Supposedly, in 1996, there was a sudden string of illnesses and suicides in children ages 7-12 in Japan, and Pokemon was to blame. No, it wasn’t because they were upset that they didn’t get the version they wanted—apparently things went bad when the players arrived in Lavender Town, the game’s haunted, ghost-filled area. The music here included strange, high-pitched noises (that went on to be referred to as the “Lavender Town Tone”) that weren’t audible to adult ears, and only affected children. Since Nintendo employed only adult playtesters, no one noticed until children started killing themselves.
It’s reported that at least 200 kids killed themselves after hearing the Lavender Town Tone, with countless more reporting headaches. In 2010, someone who analyzed the tone revealed Unowns (a second-generation Pokemon) that spelled out “LEAVE NOW,” because, apparently, children killing themselves over an incredibly creepy song wasn’t disturbing enough. Oh, and adding fuel to the fire: The music was changed in the US version, with no reason being given by Nintendo.