Pokemon cards got really popular in my school around 99, I was about 12. I got into the cards and then watched the show (still in its first season, I believe, in the US) then found a yellow GBC and pkmn Yellow at the flea market and I've been hooked since Oo! Soo.. 13 years? More than half my life @@;
The first time I ever saw something pokemon related was at school. Two kids were playing a pokemon game at recess by a tree. I was curious what they were playing, so I ran over to them & asked. Apparently one of them doesnt like people watching, so i looked at the game inside: a clear, sparkly blue color we all come to know as pokemon crystal. One of the kids asked if I wanted to learn how to play pokemon cards. Even though I got into the card games first, & the first pokemon game I saw was Crystal, my first game was pokemon Sapphire & my first pokemon ever was a Mudkip.
I still know those 2 people too!
Cubone was the first pokemon I saw and owned. Really. My brother had Blue then got LeafGreen, traded with his friend his starter for a Cubone that knew Bone Club, got bored, and gave it to me. First gym not even beaten. I was like one of those trainers that stood out. My friends were talking about their starters, one had Mudkip, one had Treecko, one had Charmander. I had Cubone. This Cubone became my star player in LeafGreen. All the way to the Sevii Islands.
When I was younger my friend always showed me her cards so I got interested like that as well as when my mom's friend gave me a stack of cards her kid grew out of, then both my friend and I 'played' with the cards. But my career as a fan started when I got my first game, Firered, and I'm still a fan now