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I know it's easy to write off this kind of story as a joke, so I'll tell you now: Do what my sister did, and to the best of my knowledge it should work. Do what I did, and... well, I can't guarantee the same result, but try it. If you do, then please get in touch. Please tell me you can't see something there, one of them, slithering about in the darkness...

When I was a tyke, my family had a Mega Drive (I guess that's a Genesis to most of you). And no, it wasn't haunted, or possessed, or alive. We didn't get it for free off any shady-looking bloke, my parents bought it from a reputable video games chain for my brother's birthday - it was just your bog-standard games console. Oddly enough, though, it turned out to be our only games console. We all took such a liking to it that it never really occurred to us to get another one. The side-effect of this, however, was that we all played on the same increasingly glitchy console well into our teens.

By "we", I really should say "my sister". I was the youngest of four, and though we'd all while away the hours on it on a rainy day, my eldest sister was the only one of us who really took it seriously. She'd fight dirty in Micro Machines, knocking controllers out of our hands, and she was the only one of us to ever complete Rocket Knight Adventures or Bio-Hazard Battle. Of course, where there's Sega, there's Sonic, and having completed every game as every available character (even Sonic 2 as Knuckles!), she soon set about pushing the boundaries of the games to make her own challenges.


Iconic

For Sonic 3 & Knuckles, this took the form of of using Debug Mode to construct harder levels for herself, which she would then try to complete. In the process, though, she stumbled across a rather odd glitch. When playing the Sky Sanctuary Zone Act 3 (Knuckles' final battle) as Sonic via the Stage Select cheat, she created a number of "super boxes" via Debug Mode. Smashing a few of these turned her into Super Sonic and let her defeat Metallix in a couple of minutes, and as the screen faded to white for the final cutscene, she jumped, popping one of the boxes. She went Super while the screen was completely white, silhouetting Super Sonic's yellow spikes against the blank background. As the cutscene played, she was able to turn into items, drop herself about the scene, and generally ruin the victorious tone of the cinematic. But as the credits rolled, something bizarre happened. Building a little platform of boxes to stand on, my sister dropped Sonic down in front of the text. He was a cold, pale blue, with dark blue shoes, his signature spikes sticking out like icicles. Popping a box to turn Super, Sonic turned a vivid red. Very strange.

Needless to say, my sister made a point of trying this glitch multiple times, with various characters, to varying success. Then, as time went by, she grew up, moved out, got a mohawk haircut and a girlfriend, and generally left video games behind. The others followed suit, and following me winning a decent PC in a competition, the Mega Drive was left to slowly gather dust. Years passed without a single game being played. However, while staying over for New Year's, my sister decided to drag the ageing machine out of storage. Sibling rivalries were reignited, and the four of us enjoyed an afternoon of misty-eyed nostalgia.

Much later, one or two in the morning perhaps, I was having trouble sleeping. This wasn't an uncommon problem, so knowing that I was fighting a losing battle, I got up and went downstairs to get myself a glass of water. Stepping past the living room, my eye was drawn to the red power light of the Mega Drive, glowing ominously in the midnight gloom. Water in hand, I decided to play a couple of levels of something; anything, really, until I felt a bit sleepier. Sonic 3 & Knuckles currently occupied the cartridge slot, so S3&K it was. With the volume well down to avoid waking up my various family members, I was pottering through the second stage of Angel Island when I remembered my sister's glitch. My sister wasn't the first to find it, of course, but she'd certainly brought it to my eyes, and with good reason; barring a couple of videos on YouTube there doesn't seem to be much to be found concerning it. So, with nothing better to do, I fumbled in the half-light of the television screen for the reset button. It didn't take long to enter the Stage Select and Debug Mode cheats, what with so many childhood play sessions having ingrained them into my memory, and soon enough I was blazing through the battle against Metallix. He fell quickly, and as expected, busting a monitor showed Sonic up against the white background. The cutscene played, and I was delighted to see that Sonic was indeed the icy blue I remembered from my childhood. I popped another monitor, and Sonic turned red. For some reason, the clouds in the background also took on a dark red tinge. I didn't remember that happening last time. I hopped and bounced around for a while, not really sure what to do now. Then, I slipped.

A funny quirk of debug mode is that by turning into an object, you can actually interrupt Sonic's death animation. So after the now-red hedgehog hit the bottom of the screen, I instinctively pressed A to save him. Now, I was tired, but still not sleepy, so I pressed A again, and he hit the bottom of the screen again, bouncing upwards in that comical fashion. I pressed A twice, and he dropped again, then bounced again, his mouth a rounded "O" of surprise. I made a game of it: Keepy-uppy with a falling hedgehog. Every time he hit the bottom and bounced, I would wait for him to get as close as possible to the bottom again before pressing A and dropping him again, giggling like an idiot at the pointless challenge I had invented. Like I said, I was tired.

Fall, bounce, fall, AA. Fall, bounce, fall, AA. As I settled into the rhythm, I finally began to feel sleepy, and conveniently enough, the game music picked up and the credits rolled to a close. I briefly mused on how many shocked-looking Sonics I'd killed, feeling slightly guilty. The post-credits "You didn't get all the Chaos Emeralds" vignette played, Metallix standing triumphantly on top of the Master Emerald, and I was literally reaching for the off-switch when something caught my eye.

