Pokemon has always been a big part of my life. In fact, one my earliest memories is of me watching my older brother play his Pokemon Yellow version. I always loved watching him play and battle, and he would always show me all the things you could do. My favorite part of that game was the little Pikachu you had, that you could talk to.
As we grew older, he slowly fell out of his obsession, while I sank deeper and deeper into mine. My walls were covered in posters, I always begged my mom to buy me the cards and toys, and when I first started working towards being an artist, all I drew was Pokemon.
And when my mom told me I could get Pokemon Emerald, I couldn't have been more excited. I knew that as soon as I saw Rayquaza, it would always be one of my favorite Pokemon, and he still is today.
When I inserted the cartridge into my GBA, everything played out like normal. My mind was reeling with thoughts and ideas on what new Pokemon I would see. And when I saw Torchic for the first time, I fell in love with it. I did for Treeko too, but something about Torchic just fascinated me. And when I fought the Poochyena that was chasing Professor Birch, it also became a favorite.
The whole game played out the way it was supposed to. I beat all the gym leaders, caught Rayquaza, beat the Elite Four and the Champion, and continued working on my Pokedex.
During this time, I got my hands on Pokemon XD and a Link Cable. When I captured and purified Shadow Lugia, I immediately transferred it to my Emerald version.
That was when I discovered the glitch.
The "Cloning Glitch." When you were in the Battle Tower, you would deposit your Pokemon in the PC. Then you would save then withdraw it. You would talk to the lady on the far right and when she asked you to save, your game would freeze for two seconds. Then you turned off your game and BAM, you had a cloned Pokemon.
And because I was only about 8, I exploited this glitch so much. I cloned countless Lugias and Rayquazas, not really caring what it would do to my game. And it would also be important to mention that during that time, I never paid attention to detail or anything.
Then after a few more weeks of playing and cloning, I inevitably became bored with the game and set it in a corner to collect dust.
And just a few months ago, I was feeling very nostalgic. And because I remembered how much I loved Emerald, I decided to play it just for old time sakes. I put the cartridge into my DS and watched with a smile as the once-familiar beginning scene started up. And when I looked at my stats, waves of memories flooded over me. Name: ALLISON (In all caps, like I always do) PokeDex: 302 Time: 54:30
Amused at how much time I put into the game, I pressed continue. The first thing I did was look at my party, which is what I always do, even on new games.
Rayquaza Lv89 Blaziken Lv99 Groudon Lv78 Kyogre Lv77 Lugia Lv90 Gyarados Lv45 (My HM whore)
And since I was in a Pokemon Center, the next thing I did was check my PC. I scanned through each box, and came across one named "CLONED." But to my surprise, it was empty, except for one Absol. Still feeling nostalgic, I switched my Gyarados out for the lone Absol then flew to the Battle Frontier. I went into the Battle Tower and, because of my horrible memory, went to go look up the glitch. I went ahead and cloned my Absol, my hands seeming to remember the routine of doing it so many times. When my game restarted, everything went on as normal, and then I looked at my original Absol.
For some reason.. its colors seemed duller. But assuming it was nothing, I went ahead and cloned another one, just to see if it would fix it.
Everything just got worse from here.
When I looked at the original Absol, its horn looked like it had been chipped in several places, and its colors seemed even more dull.
But I couldn't just stop there.
I continued to clone more and more Absols. And each and every time a new one was made, the original just seemed to get more and more ragged. Its tail was now just in half, bleeding severely. Its claws were short and dull, and its horn was even more chipped and mangled. Its fur stood on end in clumps, like it hadn't been groomed in months. I could see its pixelized ribs under its fur, and its eyes looked almost completely black.
And during this time, I happened to be very obsessed with Pokemon creepypasta, so I knew I had to get to the end of this thing.
I cloned it one more time.
God, I wish I hadn't.
When the opening animation started, all the Pokemon were replaced with Absols. Blood smeared their pelts and claws. And instead of the silhouette of Rayquaza at the main screen, it was replaced with pure blackness.
I was starting to get nervous as I stared at the screen for a few minutes. But I finally continued.
Everything was wrong.
When I started, I was still in the Battle Tower, but the ladies at the counter were nowhere to be seen. The screen was darker and I swear I could see blood on the walls and floor. I went to my party and saw that the Absol was there, but its HP was at 1, and it had a "Poisoned" status. I hesitated in selecting it, but I did.
The Absol's eyes were completely black and its chest was torn open. Blood was smeared through its dull grey fur and scars criss-crossed its body. Its horn didn't even exist anymore, it was now just a broken stump. Its tail was mangled as if something had chewed it off, and it seemed even skinnier now than it was before, each of its ribs showing. Hell, you could even see the bones in its legs and face.
But instead of saying "Poisoned" as its status, the little marker just said "Dying."
My heart stopped as I scrolled through its stats.
Everything was at one. Its attack, defense, everything. And the only move it knew was Perish Song. When I looked at its ribbons, the one for beating the Elite Four was no longer there. Instead, there was a new one.
"First successful multi-clone specimen." It read.
I was then forced out of its screen and was back in the Battle Tower. Without anything else to do, I walked outside. And as soon as I took the first step out, I was forced into a battle. It was with an Absol, but its teeth were bared and its claws were coated in blood. I sent out my Absol, even though it was at the end of my party.
I expected the wild Pokemon to kill mine, but instead it said, "WILD ABSOL ran away in terror!"
Confused, the battle scene faded and I was once again back at the Battle Frontier.
The text showed up on the screen.
"...Why did you... abuse me like this?..."
My blood turned cold.
"...I'm like this because.... of you..."
"ABSOL has died!"
The screen went black.
More text showed up.
"...We aren't toys... this isn't a game...."
"We're real. And everything you do to us is real."
"When you fight with us, we feel the pain. When you capture us, we feel fear. When you exploit us, we feel death's shadow behind us."
I was shaking in fear now, tear falling down my face.
"You will suffer like I did. We'll play with you like you did to us."
And then my DS shut down.
I sat there in silence, feeling the world close in on me. My body was trembling and my hands were sweating as I gripped the handheld system. I dropped it to the ground and shoved it away from me. I didn't sleep that night. Or the night after. Or after that.
Not because of fear.
But because I am now not allowed to sleep. They won't let me.
At that time, I didn't understand what it meant, but now I do. When I cloned that Absol, I kept taking and taking from it to make more of it. I had drained its energy and life away. Those Absol I cloned had gotten loose. They killed people. Not because they were angry, but because they knew no other way. They hadn't been programmed by the game codes, they were real. When I first learned the glitch, I only cloned Legendary Pokemon. I figured that was the reason this hadn't happened before.
And the night this happened, I went in my room.
There was an Absol figure on my desk, cracked in half and crying.