When I was a kid, I adored Pokemon. I still fondly remember my Pikachu on my old Pokemon Yellow cartridge, whose battery already died years ago. I’d put hundreds of hours into the game, finishing the Pokedex, getting all the gym badges, training my Pikachu… It was sad to lose it all, but the memories stayed.

I don't really play the games anymore, but I thought it would be a fun bonding experience with my daughter to get her a Pokemon game of her very own. She adored her 3DS, so for her birthday I wrapped up a copy of Pokemon X.

For the first few months, she adored the game. She was so excited to show me the little Chespin she started with, and would occasionally share any new Pokemon she’d caught throughout her journey.

Her favorite, by far, was Eevee. That was at least a Pokemon I could remember from my Yellow days. It was kind of fun that it became her favorite. I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for her, but as she played with it, I wondered what evolution she would decide on for it. Apparently there were some new ones alongside the original three.

To my surprise, though, it was maybe a week after she showed me her Eevee that she began avoiding the game. She stopped talking about it, she avoided her 3DS, and she gave me the most shocking answer when I asked her why she lost interest.

“My Eevee turned scary.”

I’d spent a few days thinking on it. Scary? Sure, some Pokemon could be pretty creepy to a young kid, I remembered feeling uncomfortable about a few sprites, but the three Eevee evolutions I knew of didn’t seem scary. Did they give Eevee some sort of creepy evolution? Straining my brain made me vaguely recall Gold and Silver introducing a dark type one, but I never actually saw it…

My curiosity as a parent got to me, so since my daughter wasn’t using her 3DS anymore, I decided to borrow it. Pokemon X hadn’t even been removed from the cartridge slot.

I started up the game and was instantly greeted by a text box with cute, pink text. “You’re back!”

It gave me control after that little hello, so I checked her save file. As far as I could tell, she’d beaten the game, and for some reason the only Pokemon currently in her party was a pink one named Evy.

Evy turned out to be a Sylveon, apparently one of the new evolutions of Eevee. That at least explained the name.

Still, I was struggling to see what was so scary. If anything, Sylveon looked cute and friendly. It had some adorable little bows on it, which I knew my daughter at least liked in some way with how many bows she usually put in her hair. There had to be something I was still missing. I had to poke around further.

Nothing seemed to be ominous about Evy’s moveset. Draining Kiss, Baby-Doll Eyes, Confide, and Return. I had a feeling that wasn’t the issue.

I tried the Pokedex next. Some entries there could be off-putting.

“It sends a soothing aura from its ribbonlike feelers to calm fights.”

The feelers being only ribbonlike sounded odd, but it seemed nice about it. As an adult I had a hard time seeing how such a helpful Pokemon could sound scary, but could that have been the problem?

Before I decided to close the game, one last thing caught my attention. Sylveon was also sitting on the bottom screen, a small sprite rather than the full model like the rest of the game. Interacting with it brought up options to “Decorate,” “Play,” or “Switch.” The last option was greyed out, assumedly because my daughter didn’t have any other Pokemon anyway. I tried the Play option, to see what that would do.

The game took me to a new screen featuring Evy in pure red scenery. It was facing away from me, like it hadn’t quite noticed me there yet.

The feature reminded me a little of NintenDogs, another game my daughter loved. The red, however, looked ominous for a cute game mode. An instinct told me this part of the game had something to do with why my daughter got scared by Evy.

I tried tapping the screen to get Evy’s attention. Everything faded to white, and when the red came back, suddenly Evy was much closer to the camera. Unlike its model in the menu… I noticed this version of Evy had a bunch of red all over its face. It moved its mouth, and a box with pink text popped up below it.

“You’re back!”

A bunch of hearts appeared around Evy. “I missed you!”

A couple little options popped up on the screen. I assumed that meant the little cutscene was over with. Evy just stared at me expectantly with that red-smeared face.

The back button was obvious among the options. Besides that though, were a little musical note, and what looked like a little cupcake.

The musical note brought up a little menu. It gave me the option between three minigames: Berry Picker, Head It, and Tile Puzzle.

I tried Berry Picker first, since it was first on the list. The minigame prompted me to match “berries” to what Evy asked for. Except, I could swear the berries looked just like little eyeballs staring back at me. I spent a little bit of time plucking little berry-eyes until the timer ran out. At the end of the minigame, Evy sat proudly atop a big pile of them, with a red goo seeping out from between a few. The visual made me feel… disturbed. Knowing my young, imaginative daughter saw it made me feel worse.

Wanting to see just how much worse it would get, I decided I needed to see the other minigames. Head It was the next on the list.

