Does anyone remember Pokémon Green? I'm not referring to the Japanese game with Venasaur on the box. I mean the one sold in American stores with Scyther on the front. I seem to be the only one who remembers this game. I wish I never encountered it in the first place...
It all started in 1998 when Pokémon made its way to the US with Pokémon Blue and Red. I was only 7 years old. A friend of mine had let me borrow his copy of blue, and from that moment forward, I was addicted to the series. When the time came, I was reluctant to return the game to him, but I did. For the next few days, all I could talk about was the game. As a kid, your whole world can revolve around a simple game, like Pokémon.
I ended up helping my dad with yard work a few days before my birthday, and I couldn't help but talk his ear off about Pokémon.
To my surprise, he said, "Get in the car, we're going to Walmart."
Was he really about to purchase me my own copy of Pokémon? I was incredibly excited. This was one of the best days of my life - but it would also lead to one of my worst.
We arrived at Walmart, and my father told me that this would be an early birthday gift, and I could only keep it if I behaved myself, and did all of my chores. I would have done anything to get my hands on a copy of Pokémon. We went inside and made our way to the video game section, and there they were. Sprawled across the shelves in a beautiful fashion; Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and...Green? I had never heard of Pokémon Green, but the Scyther on the cover enticed me, and I had to have it. I grabbed a copy, checked out at the register, and went home, as happy as could be. That happiness would not last.
When I arrived at my house, I ran upstairs to my room, tore apart the box, and took the cartridge out. The cartridge was very odd. I assumed it would have a normal picture of a normal Scyther on it, just as the box did. Instead the Scyther was off-set to the right, almost as if it was battling something that wasn't there, and it was almost glowing. The background was black, and underneath the Pokémon logo, it did not say "Green Version" as I had expected. As unsettled as this had made me feel, I placed the cartridge into my gameboy.
I turned it on, and found that instead of viewing an intro, like in Blue, it immediately brought me to a screen with only one choice; "CONTINUE". Where was "NEW GAME"? I wasn't too disappointed. My overwhelming curiosity compelled me to click on "CONTINUE". I did so, and after a few moments, I found my character in what I assumed was my home. I tried to walk outside, but to my dismay, I could not exit the house. There were no stairs, and I couldn't interact with any of the objects in the room.
"What the heck?" I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach, realizing that my cartridge might be broken, and I may not be able to play this amazing video game after all.
I shut my gameboy off, took the cartridge out, blew on it, and put it back in. It brought me to the same screen, with the same option, "CONTINUE". I clicked on "CONTINUE" and it brought me to the same room. I tried shutting it off, and blowing on the cartridge a few more times before I finally became too frustrated and gave up. What the hell was going on?
I told my dad about the game, and he took a look at it. He was brought to the same screen, and the same room, and he, as well as I, could not escape this room. He saw the torn up box on my floor, and sighed.
"Well, we can't return it now." To my surprise, he then said, "I'll have to get you a new one, tomorrow." I became incredibly happy once more, and gave my dad the biggest hug I had ever given him in my life. Though disappointed in the game I received, I was glad to have the opportunity to get another one.
The next day, my father and I proceeded to Walmart. We walked over to the video game section, and a lot of the Pokémon games were gone. Half of Blue, most of Red, and all of Green had apparently been sold. There weren't even shelves anymore for where Pokémon Green had once been.
"Wow..." I thought to myself, "...Green must be popular."
I wasn't upset. I wasn't intending on purchasing another copy of Green anyhow, seeing as it didn't work out so well the last time. This time, I grabbed Red. I had already played Blue and attempted to play Green, so this time I wanted to try something new. We went home, I ran upstairs, and opened the box carefully, in case we had to return this one. I took the red cartridge out, placed it in my gameboy, and played...for hours. I played Pokémon Red until the sun came up the next morning. To this day, Red is my favorite of the Pokémon games, and is a great childhood memory. As for Green, I put it in a drawer, and forgot about it until many years later.
It was May of 2007 when I received a copy of Pokémon Pearl for the Nintendo DS. My dad, knowing how much I loved the series, bought me it, out of the blue, knowing how happy I'd be.
"Thank you, so much!" I exclaimed. Before my dad could even respond I ran next door to my friend, Billy's house, and showed him.
