Pokémon Trading Card Game

Many of us grew up with Pokémon cards and the original Game Boy Color games as our first introduction to the series. Trading and battling with our friends, memorizing their stats and evolutions, and even tuning in to Ash’s next adventure in the TV show each week when the series finally hit the United States.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game for Game Boy Color, released back in the year 2000 for us Americans was never something I got a chance to play, and if I’m honest, I preferred stacking my cards and drooling over my holographic Charizard instead of trying to learn how the rules translated into a digital format at that time.

Back when Pokémon was simpler…

However, now that it was recently released on Switch Online as a part of the Game Boy app, I’ve had a chance to dig in and was immediately reminded of the simpler days and why I love the series. Between deck-building, trading cards with others, and battling it out for prizes, the pixelated representation of my childhood was pretty freaking accurate and gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling in my chest.

Here’s the deal – there are now more than 1,000 Pokémon and the series has taken some really steep turns away from the simpler days where 12 year old me sat in front of the tube TV with my Game Boy batteries littered across the floor as I sleeved my cards in order of their release. There were just 151, and I felt so much more connected to each of them.

There’s no doubt that the franchise has continued to impact each generation, and yes, I’m a millennial, so I’m basically sitting here complaining and acting like an old guy, but hear me out. If you’re nostalgic and want to re-capture those days, and if you’re as keen on the first two or three generations of the series as I am, then playing through the Pokémon Trading Card Game for Switch Online, which covers the first gen cards in their entirety is the way to go!

Enjoy this re-release, but have patience

You may need to be a bit patient as the game tutorial guides you through the basics, from playing energy cards and evolving Pokémon on your bench to understanding how and when to use trainer cards effectively. Once you do though, you’ll quickly be reminded of the flow of battle and see yourself enjoying the game. The only thing I would say is that the quick switches between screens as you perform small actions can be a bit jarring. Still, if you’re anything like me and are in your 30s with no one to collect and play cards with locally, you’ll still get your fix here.

The story is entertaining too. You’ll progress through the game by challenging various club masters and facing off against familiar faces from the Pokémon universe like Team Rocket and the Elite Four. Between this and walking up to a table and challenging just another card collector, it’s the perfect mix of the standard game’s 8 gyms and returning to your kid days and mixing and matching decks for strategy with your friends or siblings.

Rekindling my love for the series

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say – this game may take a bit of getting used to, but I can see now how it acts as a perfect time capsule for yester years. It’s a moment frozen in time when the card game was rather basic but perhaps more relatable and closer to my heart. The fact that Nintendo released this on Switch Online fills me with so much joy. I’ve actually started playing the card game again with my son, who’s just 7 years old right now because of this. I hope you can enjoy it as much as I have!


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