This minigame offered a prompt to tap Evy so that “yarn” would bounce back offscreen. It was far more eerie than the last one - the yarn balls looked a lot more like Pokemon heads. In fact, I was almost positive they were meant to be actual heads. There was absolutely nothing to indicate the concept of yarn.

When Head It ended, a bunch of hearts erupted around Evy. Then, the huge head of a deer Pokemon - the same one from the cover of the game - fell from the top screen, and Evy caught it. It looked like she was playing with the head as the game faded to the menu.

I needed a moment to think, after that one. I had to remind myself that it was probably just supposed to be a cute little minigame, that someone on the team making it probably didn’t think about kids getting scared. Still, my daughter got scared, and I needed to be a responsible parent about it.

A sound came from the game as I sat and thought, and I saw Evy staring at me with a curious look. More pink text came up. “Hello? Are you still there?”

When I looked directly at the screen to read the text, Evy smiled. “There you are! I LOVE YOU!”

I didn’t pay the text much mind compared to the landscape and minigames. Evy continued talking, acting all cute. “Pet me, pet me!”

The little menu icons were gone while Evy begged for attention, so I used the bottom screen to cater to its demands. It acted thrilled to get the affection, and happily gave me the options back.

It was time for the final minigame. Tile Puzzle. The concept was simple enough, just unscramble the tile pieces to make a picture. To make it more interesting, the picture even moved in a simple little animation.

I started putting the pieces in their proper places, only to get increasingly horrified as the picture got clearer.

The visuals weren’t a mistake. The images weren’t accidentally creepy.

I realized then why my daughter only had Evy.

The background was completely red, even deeper so than the main area Evy played in. Red fluid was all over the ground, under various sizes of red lumps. Red lumps that were definitely implied to be organs and intestines. A heart here, a brain there…

I closed out of the minigame quickly. Evy’s smiling face greeted me and I felt sick. The red all over it… that was blood. Evy was happy to show me a bloody, disgusting smile.

It just continued acting cute like nothing was wrong, another text box appearing. “Feed me, feed me!”

The options stayed on screen despite the text box this time, causing me to realize it was talking about the other icon that I hadn’t tried yet. The little cupcake.

Despite having seen enough, I had to continue. I had to know more, for my daughter’s sake. I tapped on the cupcake icon. It expanded across the top of the screen, revealing a bunch of items to choose from.

Remembering the Pokemon my daughter had shown me, I realized all the items were body parts. Interacting with one brought out what reminded me of a Wartortle’s tail. To my horror, confirming a theory lingering in my head, Evy gladly jumped up and made little chomping motions. Bite marks took chunks out of the disembodied tail, until nothing remained. More hearts danced around the bloody Sylveon.


I turned the game off then and there. There weren’t any other menus. I’d seen enough. Pulling the cartridge out of the system, I pocketed it, determined not to let it near my daughter anymore.

Instead… I made a new decision, then and there. I didn't want my daughter afraid of Pokemon. I wanted her to enjoy it, like I used to.

Just my luck, the 3DS had the perfect solution. Its downloadable games library included Pokemon Yellow, the game I knew was safe for my child to play. I bought it for her and brought it to her, telling her not to worry about X anymore, to try my old favorite instead if she wanted to.

She fell in love all over again, being able to talk to Pikachu being an added bonus to her enjoyment. At least, until a few days later, when she got my attention to give me the console and told me simply, "She's back."

Curious what she meant, I looked down at the screen. It was still Pokemon Yellow, but my stomach dropped at what I saw.

It was Evy, the Sylveon, looking back up at me as a little wonky first-gen Pokemon sprite. It had clearly glitched in somehow, judging by the BIRD/NORMAL type replacing the nonexistent Fairy type. I closed the menu, trying to see what had happened, and a text box popped up under the singular Pokemon in my daughter’s party.


I turned the game off, only to find that my daughter’s home screen had become Sylveon-themed, too. Pokemon heads with little red drippings replaced all the icons, and Sylveon stared adoringly at me from the top screen.

I looked at my daughter for an explanation. She seemed as confused as I was, despite having seen everything as it was happening. “Evy says she’ll follow me forever.”

I told her not to play Yellow, either, after that. We tried other Pokemon games… I desperately wanted to, I wanted my daughter to enjoy a normal Pokemon game, but every time she just brought back Evy to me. It didn’t matter what game… HeartGold, Silver, Crystal, Black, White 2, Sun… Evy was always there, always alone, always glitched or bloody or both, always saying the same thing… with only a single new word added on.