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Saturday, June 15, 2024

#GeekFails – Pokemon Red

[box_light]Geeks will often laugh at the mistakes made by non-Geeks about things we feel are important but we are not perfect in these areas either. In an ongoing feature, Geek Pride are going to cover some of the geeky failures made by the writers and contributors to the site. First off, we have Sean P. Wallace:[/box_light]

Now, I am a person who has a tendency to make mistakes, particularly when it comes to the names of characters; only the other day, I called Samwell Tarly from the Game of Thrones series Samwise Gamgee.

But this kind of mistake doesn’t contribute a proper #GeekFail. No, for that I need to take you back to 1999 and the release of Pokemon Red.

Pokemon Red, to me and my peers at the time, was what one would call A Big Deal. It was the game everyone wanted, following the success of the Pokemon cartoon which held many of us rapt. I had a paper round at the time and so I saved up my money and got my parents to order me a copy from Gameplay (back when the games we wanted had to be ordered over the phone from a listing in a Gaming magazine!). My brother got a copy too, as did a mutual friend.

When it arrived, we were straight onto our journeys to become Pokemon Masters. I chose a Squirtle and blasted past Brock and onto Misty. Team Rocket were defeated along the way and I rescued that daft Bill from having turned himself into a computer. I fought to level up my little squad of creatures and then defeated Misty.

And became completely stuck.

I didn’t know what to do next. There was no obvious route to get out of Cerulean City. A tree I could CUT blocked my path but that HM wasn’t available to me. Routes 24 and 25 were dead ends. I’d been in every house and there was no plot, no way of continuing. I spent hours trying to get on but did not know where to go.

And it should be made clear that this was before there was serious access to walkthroughs or tips on the Internet. None of the magazines I read through could tell me where I should go and neither my brother nor my friend could get past this point. The problem was that I spent so long on this part of the game that I became convinced that the game was broken, that there was a bug in the game.

I called up Gameplay (remember them?) and told them that the game was broken. They, in even more of a #GeekFail, listened to me complain about not being able to progress and then accepted that they were at fault, so they sent me another copy.

I got this new copy and, rather aggravated but pleased to have a ‘working’ version, started again. I put in more hours, was more wise about the challenges up until Cerulean City, and then eventually beat Misty again.

And continued to be completely stuck. So I returned the game again.

Thankfully, the third time was the charm. I got up to the Cerulean Gym and worked out that one of the houses changes after you’ve beaten Misty… something I’d not thought to check in almost 40 hours of gaming.

Eventually, I would move on to become a proper Pokemon Master, legitimately getting all 150 Pokemon without any cheats. But I never lived down that part of my career. And whenever I play Fire Red, I wince as I get to the Cerulean Gym and remember my ridiculous #GeekFail.

Sean is an editor, writer, and podcast host at Geek Pride, as well as a novelist. His self-published works can be found at all good eBook stores.

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