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I was introduced to the video game realm a tad later than most other people. For most, if not all, of my early childhood I was isolated from other kids, and I had next to no social interactions. My days were spent in a prison like school and my nights rotted away with mind-numbing TV. Life was dull and boring, and all I had were my stuffed animals and cheap, plastic toys to talk to. That's when I got a Gamecube.
It was the Christmas of 2003, I believe. I was overjoyed at having my own video game station. It came with the games Super Mario Sunshine, Pac Man World 2, and Pokemon Channel. Each of those games still hold a special place in my heart today. As soon as the Gamecube was set up and ready to go I began playing it immediately.
The first game I played was Super Mario Sunshine. This game is what got me hooked onto the Mario series. After playing it for hours straight, and finally finding a level I just couldn't get past, I turned to Pac Man World 2. Amazingly enough, I got stuck on level two. Infuriated that I couldn't find the way out even though the answer was literally right in front of my eyes, I quit and started playing my first ever Pokemon game:
As soon as I turned the game on I knew this game was going to be different from the other two. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the game. When the time came for me to name my Pikachu I unwittingly named him BRVR, short for Brother. What compelled me to give him such a strange nickname that didn't even sound like a shortened version of brother, I'll never know, but regardless, I still enjoyed playing.
There is no way for me to describe the love I felt towards this game. It was everything that I had ever dreamed of. In this game I had a friend that I could play with. It all took place in the Pokemon world too, which I had already loved before I even got Pokemon Channel. I could watch TV with my best friend BRVR, go fishing with him, play tic-tac-toe with him, talk to other Pokemon with him, grow a garden with him, build a snowman with him, explore ancient ruins with him, play musicals with him, sit around camp fires and tell stories with him, gaze at the stars with him, all the things I never got to experience in real life, I was able to do in this virtual world with BRVR, the best friend I never had.
I was obviously overly addicted to the game, but I had nothing else to use up my time with, so instead I put it all into this game. Oblivious to all the things happening in the real world, I preferred to live my life in this Pokemon fantasy with my best friend, BRVR.
BRVR seemed like more than just a virtual animated 3D model forced to do his actions based on the programming of the game, he seemed real to me. If I was ever sad one day, he would appear to look and act depressed too. If I was ever angry, he would show and express my rage during that play of the game too. If I needed something to cheer me up, he would act silly and leap at me and do other idiotic things too. Later on, when I grew older and wiser I just assumed that all of these strange events never really happened and when I was younger I had just simply imagined it, but it was still fun to pretend he was real.
As the years passed, I got more games. I had acquired a Gameboy, which along with it came more Pokemon games, where I could have more than just a single Pikachu. My interests also floated to different series like Mario and Sonic. After playing Pokemon Channel so many times and doing the same things over and over again it starts to get a bit boring. I started playing it less and less and other games more and more, but I still gave Pokemon Channel a play every now and then.
Eventually I changed schools and my whole life changed. I was moved from a private, christian school to a public school and my eyes were opened to reality. I started to learn new things about real life which helped me enjoy it more. People weren't mean and cruel to me, they would greet me when I passed them in the halls. I discovered I could do more than just play video games, I could draw, there were thousands of songs I could listen to, and my grades started dramatically rising.
But the best part of all was that I got a new friend. A real friend. One who was flesh and blood. She was funny and helped me get used to the school and was someone I could talk to besides my parents. We both had the same immature and mock everything in every possible way kind of minds. I finally had a best friend.
While I started to grow in both body and mind Pokemon Channel was slowly forgotten. I moved on to greater and better games. Almost all the things I could do in the game I was able to do in real life now. BRVR was replaced by my real life best friend. He and the game had become obsolete, forgotten on a dusty shelf in a dark corner of the room.
For the next couple of years life was golden. Each day I would learn something new and I had a ton of fun with my best friend. I made a few other friends too, but no one could top my best friend. Every now and then I'd get a new game, get some money, go do something with my best friend, draw something, listen to music. I never wished for anything more.
Good things never last.
Eventually I had to move. I protested and threw a fit but to no avail. Trying to stop the tears from falling down my face, I told my best friend good bye on my last day at that school. For the next few nights I cried myself to sleep at my new house, but eventually I stopped. Having one of my main reasons to live in life ripped away tore a hole in my heart that will never be completely healed, but the pain eventually became less and less.
