Day 14: Elite 4

Everyone deals with stress in different ways. Some people love the gym when they are stressing. Others like to eat their stress away or turn to shopping for relief. When I am feeling really stressed the only thing that seems to work for me is playing Pokemon.

In nine days, Pokemon will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of it’s first main series title game coming out in Japan. In that time I have played every game, and there is 24 of them. I have easily spent over 2400 hours cumulatively playing these games. There is just something about them that is therapeutic for me.

As of now there are 721 pokemon in the pokedex (digital encyclopedia). Despite all the hours I have put in and playing all of the games, I have yet to complete the pokedex. Even when there were only 151 pokemon, I never completed it. So you may wonder why I play.

For me, Pokemon has always been about the adventure. Finding a pokemon you think to be really cool or really strong, and raising them to be the very best. I always enjoyed collecting all of the badges, doing all the side stories, pursuing the legendaries and getting to Victory Road in route to the Elite 4.

Battling the Elite 4 for the first time in each game was always my favorite part. Especially before I was able to figure out what level and what pokemon each member had with modern technology. The mystery of not knowing who you were facing and how strong they might be was invigorating. I remember maxing out on revives and hyper potions to ensure I made it through because you never wanted to be blacked/whited out, and return to nurse Joy.

As a child, defeating the Elite 4 and whoever the League Champion was gave me the most gratification within the game. Honestly, I still get that euphoric feeling now upon becoming Champion. It is as if you have reached the mountain top. I think this is why I love playing the games so much.

Pokemon has truly given me a source of escape. For someone who has struggled with anger issues, this series of games has allowed me to become less angry. It has always been a game I could rely on for taking my mind off things. It is something that has never let me down. I mean I like some games more than others, but the basic principles of each of them provides a joy for me like nothing else. From defeating the Elite 4 to evolving your favorite pokemon to it’s final stage and raising them to level 100 to saving/practicing your personal pokemon catching ritual/resetting (if you fail) while trying to catch a legendary. These games have taught me that if you work hard enough and put in the time and commitment to be the best at anything you want to pursue in life, no challenge is too big to overcome.

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