So, I had this Pokémon Crystal cartridge for years. We got it brand-new (or at least it appeared to be) for my 13th birthday, a few months after it came out. I cherished it; that is until Emerald came out, then I forgot it for a while. Then HeartGold and SoulSilver came out, and I was stuck with a HUGE wave of nostalgia. I HAD to dig out my Crystal and play it again. I did, and cleaned it out and started it up.

Call me stupid, but I got so excited that a tear or two came to my eye. I was instantly bored when I looked at my old team though: I was one of those "n00bs" that just used Pokémon that looked cool to me or I found cute: Houndoom, Charmander, Squirtle, Meowth, Raichu, and Dragonite. And even more sadly, those were the only Pokémon I had above level 60. So, I deposited all but my Houndoom, Dragonite, and Raichu, and got a team that actually was competent, with a Slowking that was forgotten in the box and a Vileplume from the good ol' days of Red. Lastly, I went to go through headbutting trees to try to get a Pineco or a Heracross.

I tried for hours until the game stalled. I screamed, because I had worked too hard for the game to crash at this point! Suddenly my rage was silenced though; the battle music continued...And a Gengar of all things came out of the tree, a shiny one! I was confused, but extremely excited. Gengar was one of my favorite Pokémon, and it was a strong Pokémon that would balance out my team. I caught it and looked at it: It knew curse, destiny bond, nightmare, and hypnosis. Seemed pretty normal to me, except that its SPECIAL ATTACK stat was a big ugly GLITCH BLOCK. I didn't think much of it, and kept going. As soon as the game's clock ticked over to 8:00 p.m., though, the game stalled yet again, and a strange text box appeared when it finally ran again:

"You didn't think about this too much, did you...? Time to have some fun."

What? I never saw anything like that happen on the game before. I blinked for a moment and pressed A, thinking it might have been just a crazy easter egg, oh well. I kept playing, and went into the grass to find some Pokémon I didn't have in my pokedex. A battle started, and my trainer sent out....Gengar? Wait...I thought I had Sparky, my Raichu, in front. I thought I must have absentmindedly switched them around, since I usually train newly caught Pokémon right away. I used the combo of Hypnosis and Nightmare on the Pokémon to see if it would at all be effective. ...I regretted it. For whatever reason, when Gengar used Nightmare, the screen turned solid red, and a bunch of horrid glitch sounds happened, before it turned back to show the Pokémon fainting. My ears were throbbing from the glitch sounds, I was convinced I had just caught a glitch Pokémon. In fear of my data, I checked everything: My save data, my items, my trainer profile, my pokegear, my Pokémon. Nothing had changed, Gengar even still had that ugly glitch block stat. Relieved, I shut out the start menu. Then, another text box happened:

"That gave you a good scare, didn't it? But it's not the scare I want."

...Okay, WHAT THE HELL. Did the game just TALK to me? My stomach dropped as I read that. But, I REALLY wanted to finish Crystal before I played the new games. I kept going, and for a long time of dull battles and catching Pokémon, I went to Mt. Silver to catch some other Pokémon. As soon as I finished flying there, though, a new textbox came up:

"You haven't forgotten, already, have you?"

With that came the "YES/NO" option box. Not knowing what the game was talking about, I hit "YES".

"Oh my, you foolish girl. You'll see around midnight."

There was nothing after that. I looked at the clock; it was 11:49. Guess I had almost 10 minutes to see what was going on here. I kept going as I wanted to at first, and surely enough, as the timer ticked over to 12:00 A.M., I was greeted by another text box.

"I have a surprise for you."

With that, the screen turned black, save for the girl sprite that was supposed to be me. I froze, thinking my game was screwed over. I mashed buttons, and then tried to walk out of it. After what seemed like eternity, finally, another text box came up:

"What do you think of the spirit world? Do you like it?"

Another "YES/NO" came up. I quickly hit "NO". I didn't know what was going on, but I REALLY didn't like it. I never had once seen a Pokémon game mention the afterlife save for Lavender Town. The game answered.

"Oh? How unfortunate. It'll be your home later. Do you want to go back?" There was yet another "YES/NO".

I quickly hit "YES", trembling. Something told me something horrible was at play here. The game answered again:

"Are you sure? I can do that, but you'll have to pay the toll. I warn you, it's a great price."

I remembered the Rocket guard from Lake of Rage after that. I didn't care; whatever the hell this was could have all my money, I just didn't want to stay. I hit "YES".

Once again it answered, "Ufufu....Alright...Foolish, selfish trainer...You were warned."

That line gave me the chills. My trainer's sprite did the Escape Rope animation, and then the game stalled after I was back at the spot I was before this happened. After several seconds, I got the message, "SPARKY has fainted!". Nervous, I quickly went to check on him. To my horror...Sparky, my beloved Raichu, was missing completely. I quickly exited the menu to see if I could still find him in the Pokémon Center. But as soon as I did, another text box came up:

"Oh, I wouldn't bother with that. SPARKY's dead..."

I growled, both terrified and angry, and pressed A. The text continued:

"I took him. It was the toll you owed. You selfish girl, you sacrificed him, you agreed to it. Now...Kekekeke...You'll never get him back."

I felt horrible. Whatever was talking to me was right, I did agree to it. Nearly to tears, and shaking, I pressed A again.

"That time you WERE scared, admit it. Oh, but just you wait until 3 A.M."