I still had contact with my best friend though. We both had YouTube accounts and we would talk to each other over the internet. We'd call each other too and have sleep overs and sometimes see a movie together, but it hurt to not have her at school anymore. I made some new friends at my new school, even more than at my old school, but none of them were as funny as my best friend. None of them could replace her.
Just when I thought I could get used to this lifestyle one of the most dreadful things happened. For her sake, I won't post what my friend did, but she did something horrible and my mom refused to let me speak to or see her ever again. My heart was utterly smashed into thousands of pieces. I felt like I had nothing left to live for. My best and what felt like only friend was now gone from me forever.
I now sunk back into my old habits, playing video games and isolating myself from the rest of the world. I didn't like to go out anymore. I refused to leave my room except to go to school, eat, use the restroom, and visit my dad every other weekend. Now that my best friend had been snatched away from me, and that I didn't do anything in real life anymore, I needed something to replace them.
Searching through my ancient shelf of old games, I pulled out Pokemon Channel. I brushed the dust off of the cover. It felt like it had been an eternity since I'd gazed upon the game. I inserted the game disc into the Gamecube, grabbed my controller, and awaited to greet my old virtual friend, BRVR.
A tear fell down my cheek as memories flooded back while I stared at the title screen. After a moment of soaking in the old nostalgia, I selected continue. I eagerly selected yes when the information appeared of my currently saved game asking if it was correct. As the transition Pokeballs rolled across the screen I just couldn't wait to see BRVR again.
When the transition was over I appeared to be in my room. The normal cutscene where Pikachu is asleep on top of the shelf and wakes up didn't play, but at this moment I had almost completely forgotten about that. The only thing on my mind was BRVR. As I searched around the room though, he wasn't anywhere in sight.
"De bi de? De bi dee!"
The Delibird that deliveres the goods you buy from the Shop 'N Squirtle channel was at the door. I smiled warmly at the sight. I remembered I bought something from that channel almost every day when I was younger. I thought I must have bought something the last time I played and completely forgotten about it. Curious about what was in the delivery, I eagerly headed for the door.
A deep moaning sound stopped me before I could reach the door. I turned the screen and saw BRVR climbing out from under the bed. He looked beat up and depressed. I had never seen him climb out from underneath the bed before, except for when he's searching for the Pokemon Mini in the beginning of the game. When he turned and saw me a shocked expression came over his face, like it normally should.
"Hey Brother, it's me!" I whispered even though I knew he couldn't hear me.
Instead of a joyous look and cheering, "Pika pikaa!!" he acquired an infuriated look on his face.
I was a bit confused as to why he was angry, but before I could ponder at the subject, "De bi dee!!" The Delibird called again from the door.
Banishing the whole incident from my thoughts I turned and opened the door. I was comforted when the Delibird handed over the box and BRVR smiled and waved as Delibird flew off. "A package arrived with merchandise from Shop 'N Squirtle!" I quickly pressed A as that message appeared.
I wondered what was inside as BRVR leaned inside the box and took out the items. "You got a Pikachu TV Z! The Pikachu TV Z has been displayed." A menacing and quite gruesome looking Pikachu TV was set up in replacement of my old Voltorb TV. It looked like a Pikachu head facing towards you with its jaws wide open. Inside its mouth was the TV screen with its fangs hanging over the top and bottom. It looked like the skin was tearing and ripping apart at places, like the TV screen was too large for its mouth. I was a bit shocked at how scary the TV looked.
"You got Red Wallpaper Z! The wallpaper has been displayed." I gasped when the wallpaper was put up. It was dark red like dried blood. Pikachus with sick, twisted smiles were repeated all across it. They each were bright red like freshly drawn blood. I was beginning to worry.
"You got Pikachu Doll Z! The doll has been displayed." I winced with fear when I saw the morbid Pikachu placed on top of one of the shelves. It had the same eerie grin as the Pikachus on the wallpaper, except with long fangs. Its eyes were small, ruby red, and dilated. The tip of its tail curved inwards like a hook, and it had sharp looking claws. Numerous dried streaks of blood ran the length of its body.
"You got Pikachu Doll Z! The doll has been displayed. You got Pikachu Doll Z! The doll has been displayed. You got Pikachu Doll Z! The doll has been displayed." The same sequence happened over and over until the entire room was filled with the disturbing Pikachu dolls. They replaced all of the other dolls.
