I’ve been back at school for a couple days now, and it feels WONDERFUL. I can finally focus on my friends and schoolwork again. Hex is still around, though, but it’s not as maddening as it used to be. But that’s not the point of this entry. This is about how the game ended. Sit tight, it’s a long read.
Previously, Hex summoned me and Silver to the Ruins of Alph. The walk there felt pretty awkward. I talked to Silver at every route and city, and he just said “…Let’s just hurry up…” He didn’t seem too pleased about this. It took only a couple minutes to get there, and when we did I walked to the entrance of the cave only to find it blocked by a rock. I pressed A in front of it.
Silver: “Dammit, we can’t move this rock with our Pokémon. We need to find another entrance…”
As such, I led him to the puzzle chamber. He walked straight to the hole in front of the puzzle.
Silver: “…So this leads to the ruins? Then let’s go, I guess.”
He stepped forward into the hole and disappeared, the usual thunk playing over the sound. After a moment I walked into the hole too, and fell down. I landed in upper corner, way in the back, and right away I caught my breath. In front of the three visible statues were Falkner, Bugsy and Whitney. Silver wasn’t in sight, and I had control of my character, so I pressed A in front of Falkner.
"He seems to be asleep… You can’t wake him up."
I walked over and got the same message from Bugsy. As I moved to check Whitney I saw Chuck beyond her. The gym leaders seemed to have been set up in the order I challenged them. The top row of statues had the first seven Johto leaders minus Morty, and the next row of statues had Clair and the Elite Four and Lance. My stomach flipped when I saw their sprites. I hadn’t been fully aware that the Elite Four had disappeared. I’d had my suspicions after talking to Janine, but I hadn’t been able to confirm it and forgot about it with all that happened after she disappeared.
Everyone gave the same message when I pressed A by them, the pronoun changing to match the person’s gender. Below that row was the entrance area, with two empty statues and the ladder. Silver was standing by the ladder, and when I stepped towards him he approached me.
Silver: “The ladder’s blocked at the top. Don’t bother trying it. All the gym leaders that were missing seem to be here. I’m guessing the rest are down below, along with Hex. Are you ready to talk to her?”
A yes/no query popped up. Naturally I pressed “yes”.
Silver: “Okay, let’s go.”
He began following me again as we proceeded through the next two rows. The next row of statues had the first six Kanto gym leaders. However, in Janine’s place was Blaine. She appeared in the next and final row in front of the second statue, the first one occupied by the gym guide. And after her were… Morty, Blue, and Red. I stared at them and just felt a bit empty inside as I looked at them. I pressed A in front of each of them and they had the same message as everyone else: “He seems to be asleep… You can’t wake him up.” At the end of the row was the final statue, which had no one standing there. Silver walked up to it and then turned to me.
Silver: “There’s no one here… Dammit, where’s Hex?”
???: “Right here.”
We both turned with exclamation points above our heads as Hex walked onto the screen. My stomach lurched when I saw her sprite. I hadn’t seen her since Janine disappeared, and I wasn’t happy to see her again. It just made me glad that I was so near the end of the whole game.
Hex: “So we finally meet again. It’s been a while, both of you.”
Hex: “Something wrong, Silver?”
Silver: “…I just don’t like seeing you in person…”
Hex: “Oh, relax. I won’t use my Pokémon on you or anything. I intend to talk to you two honestly, no manipulation involved whatsoever.”
Silver: “Really? How can we be so sure?”
Hex: “I’m giving you my word. I’ve never used my Pokémon to manipulate you two before. Besides, there’s no reason for me to do so. I just want to talk, that’s all. I promise.”
Silver: “Then talk. Tell us why you’re doing all this. Tell us why you kidnapped all the gym leaders and the Elite Four. Tell us why you’ve been manipulating Gold and what you want him to do.”
Hex: “Actually, Gold has already done what I wanted him to do. I wanted him to defeat all of the gym leaders and Elite Four, to become the Champion, and then catch both Ho-oh and Lugia. Now that he’s done that, my plan is nearly complete, and my legacy is finally within reach.”
Silver: “Your legacy? What are you talking about?”
Hex: “… Earlier in Olivine, you told Gold that I started acting weird a year ago and would disappear from time to time. For this to make sense, I have to explain my actions back then. The truth is, I began feeling strange. I felt weak and sick. I tried to ignore it, but as time went on it felt worse and worse… We never spoke about our pasts, but I knew you’d had a hard time. I didn’t want you to be worried, so I secretly went to see doctors, using my Hypno to trick them into giving me free check-ups. Eventually, I got a solid diagnosis. … Silver, I have cancer.”
