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  1. #1
    Into Darkness Peering Rediamond's Avatar
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    Default Hard Reset

    I woke up in Pallet Town. The color of pure white beginnings.

    I was back again after defeating the Elite Four for the forty-eighth time. I had heard somewhere, I forget where, that on the fiftieth I would finally get to become Champion. Yes, the Champ himself. Not just a perpetual member of the Hall of Fame. I could wipe the smirk off of Poopstain’s face for the very last time. Part of me wondered if this was like the “you get a PIKABLU for beating the League twenty times” thing that someone had once talked me into believing or that one thing involving the SS Anne and a truck, but I dismissed it. If nothing else, it helped with grinding and that helped me beat other people I met through the linking machines. Winning those matches was strangely satisfying.

    There was not a whole lot else to do.

    So I found myself staring off into the Pallet sunset as I had about fifty times before on my journey. Despite spending ten years here in my uneventful childhood, I still found the site new and unfamiliar each time I saw it. I had to wonder why. Surely there had not been much to do in town but watch the sunset. Less than a dozen people called Pallet home, so I obviously had not been busy socializing. Or even at school. Pallet didn’t have one. I assumed that I had been taught, but for some reason I could never remember precisely how. Once I asked Mom about it. She just smiled like she always does and told me I looked tired and needed a rest. I supposed that was true. I never slept anymore except when I was at home. Maybe that was abnormal, but then again, I never saw anyone else sleep. Perhaps they did it in the closed houses with the locked doors I ran across from time to time. Come to think of it, though, I could really only remember one dream in my entire life. Professor Oak was there. He told me about POKéMON. But of course, I knew all about POKéMON. I just sometimes forgot and needed his help or the trainer signs to remind me of little things like how to capture Pokémon, put on my running shoes, or use the SAVE button.

    But that’s all a bit irrelevant. What really matters is that the sky just turned pitch black, heck, everything turned pitch black and now I am here talking to you. So, could you please tell me what is going on.

    You take a sip of your tea, wholly unconcerned by what I am saying. Because of course that is more important than the fact that my world just literally turned black and I am trapped in a café in God-knows-where with no one but you and that’s kind of disturbing. Just a little. I’ve seen a lot of weird things, but that more or less wins in my eleven years of life. Not that I really remember that much from the first ten, but still.

    “Ah, yes, I forgot that you had not gone through that before. You have a very devoted player, you know. Not many put as much time into the game as yours did.”

    What are you talking about? What is a ‘player’ and why would one be assigned to me?

    “There is an N64 in your room, you know? I assumed you would know what a player is.”

    Like a video game player?

    “Precisely. Just like a video game player. Maybe even a bit more than that. After all, they kind of also impose their personality on you. Given your whole ‘never says anything’ shtick, that’s pretty much necessary.”

    Wait. How can you hear me?

    “I am The Director. We met once in Celadon City. Twice, even. I gave you that certificate for completing the POKéDEX some time ago. Remember that? It was quite impressive, to say the least. Required the help of someone else and even getting a Mew. A really remarkable achievement there.”

    Right. I completed the entire POKéDEX, which required trading with… I don’t even remember. Some friends. Traveled across the entire land, searching far and wide. Battled three gods and a ridiculous freak of nature at the bottom of the deepest cave in the region. I had to do—well, whatever that weird thing with Mew was.

    “Glitch exploitation. It would have been easier if you just got one from GameFreak or Nintendo like you were supposed to, though. Glitches can be pretty volatile. Not quite as bad as hacking, but still potentially dangerous. Just be glad that you never ran into one of the malignant MISSINGNO.”

    MISSINGNO.? I think a friend told me about that. I forget who.

    “Yes, a glitch POKéMON. Nasty result of a placeholder. It’s admittedly useful for item cloning, but it can really wreck games if you use it wrong.”

    Why does the universe have glitches? Is this still part of your video game rambling?