"What?!" he said.
"My mom just bought me Diamond!"
Apparently my dad and Billy's mom had planned this for a week, without the two of us catching on. Without another word we started to play. We felt like kids again.
After many hours, we stopped playing, and decided to relive our childhoods and talk about the original generation of Pokémon.
"My favorite will always be Pokémon Red," I stated.
"Blue for me," said Billy.
I recalled my first time playing Red, and then I remembered something that I hadn’t thought about in years. The game that I had played before Red (or at least tried to); Pokémon Green.
"What about Green?" I asked Billy.
"Did you ever play that one?" Billy looked confused.
Now I was confused.
"What do you mean, 'very funny'?"
Billy looked displeased. "You and I both know there's no such thing as Pokémon Green."
"Yes there is!" I said.
He now realized I wasn't joking. He was further confused.
"What are you talking about?"
To my understanding up until this point, Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green came out at the same time, in 1998. It soon became overshadowed by Red and Blue, and this is why I hadn't heard much about Green since my younger years. This is what I had thought, at least.
According to Billy, the biggest Pokémon expert I know, Pokémon Green doesn’t exist, at least not an American one with a Scyther on the front. Determined to prove Billy wrong, I invited him to my house and brought him to my room, where I would show him my copy of Pokémon Green. I dug through the drawers of my desk, and eventually turned them upside down in my efforts, only to be let down.
"Where is it?! I distinctly remember putting it in my desk drawer when I was younger!"
"See?" Billy said. "Green doesn't exist. You probably dreamed it up or something."
Billy went home, but I kept searching and searching, only to tear my room apart for nothing. Pokémon Green was gone.
The following day, I woke up, jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth, and continued downstairs. There, I found my father, with a large breakfast waiting for me; the usual Sunday. We ate, and indulged in some small talk about sports and the weather. I decided that maybe I should ask my dad about the game, and so I did.
"That old thing? Oh yeah, I took it from your room soon after I bought you the new one, and tried to return it without the package. They tried to lie to me and say that they didn’t sell that game there. I gave them a what-for and stormed out. They could’ve just told me they needed the box. Anyways, I think it's on my dresser upstairs. I'll go get it."
As my dad made his way to his room, I thought to myself. Billy said the game doesn't exist, and Walmart said that they never carried it in their store. This was beginning to make me feel uneasy.
Low and behold, my father came down the stairs and handed me the game I had been searching for: Pokémon Green.
I felt an unnerving, but overwhelming need to attempt to play the game once more, so I grabbed my old gameboy from my room and proceeded to play. I would have had Billy dissect the game with me, but he's usually at church with his family around this time. I was alone in my efforts.
The game started the way it normally did, with nothing but "CONTINUE" to choose from. I chose so, and found my character in the same room, trapped. This time around, being older, I was able to pay attention to more detail. Maybe now I could find a way out. I decided to hit start and see if I had any Pokémon. In my party was a Scyther (not so surprising), level 25, knowing only the moves STRENGTH, CUT, and FLASH. Could a Scyther even learn all of those moves? I ventured to my items, only to find nothing, and to my trainer stats only to find that I had no money, badges, and 0 hours clocked in, which is impossible. If I hadn't already crossed the threshold of weird, I now had.
I gave the room a good once-over to see if I could spot anything I missed as a child. To my delight, I did. There was a boulder in the room! As a kid, I probably thought it was a chair or something, considering I had never really played Pokémon before. The boulder was on the right side of the room, against the wall. Naturally, I had Scyther use STRENGTH and I was able to move it. I walked up to the spot on the wall that the boulder was in front of and hit the A button.
A text box came up and it just said "DARK...". Every time I hit A, it would just say "DARK...".
What the hell is happening? I thought for a second and remembered that Scyther knew FLASH. I used it near the wall where the boulder had been. A path became lit. A seemingly miraculous exit had been found! I grew less unnerved, and more excited as I walked this almost endless hallway that was just big enough for my character to squeeze through. I finally came to a literal light at the end of my tunnel, as If I was exiting a cave rather than a house. I walked through, and where did it bring me? I ended up on the side of my house in what looked like Pallet Town. Mind you, my house looked to be of normal size, void of any protruding extensions on the side where the hallway would've been. This was odd, but I just shrugged and kept playing. There was also no way to get back in the house, seeing as there were no doors. I walked around a bit, and found that there were no doors on any of the buldings. It was a ghost town, aside from what looked like Professor Oak standing in front of his lab where the door should have been.