Cancer. The word made my body go numb. When I saw that word, it suddenly struck me that this was real. This wasn’t just her game character speaking. It was the real Hex. For the first time, the real Hex, the human behind this collection of pixels and dialogue, was speaking to me. I understood that she was no longer a character in a game, or just a ghost. For the first time since I picked up the game, I suddenly understood how real she was, that she was an actual person who had once lived.
Throughout this whole log, I’ve been so focused on getting through this and getting on with my life that I haven’t really considered Hex. Once upon a time, she was a person. When she wrote this dialogue, she was alive. The fact that I’m being haunted now means that… she died. It’s a heavy thought, one I hadn’t really thought about. I guess I just didn’t want to think about it. It took the mention of a single word, a disease so horrible that it’s stolen millions of lives, for this fact to finally settle in.
I sat there for several minutes, just staring at the screen and that word. Finally I pressed “A”, and the dialogue continued.
Silver: “… W… What?”
Hex: “I couldn’t believe it. It crushed my world. I was only a teenager. I couldn’t afford treatment or anything. How could I take care of you? And how… How could I let you go through that pain?”
Hex: “… Before we met, I lived with just my mom. She’d been estranged from her family due to certain circumstances, and was always working so she could take care of me. Other kids looked down on me and I kept to myself. One of my only friends was this girl who lived next door. She was a year younger than me and was born with this rare skin condition. If she went into the sun, she could develop fatal skin cancer. She only went outside at night, and since we lived next door to each other, we started playing together. I began staying up late to spend time with her, and eventually we were inseparable. But about three years ago… she died. She was only twelve. She was just a kid. She didn’t even die of cancer like doctors expected. It was just so unfair. After her death, her parents moved away, and I left home and began traveling with my Pokémon.”
Hex: “…The pain of losing someone so precious is unbearable. When I learned that I had cancer, I just felt like the world was about to fall apart. As I said, I knew you’d suffered a lot already. I couldn’t bear to let you experience that kind of pain again. So I pushed you away and left. But as I spent the year traveling, I began to think… ‘I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want the world to know I existed.’ I knew it was kind of hopeless, but I can’t help feeling that way. As I thought about this more and more, a plan began to form. A way to achieve immortality—my own legacy.”
Silver: “…And that plan… What was it…?”
Hex: “…My ultimate plan was to leave a heavy impact on the world. I wasn’t sure how I would do it, but I would become responsible for the return of Ho-oh and Lugia.”
Exclamation points appeared over both our heads ago as I thought about this. I was wondering how much of this was true, how much was fiction. Did her friend die? Did she really have cancer? I know she was sick at some point and had a heavy connection to a hospital. Obviously none of this involved Silver in real life. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, so I decided to just let her tell us about that plan and pressed A.
Hex: “I wasn’t sure how I would do it at first. You both know I’m not ‘pure of heart’, so I naturally couldn’t summon them on my own. So I decided to find a trainer who could. I needed someone with not only a pure heart, but also great potential as a trainer so that the two would deem him worthy. After searching for a long time, I finally found Gold. He fit the parameters perfectly, and, as I stated earlier, he exceeded my expectations far more than I could have ever hoped. I knew I would need to direct circumstances so that he would meet the two legendary Pokémon, though. With the help of my Xatu and Alakazam, I plotted the course of the future to set it up. I discovered that having the gym leaders disappear would put him under suspicion and make him have to prove his innocence, so I began kidnapping them. After their battle with him they would be a bit discouraged and their guard would be down. Of course, it got harder as they heard of the others disappearing, but it turns out my Pokémon seem to be perfectly suited for kidnapping. Alakazam can teleport them away and Hypno can put them to sleep. So simple and easy. It’s actually quite scary when I think about it. However, it set Gold on the right path. Eventually Professor Oak told him to confront Ho-oh and Lugia to prove his innocence, exactly as planned.”
Silver: “… Couldn’t you have just hypnotized him or something!? Why go through all that trouble!?”
Hex: “While hypnotized, he wouldn’t have a ‘pure heart’. I needed him to do everything out of his own will, with his pure heart intact.”
Silver: “Dammit, Hex, if you just told me, I’d…”
Hex: “You would what? You’re just a kid, Silver. And you’re not pure of heart either. You didn’t hesitate to steal a Pokémon from Professor Elm’s lab. This is something I needed to do. I did a lot of bad things, but in the end, I DID help return Ho-oh and Lugia. They wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t done all that, would they? Now my plan is complete, and I have created one of the greatest legacies of all time.”