    “Well, because it is a video game. That’s not just crazy talk. You are literally the main character of a video game. And a pretty successful one, too. Fans can’t get enough of you. PIKACHU’s more popular, but for people who entered with the games you’re the coolest guy in the entire franchise.”

    …I think I’m done here. Where’s the door. I need to get back to Pallet Town.

    “There is no door. We’re kind of waiting out a reset at the moment. Your player’s letting the entire opening sequence go and giving some more time to think over his decision, so it could be a while. I suppose it’s painful to get rid of this file after so much work.”

    Reset?

    “Yes, everything’s about to be undone and rebooted to a blank slate. You’ll wake up in your room in Pallet Town, go downstairs and head out to some grass. Then Oak will chase you down because you don’t have any POKéMON—“

    I have lots of Pokémon. Literally all of them.

    “Now you do. But you’ll lose all of them in the reset.”

    Lose them! But they’re my friends. I love them.

    “And you have never spoken a word with them. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Your player must be more attached to this game than I imagined.”

    That all happened to me a year ago. I’m eleven now. It can’t happen again. Time just doesn’t restart.

    “In video games it can. The last year will get erased and things will start all over again. Your player can rediscover why they fell in love with the series in the first place. And then by the time he’s done, the new games will be out and he can move onto those. Shame he didn’t wait though. He would be able to send over his old POKéMON to the new games if he waited a little longer. That’s one of the best parts of them.”

    But, I’m eleven! I have things to live for. Getting a car, a girlfriend, graduating high school, getting a job, getting married—okay, yeah, girls are sort of gross, but you get what I mean. I can’t do that if I’m ten again!

    “But you were never going to do any of that. It’s not in the coding! You’ve never been to school, in fact, there isn’t even a school in your world! There are only a handful of cars in your world. You’re rich enough you don’t need a job, and there are only about six girls with names in your world. And I hardly think Agatha counts. Not a lot of potential there for you.”

    Gross.

    “Exactly. And the others are either way older than you, only talk about battling, or both. That would be a really one-dimensional relationship even if you did pursue it. Point is, you really didn’t have a future outside of battling the Elites a few more times. Now you can actually do something new! It’s a good thing.”

    You can’t just take my life like that.

    You raise your hands into the air in self-defense. “Hey, I’m not. That’s your player. You could blame them, but they are the only one who gives your life any meaning whatsoever, so I wouldn’t stay mad at them for long. That, and they could just leave you trapped in Rock Tunnel for a few hours if they really wanted. Probably best to avoid that.”

    I stay silent for a moment. Well, mentally silent. But you can apparently understand my inner monologue through your Director nonsense.

    “It actually really makes sense when you think about it,” you mutter.

    Shut up. Point is, I needed a moment to take it in. Can we agree on that?

    “You’ve had your moment. Actually, you wasted it explaining to me that you needed a moment.”



    “That’s a really inspiring quote there. I might have to use it if I ever give you actual dialogue.”



    You sigh. “I’m not repeating my mistakes in the next version. There’s a postgame. You get to travel to a whole new region and battle eight more gym leaders before facing down an even more powerful Champion. Err, you won’t. But your player will. He’ll love it. That should make you happy.”

    You’re rambling now.

    “Of course I am. You aren’t the best of conversationists and—oh, look, your player finally hit New Game.” You rise to your feet. “Won’t be long now. Pleasure talking with you. We’ll meet again when you get to Celadon. Then when you complete the POKéDEX. Or when your trainer resets. Or when he gets bored and gives up on the game altogether. Whichever the case is.”

    Gives up on the game?

    “Highly probable with the new versions coming out.”

    What would happen then?

    “Oh, I suppose we could talk until he regains interest. Barring that, we could talk forever. Maybe you could help me with the new games. Or I could find some role for you in the future. A lone, silent boss at the end of the game so you could meet your player again. Or a bonus tournament boss or something.”

    Before I can yell at you I’m dreaming. Professor Oak is there telling me about POKéMON. But I know everything there is to know about Pokémon. I’m a master. I completed my POKéDEX. I beat the Elite Four 48 times. Okay. Maybe I just need some refreshing on the details. Like what TM number Thunderbolt is. And what types hit rock for super effective damage. And how to put on my running shoes and save the game.