I must have pressed A again by mistake, because there was Sonic, running on the spot in the corner of the screen. I was about to dismiss it as a bug - after all, I had been screwing with the game all night - when Sonic began to descend. As he sank to the bottom of the screen, his animation began to glitch and stutter, leaving a trail of half-sprites and corrupted pixels behind him. When he reached the bottom, Metallix and the Master Emerald began to move up, the entire screen shifting upwards. Sonic continued to leave a trail of graphic artifacts on the black space above, and it occurred to me that Sonic might still be moving downwards, with the screen following him. Confused, I leant back against the sofa, and waited.

I must have fallen asleep at some point, because the last of my water was lukewarm when I raised it to my lips. A glance at the clock confirmed that just over an hour had passed. On the TV screen, Sonic continued his endless, juddering descent. I sighed quietly and made to stand up. As I did, though, something finally began to slide into view at the bottom of the screen. Grabbing the controller from the floor and freezing Sonic in place as a platform, I squinted groggily at the rising blue mass.

It looked like a landfill, an enormous mound of blue and red, some parts twitching unnaturally. I sat down again and moved closer. The mound was made of Sonics, hundreds of them, some of them frozen, others moving jerkily, awkwardly switching between sprites as if their actions didn't have animations to represent them. Layered uncomfortably on top of each other, some were reclining in a weary-looking pose, while others had rolled themselves up tightly. A few would hang in a pose for a few seconds before abruptly switching to another, like some kind of spasm. Suddenly, the screen erupted in bouncing noises. At the sight of the platform, the Sonics near the top of the mass seemed to be jumping wildly, clambering over each other and throwing themselves off of the pile, trying to reach this new object. I'd never seen Sonic AI act like this before. Did they see the platform as a potential ticket to freedom? What was this place, and why were they so desperate to escape? My eyes drifted to the bottom of the screen. None of the Sonic sprites there were moving. In fact, some of these sprites I'd never seen before - Sonic hanging limp, Sonic sprawled flat on his back, Sonic on his side, his back to the player. In the final couple of layers, at the very bottom, the sprites were fractured and fragmented, some sections missing or replaced by random tiles and text characters. Then, below that, nothing. An inky black ooze, pink and green interference playing across the surface. Were Sonics abandoned here, in this purgatory? Left to rot and decompose, overwritten bit by bit, byte by byte; breaking down into ever-smaller fragments of code until the game was reset?

Then it hit me. Dead Hedgehog Keepy-uppy. Over and over I'd killed him, each death causing him to fall, and though I'd thought that I was grabbing him at the last second, I wasn't. The Sonic that fell - he kept falling. Invisibly to the player, sure, but behind the brightly coloured levels, he kept falling, falling through that total blackness. I had been glitching my way around the last level of the game, and then I'd killed two hundred Sonics in the space of a few minutes - just for a laugh. I wasn't surprised that I'd broken the game; that was clearly not something it was built to handle. In that final vignette, with no level in the way, I had seen what I was never supposed to.

Then the ooze shifted. Maybe disturbed by the riot above, slimy, blackened limbs reached up from the surface. Some managed to twist themselves free, digging upwards, pulling their way through gaps between motionless, corrupted sprites. Shadows, ghosts in the machine, AI stripped of sound and graphics, slid silently around the mound to where the desperate Sonics were tumbling into the slick below. Before they could reach the bottom of the screen, half a dozen oily arms would grab them, before dragging them across and stuffing them roughly into the base of the mound. Instantly, the captive would flicker, before lying still and taking on the fractured appearance of those around him. I watched, rapt in horror, unwilling to believe my eyes, as the chaos at the top of the screen died down, all of the remaining rioters either giving up the fight and lying still against the mass, or being captured and corrupted by the horrors below. When this was done, the oily spectres sank back into the murk.

I had seen quite enough. I doubted I was going to get much sleep, but lying in bed awake was an infinitely more attractive prospect than this nightmare. Even so, there was something I needed to check. I had to be sure.

Heart thudding, I moved the platform away from the mound, and pressed A. Sonic dropped down to the bottom of the screen. He hit it. He bounced, his look of surprise the same as always, before plummeting off of the screen. I put my hand to my mouth and waited.

Sure enough, two minutes later, he reappeared at the top of the screen, streaking downwards.

He landed on top of the pile with a quiet thud.

Author's NotesEdit

Hiya! This is my first creepypasta and yes I am English and yes I do use words like "bog-standard" in real life. The glitch featured here is REAL (though under-reported for some reason), but in reality is nothing more than a palette swap. Or maybe you need to kill Sonic a different number of times. Keep going, just a few more hours... In fact almost all of this story up to "Much later" is true - it really was our only console, and my sister really was the man of the house where games were concerned. I was curious to see if recounting a story from memory made it seem more believable to the reader.

This pasta is intended to be a reworking of the age-old concept "What if games characters were sentient?" Would they approve of the hell we put them through? I doubt it. Sonic worked especially well, since he plummets off of the bottom of the screen... but where to, we're never told. So this is that idea pastafied. Every time you kill a games character, they are freed from your control, but they are also condemned to a hellish purgatory to await the next game reset.

The abrupt ending is deliberate. I've never read a creepypasta with a good epilogue, and I suspect they don't need one. Don't pad out the story after everything important has happened. If you're out of creepy, end the pasta.

I did add in some actions that aren't strictly necessary for the sake of creepiness, but if the glitch isn't working for you please append a comment below stating your exact sequence of actions. I'll look into it. In fact, feel free to comment if there's any way you think this pasta could be improved. As I said, first one.

Cheerio tally-ho bombs away etc.

- Albie

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