Hoenn means so much to me, I’m overwhelmed with nostalgia right now. Although Kanto defined my early childhood, the Hoenn games came out at a time when I was just starting to grow up but was still living an incredibly sheltered and carefree life, and for that reason I’ll always have warm, idealized notions associated with those games.
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire came out right before I moved to another city, and I played my copy of Sapphire between packing and while riding in the moving van, watching battles and contests by my GBASP’s backlight on dark nights in the front passenger seat while the country rolled by below me. The colorful world of Hoenn was amazing to me after growing up on black-and-white Pokemon; I had never seen a handheld game with so much color before. I could see my character’s reflection in the water or leave footprints on the beach, and the Pokemon universe had never seemed so alive—a beautiful thing to a kid whose only greatest wish for many years was for Pokemon to be real. I went in knowing nothing of the new Pokemon and was thrilled to discover every one that appeared. The soundtrack was full of upbeat adventure, and no matter how many times I started the game, I never skipped past the intro because I loved watching the droplets rolling along the leaves and feeling the rush when the Latias flies into the distance. To this day RSE has my favorite music in the series; hearing it instantly makes me excited and happy.
The city I moved to turned out to be a place where I had a very peaceful, carefree life. We lived some distance outside the city, surrounded by nature and wildlife, and I spent a lot of time outdoors; it was easy for me to imagine that the rocks and grasses hid wild Pokemon instead of their realworld counterparts. I looked forward to playing Pokemon TCG at the local league every weekend and read books and comics; it made me sad when Pokemon Special ended (at least to my knowledge at the time, since bookstores stopped stocking volumes after the Yellow arc). Having been a loner all my life, that city was the first place where I ever made friends, and it was the first time I realized how nice it could be to spend time with other people. I joined Neopets and started talking to people at my guild, spending hours fantasizing stories about my pets and beginning to publish creative content online. It was a time of wonder and discovery, and although things weren’t perfect, in hindsight I think I’ll always idealize that period of my life. It is inextricably associated with the Hoenn games, which I continued to play throughout.
After a few years living there we moved again, this time to another country, and I spent the next several years dealing with culture shock on multiple levels, struggling with the combined factors of learning a new language, growing up, my ever-present asocial tendencies, and realizing just how sheltered from the world I had been. Getting used to it all was gradual and painful and I didn’t always deal with it well; it was in fact what spurred me to throw myself into fandoms for videogames I’d loved as a kid, as an escape from a world I didn’t understand and a reminder of the childhood I longed to return to. The fact that it came on the heels of such an idyllic time causes me to romanticize the latter even more, and the Hoenn games with it. I associate Hoenn with a homeland the way it was as I remember it, a precious time I can’t go back to.
I often ask myself why I don’t draw more Pokemon fanart. It was practically all I thought about between the ages of five and eleven; I really genuinely wanted to be a Pokemon trainer when I grew up, and was crushed with the knowledge that I couldn’t. Maybe it’s because I never quite fully believed that I couldn’t, until I began to grow up.
I don’t play Pokemon much anymore, to be honest. Even as I’m getting excited about the R/S remakes, I’m thinking to myself, “You didn’t even finish Pokemon X!” Still, I’m happy about the remakes, if only for the memories the announcement brought back to me.
That's fine, thanks for linking back and sorry for taking a couple days to reply. It seems you already posted it though... perhaps in the future when you ask permission to do something, it would make more sense to wait for a response before doing it.