Have you ever had a game that you didn't finish? I have. My name is Alex. When Pokémon came out in 1996, everyone wanted to buy it, including me. I started with Red version, which I played as much as I could. Soon, I was given the option to trade Red for the Special Pikachu Edition; otherwise known as Yellow Version, with my best friend. I felt like it was worth it; given that one of my favourite Pokémon was Pikachu. The thought of starting with it not only provided a challenge, but also would allow me to have my favorite Pokémon right off the bat.
I started playing it as much as I had Red. After a solid month of playing, I defeated the Elite Four; although, once I got to Gary, I got annihilated. His Pidgeot went down after a hard fight, but his Alakazam ripped my team apart with it's psychic attacks. He was the one challenge I couldn't surpass. Soon, in 2001, the GBA came out. I had heard of how it was a system that would play games in full color. This excited me and I immediately bought one. When I got home, I put in Yellow, and started playing. It was in full colour, and I couldn't believe it. While I was impressed, I still had to finish this game; which after multiple attempts for hours, I still couldn't do thanks to Gary.
I had grown quite frustrated. The problem wasn't that his Pokémon were stronger than mine; it was that after my consecutive battles, my Pokémon were hardly in the condition to fight. After much consideration, I decided to go train them some more so they would be stronger against Gary. After a week of nonstop battles, my Pokémon were ready. I went to the Elite Four, defeating them one by one. Then, the time came; my rematch with Gary. After a hard fought battle, Gary finally fell. I scrolled eagerly through the talk from the rival. Surely now that I was the champion, it didn't matter. After I got through the talk and praise from Prof. Oak, I had to go eat lunch. When I returned my GBA was off, which I soon found out was because I had to replace the batteries due to my constant play. When I put the new batteries in and turned on the game, I remembered that I wasn't able to save after my beating Gary. When I came to the title screen and tried to continue, I got the message saying my data was corrupt. After all my hard work, I had to start all over. Although, seeing as I beat the game already, I decided to move over to the other games that I had been neglecting to play.
Soon, though, we moved to another state. Amidst the chaos, I had left Pokémon Yellow at the old house. It wasn't until we got to the new house that I had learned this saddening fact. Three years later, I had moved onto the new generation games. After being able to beat Silver for the fifteenth time, I decided I was getting bored with the new titles and wanted to play the first generation again. Sadly, when I had gone to the store to buy this coveted game again, they were fresh out. This setback disappointed me, but I figured it was fine, seeing as I had Gold to beat again. When I got home, I decided I would just surf the web and goof around. While doing so, I came across a site that specialized in ROMs. I had heard about these being PC versions of old games, and decided I would check it out. I looked through, seeing game after game; all listed alphabetically.
Then, I saw it. Once I reached the "P" section, I saw the Pokémon games. I scrolled down to see Pokémon Yellow. When I clicked it, I was taken to a version list. It seemed a lot of different files had a different description. Scrolling through the list, all I really saw was "Have all eight badges!" or "All Pokémon captured and recorded!" Then I saw one that really stood out to me: "A year after the trainer's defeat of their rival." The username read: "MasterOfChaos".
I stared at it, questioning what it could be. I remember thinking to myself that this would probably be a pretty cool game play option and felt that this would allow me to enjoy the game like I used to. I downloaded and installed it. Upon starting, the company screen didn't say Game Freak, a phrase appeared on the screen for a split second reading: "Why have you returned after what you have done?"
This was odd and threw me off quite a bit. I questioned what that phrase meant as it went straight to the title screen; but as this was a ROM with a different scenario, it must have been built in. When it came to the title screen, Pikachu wasn't what I saw. The happy, smiling face that I loved was now replaced with a trainer. Most of him was shaded, as if an attempt to add mystery. He just stood there with his back turned and his face half-way looking at the screen. His clothes looked tattered and ripped, and his hair seemed about three inches longer. After seeing there was no new game option, I decided that I would have to continue.
Upon clicking the continue option, the screen darkened and the game started. As the game started, there stood the character; or an older, dirty version of him, standing on a mountain without Pikachu. His face was hidden by a hood and only a bit of hair was visible. While I was confused at this, another thing bothered me; where was his starter? I thought it was odd that his starter wasn't with him, but I figured it was part of the story. He said nothing, just stared at the scenery.
The screen then flashed white for a second. When it returned, he was gone. The screen faded to black and Pallet Town slowly came into view. It looked run down; the houses were missing boards, no one was outside, and the grass looked black, as if dead. Another flash, and my character was there; standing right on the edge of town. I walked around the town, wondering what was going on.
I saw Prof. Oak's lab looked as if it was burned down. This seems strange, I thought. I went and examined it closely. Upon pressing the space bar to select it, the image of rubble appeared with the caption: "How it began...." I was beginning to question what I was playing, and how I would actually play the game; seeing as I was unable to get into Prof. Oak's lab to get a Pokémon. I figured I would move onto the next town, and see what there was to do in this ROM. As I walked into the grass, the screen turned black and I appeared in the house of the original game's trainer. The house was in a complete mess and who i was guessing was the trainer's mother sat at the table. He simply stared at her as she cried. As the screen went blank, he simply walked out.
After the scene, I had control. I couldn't believe what I had just seen. I figured that it would start to make more sense as I went forward and that I had to keep going. I tried to go through the grass once more. When I entered it, the screen darkened as if I went into a building once more. I ended up in a darkened Pokémon Centre. Inside was the rival's sister. She looked at him and just turned away as he walked toward her.