    I wake up in Pallet Town. The color of pure white beginnings.

  2. #2
    I am cow. Vivillon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard Reset

    Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. This is a nice little one-shot that just made me laugh the whole way through. Surprisingly, I think the second-person narrative actually works. It's a cute little story, one that shows what happens inside the game during the time that you are thinking about resetting it. I love one-shots... :)

  3. #3
    Registered User Airt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard Reset

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivillon View Post
    Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
    I couldn't agree more - a masterful display of control over some many different writing techniques! Especially the ending, a fabulously crafted study in deterioration. You hit the nail on the head when you said that some 'players' pour their own lifeblood - happiness, sadness, anger - into these games, and we've all been in the position where we restart a game to realise I should've transferred that over or I should've have been a little more devoted.

    The end just tugs at my heart strings. There's no screaming, no begging for another chance, it just captures everything in life going in reverse and an eerily beautiful sense of peace.

    Iontach ar fad,
    Airt

    The Once and Future Champ
    'The Once and Future Champ' tells the tale of a young Trainer, who wants to make a name for himself, leaving home to start his journey in a world which is torn by prejudices.

  4. #4
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard Reset

    I wish more people would keep ideas like this to one-shots. It's a good length, I think, just long enough to show off your ideas without outstaying it's welcome. I liked the attention to detail on formatting - POKéMON, for example - it was an unobtrusive way of reminding us that its very much a game world that you're talking about here.
    The Long Walk
    For Joshua Cook, it's a long walk away from his dull life to the Pokémon League. But does he really want to be the very best? A coming-of-age story of adventure, friendship and growing up in the world of Pokémon.


    Pavell's Scribbledegook Week XII - Adapting the games: Little Details

  5. #5
    Into Darkness Peering Rediamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard Reset

    Thanks for the reviews!

    @: Second person was used to help with the really meta nature of the fic. It was meant to invoke old pencil and paper games where the exposition was in second person and the character's every action was controlled by the player. Ironically, here the second person narrator is the character talking to the DM equivalent.

    @: I had the story planned out, more or less, when I started writing. I ended up scrapping almost all of it as I wrote, including the original ending. Glad you like the one I went with.

    @Beth Pavell: This was originally going to be a longer and more complex story, but by the time I got around to writing it I was already bogged down in writing Backgrounds. As I thought of ways to simplify it I so I realized that the entire concept worked just as well in a simplified format with less than 2k words. So I went with that. This makes it both the shortest and most successful piece I've ever put onto ff.net.

  6. #6
    Stray Dog Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Hard Reset

    This was an interesting piece. On one end I am kind of torn between finding it bittersweet since it really does make you think, but at the same time I find it funny due to the scene with the director and in general how Red finds out all these things is amusing. Overall it was a nice little piece with spotless grammar at least as far as I could tell and with an interesting message that really makes you think about how people just give up all the time hey spend in games just to restart it.

  7. #7
    Into Darkness Peering Rediamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard Reset

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaze View Post
    This was an interesting piece. On one end I am kind of torn between finding it bittersweet since it really does make you think, but at the same time I find it funny due to the scene with the director and in general how Red finds out all these things is amusing. Overall it was a nice little piece with spotless grammar at least as far as I could tell and with an interesting message that really makes you think about how people just give up all the time hey spend in games just to restart it.
    The conflicting tone is sort of intentional. Most stories with this concept are solidly in either creepypasta or designed to max out nostalgia/sadness. I wanted to differentiate it a little so it became something a little more lighthearted than a dark comedy, but in the same realm. I'm actually not sure how I would classify it. Anyway, thanks for the read and the review!

  8. #8
    It was a pleasure to burn BlackOsprey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hard Reset

    Nice short story. Stays simple and to the point, but still conveys those bittersweet feelings that almost any player can relate to.
    3DS Friend Code: 3136-7234-1327 IGN: Black

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