BRVR got up and looked around the room. He nodded in satisfaction and walked towards the TV. I sat in my chair stricken with fear. Even though it had been years since I've played the game I knew these items were never in it. "Pikaa." A threatning and commanding call came from Pikachu. He was standing in front of the TV giving me a glare. I knew he wanted me to go over there.
I walked to the TV and turned it on. It opened to the Report channel like normal, but to my horror the screen looked like it had blood dripping down it. I changed the channels and they all looked that way. I quickly opened up my diary, which in this game is the start menu, and clicked on the TVS tab. I chose the Voltorb TV, but as soon as I did my diary closed without me pressing B. BRVR was staring at me with a threatning glare and shook his head disapprovingly.
BRVR turned back to the TV and changed it to the Fortune Channel. This channel seemed normal except for the blood dripping down the screen. "Choose your cookie!" The words drifted by the bottom of the TV screen. I choose the top one like I always do. The cookie floated down into the Chansey's hands and cracked open.
"Do you really want to know your fortune?" The words appeared on the screen. I froze with fear. Something about that fortune seemed eerie. It appeared that the Chansey on the screen was laughing.
BRVR changed the channel again. He changed it to the relaxation channel. Instead of the fluffy Mareep, what greeted me where morbid Pikachus that looked just like the dolls jumping over the fence. I quickly pressed B and went back to the center of the room. Normally BRVR would turn around and motion me to come back and watch it with him, but this time he didn't seem to care.
I walked over to my old painting. A beautifully colored Jirachi surrounded by a cute Pikachu border hung against the wall. I sighed with relief. At least one thing was still normal. I took a few moments to stare at the old painting, mostly just because I didn't want to look at the gruesome wallpaper or the horrifying dolls.
"BRVR is looking at the painting too."
Chills went through my spine as that message appeared even though it was normal for your Pikachu to stare at your painting with you. I pressed B and sure enough BRVR was standing in front of the painting. It seemed like he had a sad expression, like he was remembering long lost memories. He turned to me, still with the same depressed expression. He looked like he was about to cry. I felt sorry for him and wished there was something I could do to cheer him up.
BRVR walked up to me and asked me a question, which is normal for your Pikachu to ask you a question and every now and then, but what made my blood chill was what he asked, "BRVR wants to know if you still love him." It had an O (Yes) and X (No) option. BRVR had never asked that before. I immediately clicked O. He smiled, and then bent over laughing. I was a bit confused as to why he was having a laughing fit. When he was done laughing he looked back up at me with an evil smile. A message appeared at the top of the screen, "BRVR knows when you're lying." He turned back to watch the TV.
By this point I didn't know what to do anymore. I knew for sure that all this wasn't supposed to be happening. I thought that maybe if I restarted my Gamecube everything would go back to normal. I got up and reached for the restart button, but when I pressed it nothing happened. I pressed it a second time and still nothing.
"The game cannot be reset right now." The message appeared on the screen. My heart stopped beating for a second. After dumbly staring at the screen for a solid minute, I sat back down, and decided I would continue playing. "Might as well see where this goes..." I whispered to myself.
I just looked around the room for about a minute. Other than the wallpaper, dolls, and TV, everything seemed to be the same. I tried to smile while looking at the old Pokemon Mini and posters, but I couldn't bring myself to. The normally cute and cheerful music seemed to make the room more dark and disturbing. It looked as if all of the morbid dolls had their eyes focused on me, like they were about to reach out and grab me, then slowly tear apart and devour my flesh...
"BRVR wants to go outside." The message appeared on the top of the screen. Before I could do anything though, BRVR went outside and the game forced me to follow him.
My breath caught in my throat when I went outside.
The sky was blood red with even darker red clouds swirling in it. Strewn all across the lawn were dead Pokemon corpses. I couldn't tell what many of them were, most of their limbs were torn off, their faces shredded, entrails everywhere. I felt sick, like I was about to throw up.
BRVR circled around them, then turned to me and gave me an evil grin. He walked up to me and asked a qustion, "BRVR wants to know if you like what he's done to the place." I immediately clicked X. His sick grin deepened even more. He walked over to a Skitty corpse and threw it at me. Its body parts broke off and flew everywhere as it bounced off of the screen. After many agonizing minutes of being forced to watch BRVR toy with the dead body parts, he walked over to the garden.
