I've been a long time fan of Pokémon, ever since I was a child. I grew up with Pokémon Gold, of all games, not being old enough to even think about playing games when the first generation came out. I played the hell out of Gold, always becoming nostalgic when I popped it into my Pokémon Edition Gameboy Color and playing around.One day I decided to play Gold for old time's sake, and after about ten minutes it froze up. So I turned it off and back on, and it failed to work. After several attempts, it failed to work. Being upset about this, I remembered that it had begun to start acting like this about a year before. So I decided if I wanted to play it again, I'd have to purchase a new one.

The next day I went to the Gamestop nearby and to my luck I found the same Gold that was for sale for quit some time now. Surprised nobody had purchased it by now, I shrugged and purchased it. I then later put it into my regular Gameboy Advanced and turned it on.

To my relief it worked, but the intro colors were odd. The opening was tinted red, as if there was fire offscreen. I figured, "Hey, it works why should I care?" So I proceeded playing it. At the title screen, however, the red intensified, and the usual Ho-oh that was flying by was purely white, and was slightly tinted red. The words where Pokémon Gold resided, now said "Burning". I had now realized this game must've been bootlegged. I smiled at this realization, because I had always been fond of the idea of purchasing a bootlegged game, but I was never lucky enough to find one.

Excited with the thought of this, I was ready to continue the game and find more glitches and whatnot. When I started a new game, which was my only option, the colors went back to normal. So I simply continued to play as normal until I was permitted to choose my starter. Checking the Pokeball that usually contained Totodile, whom was always my first choice, I found a Cyndaquil. Confused, I checked the other two. Both were Cyndaquil. Sighing in defeat I just chose the one on the far left, and continued. Oddly, Elm never asked me to nickname it. Checking my party to see if it was glitched, the Cyndaquil was named "ASHES". I checked it's moves and it knew it's two starting moves along with Overheat, though Overheat wasn't available in the second generation. Confused, I just closed out and continued playing, using overheat to defeat enemy Pokémon easily.

Everything went as normal, until the phone call from Elm about the robbery. Instead of his usual pleading, this time he said something a bit more disturbing: "Help! Gold! A trainer broke in! Fire, everywhere! Call somebody! Help!" And suddenly the text simply said: -Static- And the call ended. Along with that, following the route back I discovered that some patches of grass were now gray and wilted, though they functioned as normal. And when I reached the rival battle, the battle sprite of the trainer was different. His hair was singed, and his clothes were covered in ashes. With nothing I could do about it, I simply defeated him and he then fled without saying a single thing to me. The text box only popped up to say: "??? Threw Your Prize Money at You and Ran!"

I then returned to the town to find ruined buildings, and burning trees. Here I realized my rival had burned down the town. In the center of the town I noticed the police officer from inside the lab, who talked to me like he would if he was inside the lab. After telling him his name was Silver, I entered Elm's Lab. He wasn't there, but a note was in his place that said:"I'm not going to make it GOLD, but I want you to take a Pokedex and some Pokeballs and complete the Pokemon League challenge."

Thinking this was an odd last request I did as instructed. I picked a Pokedex up off a burnt table, along with five Pokeballs, and continued on my journey.

Things continued as they usually would, except more and more grass patches became gray or black even. But as before, they didn't affect anything.

The next strange event was in Bell Tower. I went through it as I usually would, using ASHES to breeze through it, along with my other Pokémon. But at the top, my rival wasn't there like he was usually. It didn't matter to me, he didn't battle me here. So I battled the sage who didn't say anything but: "..." I then beat him with my Cyndaquil, who then tried to learn a fifth move. On accident I clicked to forget Overheat, but it told me I couldn't forget this move, and suddenly I closed me out of the option, not letting me learn the new move. This later happened every time I tried to forget Overheat.

When the battle was over, the sage gave me the HM Flash, and then said in conclusion: "Fire to ashes, burn it down." And disappeared after the battle. The tower's interior was now tinted red, as the opening was. As usual, I used the Escape rope to exit and appeared out front. But then the screen suddenly went black and went back to the top floor. The pillar in the center of Bell Tower was colored completely red, and the screen began to shake. A text box appeared below and states: "Sage: It's burning. To ashes we go."

