1998 I watched the show/traded cards and had Pokemon board games etc., if that counts. I didn't get a Game Boy Color and Blue/Yellow until Christmas of 1999. Got Gold/Silver in 2000, Crystal in 2001, etc. Lost my games and gave up Pokemon as a whole in 2002.
2003 Found a Sapphire cartridge walking home from middle school one day. I didn't know it was Pokemon; it was missing the label and I thought it was Mega Man for some reason. I popped it in and I admit I laughed; it was Pokemon and I "outgrew" it 2002. I started a file for the laughs but... to my surprise, WOW, Sapphire was great. I fell in complete love with the game. 250 hours of my life went to that cartridge and I don't regret any minute.
Once I was "done" with the game, I loaned it to an acquaintance and he flat-out refused to give it back. He moved across town shortly after and eventually I just said "screw it." What's funny is last year (2012) I went with a friend to a house party and guess who threw the party? The same guy who "stole" my Sapphire 8 years prior. It was amusing; I mentioned the Sapphire just to say that it didn't really bother me and I was completely over it, no hard feelings. It took him a second to remember but he said someone stole the game from him that same day; he felt so bad that he didn't want to tell me it was stolen, even going out of his way to avoid me as a result. In fact, he said my Sapphire getting stolen turned him off of gaming as a whole and he gave all of his gaming stuff to his brother. Poor guy.
2008 2008 was virtually nonexistent when it came to Pokemon.
Yeah, since the whole Sapphire thing, I hadn't played Pokemon in years. I'm not sure why but I picked up Pearl on a whim the week it came out (April '07) and it was the same thing with Sapphire all over again. Man, that Pearl. I couldn't count the amount of hours I spent playing that. I did quit Pokemon at the end of 2007 though. Didn't pick it up again 'til Platinum came out in 2009... and even then it was short-lived.
Pokemon really is the ultimate trivial franchise. When I love it, I absolutely LOVE it. But when I don't play it for long periods of time it's just "eh." Right now I'm kinda in that phase. Let's hope Y changes that for me.