When we stepped into the garden two plants were fully grown. Instead of fruits, they had grown Pikachu heads. BRVR plucked one and started to slowly eat it. My lunch started to rise up my throat but I forced it back down. I tried to turn away from the gruesome sight but something glued my eyes to the screen. After taking his time BRVR walked over and ate the other head. Once he was done he cast me a wicked smile and leaped out of the garden, again I was forced to follow him.
BRVR was apparently done messing around outside and went straight inside. I was hoping he was done and we would just stay inside, I now much preferred the morbid dolls over the body parts, but he wasn't done showing me the world he had created yet. Almost as soon as we went inside BRVR went immediately to the back door. Guess who was forced to follow yet again?
When we went outside there weren't any more corpses, much to my relief, but the sky was still an ominous blood red. When I tried to go back inside BRVR wouldn't let me. He would just turn and give a disapproving shake of his head, so I was forced to stand there. The Viridian Forest bus pulled up and BRVR walked up to it without my even clicking on it. The transition played normally, the bus riding over the map to the Viridian forest, but when we got there, the whole forest was on fire.
Dead Pokemon were lying everywhere as the trees wildly burned, their bodies charred black by the flames. BRVR seemed unaffected by the blazing fire. He skipped over to the patch of mushrooms. They looked like they were bleeding. BRVR ate one without asking for permission and gave a satisfied nod when he was done.
Then he ran over to the bell that starts the Pokemon concert. Instead of BRVR being surrounded by Clefairies, he was surrounded by those morbid Pikachu plushes. Using the bells, they played the most haunting and blood-chilling tune I had ever heard. I was awestruck. It sounded so beautiful, yet so horrifying. It was high-pitched and made my ears ache, but I was in a trance and couldn't think to turn the volume down. After what seemed like years, the play was finally over.
Glancing around, BRVR seemed satisfied with the burning forest and headed back towards the bus. Again I was forced to stand outside my house while I awaited the next horrors BRVR would inflict upon my eyes. I thought he would want to take the Mt. Snowfall bus, but he had other ideas. He just let that bus just pass on by. Instead he decided to take the bus to Cobalt Beach next.
Same simple transition, same horrifying scene. The beach was littered with pieces of corpses of the Pokemon you would normally find roaming around there. The ocean looked like blood, and floating in it were more body parts from the dead Pokemon. It then became apparent to me that BRVR didn't like other Pokemon.
We then played a game of tic-tac-toe. Instead of rocks, we used internal organs for the pieces. BRVR beat me by a long shot, although that was because I couldn't think straight using entrails as Xs and Os while being surrounded by dead corpses. He laughed when he beat me, like this was all normal and supposed to be happening. Then for a brief moment a look of regret and sadness swept over his face. I felt a longing to reach out and comfort him, so I used the c stick to pet him, but as soon as the cursor touched him his normal infuriated and demented look came back. He ran off over to the fishing area with a little person called me unwillingly following behind.
BRVR stood on his rock and threw out his fishing line into the blood ocean, waiting for a bite. I did nothing, for there was nothing I could do, but he turned and gave me a menacing glare like I was supposed to be helping him. That's when I remembered the bait. I clicked on the jar labeled bait, but instead of a chocolate glazed doughnut, I got a rotting brain. It was falling apart and covered in a greenish brown mold, yet it was still throbbing. I quickly tossed it into the ocean.
Shortly afterwards, BRVR caught something on his line. With a great yank, the creature came flying out of the ocean.
I swear to god, this creature shall forever haunt my dreams.
It looked like an oversized, dark purple Magikarp, but it was foaming at the mouth while a green, acidic blood poured out from numerous gashes all along its body. Multiple organs clung to the many spikes sticking out from its body. Parts of its scales had been scraped away exposing muscle underneath, and some parts of the muscle looked like they had been eaten, leaving bones sticking out. It flopped around and gasped for air while disturbing, gurgling sounds emitted from its mouth.
I screamed when I saw the vile creature. BRVR turned to me as if he had heard me and grinned. He slowly climbed down from the rock, taking as much time as possible to let the wretched creature suffer that much more. Then he started to eat the Magikarp. While it was still alive. I screamed again and covered my mouth as my eyes were forced to watch the gruesome sight. Once he was done with his meal he turned back to me and smiled a happy, playful smile. I couldn't believe this monster was once my close virtual friend that I looked forward to seeing every day after school.
