Share Your Story: How you got into Pokemon

Hey guys my name’s Blake. I’ve been a member of the forum for about a year but recently got back on after taking a few month hiatus. I thought it would be really cool for us all to share our story of how we first got into pokemon and how we got back in. I’m sure many of us have similar stories full of nostalgia from our childhood. I thought it would be fun for us all to reminisce together. If you feel comfortable it could be cool to know each other’s ages now and the ages we were when we got into card collecting. Maybe share your favorite card(s) or characters as a kid and any other special stories. Overall it’s pretty open but I thought it could be a fun discussion. :blush:


I’ll kick things off with my own story which I’ve told in pieces in other threads.

I decided to make it lengthy, but feel free to make your story short. :blush:

It’s 1999. I’m in third grade and am out on the playground at recess with my two best friends. On the top of the playground, my friend pulls out a stack of cards with these creatures on them and shows us to them. Tells us their pokemon cards and gives us some. My other friend I fought over who got the charmander. :blush:
And so it began. The craze as you all know was like a wildfire. My mom got my brother and I those starter boxes with the Machamp card in it and on we went. At the time we thought the Machamp was super cool. Seemed like in those days all you wanted was booster packs of pokemon cards. Its like all other toy interests took a break for at least a few months when the craze it. I went to a few battles at Toys R’ Us, but ultimately I never played the game much. I just enjoyed collecting the cards. I remember in school we’d trade cards during recess. The schools got so sick of the distraction of the cards that they banned kids from bringing them to school. Which of course didn’t completely stop some behind the playground recess trades from taking place. :wink: Comic and card shops sprung up everywhere and the prices at the time for those rare cards, especially the famed Charizard were astronomical, especially for a kid. I don’t remember the exact prices, but I think at one point I remember a Charizard selling for $120 and as a kid that’s a ton of money. I think it was just fun having the excitement of collecting everywhere and all around you. And Pokemon were just so likable. There were types for everyone to go with anyone’s preference or personality. And of course the cards had a huge effect on the overall culture at the time.
I’d watch the Pokemon show when I could on tv in the morning before school. We didn’t have cable, so cartoons were an early morning only thing. But more influential than the show, was the gameboy game. I had this awesome red gameboy slim (or whatever the smaller black and white one was called) and I’d play Pokemon Blue version for hours and eventually silver. I still remember having a ridiculously powerful Charizard that could even beat most water pokemon in one hit. :blush: On family vacations my brother and I would be in the back seat of a rental car with our gameboys playing hours of Pokemon while my folks drove to the next adventure. I still remember those gameboy lights you could plug into the side that would hang over the screen and let you play at night. Of course this is back before backlighting was created for gameboys. Of course one of the funnest parts of the gameboy game was battling and trading with friends.
And of course we can’t forget the large effect Pokemon had on Nintendo’s main console at the time, the N64. There were several pokemon inspired games, but I most remember its affect on Super Smash Bros. I along with pretty much every other young kid loved playing that game, and I definitely think it was made much more special by the inclusion of Pikachu and all the Pokemon in the poke’ balls. I didn’t own a console but loved going to friends houses who did. :blush:
Admittedly I didn’t get into the Neo series as much, besides playing the Silver gameboy game. For some reason it started to fizzle out for me and a lot of others around me at that time. Its kind of sad looking back. It was like one moment Pokemon was massy popular and very vogue and the next it was looked down upon to still be into. At least in my area that’s what happened. More and more jokes were made about collecting Pokemon or liking Pokemon and the cool kid on the block was no longer the guy with the Charizard, but the guy saying he was better than Pokemon. I’m not sure why that usually seems to happen with kids. Its like as they grow older they want to separate themselves from the past to feel older and ultimately “cooler”. I think I definitely succumbed to pear pressure many times, but secretly still really like Pokemon, even though I stopped collecting.

Well here I am now. I’m 23, almost 24, and am back into collecting. I actually got back into it a couple years ago. It started with this little idea of getting that base Charizard card I so desperately wanted as a kid. I jumped on ebay and bought it and the rest seems to be history. I completed the base, jungle, and fossil collections, and was so into it by then that I began looking for more. I got most of the Team Rocket and then somehow stumbled upon this forum. I think I was looking for people who could appreciate my rediscovered passion for collecting these cards. And I have to say to you all, I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful we all have a place online to congregate and talk about cards, trade them, sell them, and just in general enjoy the hobby. I only have one friend I know personally that enjoys and loves my collection. I don’t Pokemon collecting will take off for everyone as some people are not naturally collectors. I naturally am a collector, and I have a hunch that most of you here have three things in common with me:

  1. You grew up collecting Pokemon and they are a fond part of your childhood.
  2. You are a naturally nostalgic individual. I know I often daydream about “the good old days” from my childhood.
  3. You are a collector by nature and enjoy the rush of hunting down rare cards or things that have value, whether it be monitory value, or just sentimental value.

