Storytime: Looking Back At Pokemon On A Piece of Paper

Pokémon cards have been as memorable as the anime or the video games. Nowadays, the whole trading cards business has boomed so much – it got tournaments, trading cards game and a massive fan base for both collecting and competitive playing. And I am a part of it, more or less in an old fashioned way.

I got my first deck from the Starter Set. Funnily enough, it was a Christmas present and I wanted something from Pokémon as it was the trend back then. Packed and sealed, I thought it was the Gameboy game. When I unpacked it next to my well-charged Gameboy with an empty cartridge slot, I wasn’t disappointed. I discovered the joy of trading cards.

The famous Starter Set

The glowing Machamp in my hand was very pretty, even though I am more of Kangaskhan fan. I didn’t know how to play it since my English comprehension wasn’t that developed yet (I grew up in Belgium, so French and Flemish were the shit). So I went to the collecting side of trading cards. It was all very simple in Pokémon. There were 150 of those creatures. It was my way of getting them all.

Original Advanced decks

It wasn’t until more decks were released that I started to itch for more cards. The same feeling for playing the actual trading card game had caught up to me. Collecting cards was fun, but to understand what the cards really do and purposefully use them should make the game all the more enjoyable. I had to step up and improve my English for the game’s sake. And the box arts were so gorgeous. You see the Pokémon on television, but their card and the box counterparts looked so much better. Deck building was uncovered for me – it was another sense of joy with the same cards. It was an amazing feeling when you could build a deck according to your own preferences and ideas.

Booster Packs

Of course, the game kept on developing. More cards and more themed sets (Fossil, Jungle, Team Rockets and Trainers’ sets) were released. As a little boy with a limited amount of money, it gave a different meaning to saving money or buying booster packs. These packs consists of eleven cards with a mix of Pokémon cards, Trainer cards and Energy cards – just what you need to build a deck. As it was the only way to collect other cards aside from the pre-built decks, you needed to consider when to buy them or to just save money for a deck. It was a first step into money management; learning about economics without looking into any books.

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My collection: six decks and a Pikachu box of random cards

A lot of time has passed since then. Nowadays, there are so many variations of cards. Not only due to the growing amount of Pokémon in recent years, but also because of card developments – there are: more health points, higher damage counters and more abilities. Too much to follow to be honest, as I have left the game aside for nearly 10 years or so. More shockingly, I played some mock games with my old decks with rare Pokémon and a recent deck with mostly common Pokémon. The difference is huge and it was really one-sided in favour of the newest deck. I have tried to look into the newer sets and decks, but it somehow has lost its magic. So I might have to go back to the joy of collecting trading cards.

Do you still play Pokémon cards or other trading card games? Give a shout and perhaps I might be interested in looking into other franchises.


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