“It’s actually pretty cool,” he explained. “And more people are playing it than Magic now.”

Blasphemy! How dare he speak about Magic in such a way. No way in hell was a game featuring goofy, smiling critters as deep and engrossing as one about wielding elemental forces and commanding an army of beasts, sorcerers, soldiers and the like.

The other guys seemed intrigued, though, and in about a week everyone had their own Pokemon decks and refused to go back to Magic. After multiple futile attempts to get in a round of my favorite card game, I finally caved and bought myself a pre-made Pokemon deck. I think it was called Hot Water, and featured primarily fire and water ‘Mon. I’ll admit that the game was fun and, because it was brand new, also pretty exciting. But still, it had killed off my beautiful Magic and, for that, I could never forgive it.

Refusing to buy any additional Pokemon cards and unable to keep up with the decks the rest of the guys were putting together, I finally sold my Hot Ice collection and got out of card games completely, not to return until my freshmen year in college (apparently when we as humans finally let ourselves do the things we enjoy guilt-free rather than worry too much about what other people think).

Pokemon murdered Magic in my world and, for that crime, everything that had anything to do with the series was officially on my no-go list. I didn’t actively hate the franchise; I just didn’t go out of my way to experience any of it. I ignored the games, flipped past the shows on the TV and only caught bits and pieces of the movies when I happened to pause on HBO and one of them was playing. As for the card game…Okay, so maybe I did hate THAT part of the Poke-verse.

So today I sit in front of my computer, just four days out from the release of Pokemon X and Y, dead set on breaking this trend of mine. I pre-ordered Y to make it more difficult to go back on my decision, and having a handful of friends who are lifelong Poke-fans is certainly going to help ease me into this brave new world. As for why I chose Y over X? The bird-thing looked cooler than the deer-thing.

My copy should be in-hand come Saturday morning, at which point I will finally load a Pokemon game into my 3DS and begin my adventure. I’ve decided to pick Charizard as my starter, a sort of apology for ignoring him and the series in general all those years ago. I’m sure the banter my friends share while playing these new games will go straight over my head at first, but I’ll eventually get the hang of it.

Or maybe I won’t. Maybe the series simply isn’t for me and, unfair grudges or no, maybe I just won’t see what all of the fuss is about. The point is that I’m going to give the series a fair shot. After all of these years, I think it’s time I finally find out what Pokemon is all about.

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