It's just a game.. isn't it?

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28th November 2010

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A few weeks ago, I found myself trawling the Underground in my Platinum game. I had already reached the Elite Four, and I was trying to raise money for Potions and Revives. If you’ve ever been down there, you know it’s pretty rare to find stuff like evolutionary stones and fossils, so I was down there a while digging. About one hour in, as I was about to dig into another wall, I got a message: “The wall seems unstable. Are you sure you want to keep digging?” with a YES/NO choice.

I blinked. I didn’t think this message was normal, but hey, I’d never gotten it before and it probably didn’t mean anything. I clicked YES and Zally, my female player character, continued to dig. At every new dig site, I got the same message. But I barely noticed, because I was suddenly finding a lot of expensive items. I probably should have stopped, but I was getting greedy, excited at all the supplies I’d be able to buy. If I’d known what was coming, I would have turned the game off in a heartbeat.

But I pressed on. It was only after a while that I came out of my trance–like state to the sound of rumbling- a low, bass rumble issuing from my DS’s speakers. I peered at the screen- the Underground seemed darker somehow, and that rumble kept growing louder and softer, louder and softer.  As I watched, the lights in the Underground flickered and then went back to normal; the rumbling stopped.

I can’t tell you why I kept digging- I suppose I just wanted more money. The next wall I dug into had another discouraging message. “It might be dangerous to keep digging. Do you want to continue?” I hesitated. What would happen if I didn’t heed the game’s words?

Well, this was Pokémon- a children’s game. It couldn’t be too bad. So, steeling my nerves, I clicked YES.

The dig screen popped up, and I dug up four Rare Bones. I figured this would be a good place to stop, but…

When the screen returned to the Underground, it was obvious something was wrong. The rumbling had returned, louder than ever, and there were huge cracks in the walls. With a loud CRACK, the floor fell out from under Zally’s feet, and the screen went black. I pressed all the buttons, but nothing happened. Puzzled, I booted up my computer and turned to the Internet for answers- perhaps this was some sort of rare event, exclusive to Platinum. But I could find nothing, and my DS screen stayed dark.

Frustrated, I decided to go do something else, hoping that the game was just frozen, and that it might eventually unfreeze. After several minutes of beating up bandits in Oblivion, I heard it.

Drip… Drip… Drip…

The sound had a hollow echo to it. I turned and saw that the DS’s screen had lit up, sitting where I had left it on my table. Picking it, up, I saw that I was in a small cave with no exit. There were jagged, fallen rocks along the walls, and a twisted, broken steel girder lay across the cave. A lantern shone weakly next to the girder, allowing a little light in the darkness.

With a chill, I realized that I wasn’t the only one in the cave. Under the girder lay the sprite of one of the vendors in the Underground, his tiny hand outstretched towards the lantern. It convulsed every so often, like it was straining to reach the lantern.  There were puddles of blood around his prone form, and I couldn’t see his lower half- if it was still there. With horror, I realized what the dripping noise must be. I moved Zally over to him to talk.,

“…. The tunnels… collapsed…. *gasp*” The text moved slowly, as if to emphasize his pain. “I can’t feel my legs…”

He would only repeat those two sentences. I realized that I was somehow trapped here, in the Underground. At the same time, I knew this must be some kind of hack. I had bought this cartridge used, and even though it was smooth sailing up until this point, I knew nothing like this would ever be programmed in by Nintendo.

 Frightened, I tried to open the menu, but the menu displayed was the Overworld menu from above ground. My Pokémon were all gone, and most of the items I’d had were too. I still had the last couple items I’d dug up, the Rare Bones.  I tried to use the Explorer Kit, but all it said was “You can’t return to the surface now!” Closing the menu, I went over to the vendor.  He was no longer moving, and the puddle of blood had grown larger. When I pressed A in front of him, Zally only said “…He’s not moving…” Then a message popped up saying “You got the Lantern.”

Sure enough, when I moved around, the little circle of light that the lantern had given off followed me. But what was I meant to do now? I couldn’t dig out to the Overworld, after all. I wandered around the small cave, trying to find an opening. Eventually, I noticed that one of the walls sparkled in the light of the lantern. I clicked on it, and sure enough, a text box popped up. “This wall seems thin. There might be something on the other side. Do you want to dig into it?”

Well, I clicked YES- what else could I do? A rumbling sound effect played, and a hole popped open in the wall. I rushed through, hoping to get back to the Overworld and sell my items.

I wish I hadn’t.