But whatever the reason your here, I’m glad you are. I’d love to here your story and some of the special things that brought you into this hobby.

I now primarily collect japanese promo cards and will be soon making a collection thread even though my collection pales in comparison to many others’ here. But its still fun to check each others’ collections out. :blush:

I thought I’d share pictures of my original collection from my childhood just for fun. When I went back a couple years ago to complete my collection I made sure to keep my original collection in tact, so I could keep a snapshot into my childhood. As you can see its nothing to write home about. Many of the cards are base set 2, and the condition is often nothing astounding. But back in the day it still made me pretty happy as a kid to look through them, so it still makes me happy today to look through them.

Some of my childhood artwork :stuck_out_tongue: for the cover

My charizard that I got later in my childhood was a base set 2 :confused: but I was always proud of my blastoise :grin:

You’ll notice many of my cards were base set 2 :confused:

Not sure why by I randomly inserted neo cards into the middle of my collection. *scratches head*. Oh well the things you do as a child… :blush:

Gosh I loved my Flareon. I still remember the day my mom surprised my brother and I with jungle packs in the car and I pulled that Flareon. I couldn’t stop staring at it haha. And hilariously enough I always loved my Moltres, even though it wasn’t holographic. I’ve always like Moltres. :blush: Every kid had the movie promo Mew, but it didn’t keep it from being a prize of my collection at the time. :blush:

When I went back to complete my base set a couple years ago, it shocked me how few trainers I had as a kid and how many rare trainers were apart of the base set.

Well thanks for looking guys. :blush:


Great story Blake. Fun read.
If I recall right, we’ve done this here already and most of us shared. There’s several newer members who may not have been around then.

I’m the oldtimer of the group and my involvement with pokemon started in 1998 with a giant load of cd promos. My sons got into it the next year and I integrated it into my business.

Oh really? I’m sorry if I double threaded. I was talking about this with cbd in another thread. If you find that thread let me know. Maybe my story should just be added rather than starting a new thread. Sorry about that.

Ya know I feel like I’ve talked to you before about those CD promos. Maybe your the one I bought my CD promo from. Did you sell them on ebay for awhile last year? Those CD promos are still way cool in my book even if they aren’t that rare anymore.

EDIT: Ah is it the “Welcome to the UPCCC thread”? Because I guess that basically is pretty similar to this thread. I guess I thought it would be cool for those who have been here fro years and those who have barely been to share some recollections.

It’s ok, there are newer members who can share their experiences. It is always nice hearing other peoples stories with pokemon and why they collect. You can get a good understanding of what era someone grew up during by what they primarily collect. I like seeing the diversity because it helps appreciate the other generations of pokemon (looking at you Gen III).

I personally do not know the exact moment when pokemon hit the mid west in 1998-99, but the fact that it didn’t exist, and then did was magic. I know I am in danger of sounding like a “genwunner” but I don’t know how to explain the unique experience of pokemon not existing and then suddenly, it does. I think that is why you see such a strong allegiance towards the original era, simply because it was the original. Similar to films, the original usually sets the precedent for the others to follow.

The experience of thinking there were only 150 pokemon, then finding out about Mew, and then seeing “pikablu” and the other new guys in the pokemon movie was surreal. Just about everywhere you went at the time kids were trading cards. I literally mean everywhere. People would carry their cards with them as a standard. I would be at baseball games, restaurants, stores, family events, school, literally everywhere kids could be there were kids with cards. Toys"R"Us had that Saturday open for kids to come and trade. It was always packed. There were easily 100+ kids there trading on the regular.

While the original era in the late 90’s is what got me into everything, in the mid 2000’s I rekindled that desire when starting college. I bought a sealed southern island set, as that was one of my favorites from back in the day. Everything snowballed from there. Once I began seriously collecting, I started to appreciate the newer generations that were released. Gen IV was a big one as it came out while I was still catching up on the bits of Gen II and III that I missed.

Ultimately, collecting has been an integral part of my life. The personal experiences with any hobby are what fuels the desire. Hopefully this site will help others enjoy the hobby as I was allowed to all these years.


