Hi. My name is Luke, I am twenty-eight years old, and I live in Toronto. I have a hobby of collecting retro games from large franchises such as Megaman, Mario, Sonic, et cetera. I was out hunting for copies of Megaman 8 for the Playstation 1. I had no interest in playing the game, but without a copy in hand, I can't say I own every game in the Megaman franchise. I had a bit of an irrational fear of online purchasing websites like Ebay, Amazon, and Craigslist due to my purchasing a Sega Dreamcast, as well as every Sonic game on the system. I ended up paying over 120 dollars for the bundle, thinking I struck gold, but the package was never sent, and ever since, I was a bit paranoid of online transaction sites. So naturally, I thought I'd go to every electronics retail store in my local area and see if there were any copies for sale.
I arrived at a Walmart, and browsed through the aisles. I heard that some stores keep vintage games in stockrooms, so I went over to ask someone, and they said they did have a stock of retro games, although they couldn't assure me that they were in top notch condition. I asked specifically about Megaman 8, and after some searching around in the back room, I found nothing. The next store I tried was Gamestop. The Gamestop in my area was pretty small, so it didn't take very long to find out whether the unholy grail of Megaman I was looking for was in there. It was not.
The next store I tried out was a Best Buy. I was putting this store for a last resort, as it had a break-in 2 nights ago, and people were still in a tizzy about the whole thing. I went inside, and saw almost no people there. There was the occasional teen walking through the aisles, but not the rush of people the store usually gets. I saw someone hauling an open box into a room, and I went over to them to ask if they had any retro games for sale. He told me that there were some in a back room, and that he was going there. I followed him to the room, but to no avail. That's when the worker set down the box, and I saw it. I reached up to get the copy, but the worker stopped me. "Sir, that's not for sale. They were tampered with during the break in and need to be inspected before retail can continue," he told me. I explained to him that I was a game collecter, as if that gave me some sort of free pass. The feeble attempt at persuading the store clerk had failed. I had a wad of cash on me, so I decided to try and bribe him. I took out a 20 dollar bill and held it out. "It's yours if you don't say anything." The worker started getting annoyed. "Sir, I am not going to let you bribe me into violating our security protocols." I then pulled out another 20. The worker looked as if he were about to protest, but then he relaxed. "Fine." I handed him the money and took the game. I walked out of the storage room and outside. Luckily, the buzzer didn't go off. I guess it was old enough to not be seen as valid from the computer. Even still, I paid for the damn thing, and I was happy I didn't have any trouble getting it out. I walked to my car, got inside, put the game in the passenger's seat and drove home. By then, it started to thunder.
Normally, I would get all games in a collection, even if they are bad. I had no original intention of playing the game, but I was curious. I told myself I would only play through the intro stage, (I played the game on an emulator in college, so I had some experience) and if everything was as I remembered, I would shut it off and add it to the showcase. I hooked up my Playstation and put the game in. The game's title screen showed up, and it looked normal. But when I started the intro stage, the game's audio kept looping, and I couldn't move Megaman. Then, an audio clip played. It was of low quality, and it appeared to be a male's voice.
"If you are playing this, Congratulations. You have just helped a terrorist onto your nation's power grid. Now, usually many forms of media sold in retail stores are checked for flaws or tamperments, but this clearly is not the case. Whether you are a bored store clerk, or someone who picked up this game from God knows where, you have just helped us get access to your power through your system. Old discs like this don't have safety features, and can easily be tampered with, allowing us to modify the game to suit our plan. After this audio clip is finished, we are going to request 100 megajoules of power from your outlet via a worm we've planted onto this disc. You can try to stop us, but you simply don't understand. You are far too beyond us."
The audio cut, and an ear-curdling noise emitted from my speakers, and colors flashed at rapid intervals before my television started steaming. Then the power went out. I had some flashlights nearby, but I didn't need them. My carpet was on fire. I could see in the glow of the flames that my television screen had grown so hot that the glass had melted. But I knew that it wasn't from the fire. The electrical outlet seemed to be the source of the fire, because it was centered around it. I immediately ran to my closet and got a flashlight. I got out my phone and quickly dialed 9-1-1. The whole grid was down. I couldn't get any reception at all. I knew that my landline was busted, so I did the only thing I could possibly do. I ran outside and yelled as loud as I could.
It's now been a week since that incident, and the power is still out. People have been seeing odd lights in the sky, and smoke. It could be a forest fire, people camping, or 9/11 all over again. Nobody could tell. Nobody could reach us. I realize now how attached to electricity we are. There could be a national crisis going on, and nobody would know. I was a fool to try and get that game after being told that it had to be inspected first. Why didn't I just wait until they were inspected? Why didn't I try to shut the game off when I had the chance? I was just frozen there. I had time, I know I did. But I was frozen. Glued to my seat as I was told what would happen. I figure it would've happened either way. But my God, I regret ever taking that game home. Riots started breaking out. Crime was becoming more and more common, and theft was almost a daily occurance. I now know that America might be in anarchy. Never to be restored. We've always been lucky. But maybe our luck has run out. And it did. I now know what they mean. And I know full well that they, whoever they may be, are far, far beyond us.