Silver Stairs By, Ar an Scáth (ar-un-skeh) Productions
It was finally summer. I had just gotten home from school on the last day of the year. I was so excited to finally relax after a long year of getting up early only to learn a bunch of stuff I would probably never need to remember in the real world. I walked upstairs to my room and opened my laptop as I did every day. This would inevitably be my only activity for the rest of the summer. It wasn't that I was addicted, there was just nothing else to do. I had long grown out of playing with my toy ponies and playing pretend outside. There wasn't really anything for me to do that wouldn't make me look like an idiot.
I turned on my computer and sat in my chair. I leaned back as It started up, thinking hmm. What to do... I wasn't in the mood for Minecraft, I didn't have any ideas on something to draw, I was already bored of the new MMO I had recently downloaded, I couldn't even think of anything to write.
I flipped through my folders where I keep all my desktop programs organized. When I came across my 'Gaming' folder, my eyes fell upon the VBA emulator. That was when I thought, Why not play a pokemon game? I honestly didn't have much interest in the newer games. I always favored the classics. After generation II, I didn't even recognize them as pokemon anymore.
After much debating in my thoughts of which one to play, I decided to play Silver. It was my first ever pokemon game. Back in the day, my friend had given me the ROM. I still had the ROM, but I didn't want to overwrite the save file. The game had been beaten long ago and I had worked my way up to a level 100 Scyther and a level 100 Rapidash named Honey. They were two of my favorite pokemon of that time. Long story short, I just couldn't part with my old team. Besides, you get a free virtual Gameshark in an emulator.
I played through the first half of the game within a few days. I of course cheated my way into all three starters and unlimited Masterballs. I caught every pokemon I met that didn't belong to a trainer.
After beating the first round of the Elite Four, I was excited when I got to go to Kanto. I loved the idea of being able to go back to the old world. Back when I first got the ROM in real life, my friend was bored and wanted to borrow it. She beat most of Kanto for me. I didn't get the chance to do much of it at all, and that frustrated me. I was happy to finally experience It.
I eventually made it to Lavender town. I loved the urban legends of the little city, and I was quickly reminded of my disappointment that it had been changed in the second generation. The music was no longer creepy and the pokemon tower was replaced with a boring old radio tower, leaving poor old Mr. Fuji with only a single-roomed building to house the dead pokemon. Heartless, really.
I went into the new radio tower so I could remember what was inside. To my disappointment, the higher floors could not be accessed. That radio guy just simply stood there in the way, saying you couldn't go there because they've beefed up security from Team Rocket.
In curiosity, I went to Google to find out if there was any way to get past him. I hoped that there would at least be a mini-quest that I hadn't seen before, but I learned that It had been left out due to memory limitations on the ROM.
As I played on in the surprisingly boring and storyless land of Kanto, my mind began to wander. I started to think, If there are no other floors to the radio tower, then why would they bother putting a door there at all? Why not just leave it out altogether so people wouldn't get confused? The Safari Zone, the museum, and the underground path all make sense since they were there in the original game, but in the radio tower, It just seems... useless. I kept thinking, because of that reason, the door must have a purpose.
I made up my mind then to make use of the Gameshark capabilities. I flew back to Lavender town and turned on the infamous Walk Through Walls script. That should get me through there. I thought defiantly. I simply walked around the man blocking the staircase and moved into it. To my frustration, the staircase just pushed me backwards into the man. I immediately thought, Why would they program that? They must have expected someone to try this cheat. They’re definitely hiding something! I spammed my up arrow key, hoping to possibly move too fast for the programming. It was a stupid little superstition, but I just felt like it could work.
It didn’t seem to work at first, but after let’s say, the billionth time, my character froze and the music stopped. The typical VBA freeze behavior. Great, now I have to restart it. I sighed. However, just as I was about to close out of it, I heard the door entry sound.
