There were over 570 entries to the Pokémon Story contest held from December 11th to January 11th, where Pokémon fans across the United States and Canada shared their stories of how Pokémon has affected their lives or what their favorite Pokémon moments were during their time as Pokémon fans.
I've personally gone through all of the entries, and wow, let me just start by saying fantastic job, everyone! I wish I could give away Nintendo 3DS systems to everyone who entered, because there were just too many excellent stories to choose from and it was very difficult to narrow it down to just one winner for each category! It was excellent to have a chance to read so many of your stories and to see how Pokémon has affected your lives.
In the end, though, one winner was selected for each of these three categories:
- Best Written
- Most Touching
Additionally, two Curse Premium subscribers that entered the contest were selected at random to receive a Nintendo 3DS.
Let's take a look at the winning entries!
Best Written Entry
While there were so many very well written stories, length and fancy words don't always measure "best written." Sometimes it's a matter of writing in a way that is able to connect with the reader, and that was the feeling I got from AshtonLi's entry. I felt it was just the right length, told a nice story, and had very little in the way of spelling or grammatical errors.
I don't overly enjoy getting into my personal stories and the likes, but I'm still willing to give this a try since I've almost always loved Pokemon...
There are many people with all sorts of stories about what Pokemon has provided for them. For me, it helped to give me a place to escape back in my youth. By have Pokemon Blue being placed in my hands close to when it first came out, I was given a goal. If I put faith into the Pokemon I raised and wanted it badly enough, surely I could become a Pokemon master. Though, despite my efforts, I wasn’t so knowledgeable when it came to gaming and never reached that goal until I got Pokemon Silver. Still, none of that mattered to me since I finally had a place to lose myself. Thanks to Pokemon, I was introduced to RPGs, thus my true love for gaming began. I would keep that love for Pokemon tucked securely within my pocket for years to come. As seasons changed and years rolled by, I became more of an introverted person. When I couldn’t find myself talking with others my age, I was able to come home and be okay. Why did I need to bother with people I couldn’t relate to anyway? When I turned on my Gameboy, I knew that my Pokemon team would be waiting for me. Maybe it was just me being naïve, but I just couldn’t see them letting me down. No matter how many times I would listen to arguments between my parents or fight with one of my sisters, I could always just slip out of reality and into the shoes of a trainer. Situations could be horrible around me, but I had something to pull me away. I had my Pokemon. I had my goal. I was going to become the Pokemon Champion. I would fight to the top and be strong. With that, it made everything around me seem less hurtful.
It wasn’t only the games that helped to ease my youthful fears. When I was younger, I won a Pikachu plushie and soon received a Charmander one from those weird claw machines. I don’t think I could ever forget the day I got him. My mother must have spent way more money than she should have, but she knew how much it would mean to me. The night she won Charmander for me, it was starting to storm on our way home. Still, to this very day, I cannot stand storms, but I held onto that Charmander plushie and squeezed his body tight. I thought about how if Charmander’s tail flame went out that he would die. My eyes were shut real tight and I begged in my head for the storm to stop. I couldn’t allow anything bad to happen to the plushie I was just given. It felt like Charmander was looking out for me because the raindrops started to slow down. The night’s sky cleared as if Charmander didn’t want to be hurt by the rain either. That was what I came to believe back then. Maybe it was just childish thoughts, but that memory sticks close to me. I still think about it every time I look at my Charmander plushie.
From the Pokemon games helping me from the rough parts of my youth to my Charmander plushie protecting me from a storm, I just feel so thankful for the franchise. Honestly speaking, I would even go as far as saying that it helped me become more aware of what I wanted to do with my life. While most girls were playing with Barbie dolls, I was playing my Pokemon games. When most students in 5th grade were playing outside with friends, I was watering the garden next door so I could have money to buy Pokemon cards. Even though Pokemon wasn’t the first video game I had played or anime that I had watched, it was the reason why I kept going back to such things. Pokemon threw me on a twisting road of an adventure I was never expecting to have. It didn’t matter that I grew up without having much because I had my Pokemon. I didn’t care that I was shy and didn’t make friends because that’s what I had Pokemon for. Pokemon helped me to understand myself better. I was happy to just walk down those routes with my Pokeballs attached to my side. Even now, I continue to become joyous each time I play a Pokemon game. I admit, I did have a falling from Pokemon until I finally bought a DS and Platinum. I was worried that the storyline might have become something that no longer interested me. Platinum refueled my love, SoulSilver brought me back to the days when I beat a game for the first time, and then Black seemed to push me in all the right directions with its story. The writer in me was happy, and Pokemon Black even tried to pull me towards wanting to go into game design rather than sticking to animation.
Truly though, I could ramble on for days, but I could never really place my feelings for Pokemon in the right words. I could never state how thankful I am or what all it has given me. Maybe it would be best to say that I was just a lost girl in my youth, and Pokemon pulled me into a fantasy realm away from reality. It gave me a way to let out my frustration and anger without getting in trouble or hurting others. When I had no one else, I had Pokemon. No matter how childish it may sound, no matter how old I become, Pokemon will rest in a safe place within my heart for years to come. From all the memories I’ve been give to lessons I’ve learned from Pokemon, I could never just discard it or toss it aside. I understand that now more than ever.