In an instant the screen faded to black, and faded back in as the trainer stood outside of the Viridian City Pokémon Centre. With the game now seemingly in my control, I decided to move on and made my way to the Viridian Forest. As I walked towards the forest, I remember questioning the events thus far in this ROM. I decided to continue on and see if it would become more clear as the story unfolded. As I approached, two transparent figures appeared behind the trainer, It was the ghost of another trainer and Prof Oak. For some reason, the trainer looked familiar. Before I could try to get a better look, the next scene began.
"I had such high hopes for you." Oak said.
The transparencies wouldn't leave. I was starting to really become intrigued, yet a bit worried by what I was watching. Suddenly, the screen flashed and a battle began; which was odd enough because I wasn't in the grass. When the battle began, I was shocked at what I saw, I was now in a fight with Prof. Oak and the trainer; whom I still couldn't make out because of the shading on his face.
I was at a loss for words, and the battle music sounded different. Also, instead of a Pokémon being tossed out, the trainer was just standing there. The ghosts didn't move either. I was given the option to run or fight. As much as I wanted to fight and figure out what was going on, I chose to run. I managed to escape.
The screen faded to black, and when the overworld screen came up, the ghosts were gone. I was a a bit worried, but I couldn't stop this early in the game; I had to keep moving. When I entered the Viridian Forest, the usual trainers were there; but none of them would challenge me to a battle. They all said the same thing: "Some champion you turned out to be..." I couldn't put together what was happening, but it felt so wrong. I continued to wonder what was going on as I journeyed to Pewter City. While I did, I tried to figure out what was so familiar about that trainer.
Upon arriving in Pewter City, I immediately knew something was wrong. The gym was burned to the ground, just like Oak's lab. The other places, such as the Poké Mart & Pokémon Centre, still stood. Upon further examination, a note was left on the door of the Pokémon Centre. It read: "Turn back before it is too late." What did this mean? Why was this note on the Pokémon Centre? Suddenly, the screen flashed and the ghost of Brock appeared behind him. My character didn't budge, and text appeared on the screen.
"You should run while you have the chance," was all that was said before he disappeared.
Unable to understand what was happening, I decided to go Cerulean City. Surely I would find more clues about what was happening. When I reached Cerulean City, I saw more rubble and destruction. The entire area was in ruin. I walked up to where the gym once stood only to find another note: "Vengeance is all that is left." After this note was read, Misty's ghost appeared behind the trainer.
"Why would you do such a thing?" she asked before disappearing.
When I read that, I felt I had what I needed to begin trying to piece together what was going on. No one liked the trainer, Oak and this trainer were ghosts, and the gyms were destroyed, and all the gym leaders were ghosts, as well as Prof. Oak and the trainer. As the game went on, I was met with more ominous messages and more ghosts. After the eighth gym, I found that nothing was left for me to do. I figured that now all that was left was the Elite Four. I didn't really have high hopes, as I hadn't been given any badges. With no other option, I walked all the way back to Viridian City. As I walked back to Viridian City, I tried to put this together as best I could. When I finally reached the Indigo Plateau, a text box appeared:
"... This is where... It began..."
Did the trainer just talk? While that shocked me due to its sudden happening, something else bugged me this whole time, and I just realised it. No one was anywhere to be found in any area, nor the Indigo Plateau; which I found odd because I remembered I was supposed to present my badges along the way. After thinking on my way through the Indigo Plateau, it all made sense. The odd messages, the rubble, everyone hating Jeff, and the trainer whom I had tried so hard to figure out, it all became clear. Soon, though, the ROM started to act weird, constantly glitching. The music skipped, the character didn't move on command, and the screen shook a bit.
I chalked this up to the computer having a hard time running the ROM for so long, and I attempted restarting the computer. Surely this would fix it, right? I was wrong. Upon restarting the data, the character was now in a corridor with statues on each side. As I went further, the corridor seemed to not end, until I finally came to the room where the trainer and his rival have their final battle. As I got into the center of the room, the character stopped. Suddenly, a text box appeared on the screen.
"The time of restitution is at hand." appeared on the screen before ghosts of each gym leader, the Elite Four, and the ghosts of Oak and the trainer formed a circle around the character. As I got a better look at the trainer, I realised why this trainer felt so familiar; it was the original trainer! Sadly, figuring it out didn't stop what was about to happen. Without even pressing space bar, the scene continued.
The ghosts all moved in on the character. While the ghosts moved in, the screen became darker. After it became completely black, it became silent. The screen stayed black, not even a noise. I thought that, at last, that this game was over. No matter what I did, though, the screen wouldn't change. The mouse and arrow keys didn't work either. After about fifteen minutes, I decided to restart the computer. Although I wanted to play Pokémon Yellow again, this was a bit over the top for me.
I looked at the screen, trying to figure out what I should do. If I deleted the ROM and looked for another, would the same thing happen again? I then thought about the possibility that maybe there was more story that I was unable to see, thinking the computer simply froze. With that in mind, I spent the afternoon weighing the options. I could delete the ROM, and look for another that had no hacks in it; but I was still in the dark about what happened. The screen went black and didn't return as if the game froze; and that could have meant that there was still one more part to the story. After finally deciding to restart the computer, I looked at the screen again; staring at the ROM I had just played. After a while, I decided to delete the ROM. This was one game I didn't want to see the end of.