Silver: “…Okay, so your plan is complete. Now what will you do?”
Hex: “I die.”
Silver: “…Wait, what? Are you going to just drop dead?”
Hex: “I will soon. The only reason I’m still alive is because of my willpower to see this through. Now that I’ve finished that, I don’t really have much of a reason to fight it. I’m going to die any time now.”
Hex: “But before that, I still have one last thing to do…”
Hex: “… Thank you, Silver. For staying by my side for so long. Sorry you had to get mixed up in this too.”
She stepped forward, and then the message “Alakazam used teleport!” appeared. The screen flashed white. When the white faded, Hex and I were alone inside the Soul House. I looked at the screen in surprise and Hex walked to the center of the back before turning to look at me.
Hex: “Gold, before I die. I want to ask you something. Your name is unusual… Is it your real name?”
A yes/no query popped up. After a moment of shock and hesitation, I selected “no”.
Hex: “I thought so. In that case, would you be willing to trust me with your real name?”
Another yes/no query.
I’ll make it clear now: I didn’t know if I could trust her. I didn’t know anything anymore. I was numb with shock and couldn’t think straight. Even so, I found myself selecting “yes” and a name box popped up. I didn’t know why I chose yes, or what I’d put. My real name is Adrienne. Eight letters long. The standard Pokémon game can only fit seven letters. What was I supposed to put? However, when the name box popped up, I was shocked to see it had more than eight spaces.
For the first time in a mainstream game, I put in my full first name. One, two, three, four… I entered all eight letters, and there was still space left. I was shocked. Looking back, I guess Hex used the Pokémon nickname box when she was programming the game. I had mixed feelings when I filled it out and the cursor lingered over the “end” button. Was it really okay to give her my real name? Then I glanced up and saw human Hex, the real Hex’s ghost, staring at me, and I realized it didn’t matter anymore and pressed A.
Hex: “Adrienne? That’s a much nicer name. I’ll tell you now: my real name isn’t Hex. However, I’d rather keep my real name to myself. I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel comfortable sharing it. It may seem hypocritical of a dying person who went through all this trouble to leave a legacy, but I never liked my name. I was always called ‘Hex’, and that’s the name I want to be remembered by.”
She paused and looked around.
Hex: “You know, I always liked Lavender Town. I don’t know why. I’ve always been interested in the macabre, and the Pokémon Tower just felt nice to me. It told me that Pokémon weren’t immortal, that they can die. I don’t know about other people, but I liked knowing that they weren’t immortal. It made them feel a little more real to me. I wish Pokémon were real. When they replaced it with the Radio Tower, I felt so sad. Even if they made this place, the Soul House… It’s just not the same. In real life, I imagine there were would be tons of protests. I mean, to change the tower, they would have to desecrate all those graves. There would probably be a lot of ghosts hanging around. But now… They just completely changed Lavender Town. Even the music is different. The music now is more high-pitched and a little cheerier. I guess the creators didn’t like the death theme as much anymore. …I’m kind of sick of this music. If they want something more upbeat, I’d rather have the music from the National Park. Here, listen.”
Suddenly the music changed to that of the National Park. My jaw dropped as it began playing.
Hex: “See, it’s so tranquil and relaxing. I always liked this music. I would sit on the couch with my headphones plugged into my Game Boy Color, just standing still inside the National Park so I could listen to the music. Sometimes I’d read books or get on my laptop while I listened. Ah, that brings back memories… I should do that one last time after I finish this. You should get your headphones and listen to this too. It really enhances the sound and you can hear little things you wouldn’t notice otherwise. …Also, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m dropping the act. The plot of this game is over. I am no longer playing a character. Right now I’m sitting at my laptop, typing in a document with all the scripts for the game. I’m finished writing the plot, and all that’s left is for me to do the programming. I’m talking as the real Hex, typing whatever I think. This may get a bit rambley, but just humor me, Adrienne. I mean… I’m dying. Are you ready to listen to a dying girl’s words?”
A yes/no query appeared, the final one of the entire game. I stared at the screen for a while. So I really HAD finished the plot. As such, she saw no point to preserve the fourth wall any longer and was breaking it. She was talking to me as herself. I instantly understood that this was one of the most important things I’d ever read, that these were the words of a dying girl’s final message. After a while, I got up, got my headphones, plugged them into my Game Boy Advance SP and pressed A. As I read, I listened to the music from the National Park.
