Pokémon Black (Nintendo DS)

It’s way past our bedtime. I feel guilty because both my son and I have to get up early in the morning. But I promised him we’d play Pokémon Black before we went to sleep, and it’s tough to break a promise to an excited four-year-old. Besides, we’re having so much fun, it’s hard not to keep playing. I look at the clock and notice it’s past midnight. Wow, how did it get to be this late? I tell my boy we’ve got to wrap things up for the night. He’s disappointed because he had his heart set on capturing a new Pokémon, but we haven’t had any luck. The entire time we’ve only encountered Deerling after Deerling. “I’m sorry,” I tell my son, “but I don’t think we’re going to find any new ones tonight.” I decide to give it one last chance and rustle through the tall grass. It doesn’t take long before we come across another Pokémon. What’s this? A Karroblast?! We’ve never seen this Pokémon before! We use our Herdier to carefully whittle down Karroblast’s health then toss a Pokéball to capture it. My son and I hold our breath as Karroblast tries its best to wriggle free of its new confines, but at last it gives up and we have officially a new Pokémon in our collection. I save the game and power off the DS, then turn off the lights and wish my son sweet dreams. He reaches out to give me a hug then whispers: “See, I told you there’s new ones.”

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Pokémon Pearl (Nintendo DS)

Returning to the world of Sinnoh after a long hiatus reminds me not only of just how much I love this place, but that there is unfinished business here. I still need to battle one more gym leader and finally move on to face the Elite Four. Either I’ve forgotten how to be a great trainer or my Pokémon have gotten lazy in my absence. Either way, we’re having trouble with some of the challengers we’ve faced on our way to Sunyshore City to face its gym leader, Volkner. My Pokémon  seem woefully underpowered, so I guess it’s going to take a lot of battling to whip these guys into shape. I walk up to a potential opponent and soon our Pokémon are facing off against one another.  Here we go again…

Drill Dozer (Game Boy Advance)

“What’s that?” I’m supposed to be on my break, relaxing my mind from the stress that comes with working with the public, and here is one of my coworkers bothering me. Can’t she see I have headphones in and am playing a game? But I humor her since she means well. “This is my Game Boy Micro.” She asks another question and I only hear half of it. My attention is centered on guiding Jill and her adorable mech suit to the bottom of a giant missile headed deep into the Earth’s core so as to stop it from wreaking havoc. My coworker is still looking at me. Damn it. I smile and give some general response. But she doesn’t let up. I think she’s telling me something about how it’s time for her to go home. Good! Go already! Back in the game, Jill’s running low on time and I’m furiously directing her to drill as fast as she can and reach the bottom of the missile before time runs out. Jill was alloted three minutes to complete the task, and now there’s only about thirty seconds left. But my focus is broken once again by yet more unsolicited conversation. My coworker says she’ll  see me tomorrow. I give an obligatory smile and utter something polite in return. In the process I let Jill down. We’re out of time and the missile’s progress has not been halted. Now I’ll have to wait until my next break to try again.