I’m not really a gamer. Sure, I like a cheeky time trial around Moo Moo Farm on Mario Kart 64 as much as the next man, but my days of serial gaming have long since passed. But if there’s one game that I will never fall out of love with, a game that I could play for hours on end without even a hint of boredom, a game that absorbed even more of my pre-teen years than my endless quest for all 120 stars on Super Mario 64 (114 and counting), it’s Pokémon Red and Blue for the Game Boy.

I can remember the precise moment I was introduced to the world of Pokémon. I was seven years old and round at my friend Raz’s house. He’d managed to get Pokémon Red on import from the States a few months before it was released over here and was proudly explaining the world of Ash Ketchum, the gym leaders and the 150 (fuck what you heard about ‘Chikorita’) different varieties of Pokémon. I was immediately captivated, even if I did - and I swear this isn’t a joke - have a nightmare involving the Viridian Forest bug catcher that very night.

Over the next few years, Pokémon blew up, and I was right on board. I had the cards; I watched the show on SM:TV Live back when it was still hosted by Ant, Dec & Cat; I had the Red, Blue and Yellow games (the latter being the only one I ever managed to ‘Catch ‘Em All’ on). I even published my first ever zine on the subject at the age of eight, a collaboration with my friend Joe called The Pokemon Club Magazine:

‘Looking for fun? Try our crossword puzsle on page 3′ suggests the cover.

So, in the spirit of nostalgia, I thought I’d dig out my old Game Boy Colour (I sold my Advance in The Great eBay Purge of 2006) and try my hand at catching ‘em all once again. After locating a couple of AA batteries, itself an incredibly unfamiliar activity in 2010, I got it up and running and inserting the cartridge. The red LED blazed into light, illuminating the centre of the faded Poke Ball sticker I once so cleverly stuck over it:

Soon the instantly evocative ‘Game Freak’ logo appeared, a sight I must have seen literally thousands of times between the ages of 7 and 10. The screen came alive with the exciting title montage, rendered with the oddly approximated ‘colour’ that older games were automatically converted into on the Colour console. I was offered the chance to overwrite my saved game, which came with a terrifyingly high ‘Time Played’ statistic. In the end I chose to overwrite Blue, whose time played was the lower of the two at a measly 52 hours.

The ease with which I was able to pick it up again was scary. There must whole regions of my brain devoted exclusively to Pokémon gameplay. Every carefully choreographed journey through a nasty patch of ‘long grass’ seemed predetermined by some long-dormant sixth sense as I began to scheme how I could best progress through the game, selecting Squirtle as my starting Pokémon as I knew he could be relied upon during the first Gym Battle against Brock. Sure, he might not be much use against Misty, but by then I’d hopefully have re-inforcements. I even caught the notoriously useless Metapod (of ‘Metapod used Harden’ fame) just so I could evolve him into an awesome Butterfree at Level 10.

Sat on a bus for an hour as I travelled into Central London, I could feel myself becoming emotionally involved in the game. Trust me, you haven’t known true frustration until you’ve wasted five Pokéballs and 2 Potions trying to catch a Level 4 Kakuna. And wandering around trying to remember which areas are the best for catching the mega-rare Pikachu is even harder. So it’s probably lucky I’ve still got this:

… easily the best £3.50 I’ve ever spent. Even if the author’s repeated insistence that there are NO HIDDEN POKÉMON in the game has been proven wrong time and time again by YouTube:

At the time of writing, I’m battling trainers on Route 3 with a Lv11 Butterfree, a Lv13 Pidgey and a Lv14 Squirtle. If there’s no new article by me on Platform next week, chances are I’m sat in a corner somewhere loyally doing the MISSINGNO cheat over and over again until I’ve got more Master Balls than I know what to do with.

And if anyone else out there is inspired to pick up their old Game Boy, then why not get in touch? I’ve got a turquoise multi-link cable that I bought at Game in 1998 and it’s crying out for a good Pokémon battle. I’m particularly interested if you’re a massively attractive female Pokémon enthusiast, rather than the sort of people who go into ‘the downstairs bit’ of Forbidden Planet.

You know who you are.