I read somewhere that Pokemon X/Y can be completed in about eight hours. As for me, the game has managed to tap straight into my obsessive compulsive side. Being fresh to the series, I am perhaps driven more than the average player to experience every bit of what’s available, to linger in various zones, to keep exploring the fields of flowers in hopes of finding something unfamiliar. As a result, I am on the road to just the third gym in the game (out of eight) with 40 hours of gameplay already under my belt. To say I’m taking things at a leisurely pace would be something of an understatement.

I have trouble leaving an area if I feel there’s a chance I haven’t caught every type of Pokemon available. I’ve spent an upsetting amount of time with Pokemon-amie, the digital pet-esque mini-games that let you interact with your various ‘Mon, feed them treats and strengthen your bond with them. I’ve grown more berries than I care to admit. I’ve traded with strangers and friends alike. I’ve leveled up handfuls of creatures rather than focus on my strongest six. I’ve become a very familiar face within the Battle Chateau. I’ve shown off my favorite catches and gawked with envy at the collections of others. I’ve spoken to every stranger I come across in the game’s various towns and watched in awe as my Pokemon evolve and learn new abilities.

In short, I didn’t just drink the Pokemon Kool-Aid. I chugged the entire jug and am eager for a refill. It’s entirely possible that somewhere along the line I will finally set my 3DS on the table and say to myself, “Okay, that’s enough.” The story hasn’t been so engrossing that I feel compelled to see it through to the end. What has propelled me forward, instead, is the constant reward loop of exploration and discovery. That could eventually lose its luster and I may walk away perfectly happy with the hours upon hours of fun Pokemon X/Y has supplied me with up until that point.

Then again, I could just as likely be playing this game into the New Year. There’s plenty of content left for me to uncover and enough tweaking and optimizing options to keep a sucker for details hooked for months on end.

That’s something I’m not fretting over, though. I’ve had a blast these past few weeks and, until that excitement wanes, I plan on coming back for more. Maybe my love of this game is due to the fact that I chose to ignore the Pokemon series for the past 15 years. It could also have a lot to do with the fact that the folks at Game Freak have crafted a wonderful title with charm to spare. Whatever the reason, though, I’m glad I finally took this first step into the tall grass.

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