Thanks for sharing Scott. Loved reading your take on the time, and it seems your older than I am and probably can remember the specifics of the time better. I can totally identify with the excitement of the mystery of Mew. And the Southern Island collection is so fantastic. I had to get my hands on the English and Japanese versions last year because I loved the unique artwork so well. It took me forever to notice that each card’s art is a small snapshot from the postcard that comes with them. :stuck_out_tongue:

By the way, I had to look up “genwunner” on google. :stuck_out_tongue:

I first got into the tcg visiting my cousins in virginia as a kid. My oldest cousin was a full blown pokemon junkie and i was so intrigued (my cousins are also semi-responsible for my love of south park, super nintendo, and the internet). From there, I just wanted to collect em all. This became particularly dificult when coming across “exotic” japanese cards like the vending series, southern islands, all the white rarities and neo binders. I would always trade heavily for cards that didnt exist in the english tcg.

somewhere in between then and now, I started to look back nostalgically at my hoard of cards. I realized that pokemon cards were unique in that they featured artists work, which was very appealing to me. Kizuki’s work stood out to me at first, particularly his Goop Gas Attack card. I assembled a small ‘artist-specific’ collection of kizuki cards but my interest faded after a while.

fast forward to the present. I started collecting dvd’s of movies and shows i like just to have a copy on hand. This opened me up to the world of internet purchasing as well as the idea of having a collection. I bought a set of kanto badge pins (which are AWESOME). This made me want a set of gym leader cards. Seeing as how by this point i was an official pokemon master, I had no choice but to collect the first 151…

After a while of collecting random cards, I began to focus my collection and go after specific sets. This has proven to be the most rewarding and fun way of collecting for me. There are many reasons I love this hobby but the most prominent are nostalgia, art, neuroticism, and sharing a common ground with other 90s kids :blush:

Awesome thanks for sharing hapycakeoven. I agree that the art of the cards is a big factor that contributes to collecting! What kind of sets do you collect now?

old school japanese all the way :blush:

Nice me too! I’m so sucked into old school Japanese promos, I’ve yet to complete the last 4 cards to my english Team Rocket set lol.

back in the day I collected the cards/stickers everything pretty much sold all when I was like… 14/15 I’m 21 now and recently got back into it, initially I’ll be honest was looking for profits in buying cards and selling then stumbled upon this community , I got the collector bug

I always loved the gym cards and team rockets one back in the day so they was the first to re-enter my collection

then I also have been a fan of anything ‘foreign’ in terms of language on cards etc so that’s where my collection has headed
but as most of you know I also have a side /other main collection now going on which is my espeon one, I’ve always loved the look of it I can’t explain why…

I’m pleased to say I’m not only into this for profit as it is a very fun hobby minus the few ebay head to hand moments I’m glad I re-found Pokemon…

one things for sure though I gave myself a mental kick for selling them when I did haha Wish I was one of them kids who hoarded all their toys.

As a kid, I was already into the world of comic books, manga, and video games. So much that read Animerca and Nintendo power magazine all the time. I read about the video game based anime that caused a seizure in Japan, what is was based on (animal like monsters that you collect)…and was eagerly awaiting it to come to the US. I bought some pikachu and bulbasuar Tomy figrues, and a squirtle plush at an anime convention in 1997. Then at Mrytle Beach, SC I found a shop that had import anime goods and they had the cards! So my 1st pack of cards in 1997, before anything was released in the US was a Japanese team rocket pack. I pulled a dark alakazam and loved the card art. Then a few days later, I bought 3 packs of Japanese base. Pulled a nonholo trainer, Charizard!, and chansey. That charizard was awesome and to this day I still have my 1st alakazam and my third pack charizard and they are both as mint as when I pulled them. Being a collector of toys since I was small, the cards went right into sleeves. Needless to say, I loved the games, manga, and anime when it finally did come to the US.

I have been collecting and enjoying pokemon for over 16 years now. I have a massive collection of cards, over 400 plush, over 600 figures (last tried to count figures and plush about 2 years ago!), over 30 shirts, 3 incomplete bedding sets, sneakers (that I can actually fit into!), 5 costumes,most the anime on DVD, and more!

Thanks for sharing vodka. I agree the Team Rocket and Gym cards are fun ones. I love all their artwork. Eventually when I stop buying excessively expensive Japanese promos, I’ll collect the gym cards. :stuck_out_tongue:
And hey, collecting can be a fun way to make money for sure and its hard with pokemon to not get attached to collecting it for yourself. :grin:

bnx345, that’s awesome that you were into the cards before it even hit the US market. That’s pretty awesome to get a Charizard on your third pack! That’s great you managed to keep them in great condition even back as a kid. Cool story, thanks for sharing

1998 was kind of a weird time. I still liked Power Rangers the most but that fad had clearly gone out of favor and everyone pretended to hate it. I started watching South Park and tried to start watching WWF because that’s what all of the kids were liking at the time. Then a few months later suddenly Pokemon existed, and I just kind of left it alone for awhile. At the time I had a subscription to Nintendo Power as a tie-in for buying the strategy guide for Mario Kart 64, and my first three issues had “Pokemon Power” sub-guides in the back dedicated to the series, with a Base Set Charmeleon card and a 1999 calender poster as inserts. I brought both to school to try to seem cool and like I knew anything about Pokemon, and sort of grew into the series from there.

