Disturbing Pokémon hack ponders the inevitability of death
This post over at Tiny Cartridge details an interesting and unsettling bootleg version of Pokémon that the author came across once. The hack gave the player a choice of a Pokémon named Ghost at the start of the game, whose only attack was “curse” — which would instantly damn the soul of the opponent and banish them from this earthly realm.
When the move “Curse” was used in battle, the screen would cut to black. The cry of the defending Pokémon would be heard, but it was distorted, played at a much lower pitch than normal. The battle screen would then reappear, and the defending Pokémon would be gone. If used in a battle against a trainer, when the Pokéballs representing their Pokemon would appear in the corner, they would have one fewer Pokéball.
Although it was a bootleg with no mass production, some serious thought went into the implications of this power. Playing with the hand of death eventually catches up to the player.
Another cut to black. A few moments later, the battle screen suddenly appeared — your trainer sprite was now that of an old man, the same one as the one who teaches you how to catch Pokémon in Viridian City.
Ghost appeared on the other side, along with the words “GHOST wants to fight!”.
You couldn’t use items, and you had no Pokémon. If you tried to run, you couldn’t escape. The only option was “FIGHT”.
Using fight would immediately cause you to use Struggle, which didn’t affect Ghost but did chip off a bit of your own HP. When it was Ghost’s turn to attack, it would simply say “…” Eventually, when your HP reached a critical point, Ghost would finally use Curse.
The screen cut to black a final time.
Pretty existential for a kids’ game.