After that traumatizing event, BRVR cheerfully skipped along down the beach back to the bus stop singing, "Pi ka Pi ka chu~" His merriment made the situation that much more horrifying. While waiting for the Mt. Snowfall bus BRVR stood in the middle of the walkway staring at me. His face was blank and showed no signs of emotion. Even though I knew he couldn't hear me, I whispered, "W-Why, why are you doing this...?!" A tear started to fall down my face.
"BRVR made this world to please you." My blood turned to ice when that message appeared at the top of the screen. BRVR cast me another sick, wicked grin that stretched from cheek to cheek. More tears started to sneak their way down my face. The Mt. Snowfall bus finally arrived. I don't know if I was happy at the sight or petrified at the thought of facing another gruesome scene.
Same things as before, innocent transitions, not so innocent sights. Frostbitten carcasses lay strewn out ungloriously across the frozen land, most half buried in snow. Surprisingly, there was no blood or entrails lying about. This area had a more sad atmosphere than morbid. BRVR slowly walked over to where Kecleon and Jigglypuff would normally sing, but since they were dead and buried under the snow, who knows where he took their place.
BRVR sang the most beautiful, yet saddest song I had ever heard. His harmonious voice sounded like violins playing the most tear jerking tune I had ever heard. He had a depressed and sorrowful, yet focused expression while he sang the tune, which is just what the song sounded like. I couldn't control the tears that started flooding down my face while he sang. My poor emotional heart broke in two listening to this sorrow-drenched melody.
After what seemed and eternity, BRVR finally finished. He looked me dead straight in the eyes with the most sorrowful, depressed, and utterly hopeless expression anyone had ever seen. I longed so much to hold him in my arms and comfort him, but he quickly turned away and ran towards the second half of Mt. Snowfall.
We stood in front of the Ruins of Truth. For many moments BRVR just stood dead still while staring at the ruins. Then he glanced at me, a deep meaningful look in his eyes, and ran inside. It was jet black inside, like it was supposed to be. He used a thunderbolt to light the electric flowers, which caused the entire ruins to light up. All along the walls, ceiling, and floors many different words were written in blood: "Help me", "Why?", "I must die", "KILL ME", "It's so cold", "I'm so lonely", "Where is she?", "Come back", "Why can't I die?".
BRVR walked over to the other side of the ruins where the True or False tablet stood. I was forced to click on it.
"BRVR was abandoned by his best friend years ago to be replaced by a new best friend and was left to rot alone in this virtual world. True or False?"
I finally understood what all of this meant. All those words written on the walls, they were from BRVR. This was all my fault. I left him. My best friend. To die alone. No, he couldn't even die if he wanted to. He was forced to drag out his miserable existence over the years. I didn't blame him for wanting revenge on me, I deserved this.
I slapped myself across the face. What was I thinking?! BRVR and Pokemon Channel was just a game, I wasn't supposed to devote my life to them. They were only meant to be created to amuse and entertain the mind of a child. They weren't real. I took a minute to ponder over my last statement, they weren't real. I thought about all the things BRVR had done traumatize me and get revenge for abandoning him for so long.
Hell, this was all just too real.
I selected O for true, because it was. I admitted to abandoning BRVR and leaving him alone to rot. Instead of the tablet sinking back into the ground, it glowed green as if in approval with me. The screen slowly faded to black.
Except for BRVR.
He stood in the center of the screen with a tired, angry, yet sad expression. I didn't know what to think of him anymore. I hated him and wished I really could kill him, but I felt sorry and wanted with all my heart to help him and make things better.
"BRVR feels the same way about you."
Those messages didn't shock me anymore. If anything I was expecting it. After a few long moments of just staring at each other, I finally started to lose it, "What are you going to do with me now?!" I asked.
"BRVR wants you to suffer the same way he did," the game answered.
He casted me one last wicked grin, the widest and most grotesque I had ever seen, and the screen cut to black. After a moment, the title screen appeared. The continue button was gone. I sighed in relief that this horrifying reunion was over. I got up and looked back at my desk.
On it was a Pikachu Doll Z.
Written by star-byte