Hex: “Today’s April 13, 2001. What year is it when you’re reading this? I wonder… I was diagnosed with cancer last year in November when I was nineteen. Up until then, I’d been hoping to be a programmer and was pretty good at hacking games. When I learned it might be terminal, I didn’t know what to do. I’d always been interested in death and the macabre, but I wasn’t goth or anything. I was just a normal girl. Up until then, I guess I’d thought I was immortal. Death is a pretty big thing to wrap your head around. I still haven’t. I mean, by the time you read this… I’ll probably be dead.
"I was a big Pokémon fan since the first game was released. After hearing the news, I looked at my copy of Pokémon Silver and… I got this idea. I’ll never get to make the games I want to, so instead, I decided to make a story set in one of my favorite universes. This is my final work, and the only game that can be credited to me. You just played that game, and I thank you. I know Pokémon is really popular with little kids over here, so I can only hope you weren’t too messed up by it. A lot of the kids I know have a bit of trouble just getting to the Elite Four, though. I hope you’re at least a teenager when you read this. This is pretty heavy stuff, after all. It might be too heavy for some people.
"I still can’t believe I’m dying. I’m not even twenty. I haven’t even gone to college yet. I was supposed to start in the spring this year, but obviously, that wouldn’t work out. Life is so short, it’s so unfair. I wish I had more time in this world. I want to live. I don’t want to die. But… I don’t want to be in pain, either. I want to die peacefully, and without troubling my parents. After I finish programming this game, maybe I’ll resign myself to my fate and die peacefully. Or maybe I’ll keep fighting and pray for a miracle. I’m not the most devout Christian, but I can hope, can’t I?
"I don’t know how you got this game, because I still don’t know how I’ll get this game out there. I’ll figure it out soon. In the meantime, just… thank you. Thank you so much for playing it. I wish you could tell me a bit about yourself, but right now, these words are just words to you. I’m not really here. Even those these are my words, this is just a character. They’re pre-programmed into the game, and I can’t change them. If you replay the game, you’ll just see the same stuff over and over again. …I’m getting rambly, and I want to get to programming, so I’ll say it one last time."
She stepped forward so she was right in front of my sprite.
"Thank you for playing my game, Adrienne."
I pressed A a final time, and the screen faded to black and the credits began to roll. I sat there staring at the screen, numb with shock and just crying. I just began sobbing and crying as the music from the National Park continued on and on. I was still crying when the credits ended, and everything was back to normal in-game. I could fly around Johto and Kanto again, and all the gym leaders were back in place. The Ruins of Alph had the scientists and tourists inside. No one spoke of the disappearances. No one spoke of Hex. I opened my Pokégear on a whim, but found her number gone from my phone list. It was as if nothing had ever happened, and I couldn’t help but wonder if Hex planned for it to be that way.
This character whom I had feared and dreaded had said her last lines. I would never hear anything different from her, no matter how many times I made a new game. She had finished her role and left, gone forever, never to appear again. And with her absence came the notable absence of a real person, someone more than a video game character. A person who died.
I knew all along that Hex was dead in the real world, with her ghost and all, but as I said earlier, I hadn’t really considered the full meaning of that until I finished the game. It just felt real suddenly, and I was suddenly mourning the death of this person I never met yet felt so familiar to me. If she was alive, would we have been friends? Of course I’ll never know. Her ghost was no where nearby as I cried over her death, which I guess is pretty appropriate.
I still have so many questions I want answered. I want to know more about her, but her ghost won’t tell me anything. It’s pretty ridiculous when you consider her ghost is the one who gave me the log. Truth is, I didn’t log any of that. I stopped logging the dialogue when I beat Red in Mt. Silver. The only reason I have them is because Hex typed them up on my laptop while I was away. I left my laptop unattended for a couple minutes after finishing the game and came back to find the entire script for the last few scenes in a word document. I mean all of it. I just stared at it for a while in disbelief. At the bottom was a message:
"I thought you might want this."
I guess that in-game dialogue wasn’t her final message to me after all. Well, however she got it up on my laptop so fast doesn’t matter. I have other things to think about.
Last entry I mentioned a message in my tumblr inbox. We’ve been exchanging messages a lot since then, and we’ve reached a conclusion. We’re going to meet this Saturday at the local mall. After that, I’ll probably write my final entry. Hard to believe I’m finally at the end of this. I don’t know if this entire experience has been too fast or too long. Well, whatever. Hopefully my next entry will clear up everything, once and for all.