Admittedly the series didn’t make much sense to me at first. I thought Raichu was Pikachu’s older brother and 151 Pokemon in existence (Mew was revealed in one of those Pokemon Power guides at around this time) seemed absolutely overwhelming, which is hilarious in hindsight. I woke myself up one Wednesday morning to catch an episode of Pokemon when it still aired in syndication, which for my area in NY was 7 AM on WPIX. It was “Ash Catches a Pokemon” and I just adored Caterpie’s story in that episode – Caterpie is still one of my all-time favorite Pokemon – and I went from there. Eventually I got into the cards – which were HORRIBLY marked up to $8-10+ per pack because everyone wanted the cards back then – and got the Zap! theme deck. I somehow figured out how to download and set up an emulator (not the easy task it is these days) and started playing Pokemon Blue with Charmander as my starter.

Fifth grade ended and I spent most of that summer looking for any web pages I could about Pokemon. I beat the game on the emulator, I had Pokemon Snap the day it was released in America (and was disappointed that it didn’t have all 151 Pokemon in it), I wrote out lists of Pokemon and had a poster up on my wall to help me memorize all of the Pokemon front to back, I kept buying cards, etc. My mom realized that we could buy booster packs from WOTC’s website for $2 so we did that, and through one of these packs I got my Base Charizard. When sixth grade started, I saw the movie (didn’t really like it) and kept watching the show, with Team Rocket being my favorites. Yellow was released in Australia before the US, I believe, and so I remember spending days hunting ROM sites to find an English copy of Yellow to play and beat it before anyone else. I ended up getting the Pokemon Yellow Game Boy bundle for Christmas that year, so I could finally play the games legally. It was around the post-Yellow post-Japanese GS time that I found Psypoke’s forums on the internet, and only about two years later I’d end up as an administrator on that site.

I begged my dad to hop on eBay and buy me the Japanese versions of Gold and Silver which were recently released, and he was nice enough to do it for me. My Gold cart’s battery had already dried out and so it never saved (but I knew nothing about internal battery problems at the time), so I played Silver and finished it months before the English release. I was also so psyched for Pokemon Stadium a few months later because OMG Pokemon in 3D!!! ALL of them! By the end of sixth grade, like Power Rangers before it, the fickle kids had turned on Pokemon and outwardly pretended to hate the series while obviously knowing things about the series that they shouldn’t have if they’d really stopped caring (like there being a new bear Pokemon in GS). Oh well. It was around this time that I stopped caring about the cards because I had no money, but I never stopped playing the games and following the series in general, and got back into the TCG years later as an adult.

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Frost I love your story. You so captured the feel of being a child. There was so much peer pressure back then to be into certain things or against others. I think that peer pressure was a large part of Pokemon dying out. That’s hilarious you basically caught people secretly keeping up with the show.

I didn’t even know about the internal battery on the cartridges! So no wonder I lost my save files haha.

I really enjoy reading everyone’s responses. While all similar in many ways, everyone has there own stories and perspectives of the time.

Hi My name is Melissa and I’m 21. I first got into pokemon when my sister let me have her gameboy (the old one that looks like a grey brick lol)Im not sure how old i was at the time though, but the only games i had for it were ren & stimpy and an old mario game. I wanted more games once i beat those so my dad took me to a pawn shop and i had saved up a bunch of change in my piggy bank so i bough pokemon gold. That was my first game. I soon found out how awesome the game was and i played it for hours and hours. One day the internal battery or something broke so it would never save so i’d have to play it strait through just to beat it without saving. Then i started getting cards, blankets, more games and other pokemon related items. :slight_smile:

Awesome those gameboy games were a awesome!

I’m almost certain that we were the source of that shop’s cards! At the time, we were selling hundreds of cases of cards to a NC-based games distributor.

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I was a kid in the 90’s, then it’s all blurry. Got really hooked though, obsessed even, but then the magic died. Card collecting is out of pure nostalgia now so that has helped revive the flame a bit but I’m not as into it like I was before.

Japanime, the stores in Mrytle Beach, SC that sold the Japanese pokemon cards and other imported anime goods was called Klig’s Kites. or kliggs kites. They are still open today, its a store that mainly sells flags and kites but now also does like gag toys (battery operated dog that barks, helicopters, singing frogs, etc). Sadly they stopped selling imported anime goods years ago.