At a cozy party in 2014, Case Marsteller caught a rare, shiny Honedge Pokémon in Pokémon X on her Nintendo 3DS. It was a precious moment, made significantly more so after a close friend, who was playing Pokémon X alongside her at the party, passed away shortly after. It was the last time she would see him, but Marstellar would have her Honedge to remember him by.
Two years later, someone swiped that 3DS from her. Marsteller, 26, was heartbroken. The handheld console contained not only her Honedge, but her entire Pokémon Bank, which housed 900 Pokémon shed held onto since 2004s Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire. Marsteller was sure that her pocket monster menagerie was gone forever until Wednesday, when she signed up for Pokémon Home, a cloud service that consolidates Pokémon from a dozen games across several Nintendo consoles. After four years, she was finally reunited with her Honedge.
Finding out I was still able to bring in my Pokémon from Bank without my lost 3DS nearly brought me to tears because I was able to have this memento of my friend again, she says.
Marsteller is one of several fans who have had emotional surprise reunions with lost Pokémon this week in Pokémon Home. The service, which costs three dollars a month or $16 annually, has especially benefited Pokémon fans who lost their 3DSand the Pokémon it containedor stopped paying for Pokémon Bank, a similar cloud service that started in 2014.
It almost felt like a long lost pet had been found again, said Alex Grusin, 29, who lost his 3DS on a train five years ago.
“I know in this day and age my digital friends may be with me forever.”
Alex Grusin, Pokémon fan
Boomers collected baseball cards and Gen Xers collected action figures. Millennials grew up instead with digital objects of nostalgia, and not so easily preserved in plastic cases or cardboard boxes. As old consoles become obsolete and old games become old news, gamers fall out of touch with their digital pets and the memories they shared. Its unlikely that a 30-year-old would fire up their 22-year-old Game Boy Color to give their first Pikachu a little attention. Countless Pokémon have been lost to moving sales and broken consoles. And the majority of Pokémons history lies before cloud ubiquity; once the hardware disappeared, so did the Pokémon.
While cross-console trading has always been a feature of the Pokémon games, untethering the pocket monsters from consoles and game generationsas well as reviving them from the deadhas made them sort of living collectables. Pokémon Home reconnects owners not just with Pokémon, but with the life events theyre inextricably linked to.
Case Marstellers Pokémon Home Pokédex is a time capsule. Theres Fluffy, the Gyrados from 2004s Pokémon Fire Red; back before it evolved, when it was just a Magikarp, Marsteller had actually asked her sister to name Floppy. There are Pokémon named after shows shed liked growing up, like the Stoutland Jake (Adventure Time) or Mordecai the Archeops (Regular Show). Shes got Pokémon traded from exes, from back-in-the-day friends shes lost touch with. She has a Jolteon she received attending the 2010 Pokémon National Championships, a necessary icebreaker for the shy teen trying to make conversation with strangers.
I couldn’t put a price on the joy of finding out I was able to import the hundreds of Pokémon from my 3DS I lost almost half a decade ago, but $1.50-$3 a month seems worth it to me, says Marsteller.
When Andrew Pert, 28, fired up Pokémon Homeafter not paying for Pokémon Bank for years and losing his 3DSa 450-strong Pokédex awaited him. He found his shiny Dragonite Icarus back from Pokémon Black, which he describes as his pride and joy as a competitive asset. The shiny Celebi Miss was named for and caught by his ex when they were both at the height of their Pokémon fandom. Then theres the Serperior Dave, Pert says, named after a good friend who unfortunately passed away around the time of those games release. It means a lot to have him back again!