i can't afford a diary, so this will have to do
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
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I used to struggle to read...

Posted December 18th, 2014 at 2:42 AM by seeker

When I told my Mother that I still play Pokémon well into my 20's, she told me this story about my childhood.

As a kid between the ages of 4 and 5 years of age, I had a really hard time comprehending written word. In school I used to struggle to string together words on paper, and my teacher began to stop asking me to read out loud when she realised I was way behind the rest of the class. I found it really tough at that age, I didn't really understand why I couldn't read as quickly as the other kids.

One Christmas day, I was given a purple GameBoy Color and a copy of Pokémon: Blue. I was over the moon, as a five year old, seeing your first proper game console is one of the most bewildering and exciting moments in your life. Looking at the game, having no idea what it was. All I knew was "that blue giant with cannons on his back is a badass." I began to play it every day after school, I really took my time when playing too. I used to talk to everyone, read every description of every Pokémon I ever caught. That game became a large part of life out of nowhere.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I'm in school again. We're all back from Christmas holidays for about a fortnight now, and on comes the next book we read as a class. Reading, writing, all that stuff I really struggled with were coming back and all of a sudden. I dreaded it. I was asked to read again, for the first time in months. It didn't take long, but my teacher had discovered that my reading and writing had become more fluent. I was able to read whatever Roald Dahl incarnation we were prescribed, I was able to write and keep up with the others. My teacher was baffled, and didn't quite understand why, so she spoke to my Mother one day to try and make sense of it.

My Mother realised some time later that it had been since I started playing Pokémon: Blue that I had started to have more confidence. She came to the conclusion that after all the struggle I had gone through in literary comprehension; Pokémon had taught me to read.
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  1. Old Comment
    Doctor Seuss taught me how to read. =D My mum used to make me repeat 'Rosie Ronald Ross had a red rhinoceros'. XD

    Posted December 18th, 2014 at 2:54 AM by
  2. Old Comment
    Ivysaur's Avatar
    I learnt English when I got an US copy of Ruby about one year before it was released in Europe.

    Pokémon does things.
    Posted December 18th, 2014 at 3:03 AM by Ivysaur Ivysaur is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Doctor's Avatar
    Beautiful, man.
    Posted December 18th, 2014 at 7:14 AM by Doctor Doctor is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Nah's Avatar
    Yay for Pokemon actually helping people!

    Too bda I don't have any good stories like that.
    Posted December 18th, 2014 at 7:47 AM by Nah Nah is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Bellsprout's Avatar
    now this is deep
    Posted December 18th, 2014 at 1:31 PM by Bellsprout Bellsprout is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Sydian's Avatar
    Pokemon helps me maintain my French. If anyone ever tells you video games are the devil, you tell them that story. :)
    Posted December 18th, 2014 at 2:53 PM by Sydian Sydian is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Kanzler's Avatar
    I think Pokemon Diamond did the same thing for my sister. She's always had trouble picking up anything to do with language, but now she's reading Tolkien.
    Posted December 18th, 2014 at 9:54 PM by Kanzler Kanzler is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Tek's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Pokémon SoulSilver is helping me learn Japanese :]
    Posted December 20th, 2014 at 6:15 AM by Tek Tek is offline
  9. Old Comment
    seeker's Avatar
    Sweet that so many of you have similar experiences. I actually posted this on Reddit and it made it to the front page with over 2,000 upvotes. It was insane.
    Posted December 20th, 2014 at 6:24 AM by seeker seeker is offline