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I was on the site a couple of days ago and came across the post that had a Mediafire download for a rom called False Red. Excited, I downloaded the game and started it up, eager to find out what was so different about it compared to Fire Red. At first, it seemed as if it the only difference was that it was just snowing constantly. But then I noticed how all the signs always said, “Come home” and how panicked and angry Gary became when he saw my player, ‘Red’.
The more and more I play the game, the more and more I feel that my player, ‘Red’, is unwelcome in it’s world. I’m not the Red they love and miss, and the other characters, including Gary, as well as every sign I read, won’t stop reminding me of this. ‘Red’ doesn’t belong there and he is a fake of the original, trying to steal his life and pass it off as his own. Eventually, I came to a conclusion about the game False Red and where the real ‘Red’ of the game really is.
I was already feeling pretty down after playing the ROM, but after thinking this one through, I felt even worse.
He is the RED that was in Pokemon Glitchy Red.
Remember that game? The one with the bootleg Pokemon Red where the original hero, RED, is aware that is in fact a character in a game and takes it out on you? He is most likely the Red that the, also aware of their existence, characters of False Red are waiting for. That or he is dead; the fate of all the Reds once the player decides to start a New Game or move onto Fire Red instead.
Both Glitchy Red and False Red and connected to each other with the characters suffering in their own, horrible ways; some caused by you, unintentional or not.
Red: He is stuck in a world which he knows is just a game, while his whole life and actions are controlled by you, the player. And, with just a press of a button, they can be ended by you. Or corrupted and destroyed, if you decided to do the Missingno cheat. All his achievements are not really his own and, with the release of Gold and Silver, he’s been replaced and the player doesn’t even care about him or his story anymore. The Red you face in the second generation games isn’t even the real him. The real Red is left to rot forgotten or be corrupted by the glitches. Most die the moment a player decides to start a new game.
RED from Glitchy Red is just one of the Reds who didn’t die completely and is left alone, feeling angry and betrayed.
Green and the NPC: False Red is just a game where the characters, after dying yet again to start a new game, retained their memories. They’re still waiting for their home town hero to come back and remember his adventure. So when the new hero of the game arrives, they’re confused and reject him. While in Green’s case, actively try to fight and stop him. Green now also knows he is stuck in a game and that things aren’t as they should be. He, like RED, is angry and doesn’t want his life to be controlled anymore. Especially since he was never the hero of the game to begin with. He’s the ‘rival’ who you can name and who you, the player, beat at every change; even killing his Ratticate and stealing his grandfather’s respect from.
At least you, the player, like Red since he’s essentially you. Who cares about Green or Oak or your mum, right?
Fire Red/False Red: The replacement for the original Red in the new remakes, in False Red he’s suffering for something that isn’t even his own fault. He’s the only one who doesn’t realise that he’s trapped in a game, and no matter where he goes he’s told he should not be. All the other characters keep talking about someone else and how he looks like him but is a fake. Even his own ‘mother’ doesn’t acknowledge, referring to another son that she misses.The rival, Green, is just absolutely crazy. But, at the end, when this ‘Red’ has beaten the Elite Four with his own Pokemon, he’s told that by even Professor Oak that the whole story is now over. And all he can do is watch as his life is ended, now understanding why while you, the player, move onto Ruby, Sapphire, Diamond etc.
Game Over indeed.
Now, lastly, think of this: The original second generation games, Gold, Silver and Crystal, have now been replaced by the updated remakes, Pokemon Heart Gold and Pokemon Soul Silver. And, just like with the original Red, the character of Crystal has been removed and replaced with a new character: Soul Silver. The very first female playable character in a Pokemon game is just discarded for another female character who only bears a slight resemblance to her, but gets to live her adventures and steal her life anyway.
Which brings me to Pokemon Stolen Silver.
My friend had bought it off of Ebay, finding the cheap price too hard to resist. It was obviously a bootleg of Soul Silver, because there were slight differences with the cartridge. She played it for about a day before giving it to me, saying she found it too weird. I was a bit wary at first about popping the thing into my DS, but decided to do it anyway. I was curious about exactly what she meant by ‘“weird” and I figured there wouldn’t be any pixelated glitches to freak me out like the first and second generation Pokemon games had.
I started a new game and got through the whole introduction and, apart from the washed out colours the game was, just like Soul Silver. I chose the girl character and named her Silver and started the game. Nothing weird happened until I made my way downstairs and talked to my mum.
Normally, the mum should walks up to me and then tell me how my friend was just round and also that Professor Elm needs a favour from me. In this game, a pop-up with a question mark came over her head and her character ran up to me, before saying: “Who are you? You’re not my daughter. Why are you here?” There was a lot more text but I just rushed through it, unable to believe what I was reading. I thought maybe that was a slight glitch or prank on the creator of the bootleggers part, so I continued playing.
I made my way outside and went to see my rival, who was standing by the window of the lab, as usual. I walked up to him and pressed A. “… This was the last place I saw her…” And then he turned round to me and said, in capital letters might I add, “YOU STOLE HER LIFE!” before kicking my character away.
It was then that I shut off the game and chucked it away. It was reminding me too much of my experience playing False Red and I didn’t want to play something as sad as that again.
Still… I wonder if Crystal’s mum misses her just as much as Red’s…?
If I had continued playing, would Soul Silver read “We miss you” every time she read a sign in the game? Would she have had to constantly live in the shadow of Crystal and be told by just about every character that she didn’t belong there, just like Fire Red?