It was booorrrring.
Don't get me wrong, it was a decent enough "JRPG-lite". But I was also playing the newly released Final Fantasy X at the time and, frankly, the comparison was not favourable to Pokémon.
A couple of years ago, I realized how shallow and unfair it was to compare one of Square-Enix's cutting-edge JRPG masterpieces to an extremely outdated version of an all-ages collecting game with simplified RPG elements. I decided I needed to give Pokémon another chance.
So, I picked up HeartGold and played it for about a month, even taking the included pedometer with me to the gym to level up my Pokémon on the treadmill.
It was fun... for the first three or four towns. But, about the time I found myself waiting for more berries to grow on the trees and for my little critters to hurry up and mate with each other, it started feeling tedious. It was still significantly more of a "game" than Farmville, but I couldn't help making the mental comparisons... and I hate Farmville.
So, if I dislike Pokémon so much, why am I drawing fanart of it? Well, I still couldn't shake the feeling I was missing something. There had to be more than simple nostalgia for the old Gameboy games that had driven its popularity for so long and for so many, especially in the Brony community.
When I was browsing through Netflix's suggestions page last night and saw they had recently added the first season of the Pokémon TV series, I decided I needed to watch it.
I've now seen the first five episodes and I. am. hooked. Like a Magikarp fighting a Pidgy in the forest, I'm helpless to escape the grasping talons of its compelling story, interesting characters, and, at times, genuinely hilarious writing. It almost makes me want to go back and play HeartGold again.