The hole led into a tunnel full of corpses. Male and female sprites, Pokémon, all half-buried in the walls or crushed under rocks… puddles of blood…. Limbs… I cringed, tears in my eyes, as I stared at the horror before me. I tried to use the Explorer Kit again, but this time it said “There is no surface to go back to!” I steeled myself, and walked on though the horrific hallway. As I went on, the corpses appeared to be more decayed, older… as if they’d been there longer. And messages would pop up every so often….

“Zally feels lightheaded!”

“Zally feels nauseous!”

“Zally is slowing down.”

“Zally is tired…”

“Zally doesn’t have enough air…”

At that last one, I shuddered. I’d noticed that my character was walking slower than before… By now, the corpses littering my path were merely skeletons, little white bones gleaming in the darkness.  Suddenly, the tunnel ended in a semi-circular rocky opening, with a dim light shining out of it- kind of like when you exit a cave. I almost got excited, thinking I would finally get out of this nightmare, but then I remembered what happened last time I’d been offered a way out…. But my Explorer Kit still didn’t work, so there was only one thing I could do. I stepped inside.

It was a large room; whereas the hallway had been so narrow I could see both walls with the meager lantern’s light, this room’s walls extended into darkness. The dripping noise had returned, louder than before. I stepped forward, and suddenly the room was illuminated by an eerie, purple light. A shadow sat in the center of the room, surrounded by six flat-topped rocks arranged in a circle. On each rock sat a jumble of dark shapes I couldn’t make out.  A grinding noise was playing through the DS’s speakers, like rocks shifting against each other. I couldn’t move Zally, and I was about ready to drop the DS and run down the street to my friend’s house.

Abruptly, the light in the room brightened, turning white. It was then that I realized what the things on the flat-topped rocks were.

They were bound with cords, each one’s body twisted in agony, little more than entrails at this point… their chests and stomachs ripped open, bones exposed to the open air, spilling gruesomely rendered blood and guts out onto the rocks on which they lay and the floor around them.

They were… they were my Pokémon.

And the blobby shadow in the middle of the room… that awful shadow… spoke to me.

“ …




The screen flashed black and white, and I jumped before I realized it was the segue into a Pokémon battle. There was no music, just the grinding and cracking noise from before. The thing sat where the enemy Pokémon would typically sit, no longer a shadow but a decaying corpse, its graying skin splattered with blood.  Where its name would usually go, there was only a bunch of glitchy text and symbols.

“*glitch* wants to EAT YOU.”

Of course, I had no Pokémon, so Zally herself stood to face the monster. The only option on the battle screen was STRUGGLE (not Fight, like normal).

“Zally is too afraid to attack! *glitch*used BITE!” Zally flashed red, and her HP went down a bit. With horror, I realized that the thing wasn’t going to kill her quickly..

“*glitch*used CRUNCH! *glitch* used RIP! *glitch*used BITE!” Zally’s HP went down a little more each turn; she was afraid to attack, while he kept nipping away at her. Finally, her HP was nearly exhausted, and she appeared covered in wounds. The thing readied its final attack.

“*glitch* used DEVOUR.*

Suddenly, the battle ended and I was back in the cave. The monster spoke once more to my bloodied avatar.





Suddenly, he lunged at Zally, and the screen flashed images…

Images of her being eaten, ripped and torn open, of her insanely fearful face, of her Pokémon , somehow reanimated by its evil power, even joining in and helping that thing destroy her body… like mindless animals… while a long, high pitched, painful scream seemed to split the world in two.

Suddenly, the screen winked off.

I ran to the bathroom and vomited.

It’s been a few days since this occurred. I haven’t slept- the nightmares won’t leave me alone. Other than that, nothing unusual has happened, other than the fact that whenever I turn on my DS and try to play Platinum, those horrid images keep playing over and over on the screen.

I’ve been avidly researching Pokémon hacks… it seems there is no shortage of creepypasta floating around out there on the Internet. I haven’t been able to find anything like the one I experienced (though I’m still not sure whether my game is possessed or whether some fucked-up hacker is to blame for what happened.) Well… there was one story… the one about Lavender Town Syndrome… and Buried Alive. As I read the story, those images of Zally being eaten …. It seemed too similar to that creepypasta to be a coincidence. Maybe, as insane as this might sound, some talented hacker decided to recreate that event in the Platinum game that I happened to buy….

I know one thing for sure. Now that I’m done writing this, I’m going out to the river and throwing that cartridge in. No matter why this happened, I don’t want to even see that cartridge ever again.

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