Despite never owning a Gameboy, I was able to play five of the early Pokémon games thanks to an emulator my older brother installed on the family computer. The specific games that I played were Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, and Silver, and in retrospect these were probably pirated copies that my brother had acquired, but my childhood mind wasn’t concerned about piracy—it was just happy to play games that I otherwise would have no access to. I played through each game at least once, but after Gold and Silver I left the Pokémon games behind and never returned to them.
One of the reasons I intentionally stopped playing the Pokémon games was because, in my mind, the Pokémon universe had gotten out of control. In Red, Blue, and Yellow, there were a total of 151 Pokémon. That’s a fair number of Pokémon, but not too much, and at the time I had all their names and basic info memorized. In Gold and Silver another 100 Pokémon were added to the roster, and I was okay with this too. Gold and Silver took place in a different part of the Pokémon world, so it made sense that there would be some new Pokémon that didn’t exist in the region from Red and Blue. However, as the years proceeded and more Pokémon games came out, it became apparent that this continual expansion of the Pokémon universe was never going to end. Each new set of games brought another slew of new Pokémon, and though in each game the introduction of new Pokémon made sense from a narrative perspective, for me it was a torrential downpour that struck me as wildly excessive. Hence, I’ve never bothered to try playing any other Pokémon games, and I don’t think I ever will. It’s not because the games are bad—I loved the five that I played and all the subsequent games appear to have at least been decent, if not good or better—it’s because my feeble brain can’t handle so many Pokémon. Just give me a Charizard and a few others from those first five games, and I’m good.