Creeypasta loves video games. Seriously — there’s an absurd amount of stories in this particular genre, ranging from the very successful to the… shall we say, less successful. I think they speak to us for the same reason a lot of the Disney ones do; their effectiveness lies in the way they take the familiar and make it strange.
Within the larger genre of video game pastas, Pokemon-specific stories make up a huge subgenre. “Lavender Town Syndrome” is one of the best known ones; I think it’s also one of the earliest ones to hit the Internet. According to Know Your Meme, the first version of the tale, known as “Come Follow Me,” was uploaded to Pastebin on February 1, 2010. It spread rapidly from there, making its way to 4chan’s /x/ paranormal board by the beginning of March before the Internet took it and ran with it.
During the first few days of the release of Pokemon Red and Green in Japan, back in February 27, 1996, a peak of deaths appeared in the age group of 10-15.
The children were usually found dead through suicide, usually by hanging or jumping from heights. However, some were more odd. A few cases recorded children who had began sawing off their limbs, others sticking their faces inside the oven, and choking themselves on their own fist, shoving their own arms down their throat.
The few children who were saved before killing themselves showed sporadic behavior. When asked why they were going to hurt themselves they only answered in chaotic screams and scratched at their own eyes. When showed what seemed to be the connection to this attitude, the Game Boy, they had no response, but when combined with either Pokemon Red or Green, the screams would continue, and they would do their best to leave the room it was located in.
This confirmed the authorities suspicion that the games, somehow, had a connection to these children and the deaths. It was a strange case, because many children who had the same games did not show this behavior, but only a few. The police had no choice but to pursue this, since they had no other leads.
Collecting all the cartridges these children had purchased, they kept them sealed away as strong evidence to look over later. They decided the first thing to do was to talk to the programmers themselves. The first person they met was the director of the original games, Satoshi Tajiri. When told about the deaths surrounding his games, he seemed slightly uneasy, but admitted nothing. He lead them to the main programmers of the game, the people responsible for the actual content.
The detectives met Takenori Oota, one of the main programmers of the game. Unlike Satoshi, he did not seem uneasy, but very kept. Explaining that it was impossible to use something like a game to cause such deaths, and also bringing up the point that not all the children were affected, he brushed it off as some kind of odd coincidence or mass hysteria. It seemed like he was hiding something, but he wasn’t giving way. Finally, he did say something interesting.
Takenori had heard a rumor going around that the music for Lavender Town, one of the locations in the game, had caused some children to go ill. It was only a rumor, and had no real definite back up, but it was still something to look into.
He directed the detectives to Junichi Masuda, the music composer of the series. Masuda had also heard of these rumors, but again said they had no evidence that his music was the cause. Even to prove a point he played the exact song from the game completely through with no effects to anyone, the detectives nor Masuda himself, feeling anything different or odd. Although they still had their suspicions of Masuda and the music of Lavender Town, it seemed they had reached another dead end.
Going back to the cartridges they had seized from the homes of the children, they decided to take a slightly more direct look at the games. They knew that it was these games that gave the children the ill effects, so they took extreme caution. Popping in the cartridge and turning the console on, the game screen booted. The title screen appeared, and the option to continue or create a new game appeared.
When they chose to continue the game, stats of that game appeared. They saw the names of the children who had played, usually “Red” or another simple name. However, the interesting thing was the time played and the number of Pokemon they owned. On every game, the time was very low, and all of them had only a single Pokemon in their inventory. They came to the stunning reality that it could not have been the music from Lavender town that had caused such ill effects in the children, since it was impossible to reach that part of the game in such small amount of time and with only one Pokemon in their inventory. This brought them to the conclusion that something early on in the game had to be the cause.
If it wasn’t the music, nor the title screen, it had to be something within the first few minutes of the game itself. They had no choice but to turn off the game now and go back to the programmers. Asking for a list of all the programmers from Takenori, they found, surprisingly, that one of the programmers had committed suicide shortly after the game was released. His name was Chiro Miura, a very obscure programmer who had provided very little for the game. Even more interestingly, he had requested his name did not appear in the credits of the game, and so it was not.