I can recall the very first time I experienced the awful phenomenon known as FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” It was in middle school. I was obsessed with the WWF at the time and my family had recently traded in our SNES for the “way cooler” PlayStation. That was the center of my gaming world for the next few years and my brother and I made the most of it, trying out an endless array of games from the local rental shop. But for each unforgettable experience I had with the system, there was one I missed out on because we didn’t have a Game Boy.
In fact, I don't remember seeing a Game Boy in the flesh until 1998. None of my friends had one. For the longest time, it was thought of as the “kiddy console” even though my friends and I were very much young kids in those days. I know I had excuses for never asking for one for Christmas: the screen was small, it didn’t have colors, SNES games are better, yadda-yadda-yadda. Excuse after excuse my dumb child-self made that kept him from one of the richest libraries in all of gaming, and in my eighth-grade year of school, those excuses kept me from experiencing Pokémon when it was at the forefront of the gaming zeitgeist.
There was one person at school -- that I knew of -- who was balls-deep in love with the game. I’d see him playing his Game Boy Pocket at lunch, on the bus, in the halls before school. He was enraptured by it and I was jealous. By 1998, the PlayStation had started to grow stale for me. My brother’s insistence of playing nothing but Madden slowly nudged me away from gaming. I wasn’t having the awe-inspiring moments I’d had with the medium in prior generations, so I threw myself into my short-lived wrestling fandom. I couldn’t bring myself to buy a Game Boy for Pokémon -- which by this time was also being considered nothing but a “kiddy product” -- and I would have missed out on nearly everything the system had to offer, if not for the Nintendo 3DS and its wonderful Virtual Console.