I tried talking to him, but a text box came up every time with "...". This made me feel on edge, but I marched on.
The only logical thing left to do was head up to Viridian City, so I started towards the grass. Before I could even touch the grass, Professor Oak came up from behind me.
"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING? IT'S TOO DANGEROUS FOR YOU AND YOUR POKÉMON!"
A battle sequence started. Was I really going to battle Professor Oak? Sure enough, I was. The sprite for Oak was strange. He was looking down at the ground, and the expression on his face made him look as though he were troubled somehow. Oak sent out a level 5 Squirtle, and I obviously sent out my level 25 Syther. The squirtle sprite looked the same as Oak, troubled, and looking down.
I beat it quickly, and Oak said "DON'T GO!". He then sent out, unsurprisingly a "troubled" level 5 Charmander. I beat him quickly as well. OAK restated, "DON'T GO!" He then sent out, none other than a level 5, and equally troubled Bulbasaur. I finished him off, and the battle was over, but not before Oak came on the screen one last time to say "DON'T GO!"
Professor Oak stayed there near the grass, silent, as I walked off towards Viridian City. Once he was out of sight, a text box popped up, probably from Oak, with the words, "I BEG OF YOU! DO NOT LEAVE! YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO RETURN!"
Unmoved by Oak's words, but unnerved by the creepiness of what I was now convinced was a hacked game, I pressed on towards Viridian City.
Before I could reach my destination, the light illuminating my way, disappeared. It became darker and darker, until it was pitch black. Just as it became pitch black, I ran into a wild Pokémon. From this point forward, I will refer to this Pokémon simply as "the invisible". It was at level 100, and had no sprite or name. I was unable to fight it, because every time I would choose one of Scyther's moves, it would say "Scyther is too scared to move".
I would run away from the battle, and attempt to move, but I would find myself running into the invisible again, before I could even take one step. I was stuck. This happened about another 5 times before I finally decided to stay still and think.
"Hmmm...what if I use FLASH?"
I had Scyther use FLASH, only to find my path to Viridian City dimly lit with a dark green tint. I continued, and the invisible seemed to have vanished.
I finally made it to Viridian City, or at least a dark green, dimly lit version. As soon as I stepped foot into the town, a text box popped up that said "VIRIDIAN CITY - STAY FOREVER AND ENJOY THE GYM". What the fuck? Stay forever, enjoy the gym?
I tried walking back from where I had came, but there was an invisible wall. I tried walking forward, only to find another invisible wall at the tip of the town. Oak was right - I could neither return, nor leave Viridian City. I calmed down a bit, and explored the town. Much like Pallet Town, the buildings had no doors, except for the gym. The only person in town was the old man who teaches you how to catch Pokémon. Avoiding the old man, whom I'd found creepy even in the normal Pokémon games, I tried the gym. It was locked.
I walked all around town, and inevitably, I had to talk to the old man, to progress. Reluctantly, I did so.
"Hey! So you want to catch Pokémon, do you? You want to become a Pokémon master, defeat the powerful trainers at the Pokémon league, and enjoy an endless life of solitude?"
I was then given a choice "YES" or "NO". Endless life of solitude? I chose NO.
"Well then, stay forever and enjoy the gym!"
What the hell? I can't enjoy a locked gym. I spoke to him again to find the same exact script, only this time I chose YES.
He said, "Well then, you are well on your way to becoming what you've always wanted to be, but first, come with me. I will introduce you to a true Pokémon master!" He walked me to the gym and stood near the entrance. I tried to speak with him again, but it wouldn't work. I guess he wouldn't be introducing me to anyone. I tried the gym once more. This time I could walk in.
I was slightly nervous, but thought to myself, "It's only a hacked game made by some mentally unstable Game Freak worker or something." Only part of me believed that, while the rest of me believed this game was more sinister than that. I hoped it wasn't the latter.
I found my character inside darkness. The gym was pitch black. I had Scyther use FLASH, and the room became dimly lit with a dark green tint as I had expected. The gym was nothing like the complicated maze it was in Red. Here, it was just a small room. At the tip of the room was what looked like Giovanni. I walked over to him and hit the A button.
