I was a gamer.
That's the one sentence that's going to start my telling of my experience.
I would pretty much head to GameStop every Saturday to get a pile of brand new games. I didn't have much allowance, but when I heard a game was out, I would annoyingly call my brother David from his room to drive me to GameStop. He loved it, and secretly, the only reason why he kept bringing me back is because he was a gamer as well.
Me and David went to the local GameStop so much the employees were greeting us by our names. Some of them even slipped us some free games over the years, which I would love. I was 10 at the time, so I wasn't into games like Grand Theft Auto, but David was. He was all about M-rated games. He knew trivia, information, everything about them.
But the games I knew about were the same kid stuff. Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, LittleBigPlanet, stuff like that. Me and David would even do contests in the car driving back home about how much we knew about our newly bought games. Whoever lost had to eat something terrible, like raw eggs.
Manly, but disgusting.
One time my brother lost one of our car contests and he ate his own toenail clippings...
I'm getting off track.
So one Saturday morning, I called my brother to get a game. Kirby's Epic Yarn, I believe. He was quick to pick up, knowing the "GameStop routine". We drove there, my brother listening to the radio like every normal car ride. We had the same interest in music, so whatever he put on was instantly recognized. Good old times.
We got to GameStop, seeing familiar faces and... one unfamiliar face. A new employee wearing a wrinkled up and stained GameStop uniform. His brown hair was messy and he was about 20-25 years old. He had some stubble and his nametag read "Duncan". This man, Duncan, was bored and tired, despite the fact he was working in gamer paradise. We were about to buy Kirby's Epic Yarn, but Duncan stopped us. Duncan stared at us for a few moments and looked left and right before giving us a Pokemon game.
One of my favorite game series! I loved Pokemon, I knew almost all 151, and I had a Pokemon-themed blanket! Duncan stared at me right in the eye and said this wasn't for me. It was for DAVID. Apparently, Duncan knew David from high-school. They shook hands and everything. Duncan gave him the game and off we went. The funny thing is I never got Kirby's Epic Yarn. I instead went home with absolutely nothing.
We got home without doing our weekly "car contests", and as soon as we got to the front door, he shut the door to his room and started up his old Gameboy. It was getting late, and I had to go to bed. I tucked myself in and went to bed. I had quite the dream, being a blue Charizard.
I woke up, brushed my teeth and went down for a nice waffle breakfast. However, something was odd. My brother wasn't at the table. I asked where he was, and Mom said he's being bothered by something. Since I was an idiotic kid, I didn't think about the game at all. My brother eventually came down and sat without saying a word. We ate, and all that time his eyes were focused on the food, almost unblinking. When we were done eating, he just went back to his room and I heard the door lock.
Being a Sunday, I didn't have to go to school. I spent most of that day watching cartoons and playing Pokemon games of my own. I also went on some gaming forum and discussed that my brother got a free game. I was a bit jealous, but not to the point where I would steal his game.
I heard a scream from my brother's room. Curiousity got the best of me and I went to his room. Due to a small hole in the door, I looked inside and saw my brother sitting on his bed, hands buried in his face. Not literally, of course. His hands were covering his face. I asked him if he was alright, and he just stayed silent. After a few moments, he looked at me and he put his finger through the hole in the door. His finger slowly pointed down. And when I looked down, there was the cartridge, it's label facing the floor. I gasped and I scooped it up in my hands like a baby, not even looking at it.
I put the cartridge into an old Gameboy Advance my dad had given to me and started the game. I was expecting to see what had my brother so worried. I almost looked away when it loaded, but to my surprise everything was normal besides the name of the game, that was "Pokemon Extinguished".
FREAKING. POKEMON. EXTINGUISHED. I believed at the time this is what got my brother so down, he had got a bootleg game from an old friend. An old friend he had good old times with. The title screen had a bright animation, and a Charizard was flying across the screen in it's pixelated glory. The animation was an orange logo with flames on top of it. These flames looked like they were drawn in Microsoft Paint, but I didn't care. Maybe laziness on the animator's part. Suddenly, the screen flashed bright blue and the logo was black. Charred, almost.
The logo was extinguished. I saw it's cleverness, extinguishing the logo when the game was named "Pokemon Extinguished". However, I noticed one small detail other than the extinguished logo. The Charizard was slowly falling down, like a plane losing control. It's tail's flame was missing as well. The Charizard abruptly fell down and landed with a roar. As soon as it fell, the game's screen turned to black and the game begun. Note that there was no start button or anything like that on the title screen. Not even a Continue button.
The game started off with a professor named "Professor Cherr". It was a female professor, and just like the flames, was seemingly drawn in MS Paint. Although it was noticeable, it seemed like a good drawing and actually looked like it could be in a real game.
"Greetings, young one! Welcome to the world of Pokemon, an amazing place where we are at one with the creatures of this world called Pokemon!"
I typed my name, Howard, chose my gender, and continued. The transition from the gender screen to my digital room was with a light blue splash of water. I was sleeping in my bed unlike the other Pokemon games. My "snoring" continued for about a minute before my character finally woke up. The television was on, and it was displaying the news with a text box on the bottom saying what the news was.
"BREAKING NEWS - Town set on fire by Charizard! Tragedies occur! Five injured, twenty deaths! Only one house spared!"
