I don’t care what anybody says, Pokémon is not a “babyish” game. It’s the best-selling role-playing game of all time; look it up. And after I share my experience with you, you’ll also be convinced that Pokémon is not a game for little kids.
Every year, my family heads out on a vacation. This year, we were going to Washington, D.C., and I needed a new video game for the plane ride. It was around this time when I was getting back into Pokémon after a two-year hiatus, and I wanted to relive my first Pokémon game: Platinum.
I stopped by my local GameStop and picked up the game. It cost me thirty dollars, which I gladly handed to the cashier, knowing that it was worth it for the nostalgia trip. I walked home, clutching the box in both hands, admiring Giratina’s artwork and constantly re-reading the stuff on the back. When I got home, I immediately grabbed my DSi and sat down at my desk. I powered up the system and inserted and selected the game. I watched the game’s entire opening cinematic, and then pressed start.
I selected a new game and sat through the Professor’s monologue, spamming the A button. I selected the male character and named him Lucas. I selected the rival’s name as Barry. The game began as usual; Lucas was standing in his room, watching TV. I took one step toward the stairs, and my hyperactive rival ran up into my room. I spammed the A button some more until he left, and then went downstairs.
After I got out of my house, I went to Barry’s house, and found him packing. He left, and I followed suit. We both approached the route, and I spammed the A button some more, excited for when I got my first Pokémon, and I already knew it was going to be Piplup. Barry told Lucas that if they ran quickly through the tall grass, they could get to the town the professor was in and request a Pokémon.
Barry and Lucas lined up, ready to dash through the grass. At this point in the game, Profesor Rowan is supposed to stop you right as you hit the tall grass. He then scolds you, but gives you a Pokémon.
That… didn’t happen.
Instead, Barry and Lucas ran into the tall grass, and a battle animation played. I instantly knew I must have been playing a hacked game, and I was excited to find out what this hacker could do. The battle was Barry and Lucas vs. a level 4 Starly. Lucas and Barry’s sprites were the ones from their double battle with Volkner and Flint, much later in the game.
I realized that I couldn’t attack. The menu only had one option: RUN. I selected this option. Unfortunately, I couldn’t run away.
The wild Starly used tackle!
The attack animation played on Barry, and he faded out of existence. This time, I was able to run away. Something like a cut scene then played, as the game went on autopilot and Lucas ran away from the tall grass, leaving Barry still standing there. He ran to his mother, and as they talked, all that appeared were ellipses (…). Then, Lucas’s mother screamed, “WHAT?”
The game suddenly cut to black. I waited for a moment until Lucas reappeared on the screen, in his bedroom and dressed in the tuxedo you get in Hearthome City. I walked downstairs and talked to my mother, who appeared to be dressed in all black. “Lucas, dear, are you ready?” The game gave me a yes or no option. I selected no, but all the mom said was, “Okay. Take your time.” I talked to her again and this time selected yes. “Let’s go.” On autopilot, Lucas and his mother walked out of their house. They lined up with several other people from Twinleaf Town, including Dawn and Professor Rowan. Everyone was dressed in black.
They all walked upwards until they crossed the route, standing in a row, all staring at a gravestone next to the tall grass. I suddenly realized I could move again, and I tried walking back to Twinleaf, but I couldn’t. I also couldn’t go to Lake Verity or the tall grass; my mom would just say, “You have to pay your respects, Lucas.” I walked up to the gravestone, knowing whose it was.
HERE LIES BARRY.
Suddenly, my inventory opened, revealing only one item: a knife. I selected it, and it selected USE. Normally, a screen of your Pokémon appeared, but here was just Lucas in the tuxedo, in the first spot. I realized that I couldn’t back out of it, no matter how many times I pressed the B button. There was only one thing I could do.
I pressed the A button.
The screen cut to black again, and Lucas’s mom reappeared on screen. She was standing in her house, wearing the same black clothing as before. Silently, she left the home with the same group of people as before, only Lucas was not by her side. I realized what this meant and my eyes widened in horror.
They walked up to Barry’s gravestone, only this time, there were two gravestones, one to the left of Barry’s. Lucas’s mom walked up to the gravestone.
HERE LIES LUCAS.
Suddenly, the sound of a woman weeping began to play. It was a constant loop, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t stop it. I eventually had to turn the game off. But I still felt a little sick from playing the game.
I showed the game to the man who sold it to me at GameStop, and he told me that hacks were pretty valuable, especially a “cool” one like this. I gladly sold him the game for seventy-five dollars and went on my way.
I haven’t played a Pokémon game since.