The screen went white and my character reappeared in a short hallway. I turned giddy with excitement. I had finally found a never-before seen pokemon secret! I eagerly pressed on to the end of the hallway where I came to a man. He was dressed like a Team Rocket member. I curiously walked up to him, expecting a battle which would begin a new quest to foil Rocket’s plans, but all he said was, “You shouldn’t be here.” and nothing else. No battle sequence or anything. I was disappointed, but also very intrigued. There had to be more to this.
Next to the NPC, there was another staircase. I went up and found myself in a very familiar place. The floor, the music, the gravestones. It was the rest of Pokemon Tower. Everything was left completely untouched. It’s all still here! I thought, full of pride and intrigue. Not even the graphics had been changed. They were still the same black and white graphics of the red and blue series. I wondered why the programmers left this here.
I began to explore the old tower. When I got to the second floor, just like in the original games, I came across a Ghost. The only problem now was that I had no Silph Scope or way to get one. “GET OUT” it said, which was no different. Also like the old games, my pokemon were too scared to move. There was nothing I could do but Run and press on. When I got to the staircase that led to the top floor, I was confronted by the Marowak Ghost. Her dialogue was different however:
This surprised me. Finally something was different. Maybe I would finally find out the purpose of all this. I pressed Run and tried again to go up the staircase, just to see if it would happen again, which it did. I was trapped now.
Then I remembered a cheat I had seen before: You can use a PokeDoll to get past the Marowak Ghost and not have to fight it. Luckily I had a few with me that I had earned from trainers or found along paths. I sent it out and left the battle scene.
“The GHOST was the restless soul of CUBONE’s mother! The mother’s soul was calmed.”
Well, that much hadn’t changed. I went up the stairs to the top floor and walked to the end of the hallway, where I saw Mr. Fuji. I thought this was odd since this would put him in two places at once, in the Soul House and here. I walked up to him and pressed A.
“Hello, SHADOW (my player’s name). I see you have found my secret.”
“Long ago, I made a huge mistake. The town was so poor and we needed something to bring up tourism. I sacrificed the POKEMON TOWER to build this RADIO TOWER, which has greatly disturbed the spirits. They no longer trust any human. However, the owners of the RADIO TOWER project have allowed me to move the bodies one by one to the SOUL HOUSE. It was a fatal mistake. There isn’t nearly enough room or time. I am so weary.”
Mr. Fuji said nothing else. His speech explained so much. The guard at the bottom of the tower must have been there to hide the project, and more importantly, to protect guests from the angered spirits. I explored the room to see if I could find anything else, but came across nothing. Since there seemed to be nothing else to do, I decided to go back down the stairs and leave the tower.
Just as my character was about to step onto the stairs, the screen flashed to white. When it came back, Mr. Fuji’s sprite was turned on its side, as if it was laying down. This shocked me. What just happened? I turned around and walked back up to it. When I pressed A, the battle sequence started up. The enemy was a level 5 ghost. My character never sent out a pokemon. Instead, I got the dialogue, “Hurry! Get out while you can!” I pressed A again and the battle screen closed. I figured this was my cue to leave the tower. I passed through the levels as quickly as I could, frequently being attacked by ghosts saying “Leave Now”, “Get out”, or “Go away, filthy human”.
Finally I had escaped the tower. When I reached the door at the end of the first hallway, I was pushed in front of the man guarding the staircase in the radio tower. I turned to face him and pressed A to see if anything had changed. The man only said “What have you done?” and then disappeared.
After exiting the tower, I decided to go check on the Soul House. When I went inside, Mr. Fuji indeed wasn’t there. I went up to the people who wandered the house as usual, wondering if they noticed he was gone.
“Mr. Fuji left to get something. He hasn’t come back yet.”
“I wonder where Mr. Fuji has gone.”
“Have you seen Mr. Fuji?”
This must have been designed to strike guilt into the player, as if to make them feel like they had been the cause of his death. Before I finally left, I noticed a pokemon sprite in the corner of the room. That obviously wasn’t there before. I went up to it.
The Cubone’s cry played and with a flash, the sprite disappeared. The rest of the game was normal after that, but I will never forget the secret I found that day...