Pokemon nostalgia vs. Pokemon reality - Things aren't as good as you remember

All the Pokemans

You kids with your Global Trade Whatsits and your rollerbikes. Back in our day, we walked through every patch of grass, because you know what? We had to. We saved our allowance. We traded with our damn selves if we ever wanted to see an Alakazam. We knew it was our singular duty to make Professor Oak proud--to be the very best--so we did it, with hard work and harder effort, no matter how horrible some of the things we had to go through were. And yet, so many of us look fondly on the past, never realizing how much better things have gotten over the years.

And yet, despite that, we're blinded by nostalgia. We still think were lucky for having 151 Pokmon. We think we were clever because we found an easy way to level up Magikarp. Think again, because things have changed. Kids will never know our sorrow or the terrible things we had to do in the name of catchin' 'em all. Here are ten things Nintendo has improved over the years, so take your rose-tinted glasses off and get ready for a Dragon Rage of truth aimed directly at your brain.

Back when Pokmon first hit the scene, it was so easy to trade: Did you bring your Link Cable? Do you have the Pokmon you want to trade in your party? Are you standing exactly where you need to? Are the stars properly aligned? Great! Lets wait ten years now. We thought that was amazing. Of course, that was assuming you had a nearby friend who had what you wanted and you saw them enough in person to trade.

Nowadays, kids can hop online and grab monsters from around the globe as long as theres wi-fi, and of course theres wi-fi, right Mom? No wonder you have kids with complete Pokdexes in a matter of days now.

Traveling around each region doesnt feel like a slog

When Pokmon Red and Blue released in 1996, if you wanted to explore, you did it on foot. Slowly. Or, if you had progressed far enough in-game, by bike. But before you were given the privilege of two wheels, you had to stick it out and deal with the plodding pace of an exhausted adolescent tasked with filling out an entire Pokdex for an old man he barely knew.

Fast forward to Pokmon X/Y, which not only lets you walk or run at your leisure, but it offers roller skates. And a bicycle. In case it's not enough for you to whiz by the gym with your level 30 team of six, you can do it on a bike. Or on the back of a Rhyhorn. Or a Skiddo. Like, you can just jump on a Pokemon and go for a ride--how crazy is that?!

Buying one version is enough

Grabbing both versions of each Pokmon release used to be the only socially acceptable way to snap up every monster there was so long as you wanted to be a respected member of society. If you didnt have both versions, then you may as well have been carrying a lunch your mom packed you rather than splurging for the pizza every Friday. You had to be self-sufficient, or have a network of friends you could count on to 100% that Pokdex.

With the advent of special events, online trading, and a glut of other novelty features that allow you to fill up those empty slots without plunking down the cash for another game, now you can sit back and relax with only one version at your disposal and slowly take over the world. Hows that for convenience? And you thought you had it all figured out back then because you bought both versions and two Game Boys.

Weaker Pokmon evolve in hours, not days

With EXP All/EXP Share and Pokmon X/Ys ingenious new experience system, newer games allow you to speed through to evolutions that previously felt like lifelong accomplishments, giving you a Blastoise before mid-game, depending on how quickly you play. And the rest of the Pokmon that you sent to Someones PC? Theyre real, viable options now instead of useless padding. You have to admit thats pretty righteous.

Turning a Magikarp into a Gyarados used to be rough, man. You had to fight for it. It was horrible. Now, not only is it easy to evolve, but it has a MEGA EVOLUTION. Without trying you can see see all three stages of a monster, which was previously a feat only the most dedicated trainers had time for.

Pokmon are easier to obtain than ever

Finding a wild Pikachu was a bit of an oddity in Pokmon X. After being conditioned for so long that certain monsters are only available if theyre given to you, it turned all the rules we learned as kids on their head. I couldnt just catch a Pikachu or expect another starter to be handed to me. But you kids today, you can rack up free Pokmon just for looking at someone a certain way.

Its easier than ever to snap up those rarer monsters and even Shinies, especially when you consider the numerous GameStop and Toys R Us giveaways that go on almost weekly. No monster feels too out of reach, which is in stark contrast to when we had to resort to swimming up and down the coast of Cinnabar Island to maybe, possibly, perhaps find a Mew. All we got instead was Missingno. and a corrupted game save. Gee, thanks.

There are hundreds of Pokmon to capture

This image is only a small sampling of whats Pokmon are available. There are hundreds of creatures at the time of this writing, with no end in sight. Weve been following Pokmon since its inception and we'd still be hard-pressed to name ten new ones since starting Pokmon X. We look back on this meager number with the and think Boy, did we ever have it good back then.

Having 151 monsters is kind of pathetic, actually. We know how quickly we were able to conquer them, and we had to bribe friends to trade us the ones we were missing. Having what feels like an insurmountable task ahead of you actually mirrors what a kid just starting out on his or her journey should feel: sheer terror. Because youre expected to catch and/or categorize nearly 700 of these beasts. Much more of a challenge? You bet. More bragging rights than what we had as kids? Absolutely.

Pokmon keep getting more complex

Picking up an Eevee used to prompt a precarious situation: should we opt for Flareon, Vaporeon, or Jolteon? Which, and why? Its even easier to choose now, with Eevees eight different evolutions, including Sylveon, which represents an entirely new Fairy subsection of Pokmon. Eevee has become even more versatile, so count your lucky stars as a current-gen trainer, with brand new evolutionary forms and types to choose from.

This gives current players so much more room to breathe with their current teams, and with Mega Evolutions, even more to look forward to. We remember when Charizard was the cream of the crop, but looking back now it all seems so bare bones compared to what goes down currently. What gives, Game Freak? Are you trying to make us feel bad?

The world is huge and engaging

Theres a whole wide world of Pokmon out there today, and you can explore it at your leisure. Its much different than back in the day, where we were handed a Pokdex and told to fill it up, with no other goal or driving force beyond do better than your rival. Now, there are compelling stories, characters with motives, and plenty of other things to keep you moving forward. Sure, you're still playing a flute to move a fat Pokemon off a road--but you know why, man.

Its a richer and more varied experience today. Pokemon X and Y's cities look remarkably different, and you have three friendly characters to talk to, duel against, and trade with. Even the evil "teams" are more complex--Pokemon Black and White discussed the morals of Pokemon trading. How crazy is that? We dont know about you, but wed take that over Team Rocket and the occasional Lass or Youngster any day.

Be the best

State your case. Tell us if you think youre completely justified in saying Pokmania was a much easier hobby back during the days older players got their start. Did you prefer tottering around by foot before hopping on a bike? Did you think it was more fun for some reason to level each monster individually? Or do you agree wholeheartedly? Let us know in the comments below.

And if you're looking for more, check out the most disturbing Pokedex entries and weird things you didn't know about the Pokemon universe.

Brittany Vincent