He said, "Unfortunately, this is where your Pokémon journey ends. There is nothing beyond this point, and you will remain in this room, forever. I am sorry."
What? That's it? It can't be. I walked around the room multiple times, and tried leaving, but alas, I could not. I sat there, disappointed. As creepy as the game was, I felt such a strong need to finish it. After a few moments, I tried speaking to Giovanni again.
This time he just simply said, "I am sorry."
Every time I spoke to him, that is all he would say. "I am sorry."
I tried talking to him from the side, but it didn't work. I then tried talking to him from behind, in the space right before the wall at the end of the room.
He turned and said, "I am sorry. I truly am."
A battle sequence started. Finally, productiveness.
"GIOVANNI has no choice!" came up in the text box as opposed to "GIOVANNI wants to fight!". That was weird, but I brushed it off like every other weird thing in the game. The battle had started.
"GIOVANNI sent out" is all the next text box said, and the Pokémon he sent out was none other than the invisible at level 100. I once again sent out Scyther against what I could only assume was a Pokémon. This time I could actually fight. Every time the invisible used a move, it would say "used ..." and nothing would happen. Every time I used STRENGTH or CUT, it would miss - every single time, so the battle was never going to end. Finally I decided to use FLASH. What happened next was quite unexpected.
The invisible became visible. The Pokémon was none other than a Scyther, but a darker version, much like the dark green tint cast over the town. The sprite was also strange. I can only describe it as sinister - evil looking I guess. We fought. My moves didn't miss this time, but they did little damage to a level 100 Scyther. The dark version of my Pokémon now knew the moves of my Pokémon as well, and after using CUT twice, my Pokémon was defeated. Giovanni came on the screen and said once more "I am sorry."
I was then back in the gym, even though my only Pokémon had fainted. I double checked, and Scyther did in fact have 0 HP. I walked over to Giovanni and talked to him one last time.
This is what he said, "YOU HAVE TO FIND A WAY OUT! He has control over us all! You will only be another victim! There is a door..."
His sentence was cut off, by an animation. The animation was of Scyther grabbing Giovanni from behind. I stared at the still image for a while. Giovanni looked so frightened that it made me sick to my stomach. After maybe 3 minutes, the image faded out, and I was back at the gym. The room was the same, but Giovanni was gone. I tried to leave, but as soon as I reached the door, another animation started. It was the same as the last one, but instead of Giovanni in Scyther's grips, it was my Scyther. Now I was scared. After a few minutes The animation played out and my Scyther was cut to pieces. Even in the low quality of the animation, it still induced a great deal of fear into me.
The animation ended and skipped to an image of my Scyther's head, looking ever so frightened as it lay there in the darkness, and a text box popped up, saying nothing more than, "You failed."
Here, the game froze.
Disturbed, I slid the cartridge out of my gameboy and threw it at the wall. I ran downstairs and poured myself a glass of water. After calming down, I called Billy and had him come over. I needed someone else to experience this. Needless to say, I was freaked out. Billy came over rather quickly.
"What is it? What happened?"
I explained everything to the best of my ability, and he just laughed.
"Yeah right," he said.
I told him I would prove it. I ran upstairs picked up the cartridge off of the floor and ran back downstairs and showed him. He was unimpressed.
"How long did it take you to make this?" I was a little angry at this point.
"I didn't make it! It's real! Play it. You'll see."
I handed him my Game Boy, and he put the cartridge in. He turned it on, but nothing happened. He took the cartridge out, blew on it, but to no avail. It didn't work anymore.
"I must've damaged it when I threw it at the wall." Billy laughed again. "You had me going for a second."
He then left and went home, while I sat there, still taking in what had just happened just moments before Billy arrived.
I thought aloud, "Giovanni said there was a door...maybe I should've looked for it instead of trying to leave."
Really, my thoughts were pointless, because to this day, I can't get the cartridge to work. I wish I'd looked for the door and avoided seeing that animation. In a way, it traumatized me, and I haven't been the same since.
As you can see, I still have the cartridge, and I scanned it using my printer, so you could see a close up photo of what it looks like. I know it's a little blurry, but it's the best I could do. This game is real.
Written by Christopher Maxim