pokemon X and Y were released to the masses on october 12th, 2013. i was 9 at the time, and for christmas that year my parents got me a nintendo 2ds with pokemon Y pre-installed on it. i started playing it immediately, and i would not put it down. the game had completely captivated me. it immersed me into a world of delight and fun, and while it wasn't my first exposure to pokemon, it's the reason i still hold the series so close in my heart. but why? while most hardcore pokemon fans think X and Y are garbage, Y has managed to become my favourite game ever. why?

please note that the rest of this contains spoilers for the story of pokemon X and Y.

obviously my nostalgia is a factor at play, i won't deny that. but there's something much more important than that which is completely unavoidable in pokemon Y- love. pokemon Y, as a game, is filled to the brim with love, both from the developers and in the story itself as a central theme. the main villain- lysandre- is attempting to blow up the region as most humans are "disgusting" and not "beautiful" enough. but the game counteracts this desire with the fact that just because someone is different, and because they aren't like you, that doesn't mean thatyou shouldn't be nice to them. everyone has someone that loves them- you don't get to decide who is and isn't worthy of living and of being loved. in fact, the entire reason the world-destroying weapon exists in the first place is because a king loved his pokemon so much. love is a gigantic part of the story.

putting aside the love that is evident in the story, the game is chock-full of callbacks to the other games. mega evolution itself is practically a love letter to favourite pokemon of generations past, and the game has the largest regional dex of any pokemon game to this day, with 457 catchable pokemon. at the time, there were only 720 pokemon period. that isn't even mentioning the optional dialogue that references other regions, the jubilife city easter egg, the invention of pokemon-amie, or the invention of the player search system, which united players in ways never done before.

the amount of love put into the game is astounding, and in my opinion, nowhere is it more evident than the end of the game. diantha tells you, when entering the hall of fame, to put all your heart into it, and to remember your love for your pokemon. you then battle trainer AZ and watch him reunite with the floette he loves, and finally, as the credits roll, a very sweet song plays, which i have embed below. the lyrics are presented in all the languages the game can be played in. never before has a game ending driven me to tears quite like this one.

the karaoke starts at 2:58.

so obviously, the game being full to bursting with love is extremely important to me. that's not the only reason i like the game, of course. kalos itself is an incredibly interesting region to explore. chespin was my first starter and has been my favourite starter ever since. while most people don't like quilladin or chesnaught, i love both of them so, so much. yveltal and zygarde are also some of my favourite legendaries- i remember when i first found zygarde in terminus cave, i lost my mind. the overworld model is terrifying! being a young child, i really felt like i was staring at death, at something i couldn't explain. i hold a lot of feelings for him and yveltal both.

the characters, also, are some of my favourites- it's hard not to like them! professor sycamore is a genuinely kind person and he's the best of the pokemon professors, in my opinion. team flare is silly, but lysandre was a very scary villain, especially when i was younger. and diantha- while not a major part of the story- makes for an excelent champion. her team is extremely well-balanced, and the room she's in is colorful, full of light, with flowing drapery. she's also one of the only 5 characters in the game capable of mega evolution. the atmosphere around her and her theme work together to really capture the feeling of being at the end of a journey that you worked hard on. it's an indescribable feeling.

pokemon Y is the best pokemon game i've ever played, and it probably always will be. moon was a major step down to me, and while i liked shield, nothing could recapture my heart like Y did. it's a special game not just because of the plot, but because of how it's helped me in my life. when nothing else was there for me, pokemon Y was. and for that, i'm forever grateful.

UPDATE, AS OF 8/27/2022

i did it :)