The screen then flashed back to me, and the tower was now in ruins, similar to the ones of my town. It became obvious that I had done this. All the townspeople I talked to afterwards simply said: "..." As if they were upset with me. And the boy who wanted to trade his Onix for a Bellsprout exclaimed: "I don't wanna trade with somebody like you..."

I then went to the gym, were they acted as normal, as if untouched by outside events. So I beat them and continued to the ruins where you put the pieces together and form a Pokémon. Instead of its usual Kabuto, however, it was a pure white Ho-oh, like from the opening. Putting the pieces together correctly I fell down the new opening and landed in the Unown ruins. From there, things went normal.

The next occurrence was on the route when ASHES began to evolve. But oddly the text box stated: "Congratulations! Your ASHES evolved into BURNING" And I began to wonder if it was related to the title at all.

Nothing else happened until I reached Ecruteak City. I went to the Burned Tower, to find it to be as if it never burned down. So I went inside, and it looked like Tin tower for the most part. Taking a few steps in to look around, I was stopped by my rival, whom challenged me like usual. After the battle, he fled without saying a thing, much like our first battle, and now the screen was tinted red again. Worried, I tried to go through the exit, but a text box popped up and said: "It's locked"

I then turned and walked around, looking for another exit, and one wasn't there. I suddenly entered a battle, and I found it to be Ho-oh, a regular one. But the text box popped up saying, "Ho-oh wants revenge!" And then I sent out BURNING, even though the first Pokémon in my team was a Gastly I was training. I then checked my Pokémon, and they were all fainted, though none had fainted in the last battle. Exiting the menu, I chose run to see if it was possible, and a text box popped up saying: "Ho-oh: You must face judgement."

With no choice, I chose fight, and without it even asking what move, BURNING used Overheat. Ho-oh then used Sacred Fire. This went back and forth, when suddenly BURNING used Blast Burn, which I wasn't aware it could use. Upon using it, the Ho-oh fainted, and the battle exited. Back in the over-world I was in the same position, and I immediately noticed that BURNING was in the over-world as well. It was glowing red, and it's cry was repeated over and over. The screen gradually got redder about every moment, until I could see nothing but red. In the redness though, I saw a white sprite fly down, and I recognized it to be Ho-oh, like the one from the opening. A battle engaged, and a text box popped up: "The spirit of Ho-oh want to fight!" And without giving me a choice to even choose fight, a new text box popped up saying: "BURNING is in a Frenzy!" And it used Blast Burn to what I could tell. Ho-oh then used Fissure, though I was sure it couldn't even learn that move. The screen then flashed white and then red. When it reverted, a text box popped up and slowly wrote: "BURNING was killed..." And the Ho-oh was gone.

The screen then reverted to the over-world, and there was a large chasm in the floor, resembling the holes in the floor in the regular Gold game, including where BURNING had stood. The screen was visible again, though tinted red, and I checked the door, this time I was able to exit. Outside the tower stood like it did in the regular Gold game. Now curious, I checked my party, and there in my party was BURNING, with the entire sprite colored white, excluding it's red eyes. It resembled the Ho-oh. Checking its moves, I found it knew the moves Ho-oh knew. Sacred Fire and Fissure, along with Blast Burn and Overheat. It now was level two, and its EXP points to the next level was nothing but glitched numbers. It's stats were maxed out as well.

I then proceeded through the game as usual, until I beat the elite four. After I beat Lance, he said something different than usual. He now said: "Your desire is the roaring flame that has devoured our world. Only our hatred for you can match it..." The screen flashed to every town, each of them were now tinted red, and in ruins, as if I had burned all of them. The screen then suddenly flashed back to me, and the screen was tinted red. Lance was gone, and my sprite was now white, checking my party, all of my Pokémon excluding BURNING were gone. I couldn't leave the last room and every five seconds the screen got redder, until it was completely red excluding my trainer sprite. Soon the screen itself went white, and the game had reset itself. It opened just like before.

I then played through one more time, this time putting ASHES in the box my first chance. But this time in the Burned Tower my rival had already set fire to it, and fled without fighting me. ASHES then suddenly entered behind me, though it was now BURNING at level twenty-seven. And the game continued as before. Afterwards though, I couldn't deposit BURNING into the box.

This game disturbed me deeply, though I could never manage to sell it back. I never played it more than three or four times about a couple years ago, but it still haunts my nightmares...