was the one that stole his heart. While he didn’t care for the original 150 Pokémon, the little gator with eye shadow became his favorite. Everyone had their favorite Pokémon and game. Whether it was the classics or the newer entries, each person had their reasons for why they loved them. From battling to catching, these creatures had an undeniable appeal that has lasted for over two decades.
For many, Pokémon holds a special place in their hearts. For some, it’s a childhood obsession that never really left them, and for others, it’s a current passion. As the Pokémon franchise celebrates its 25th anniversary, fans reflect on their favorite memories, games, and Pokémon.
For Jared M. Gair, Associate Producer, Programming, Pokémon Gold and Silver hold a special place in his heart. As a 9-year-old, Gair was thrilled to hear that the franchise was coming out with 100 new Pokémon species. He recalls staying up late, eagerly searching for leaks, artist renditions, and early previews of the new creatures. Gold and Silver not only introduced new Pokémon, but also new elemental types, moves, characters, and the ability to play through the Kanto region built into the newly introduced Johto region.
Digital Analyst Andy Bickerton’s favorite game in the franchise is Pokémon Blue. Bickerton has fond memories of bringing his Game Boy out with him to restaurants, family events, and even sleepovers to build the strongest party of mostly Grass and Psychic Pokémon. After completing the game for the first time, he started over from the beginning because he loved it so much.
For Christine Geiger, Manager, and Digital Network: Publishing, Eevee is the greatest of all Pokémon. Geiger raised her two children on all things Pokémon and always felt that Eevee was special because of its ability to transform into so many different things. She sees humans as Eevees in that at any moment in life, one can become anything, which is inspirational. Although Eevee cannot move from one type to another after evolving, Geiger believes that all the evolutions retain their inner core, the Eevee heart willing to grow and change within. This is something that Geiger has been thinking about a lot lately, as recent news of impending layoffs at her workplace has her considering what kind of Eevee evolution she will become.
For Krish Thukral, Salesforce Developer, his favorite Pokémon game is Pokémon Battle Revolution on the Wii. He loved being able to sync the Pokémon he caught on Pokémon Diamond on the DS to the game and battle with awesome graphics. Ben Cart, Sr. Marketing Manager, has fond memories of Pokémon Stadium on the N64, particularly the mini-games. Julie Zhou, Software Engineer, didn’t initially think she would love Flamigo from Scarlet & Violet but grew fond of it after encountering it in the open world of the game. Pokémon has touched the lives of millions around the world, and as the franchise continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly continue to create memories for generations to come.
Pokémon has been a beloved franchise for decades, capturing the hearts of both young and old alike. It’s no surprise that many NPR staff members have their own favorite Pokémon games and creatures. For Associate Producer Jared M. Gair, Pokémon Gold and Silver take the cake. The introduction of 100 new Pokémon species, new elemental types, and a complete playthrough of the Kanto region built into the newly introduced Johto region made for an unforgettable experience.
For Digital Analyst Andy Bickerton, it’s Pokémon Blue that holds a special place in his heart. It was a staple in his childhood and he has fond memories of bringing his Game Boy with him everywhere he went to try and build the strongest party of mostly Grass and Psychic Pokémon. The first time he finished the game, he immediately started another playthrough because of how much he loved it.
Manager of Digital Network: Publishing, Christine Geiger, shares her love for Eevee, the Pokémon that can transform into many different things. She finds it inspirational that at any moment in life, one can become anything, much like an Eevee evolving into different types. Despite not being able to change its type after evolving, all the evolutions retain their inner core, the Eevee heart willing to grow and change within.
Assistant Producer Kaity Kline is a fan of Pokémon Crystal for its challenging rival, who is violent, obsessed with power, and steals Pokémon. The game also allows players to travel to two regions, something that she wished was present in other Pokémon games.
Host of Everyone & Their Mom, Emma Choi, reminisces about the pure joy she felt when she first received the Pokémon Pearl game and inserted it into her pink Nintendo DS. The memory is attached to nearly-obsolete nouns, but it calls forward a really joyful and innocent time.
Assistant Producer of The Indicator, Corey Bridges, has a special connection with Treecko. In his first playthrough of the Red Rescue Team game, he was told that his personality best fit that Pokémon. Something about its quiet coolness resonated with him, and ever since then, any team he’s built has included Treecko’s evolutionary line.
Grove Support Associate, Bryant Denton, went to great lengths to catch the legendary Mew after hearing an urban legend from kids at his school. He played an entire day, trying various methods to catch it but ultimately never figuring out how to legitimately catch one.
Finally, Podcast Coordinator Julia Carney is obsessed with Pokémon GO! The game has created a strong community, and she has made many friends while walking around on Community Day or doing raids in her neighborhood. It’s also a shared interest between her and her older brother, and they set aside time for trades and Poké-walks during the holiday season. In summary, each person has their own unique connection to the Pokémon franchise and their own favorite games and creatures that they hold dear.