The start of the gameSo, my brother and I, we kind of grew up on Pokémon. Around here a lot of kids did. It worked out perfectly for us, too - every time a new gen came out one of us would get one version, one of us would get the other, and since our mom liked to spoil us, we both got the 3rd one.
This is going to sound, at first, like a bittersweet story about two siblings who grow up with a couple of games that eventually take them down two different roads… Well, it’s a little more than that.
The years rolled by, we kept collecting. Gameboys got old; we replaced them. Cartridges finally gave out, we picked up new copies. But we started down two completely different roads before Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald came out. See, around then my brother got a GameShark. We had heard all the cheats you could do with them, even if we were kind of late to the party, and they sounded awfully cool.
Our first guinea pig cartridge was my brother’s old Blue version. We just played around with it a little bit, nothing major. But whatever we did crashed the cartridge up. After just a couple of code entries, it glitched out completely and became unplayable. Naturally we were upset at first; my brother mourned the loss of his hours of work, and I was sympathetic. I told him, “It’s okay, we can replace it I guess. Stupid shark was a waste of money.”
But here our paths finally differed. After seeing the mess it had turned Blue version into, I had become opposed to the idea of cheating any of my games. (What can I say? I’m a chick. I feel feelings for the little pixel-critters.) At least with that GameShark. But my brother had taken his game’s destruction as a personal challenge or something - I don’t think he ever played a game after that which wasn’t crashed somehow. Yeah, we played tons of Pokémon, man. But for us there really wasn’t much else to do; we live way out in the country without many other kids, and the farmers didn’t want us on their property… so… we played Pokémon out on the lawn just about all day, every day. It was pretty awesome to us, at least. We lost the GameShark when our rooms got moved around. A new addition was built onto our house and it disappeared in the mess of poo that got stuffed into the new closet.
Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald arrived, and after playing through them once we were both in agreement that they were definitely lacking in comparison to the last gen. We both tried another honest play-through, and though we managed to finish, it left us both yearning for some good old-fashioned nostalgia. Where were our old Gold, Silver, and Crystal cartridges though? It took us probably a month to dig through the boxes we’d been too lazy to open up before, but we finally found one box with tons of all our old electronics: My old purple Gameboy Color still worked, his red one could no longer hold batteries in place. Both of our GBAs were fine, though, along with our snakelights and link cables, that one with the nifty little connector in the middle that I had always wrapped up oh-so-carefully to avoid fraying the wires and condemning it to the trash like our last cable. We both grabbed up everything we could. It was so nice to have Yellow (which had been my first and most cherished game of any series, not just Pokémon) and Red and Gold back.
We went through the motions of checking our old files, taking in all the old memories, and eventually we figured the gen 1 stuff was just too nostalgic to get rid of. I restarted Gold, he restarted Silver. Immediately he snatched the GameShark out of the box and slipped it into the back of his GBA. I just shook my head at him. I remember what I said to him.
“That thing will crash your game, you know.”
He never had liked me preaching to him about ‘hating pixels.’ I shut my mouth after that, but it had put him off from playing with me. I guess it was just one time too many or something; I oughta know to keep my thoughts to myself, really…
It was a couple of days later that it happened. I was out on the porch, Gameboy in-hand, just about to go into the Elite 4 when I realized I needed a little help. My team was ill-balanced thanks to my playing through for leisure, and at the time I was no great trainer that could pull off gimmick runs. I knew that my brother had been two badges ahead of me when we’d last checked with one another, so I was hoping maybe he’d let me borrow a Pokémon or two just for this run-through.
Now, the thing is that I’d spent the last 24 hours at a friend’s place. I had literally come home, dumped my bag in my room, and crept out into the sun with my GBA to play. I had no idea what he’d been up to. For all I knew he was done with the game and onto a new one… which, I figured, was all the better for me since he wouldn’t need those Pokémon and I’d stand a better chance of nicking a few. So I got up and went into the house, and when I was crossing the living room I noticed all of his Pokémon games lying on the floor. Some of the cartridges had been mangled, like they’d been crashed at with something sharp. Even his old Blue version, long ago dead and too sentimental to throw away, was lying with the plastic cut ragged, split almost halfway up one side, completely unusable anymore even if it would have worked. I was a little scared. This had to have happened this morning, otherwise our mom would have seen and they wouldn’t be lying on the carpet. Tucking my GBA into my pocket, I crept over to his room and found the door unlocked. Somehow that was even more concerning.