Oh, and a paper on Pokemon I wrote for my history class last year received an A and helped me pass said class. Besides practically growing up with Pokemon, I would say that right there is a good reason to love me some Pokemon.
Most Touching Entry
Let me just say that there were a lot of touching entries. This was the toughest category for me to decide from because there were simply so many that were deserving of a Nintendo 3DS. In the end, though, it was iProw's story that touched my heart the most. While there were several stories that dealt with grieving over the loss of a loved one, this one had an upbeat feeling to it, and the ending brought tears to my eyes.
I lived in San Diego, California. Every summer I would visit my grandparents in Mesa, Arizona. Because my grandfather worked often I didn't get to spend much time with him, but my grandma was retired. Most of my days in the Arizona heat were spent going places with my grandma or spending time with her at the house or pool.
My grandma might not be what you expect in a grandma. She was the first person to introduce me to Miyazaki's movies (Howl's Moving Castle and later Spirited Away) and loved cartoons as much as any kid. We always watched Saturday cartoons together. We loved Digimon, but of course our favorite was Pokemon.
On this particular visit I was seven years-old. It was Saturday, July 22, 2000. I remember waking up that weekend before my birthday, which was on the twenty-fifth, to watch cartoons with my grandma like we usually did. The Orange Islands episodes had only recently started airing. That episode was the one where Ash captures Lapras and he and Misty first meet Tracey. Ash rescued Lapras from a few abusive trainers and met Tracey along the way. Tracey became the replacement companion since Brock had just left the team.
On the twenty-fourth, the day before my birthday, my grandma told me that she was going to take me to go see the new Pokemon movie, Pokemon 2000: The Power of One. For those of you who don't remember, that was the movie with the three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. The main attraction was of course Lugia.
My grandma wasn't feeling too well that morning so we ended up getting to the theater right as the movie was starting. Even on the Monday after the movie came out, the theater was pretty packed. It took us a while to find two seats together. We ended up two rows from the top in the two seats on the far right edge. These weren't the most ideal seats, but they were more than enough for an excited seven year-old. Once the actual movie started, after the short movie, I was ecstatic. Tracey was in this movie and I had just seen the episode where they first met Tracey. Even better, the first Pokemon Ash threw out on the boat in the beginning was Lapras. I felt like I had the inside scoop after seeing that episode on Saturday.
My grandma had a pretty intense cough. I remember leaning over and asking if she wanted me to go get her some water. She was trying to stifle the coughs in her throat and only managed to shake her head no. I was seven. I thought nothing of it.
After the movie we went to get ice cream and then went to the mall. There was an awesome playground outside of the mall with a giant turtle. I love to sit on it while my grandma told me stories about her childhood. We spent a pretty long time on the playground; eventually we made our way home. Before I went to bed my grandma told me that she had another present for me tomorrow that was going to be even better than the movie. I was pumped!
"Good night, Zach. I love you."
"Night, Gran. I love you too."
I woke up the next morning and leapt out of my bed. I had not forgotten about the present I was promised and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I opened my bedroom door and walked out of the hallway into the living room. I was surprised to not see my grandma in her usual armchair watching TV, waiting for me. I turned to my left and made my way into the dining room/kitchen. The first thing I saw were the flashing lights outside of the windows. There was an ambulance. My uncle, my grandma's son, was sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands. I was about to say hello when there was movement in the corner of my eye. I turned my head. There was a paramedic backing out of my grandma's room. He was holding a stretcher. I saw another paramedic on the other side of the stretcher, but not before I saw the outline of my grandma beneath a sheet on the stretcher. The paramedics continue outside. My grandfather followed them. His eyes were puffy. His cheeks were marked with tears. I had never seen my grandfather cry before.
I didn't fully understand what was going on. She would wake up. I thought I would just need to shake her like Misty shook Ash when he fell from Lugia. She wasn't gone. She was going to wake up.
My uncle eventually got me to understand what had happened. She had died of a heart attack in her sleep. I was pretty upset with myself at this point--if we hadn't seen the movie; if we hadn't gotten ice cream; if we hadn't gone to the playground then she might be alive. I went to my room and sat in my bed in the dark for the rest of the day. I was lost in that house without my grandma. I swore to myself that I would never watch another minute of Pokemon.
That night, my grandfather came into my room. He had stopped crying, but his eyes were still red. He sat next to me ruffled my hair. Seeing him only renewed my grief and self-anger. I thought that I was responsible for killing his wife. I started to sob uncontrollably. My grandfather pulled me close and held me. I had never felt more comforted.
I finally stopped crying and he slowly let me go. At this point I noticed that he had set a gift down. He picked it up and handed it to me.
To my Pokemon Master - Love Gran
I started to tear up again as I slowly tore the paper. Inside was a brand new Gameboy COLOR, Pokemon Blue Version, and an eight pack of batteries. I'd wanted a Gameboy for as long as I knew about them and Pokemon was the one game I wanted. As I started to sob again, I handed it to my grandfather. I didn't want it. I didn't deserve it. He didn't accept that.