What? What was it talking about this time? What sick trick did it have waiting for me then? I didn't want to find out, but I felt like I HAD to do it, I HAD to get back at what was messing with me, and the only chance I'd get is if I encountered it again. I kept playing until 3 A.M. I was exhausted, but I didn't care. Finally, another text box came up:

"You really WERE foolish enough to see? I like you...I have a lesson for you."

Then there was a long pause, before:

"...But before you learn, let me relieve your friends."

After that, I got that same horrid glitch sound and red screen that came with Gengar's Nightmare attack happened, followed by:

"MYSTIC(my Dragonite) has fainted!"

"PSYKING (my Slowking) has fainted!"

"SAGE (my Houndoom) has fainted!"

"VILEPLUME has fainted!"

I almost felt sick reading all those, and wanted to cry when I checked my team. They were all gone, except for that Gengar, which for whatever reason I had wished was gone. I exited out of the menu cautiously, and it told me more.

"They are better off dead. See...You're no better than him."

Him?! What? What is this talking about, and why did it have to kill my Pokémon to get this across??

"Do you know who I am yet? Tell me my name."

I thought, and put in the name of my rival, Silver.

The game just answered "No." and made me type it again. This time I typed "Giovanni".


I tried with several trainers, and even made names up, until...I tried the one thing in my team. "GENGAR".

"Took you long enough."

Then, Gengar's overworld sprite appeared beside mine. Now I regretted catching that stupid thing. It messed with me, and destroyed the Pokémon I worked so hard on. But Gengar's games weren't done yet; he wasn't done with me.

"Now that you know...I'll continue. You're no better than him. I'll show you what I mean."

The screen did that horrible Nightmare animation again, before turning completely black. When anything reappeared on the screen, it was a Pokémon sprite in the middle of a room. Then, I got another text box:

"You no longer have control."

I sat confused by the message, before I realized I was the Pokémon. I pressed A, and Silver's sprite walked in the room, and stopped to talk to me.

"Sneasel, are you ready to train?" I didn't have any options. I just hit A, and watched on.

"... ... ...No?! Hmph. Too bad. Come on." With that, Silver dragged my helpless sprite out of the room and into a Pokémon battle with a Pokémon that had a much higher level than me. A Rapidash, to be exact. Before anything happened, the text read:

"You know this can't end well. You tremble in fear."

After that, Silver yelled his order at me, and Rapidash attacked first. It was just a quick attack, So I survived. I didn't want it to, but the battle continued, with the following messages of:

"You scream in pain at the attack, but he doesn't care. You can't run away, you're bound by that accursed pokeball."


"You struggle up and try to attack....But it missed. Your master is angry now, you know."

I cringed, hoping that it would just end at that. But it didn't.

"SILVER: WHAT PART OF "ATTACK" DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? ...Hmph. If this kills you, then that's your fault. You shouldn't have been worthless."

Then Rapidash attacked me again. This time it was a fire attack, leaving me with only 2 HP.

"You scream and writhe as you fall to the ground crying in pain. You just want to get away now. But does your master care? OF COURSE NOT."

"SILVER: AAUGH. Can you be any more useless?? Idiot. IDIOT. Attack. It. NOW."

This time I did land an attack, but unfortunately Rapidash got the best of me. Sneasel's usual fainting sound turned into a sickening screech as the sprite went down. I felt horrible with all the insults that Silver was throwing at me-The same things I yelled at my Pokémon when frustrated at the game. Silver had one more thing to say:

"SILVER: ...Hmph. You're worthless and pathetic. I guess I'll just have to keep doing this until you learn to actually fight."

With that, it went back to the overworld, where Silver stood for a moment before kicking me and walking off. Then, another textbox appeared.

"You've dealt with this for a long time...You don't want it anymore...There is only one thing to do."

Then, I watched in horror as my Pokémon sprite moved for the water, and I kept begging and looking helplessly, hoping it wasn't about to do what I thought it was. But I should have known better. The sprite stopped at the edge, before a textbox appeared again:

"The pain and torment will end for good this way."

The sprite jumped in the water, and disappeared. After several splashing sounds, the screen faded to black again. Eventually, only my sprite and Gengar's appeared in the middle of the screen. Gengar turned to me with,

"Hehehehe...I told you this would be your home...But do you not see the wrong you're doing now? You DESERVE EVERY. BIT. OF. THIS. I'm doing them all a favor by getting rid of the ones like you...Now, you get to suffer forever while you think about what you did."

Then, suddenly, the screen turned red, before it went back to my sprite, which abruptly turned red and spun where it was fast, and that horrible glitch sound started, but this time, it was in a never-ending loop. I even turned the game off and started it up, but upon loading my save my sprite was still stuck in that horrid loop. I could never continue.

I wish I hadn't ever caught that stupid Gengar. Then I would actually be able to enjoy playing Pokémon still. But now, I realize it all. I really am no better than Silver when playing the game, the game may portray me as a loving hero, but I grind my Pokémon to what should be past their limits, I see them as nothing but a bunch of pixels, my tools for my entertainment. I scream at them when they don't work exactly as I planned to. All the while, if they were real, they'd probably be suffering so much, just wanting it all to end, even if it was in death.

If you ever randomly find a Gengar in Crystal, take my word for it and don't catch it. Who knows what "lesson" it has to teach you.

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