Gotta catch em all
It’s that time again, time for another Creepypasta letter. Any of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time now will probably have picked up on the fact that I am a fan of Creepypasta. I love the way the old urban legend/campfire style story has evolved for the digital age.
When I first stumbled across Creepypasta I did so in the videogame genre, particularly listening to Creepypasta readings on YouTube, at first I didn’t understand how this could be considered a scary story, how scary can a story about a videogame be? Especially a hacked videogame. But then I say down and listened to Lost Silver and I started to understand just how immersive and effective this genre of storytelling could be.
By all accounts, this story first appeared on the internet in 2010, long before I heard it. This isn’t a shock, I think I came into the CreepyPasta world a bit late lol.
The story focuses on a Pokémon fan who bought a copy of Pokémon Silver (for those not in the Pokémon fandom the games are generally named after colours). The game was secondhand and found in the bargain bin, once home the player loaded the game and instantly became aware that something was different about this game. There was a saved game already on the system, the trainer’s name was “…”. By this point you’re well aware that something is wrong, the tension is getting higher though it’s mostly nervous confusion at this point. Why is there a nameless trainer in this game? Why wasn’t the cartridge wiped before it was sold? What does any of these mean? Does it even mean anything?
The previously saved game had maxed out money and Pokedex, for those who have not played one of these games this is not an easy thing to do, so it’s creepily impressive. However, the more unsettling thing was that the previous trainer had five Pokémon of the “unknown” variety, a breed of Pokémon that look like letters and a cyndaquill, a fire type. The unknown Pokémon spelt out the word LEAVE in the game and the cyndaquill was named HURRY. While at this point we still don’t have an idea about whats going on, the tension is increasing. We’ve effectively been told to turn back and run away but we have no idea why.
The narrator, like the reader, is slightly freaked out but also curious. So they do not leave the game and instead advance further into it. They quickly find themselves in an area of the game that was all dark, literally a blank screen save from their avatar. They used the move flash to illuminate the screen, but instead of doing so the move turns the area red. Being able to see now, the narrator continues the game and enters a battle. They use the cyndaquill to fight but it dies, this is not something that happens in the game normally, normally pokemon will faint if they lose a battle.
At the end of the story, trainer “…” dies, nameless, alone and forgotten.
On the face of it, this story isn’t really up to much in comparison to some of the others out there. It’s clearly a hacked game that is pretty depressing, telling the story of how all people no matter how successful (maxed money and all Pokémon collected) are still going to die in the end, and we will probably all be forgotten and alone in the end.
However, despite the depressing nature of this story I still enjoy it, it’s a great subversion, taking a well-loved children’s game and turning it on its head. Subversion has always been a key element to horror, hence why we have stories about dolls who come to kill us, children who come to kill us and pets who come to kill us. All these things should be lovely which makes them extremely effective tools for subversion. Something cute is in fact something deadly. The ‘videogame is evil’ concept is becoming something of a trope in it’s own right nowadays but when this story first came out it was pretty fresh and effective.
I recommend checking this one out, but do it as a reading, find someone on YouTube (CreepsMcPasta is a good one), it is much more effective when told through this medium.