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Screenshot Fan Game Mature Mon Reckless Renewal: A Pokémon Reborn Storyshot Nuzlocke (Update: sadly cancelled due to significant ethical concerns about the fangame's origins)

Obelisk

no sleep only wepears
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
155
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
148
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Electric
Pokédex Entry
Eccentric 'locker obsessed with Magikarp.
Figured i'd drop a small catch-up comment!
Well, that's a hell of an explosive start to the Reborn journey! It fully caught my attention as soon as that specter showed up, and now I'm curious as to what that big boom was!
Man, that was a terrorist attack? That's awful.
Lucia, don't push yourself so soon after that! :(
Also, just...Holy shit, this version of Reborn is nasty. People joking about death and ignoring a seriously injured trainer. Is the actual game like this???
"Ame ask that I bring you in for salvation" squints
I'm genuinely impressed with how stubborn and tough Lucia is. She got beaten up by the explosion and still has the presence of mind to seek out her Rowlet (which was also hella - Skull really went the distance!).
...Spoke too soon there. Ouch.

Liveblog reaction aside, you're really doubling down on the tone you ended the first update with! I also really appreciate having Jay there as the grounding force so early, it's gonna be an entertaining journey with him around.

That aside, this was a really good update.
Jay: “If you don’t confess, imma stuff you full of needles!”
This feels incredibly on-point. Did he predict something?
Cain snapping and clicking his fingers is so cool, though! Would he use sign language for more complex commands?
Jay: Hey, hey, can I ship this? Pleeeeeease?
JAY NO

Cain: I met Lucia and had some fun~
CAIN NO

*Magikarp side quest thing*
LUCIA NO okay yes gyarados is really good but STILL NO
This whole thing with Lancer is really interesting...
Alley: You’re… not some screeching Whismur?
#rekt
Valentine's personality- wait, it just dawned on me that all of your Pokemon's personalities are based on their natures. nice touch!
 
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Derogatory Trainer

The hero you don't need but you're getting anyway.
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
315
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
97
Nature
Adamant
Pokémon Type
???
Pokédex Entry
Wanted to be an Instagram whore but I got lost so now I do Reaction-Lockes.
Lucia attempts to mug someone for more prize money 2 minutes in. When in Reborn, am I right?
I like the simulation idea for the interior of Pokeballs. It reminds me of this piece of artwork.
The team is looking pretty well-balanced, although hopefully the next few captures are more suitable for dealing with Julia her suicide mons and illegal Electrode
That Back-Alley Deal rule is a really neat concept btw.
 
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io_

life is a trip alright
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
181
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
272
Location
somewhere quiet
Nature
Gentle
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
Ghost, Normal
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #23
Hi everyone,

I'm really sorry to say that something has come to my attention about the origins of this fangame, Pokemon Reborn, that I personally consider very unethical. Due to the nature of this specifically, I really do not think that I can continue with this storyshot run. This is very sad for me because although I have only written four chapters, I genuinely loved writing it and have spent a very long time thinking, drawing and planning extra art and chapters. I first played this game as a distraction during some very difficult times, and so got very attached to it despite considering it flawed, but that doesn't change its origins. A big part of me doesn't want to let this go, but I think I should, and I'm really sorry to disappoint you all. Thanks to what I now have looked up, I feel slightly sick when I now look at the fangame and its characters - and this sheer discomfort would make it very hard to carry on with this storyshot. More detail about my reasons is below - it didn't feel fair to back out of this without giving you a proper explanation. From looking into this more, I've found three interviews with the game's creator and two screenshots of her text which I'm using as evidence. I was first told about what was going on with the game from someone on Discord. I'll do replies at some other point if that's okay, it's kinda hard for me to think positively enough to say cheerful things back right now.

Pokemon Reborn is as I put in my content notes a "mature" game which deals with at times things like depression, suicide and mental instability. I said that I would handle these as sensitively as possible and will always do so when it comes to topics like these. For this storyshot, I had been planning to completely rewrite particular scenes and characters where I thought they came across as insensitive due to what I attributed to poor writing by the creator. I have personally struggled with these issues myself and therefore feel like I have a personal responsibility to portray them with the sensitivity and maturity I request that others show towards me. However, I have now found out - from someone telling me and then through my own subsequent research - that Pokemon Reborn uses the online names and real-life tragedies of people as the basis for the personalities and tragedies of the characters for this game. The rivals and all 18 of the Gym Leaders, for example, are based on real-life counterparts. While some knew about this and were fine with it, there is no indication from the game or interviews that consent was given for this to happen from many of the individuals whose tragedies and struggles have been put into the game - or, where they died in real life, their families - with the opposite being implied in a few cases. In addition, I have been able to go online to the Reborn forums and find some of the dialogue and threads of three of the irl people who are in the game, and there may be more of this online.

This fangame is, as I've found out along with this, based on the real-life interactions between people in an online Pokemon league and battling system, which the creator used to run before developing this game based on the events which happened in it. The people involved had online names and specific type themed teams (eg: someone had the online name of Julia, an online "Gym Leader" League position and fought with Electric types, she was written in the game as Julia the Electric Gym Leader). Some of these people, however had serious real-life problems outside of the online league. These included depression, being kicked out, custody disputes and an unstable relationship. Two of these people also died - in one case through suicide, and in another case through an illness. All of these things were put into the game, and in one case actual dialogue from the two real-life people in an unstable and damaging relationship has been put into the game too, complete with details of their relationship. In my view, when these things have been portrayed in-game they have been handled and portrayed in a way which is very disrespectful towards the real people who died and suffered. As said earlier, I thought that this was insensitivity and a lack of understanding by the creator as to how to write these, and was going to rewrite them and many of the scenes before such events. I feel like what I was thinking of doing with this game is, in making a storyshot of it and when thinking that its contents were entirely fictitious, trying to focus on what this game's potential and what the story could be if handled with a bit more care. But the basis of such insensitively written tragedies in-game on real-life events makes this potential seem false because they, for me, make the game actually kinda... messed up, and if I write or plan anything about these characters then I'll still be writing about those so heavily based on real people, and this makes me feel very very uncomfortable.

