Some feelings on Pokemon X, Y.

If you were still in school during the late 90s, then you remember these moments as well as any: huddling over your – or someone else’s – Gameboy Color at recess, watching the likes of Dragonite and Rhydon duke it out on a tiny, eye-straining screen.

Becoming immediate best friends with anyone who had the version opposite yours.

Running home to catch the episode of Ash’s ongoing quest, and getting up extra early to make sure not to miss the new ones every Saturday.

Surfing repeatedly up and down the coast of Cinnabar Island.

And yes, participating in the endless, eternal debate that continues to exist to this day – Charizard or Blastoise?

Whether you chose to catch it or not, Pokemon fever rushed through and shaped each and every one of our childhoods profoundly, capturing the imaginations of boys and girls alike with fantastic creature design – towering dragons and singing cotton balls and everything in between. [Sorry, Jigglypuff, but it’s true.]

It was all magic then, an age before the internet gave away how to exit each cave, when Mew was nothing more than a rumor trapped under a truck.

Two weeks and 40 game hours ago, when I fired up my copy of Pokemon Y for the first time, magic lived again.

Now long out of my elementary school years, I felt eight once more, right down to facing the agonizing choice of which Poke-partner I wanted – Froakie and Bulbasaur, if you must know.

And then it was off again, on a quest I had started so often before. Beat the Elite Four. Be the very best. Catch them all.

Those goals have never changed, and it is likely that they never will. Pokemon is oddly life like in that way, periodically reminding us that there are new frontiers to conquer, new challenges that await.

But just as much as it was familiar, so too was it strange and exciting.

Much of that comes from the sheer newness of it all – the names and monsters you will not recognize, the changes and evolutions to those once you once did.

[An aside: During my adventures, I saw an ice cream cone and a set of keys that were supposed to be Pokemon. At the risk of sounding like one of those geezers who is always complaining about how things went ‘back in my day’, back in my day, Game Freak never would have stood for any of this crap! Back to your regularly scheduled over-emotional post.]

Still, none of this compares to the first walk into Lumiose City, a moment that will make it crystal clear that this is not the Pokemon we grew up with. Gazing up at the Eiffel-inspired Lumiose Gym gives an impressive, unprecedented sense of scale in this series. Combine that with full directional movement – another first – and the message is clear: the world is bigger than it ever has been.

And it’s all yours.

Having finished it faster than most people I know, I can tell you with certainty – Pokemon used to be simpler before it entered the third dimension. I still pine for the innocence it once was, before people worried obsessively about natures and Individual Values, playing Darwin on their DSes.

But I’m okay with what’s here now, I think.

After all, all of these changes are signs of a game getting older. Better.

Just like I did.

“Write an internal monologue of a suicidal person who is falling in a seemingly never-ending hole.”

Falling is a funny feeling. One of the few times in your life you’ll ever be completely helpless.

And all it takes is so little – just the small, effortless act of letting go, before succumbing to the invisble that binds us all. 

Some time ago, I fell. 

With nothing left in my life and nothing left to live for, I walked off the cliff and fell, tumbling head first into the oblivion. No one would even notice I was gone. No one would ever notice. 

In the first moments of my freefall, my voice acted of its own accord, and cast a full, terrified scream into the open air. It was equal parts plea and battle cry, some combination of fearful resistance and hopeless prayer, offered as if the sound could suddenly carry me back to safety. 

Within seconds, I would find out just how useless that act was – my voice, my words were drowned out by the air running through me, a current of cold that snuck through and blanketed every inch of my body with numbness.

It did nothing to stop gravity’s painless, unyielding grip. 

The wind around me would become my only companion on this flight, growling an initial greeting, and then roaring as my body picked up speed, becoming louder and louder until I could no longer hear anything. Its sounds, I eventually learned to ignore, in favor of my own thoughts. Its piercing, icy touch – that, I could not escape, and the light fabrics of my suit could do little in defense. 

Everywhere I looked – even when I angled back to face the direction I had fallen from – there was only darkness. The sky had long ago closed up behind me, its shade of bruised blue, the last Earthly sight I would ever see. 

Now, there was only down. 

Down, down, down, and the darkness that followed. 

They say that your life flashes before your eyes right when it ends, in a highlight reel, a pre-selected montage composed of your deepest regrets and your fondest memories.

Being helplessly suspended but still completely conscious, I did not receive that luxury. My mind had decided to loop a different, more twisted film, one in which I was both protagonist, villain, narrator and audience. I was left to watch it all, with sleep serving as the only real intermission. 

As I saw my childhood self crying after another beating I had done nothing to earn, I broke away long enough to peek down at my wrist, trying to gauge how much time had elapsed since I first fell, but the numbers – now blinking 4:11AM – told me little of note. 

Hadn’t it blinked 4:11 last time, and the time before? How many cold sleeps and frigid awakenings had I endured? How many times had I relived the mundanity and misery of the life I once lived?

I could no longer tell. 

No matter.

I would have the rest of time to remember. The infinite depth of the abyss awaited.