Author Topic: Beware the Surf (Finally Posting my Pokepasta entry!)  (Read 672 times)

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   Back in 1998, I was in fifth grade and my school was hit by what I could only describe as ‘Pokemania’. Honestly, it didn’t surprise me at all, considering how little happened in the small, Illinois countryside town I lived in at the time. I was swept up with the rest of the kids in this sort of Pokemon fever, I collected the cards and watched the anime, but I was never able to play the original Gameboy games. My friend George had Red version, and he let me watch him play every day at recess. Whenever I asked him if I could play, he told me it only had one save file, and if I started a new game I’d erase all of his progress.
I remember begging my mom for a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue, so that I could trade with George, but the answer was always the same, ‘Maybe you’ll get it for your birthday’. It was like that for a whole year, until my birthday finally rolled around. When I opened my presents, I had this feeling in my stomach that what my mom had promised me wouldn’t be in any of the brightly wrapped boxes, and I was right.
Pokemon slowly got pushed out of the limelight by other fads from Japan, I still watched the anime from time to time, but I gave up on the card game a few months after my birthday after trying to learn the rules to properly play. However, I still wanted to play the games, if only to say that I had. My chance would finally come after a couple of years, when my mom placed a small box, wrapped in red and blue polkadotted paper, in front of me.
I smiled up at her, asking her what the present was for. “Let’s just call it a late birthday present, sweetie.” she said, and it took me a few seconds to fully understand what she meant. When it finally hit me, I tore the paper off the box like it was full of jewels. As I pulled the lid off the gift, I saw a Gameboy Advance with a copy of Pokemon: Gold Version.
“I know it’s not exactly what you wanted,” my mom said as she took a seat next to me, “but I figured you’d want the new version.” I hadn’t even realized that Gold and Silver had come out, and the new Pokemon in the show had been written off in my mind as ones that only existed in the cartoon, like Togepi. My mom laughed as I snatched up the clear plastic GBA and Pokemon cartridge, and quickly ran up to my room.
I sat on my bed right as the game booted up, and the small jingle noise of the Gameboy Advanced logo echoed from the speaker. I skipped the opening scene of the game and got right to the title screen, before starting my very first Pokemon adventure. I’ll spare you some of the more boring details of the game, like the opening of the game that most fans would know, but I’ll tell you I decided to name my character George. He had moved away last year, and told me he was starting a new game on his Red Version before his last day of school.

“I’ll name the main guy after you, Mark.” He told me, and I felt like I was going to cry. I hadn’t cried since my grandpa’s funeral, but this was a different type of crying I wanted to do. I had held back my tears and pat my best friend on the back hard, and watched as he deleted his main file and kept to his word as he restarted. So, it only felt right to name the main character in my Gold Version George, and I picked the fire-type, Cyndaquill, since he had always started with Charmander in Red Version.
Most of the game went really good in the beginning, I named the rival Buttface (as most of the kids in my school did back in fifth grade), I had beaten Falkner, Bugsy, and Whitney, and I figured out I had to talk to Whitney again to get her badge after ten minutes of walking around Goldenrod City. I had made it to Ecruteak City after about an hour of playing, and went to challenge the gym leader Morty in his invisibly maze gym. It was an easy battle, all of Morty’s pokemon where ghost/poison type, and I had caught a Sandshrew in Union Cave after beating Falkner, and ground types are strong against poison so I didn’t have a lot to worry about. I beat Morty with a little bit of a hiccup when my Sandshrew fainted.

After going through the usual dialogue all the gym leaders said, where they give you their badge and their favorite T.M., Morty took a step back and the lights in the gym faded off and on, off and on, until he took a step forward, looking right at my character.“George,” the gym leader said through speech bubble, “beware of the water.” I had no idea what he meant, but I assumed it was just part of the game, since he just said it again when I went to talk to him. I moved on right after healing up my team at the Pokemon Center, heading straight toward Olivine City.

Most Pokemon fans know what I was in for by this point, the climb to the top of the lighthouse, and the sidequest with the Ampharos that needs the special potion from Cianwood City. I checked my map once I got the sidequest, and I noticed something that made me shiver. Cianwood City was on an island, surrounded by water, with no bridge to get there. I had gotten Surf earlier from the Kimono Girls in Ecruteak, but I forgot about it until now. I felt uneasy when I stepped up to the edge of the beach of Olivine, and told my Quagsire to use Surf.

Route 47 was all water, with bits of islands and Swimmer trainers dotting the blue waves, and it seemed like it was the same calm water I had seen George’s Pokemon swim through in his Red Version. I smiled to myself, my worry being replaced with the possibility that Morty had been programmed to warn me about some legendary Pokemon I might encounter, and then the sound of lightning cracked from my GBA’s speakers. I jumped, and in an instant the screen went black, and a speech box popped up, “George has blacked out, and drowned.” I turned off my game, getting a ticked off since I hadn’t saved since Ecruteak.

The next day, my mom called me down from my room, She handed me the phone, and I asked who it was. “Mark, honey, it’s George’s mom. George went swimming last night in their pool, and… Well, he dived in and hit his head. It knocked him out, and… I’m sorry honey, but George is dead.”