Balloon Fright – NES Creepy Pasta –
Remember the NES days, the days when Legend of
Zelda took over the fans by many ratings and reviews? It was like we’d all been brain washed into thinking that the future actually can look bright. Apart from thinking like a complete psychopath I turned to another game. It was late at night just turning around 9PM. I didn’t think any less of what the people of back then wanted. They all wanted the adventure games, games with unique styles and games that don't disappoint.
Sadly, I was one of the few that failed to follow through with the craving for Legend of Zelda. I craved something a little more farfetched from the Legend of Zelda games. I mean come on! The game I decided to go with had been a cartridge with a sticker on it. Although the sticker didn’t look like much and didn’t really wow me in any shape or form. I decided that this game will be what I play. I didn’t want to rethink anything, I just wanted to be different from all the other fans…
As I turned my left hand upside down, I looked at the palm and held the cartridge in a position so I could check for dust like many NES fans and people in general that owned one of these things. We all had to check for dust, so I didn’t think anything else apart from checking for dust. With the moonlight still outside my window, I felt something had been watching me. It’s a usual thought that would come into my head, not sure if it’s common with humans or less common. I felt that having someone watch me was unique, although I felt terrified like any other night that would go by without a break sound. So as I began to get more paranoid with my surroundings, I slam dunked the cartridge into place, with the screen starting to buzz a little. I guess I knocked a wire or two.
As I sat back on the floor, wooden floor with puffs of smoke coming from one of the old consoles I used to own. I felt that the room was foggy. Until I looked back at the screen and focused on what was important; the game. And that’s when I started to get interested in the NES genre. As soon as I coughed a little, the game had loaded. Dark black with a strange significant looking font. I wanted to stare at it for a little longer, anything that looked this good deserves some attention, right?
With the controller in my hands, I pressed start. As the start button had faded away, I started to feel a little suspicious, unsure whether this was a normal reaction for a gamer playing a game that many weren’t. I just wanted to know more about the game, Balloon Fight. A game that didn’t seem to make much sense at first, I pushed random buttons and expected the game to play out like any other game. And it didn’t, it was a strange looking atmosphere. Pure black background that seemed to be sucking me in. A black hole I suppose, although this game had a lot going for it…
At first the game didn’t look too bad, sure it had a dark black screen that had horrified me for a little. It’s just unusual to see a pure black screen behind the character you’re playing as. I finally got a grip and moved the character to the right, seeing something strange like… “A pixelated man with two balloons tied to his back.” This looked really unique, although the position he was in looked sinister. Hanging by a few strings, it made me think a lot. These characters are dead? At first it was just an accusation. Until I realised that this game has nothing to make it feel lively.
No moving backgrounds, just pure blackness around the screen. With a few colourful pixel characters floating on balloons. I sulked from the moment the game continued as it started to show some sign of happy colours. Saying that, how could I have been so naïve? It didn’t look anything like happy colours, dark greenish with a darker shade of brown underneath, and these were the platforms we could land on? It looked like a dark version of what must have been a happy place to be in.
When you think of someone holding balloons, you’d usually see a smile or two. Yet with this game, the player looked emotionless. (As I moved on to the next screen, I found something even more dull and sinister.) There were more of these pixel looking characters, I’d call it rip-off of Mario, yet the clothing looked a little different in some areas. I stared into the black background as the other characters were now in focus by my two deceiving eyes. These characters looked dead, no faces, just clothing and balloons attached to them. It was interesting to rethink why I was playing this.
Well when you think of “Balloon Fight,” I’d think it more of a game with balloons and fighting. Yet this game looked horrific. No sign of blood or gore, it was the atmosphere that got me… With the black background changing as next screens load, I’d see several more stars. What? Now there are stars, this is starting to make a little more sense don’t you think?
Without questioning why the stars were making sense, I looked more into the characters hanging by a few threads. Lifeless and just looking down at the player, it looked so strange. As if Heaven was above me at this point. I moved my character a little more expecting some kind of fight. And I didn’t even get that, it was just slow movement with floating pixel characters that certainly weren’t alive. Corpses hanging by strings attached to a single balloon. As I thought the game couldn’t get any more emotional, I found myself corrected by the next screens to come.
This screen was strange, it had water at the bottom like most of the screens, yet the design looked completely different. It was as if this game had been passed on several times to different level designers who wanted to make the game feel more unique. I dived deeper into this darkness and found something that startled me for a few minutes. There was no sign of this anywhere else in the game, yet I found it. (A strange looking orange piranha looking creature with sharp teeth.) What really got me was how this creature was alive… (How this creature had more details than any of the other characters in this game.) Except the player, the player had two eyes. But that was it…
More stars had started to fade and return, this looked more like Space. Yet being in Space would mean immediate death, right? Then again, how can I question the logic in this game…? Nevertheless, I questioned the logic completely, I even moved on to rethink on why there’s thousands of corpses hanging by balloons and water at the bottom of the screens. And what made this orange looking creature with sharp teeth feel needed to chomp on the player?
As I died, it was crueller than I had thought. Death by the sharp teethed piranha. I never ever felt so down playing a game, yet this game made me feel different. With a dark atmosphere and characters floating with no faces… And some having green skin, I started to understand what dark gothic plots are behind all this. (Green skin, could this be the suffering of the ones who were sent up into Space?) It was just a guess, I presumed that most of these bodies floating were all alive once…
Finally the “Game-Over” screen flashed on my screen. “Game Over,” that’s all it said. I looked closer into the flashing screen and could see some kind of screen, a mysterious screen that I must have missed. (Behind the darkness was that orange beast.) And I could just about see some balloons fading away along with some of the lifeless bodies slowly falling like a feather.
‘What the heck is going on?!’ I shouted.
I wanted to know why this was happening, ‘Why is this game so dark?’
Asking myself several questions on why this game was dark and whether I should continue playing it. I stopped playing it after the Game Over screen. It was too much to handle, like many gamers out there, I was curious on what this game’s plot lines were. The story was more important to me than the game play. With a notepad in my hand, I drew my theories with sketches of these characters. And my mind told me that these drawings need faces, they need some kind of life in them.
I didn’t stop to think why they needed faces, it just felt right. So I left them with faces and some of them having smiles. (Since balloons should make you happy, not sad…) I hung the drawings up on my wall, and looked at them as the game faded off screen. Turning the game off was the right move to make in my opinion. It was the right thing to do, why would the darkness have to take me too? I don’t want to end up as a zombie with no brain. I don’t want to feel dull for the rest of my life…
However, sharing my experience with the world would be a solution. It would make everyone think twice about life in general. And this game didn’t make me feel happy a single bit, yet it did make me think a lot! It made me re-trace memories of the older games I used to play, it made me think that all these games out there now… They are all stuck with hidden meanings, and some might even dive into a darker atmosphere than “Balloon F-Fright…” I mean “Fight…” It’s not worth returning to Space and suffering like those in there. I want to breathe the fresh air around me instead of facing complete death and having to look down on another player making the same mistakes…
- Written By: Luke (Rockyz) - Future Notice: (From now on, I'll be fixing any grammar errors and improving on this through out this week.) So if you see it in Updated, ^^ You'll know why ;)