My kids are officially obsessed with Pokémon. In a way, this is great news for me. After years of dealing with the likes of Thomas and Friends, I can finally bond with them without having to do any research. I was into Pokémon in the 1990s, so the kids are in my wheelhouse now.
I gleefully fired up a game of Pokémon Red for the kids to share my introduction to the franchise with them. Unfortunately, it was only after I got them hooked on the game that I remembered the downside to sharing my childhood entertainment with them: some of those early installments are really messed up.
I’m not talking about the dissonant nature of a game that talks about the importance of treating Pokémon well but then encourages you to capture them and force them to battle. That’s a flaw of the whole franchise, but it falls under the mantle of, “this is just a video game, so don’t overthink it.”
No, I’m talking about a place called Lavender Town. That’s where the original games go from fun-filled adventures with cartoon creatures to creepy horror with some truly disturbing backstory. Lavender Town is where the game introduces ghost Pokémon, and as far as I know it’s the only part of the franchise to really explore death.