It seemed odd to me at first, but I just ignored it continued downstairs. I was never greeted by my mom. The second I stepped outside, I gasped. The buildings were black, or charred, rather. It was like a burnt down ghost town, except for the laboratory. I met Professor Cherr, she was upbeat and happy despite the fact that the entire town just got burnt. She was more than happy to give me my Pokemon. To fit in with the extinguished theme of the game, I picked Squirtle. You know, to extinguish flames?
I stepped outside, and went to the first route. The grass was all charred, so there were no wild Pokemon. Well... ALIVE wild Pokemon. I saw some charred Rattata and a few Caterpie on the ground, one of them still burning. I was getting a little creeped out now. I arrived at my first town, called "Punynap Town". This town was burnt down to the ground, not even close to charred. There were no buildings, but there were some pet Pokemon such as Lillipup and Houndoom that lay charred. I even saw some villagers charred, laying on the ground, unmoving. There was a woman that was slowly dying on the ground.
There was a gurgling noise, presumably from the woman's charred and messed up throat. The noise stopped like a sound clip being cut off, and the woman lay there, dead. I was getting creeped out now, so I went and asked my brother what exactly was going on.
He was busy doing something. I tried looking in the hole in the door, but it was blocked by a piece of paper. I was smarter than to just walk away, so I got a pair of scissors and ripped the paper a little through the hole. I could look through now, but all I could see was my brother cutting off the flame part of his Charizard plushie.
I went back and continued playing my game. I looked at the screen, but I was in a different town. "Orangeme Town" was the name. I walked around, and there were charred buildings. The same charred buildings for every town I went to. "Rosebush Town", "Redyellow Town", "Mary Town" and even "Furrychu Town". It's like the creator of this thing wasn't ever trying.
I continued to explore until I found a waterfall at the end of "Cheery Town". I went up to it, and without any text box or anything like that, I slipped and fell down the waterfall. There was a cutscene with my character falling down the waterfall, hitting my fragile body parts on rocks and crap. A cry came from the speakers, and a Charizard was headed for the route ahead. The cutscene was over, and I was in the route with a few cuts on my sprite. I saw the charred route, the grass still on fire. My character moved slower, as if in pain. I made sure to avoid the flaming grass, not sure what would happen if I touched one of the grass patches.
A battle started, and it was my cut up sprite versus a level 100 Charizard. I couldn't press any buttons except the attacks. I tried using "Hit", but it wasn't very effective. It didn't lower any of the Charizard's health. I tried "Kick", and it lowered it's health by a few pixels. The Charizard starting attacking after I did all 4 moves on the dragon. It's move was nameless, but it tried to burn me. It missed, but that wasn't really the attack.
It was like a smoke bomb, the Charizard was actually flying through the flames to charge right into me. And it worked. I was sent flying backwards, but a few seconds after, I limped over to the battle screen. I could now select a Pokemon, and I selected Squirtle.
I used Tackle. It did absolutely nothing. The Charizard attacked my Squirtle with Body Slam, crushing the poor thing's shell. I had four moves which has no effect on the Charizard. I thought for a moment, looking at the attacks. That's when I noticed something. To the left of the attacks screen was a tiny, barely noticeable box. I selected it, and it grew in size, replacing one of the other moves.
"Squirtle learned Water Gun!"
I used the move, and the game took it's precious time to use it. After a minute, it decided to use it, and water was launched at the Charizard without any warning. I noticed the water stream wasn't directed toward the Charizard's body.
It was directed toward it's tail.
"It's super effective!"
The Charizard did a little animation, it walking around, dizzy, on it's last moments of life. But the last thing it did before falling on the floor was hitting my Squirtle with it's extinguished tail. Squirtle fell to the ground, unmoving. Both of them had unique replacements for "fainted".
And the game took it's precious time again to display the final error message, the final thing the game would ever display to my horrified eyes.
"Charizard was extinguished."
The Gameboy Advance just turned off after that. I tried to turn it on again, but I couldn't. I removed the cartridge, and it still wouldn't turn on. I looked at the Gameboy Advance, finally realizing the game had broken it. I sighed, still scared and half expecting the Charizard to fly into my room and burn me alive. I opened the door, shaking, with the cartridge in hand. I put the cartridge in my brother's door's hole, and it fell to the ground like a coin being out in an arcade machine. My brother slowly opened the door, and with wet eyes he hugged me tight. I hugged back, still shaken by the game,
David took the cartridge, holding my hand and dragging me along. We went to the front door and we threw the hellspawn out, seeing it as absolute garbage. We even thought of suing the GameStop, but we decided not to. My brother let go of my hand and walked back inside like nothing had ever happened. I was visualy still scared, wondering why he walked away acting like nothing ever happened. I remember staring into the garbage can for a few seconds just to make sure Charizard wouldn't fly out and kill me...
I was an idiot.
A few weeks later, almost forgetting about the incident, we drove to the local GameStop again to see what they had in store. I bought a classic, Pokemon FireRed, after I saw a cartridge with it's label on the floor below the other classics. We drove home, doing a car contest.
I started up the game, excited. My brother looked back at me playing the game while he was walking up the stairs, and after eyeing the game for a little while, kept walking upstairs. I was so excited to finally play a new, REAL Pokemon game again. I started the game up, holding my device close to my face...
I think Mom left the oven on.
Written by TheChromePerson
Published by Time1337