As one example (but not the only one, there are others), in-game the person who commits suicide is Corey, the third Gym Leader who uses Poison types. We don't have much time to get to know him in-game, as he does not have much screentime, before he commits suicide onscreen by jumping off a bridge. He does so because his daughter runs away from him, and the suicide is mocked harshly immediately after by an asshole rival. It is also heavily implied later on that a Gengar used by another Gym Leader, which bears his name, is actually his spirit in some way and therefore that you are KOing him. I thought that this was handled insensitively and for the storyshot was going to significantly change it by giving Corey a much more fleshed out character arc and relationships, having no mocking rival, moving the suicide offscreen etc etc. However, I now have found out that Corey (while that was not his real name, this was his online League name) was a real person who participated in the online Pokemon League along with the creator of this fangame. He died on November 6th, 2010 after jumping from a bridge after his young daughter ran away from him. Amethyst admits to taking this part of the game, including the reason for and method of suicide, directly from real life, and the young daughter Heather is also being portrayed negatively for most of the game - she is seen as a stubborn, gullible, unpleasant kid. In terms of consent, as seen in the interviews the creator says that Heather (the daughter) heard about what was going on in terms of this game being made but then cut off all contact with the online league, and also that some others cut off contact with the online league and the creator before the game which they were put into was being developed. In my view, this is not the same as giving consent and strongly implies that consent was not given in some cases. Even if the daughter did agree to this, in my view, the one-time agreement of a very young child is not enough justification to have shown the death of her actual father in such a tasteless way, in a fangame which has become pretty popular and where these in-game events have been viewed by so many people. I also wonder if the guy who was based on the asshole rival knows that his in-game counterpart is portrayed as such a horrible person.

This is not the only example of something like this that occurs in-game, and I can talk about more examples if necessary. However, I should say that interviews with the creator suggest that she put such real-life events into the game because she was making this game based on the events that took place in the online league, and she thought that these in-game tragedies would honour those who died in real-life (though in one of the interviews which is linked below, she also said that the events re Corey were "golden for a plot", to use her exact words, and something that she felt "[she] couldn't just leave out"). I really don't think that these depictions of the characters and events do honour and respect their deaths, but I still am absolutely not calling for harassment or threats towards the creator or anyone involved in the game.

First of all, to tell who's who for the rest of this, here is the in-game character list which is divided into sections. https://www.rebornevo.com/index.php?/pr/characters/ as much as I know, all 3 rivals and 18 Gym Leaders are based on real-life people and their online names. The same applies for many characters in the "misc" section such as Heather.

Interviews with Amethyst (the creator) are here

(around 7:55 onwards is where they talk about Corey and other real-life people ^)

(around 13:30 onwards is where they talk about Corey and other real-life people ^)


(looking at those numbers at the side on the left, 60-86 is where they talk about real-life people ^)
EDIT: this pastebin link was working fine half an hour ago but now it's not, I'll see if I can get another link up


What the creator said about the real-life people - aka the Gym Leaders for her online league - are here
https://www.rebornevo.com/forum/index.php?/topic/8640-speculation-on-episode-13s-spoiler/page/3/ (Amethyst's post is around the middle, dated 12th June 2014, but the whole page is pretty useful)
https://www.rebornevo.com/forum/index.php?/topic/8640-speculation-on-episode-13s-spoiler/page/7/ (third post from the top)

I'm… honestly sorry. I should have looked up this game in more depth before trying to write a storyshot with it, but my research was very superficial and I didn't expect a fangame of Pokemon to have things like this within its origins. But I'm not trying to say that people who do stories with this game or play it are bad or doing wrong - it was the creator's choice to take so much from real-life and this is an already free and kinda popular game, so it's not like you need to pay her to download it. Also, while I feel strongly about this all being unethical, one person I spoke to for advice said that so long as real names weren't used they couldn't really see how the creator was doing wrong. This may be a grey area and it's… complicated either way. I understand also that some people on here too may think that this is a more morally grey situation, or that they in my position would do something different and be more able to separate the art, so to speak, from the artist/creator. I do sincerely respect those opinions, but equally ask that my stance and discomfort with this is respected too. I'm not doing this to act or feel self-righteous about it, I honestly feel like shit about this whole thing and just far too uncomfortable to want to have anything further to do with this game. I also don't wish harm towards the creator, and I certainly don't want her to be harassed or anything.

I'm not sure if I want to write fanfiction again because I feel really upset about this and I wouldn't have had this problem if I was writing a completely original/non-fanfic work. A big part of me feels like crawling into a hole and not writing anything for a very long time. Thank you all so so much for reading and for commenting though, your critique and support have meant a lot to me and even in a short time have helped me to improve so much. I really appreciate you all. I won't ask to close the thread for a bit, I'll give it a little time.
 
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Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,008
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
Wow. That... that's pretty dark. I don't blame you for not wanting to touch this fangame with a ten-foot pole.

That being said, I do hope you find it in you to continue writing something.
 
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Nickytung

Conqueror of the Pewter Gym
Pokédex No.
1222
Caught
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
7
I really really think i won't finish the game after reading this and digging deeper. This is stupidly messed up and barely legal due to a technicality, i don't know how a sane person could actually think of that as a tribute.
 

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