"You take this. You take this because that is what your grandmother wanted. She loved you more than anything in this world. You've brought so much joy to her life with every visit and you having this game would bring her even more joy. You owe it to her to become the best Pokeman Master that you can be." That's how I remember it anyway. Pokeman, not Pokemon.
He left me alone at that point, sitting there with the gifts lying next to me. Eventually I opened everything and booted the game up for the very first time. I was about to embark on what would be the greatest journey of my eight year-old life; and I was going to do it alone. My grandma was gone. I wanted her to be a part of this experience more than anything.
I stood there in Professor Oak's office, trying to choose my first Pokemon. I loved Squirtle, but I chose Charmander. Charmander was my grandma's favorite Pokemon. She loved the way that Charizard would never listen to Ash. We always laughed at that. I was still very upset at this time, but then something happened that I didn't expect. The game asked me if I wanted to give my Pokemon a nickname. I let loose a fresh steam of tears as I named my Charmander "Alice" so that my grandma could take this journey with me.
This is how Pokemon has affected me. I've named every starter Pokemon "Alice" since that very first Charmander. Pokemon has allowed me to keep my grandma's spirit alive doing what she loved. I'm now twenty years-old playing Pokemon White 2 with my Samurott, Alice.
Unfortunately, the joke's on us for the Funniest entry, because we failed to receive a timely response from the winner of the Funniest entry and the runner up! Because of this, I'll just go ahead and list both entries. The first one of these two to contact Marriland via Private Message will receive the Nintendo 3DS. Since we can't get through to you via e-mail and we don't want to hold back the contest any longer going for another replacement entry, we'll just do it this way.
So, the winning entry in the Funniest category is by PowerfullPanda. There were a few funny stories out there, but this one brought me back to the carefree days of my childhood. Nothing beats running around pretending you're a Pokémon!
Quote from PowerfullPanda »
My Crazy But True Story by Angelo Heimowitz
My cousin and I were always big fans of pokemon growing up and when we were 4-5 years old, Max, my cousin, and I would pay "Pokemon...The Real Life Experience!". It was a game we made up where we would each start out as eggs and rock back and forth incubating until we hatched at about the same time. I would always be Larvatar because he was my favorite pokemon and this was when pokemon gold and silver had just came out and he would be Eevee. (this was a cheap move because no matter who I was, he could be my weakness) Max and I both would go on adventures, similar to that of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, where we would hop around the kitchen repeating our names with different inflections while tracking down "The Lost Turkey Baster Of Evolution" or we would steal my grandpa's CDs and pretend they were the TM's. One day, Max decided he didn't want to be the typical Eevee evolutions and came of with Iceon and Planteon in the following days of us playing. I would always tell him that he was cheating and that you couldn't make up your own pokemon. Once the new Eeveeloutions came out in Black and White, Max, now about 15, randomly visits my house and proceeds to demand an apology for not believing him that they were real. He claimed to have "Called Pikachu himself" and told him about his Eevee idea. This was followed by me dressing up in a king outfit and Kneeling before him while bestowing upon him a Burger King crown and deeming him the Ultimate Pokemon Master. Till this day he has not let it go and Max and I still have pokemon battles to this day. (On the DS though haha)
The runner up was written by OnePieceJPG. It teaches a valuable life lesson and gave me a good chuckle while reading it!
Quote from OnePieceJPG »
My entry: What is your favorite Pokemon experience?
My favorite Pokemon experience was the moment I captured Rayquaza in my Pokemon Ruby version. It all started when my parents got me Pokemon Ruby for my 10th birthday(I am 19 now).
I played the game any free chance I got and I loved it. After I had beaten the elite four several times I learned from my best friend that there was a Pokemon named Rayquaza that I could catch. So I set off to catch it not knowing how much trouble it would be. I had the worst luck when it came to catching legendary Pokemon. I tried and tried but I just couldn't catch Rayquaza. I must have had to restart at least 30 times.
Then I caught him. AT LAST!!! I was so excited that I threw my hands in the air and sent my Game boy Advance flying across the room and it crashed right into one of my mom's vases, knocking it off the table and shattering it. My parents were so mad at me. Not only did I shatter my moms vase but the batteries were knocked out of my Game boy Advance in the process, so I had to catch Rayquaza all over again. I will never forget the excitement I had when I caught that Rayquaza. I will also never forget how mad parents can get when you break a glass vase.
Thanks for listening,
The first one of you two to contact me on the Marriland Forums will get the Nintendo 3DS. Hopefully you see this update!
UPDATE: OnePieceJPG has gotten back to me first, thus receives the Nintendo 3DS.
Curse Premium Winners
Two entries that were submitted by Curse Premium subscribers were also randomly selected to win a prize! Congratulations to Aahzmandius and Guchuko for being the two lucky Curse Premium subscribers to each receive a Nintendo 3DS. Great job!
Well, that was quite the contest! You can view all of the contest entries here, so I encourage you to check them out if you want to see fellow Pokémon fans' stories! I am looking forward to doing another contest sometime in the future. Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone, and remember: we all live in a Pokémon world!