Gosh, let me tell you, thinking about the fact that Pokemon Colosseum is 20 years old is a little bit upsetting to the soul. I’m in my mid (soon-to-be-late) twenties, so it’s not like I’m running out of time on this mortal coil, but anniversaries certainly do put things into perspective, don’t they? Especially an anniversary that indicates a game literally came out two decades ago. Occasions like this one lead you to reflect upon the past. In this particular case, I’m thinking about how Pokemon Colosseum effectively defined me as a trainer, and subsequently, maybe a little bit as a person.
Do you remember when gaming magazines used to come with free demo discs or DVDs showing off upcoming games? I loved them as a kid, I still have a whole bunch of my PS2 demo discs, a little treasure trove of snapshots of games to come. There was one time I got (I’m pretty sure) an issue of Cube Magazine, based on a quick Google search I imagine it would be issue 28. Every issue of Cube came with a DVD of cheats, and a DVD with trailers and footage of various games. This particular copy showed off Pokemon Colosseum.
I was, of course, incredibly excited for such a game. You had a cool bike! You could steal other people’s Pokemon, but you’re a good guy, kind of! You had an Espeon and an Umbreon! It was obviously a game that would cement those two Eeveelutions as fan favourites for many. But this DVD did one thing for me in particular: it gave me a name.
With the magazine being called Cube and all, it was a no brainer for them to name the game’s playable trainer exactly that. Cube. Boy did seven year old me think that was cool as heck. So, much like Wes, as he’s canonically known, I stole that name for myself, and have used it in every single Pokemon game I’ve played since.
Choosing a name like Cube for the Pokemon version of myself, you’d think I’d maybe have figured out I’m non-binary a little bit sooner than I did, but I guess when you don’t have the language for that sort of thing all you can be is a six-sided shape of a human.
Since then, I’ve felt like any Pokemon trainer I play as is an extension of myself, influenced by the kind of game Colosseum was. It was a bit edgier, bolder, cooler than the main games, and cool was what chubby, nerdy little me strove to be. My favourite Pokemon as a kid included creatures like Blaziken, Metagross, and Lucario. The ‘cool’ ones.
Pokemon Colosseum feels like such a strange point in time for Pokemon. Aside from its sequel Gale of Darkness, we’ve not really seen anything quite like it from The Pokemon Company. Legends Arceus almost fits within that bracket, but it’s still similar enough to the main formula for Colosseum to stand on its own as this special thing.
Maybe that’s why I latched on to the name Cube, because Colosseum opened my eyes to the potential future of Pokemon, a future it didn’t really deliver on. Regardless, I’ve kept that name throughout the years, because it’s who I am in a way. I’ve also changed a lot too, so sometimes I wonder if I want to try a different name for my next Pokemon journey. Yet every time a new entry comes along, I get to that name screen and I just think that going by any other name would be wrong.
So, whenever I get around to a long overdue Pokemon Colosseum replay following its 20th anniversary, I know exactly which name I’ll be putting in.