Beep, Boop, Beep, Beep, Boop. Even after all these years, I still remember that distinct sound pattern. Never had there been something that stuck with me for so long, or something that terrified me so much whenever it crossed my thoughts, than the memories that that sound pattern brought to me.
The origins of the sound pattern are simple, they came from a cheesy typing adventure game that I used to play on my family's computer. In 2006, my dad bought one of the new Dell desktop computers that had just come out. This was the first computer we ever had at home, the only other time I got to use computers was at school for some projects, so this was pretty exciting for me.
The only catch was, my dad said that he had to use this computer for work as well. So basically whenever he wasn't working (which was nearly all the time) we would be able to use the computer for entertainment. When I could get a chance to go on the computer, I took full advantage of it. But it was boring most of the time as there wasn't much to do. I did find some kids' sites that had a couple of silly flash games on them, but I quickly grew bored of them. I had heard of YouTube from some friends at school, but there wasn't much on YouTube that I could really enjoy. After many computer turns of boredom, I soon grew bored of the computer itself. There wasn't anything of interest on it anymore.
I had pretty much neglected the computer for a while, focusing on my elementary school work instead of the machine that I had once thought was amazing. That all changed when my dad came home one day with a couple of games. They were mainly just educational games, some were all about mathematics, some were about world geography, and one game was even about science believe it or not. But the one title that caught my eye was a game called "City Typing Adventure". I thought I would enjoy this game since I loved spelling words. Hell, at school I would get my friends to say a list of words and I would write them down to see how many I could get right. I know, I was kind of a weird kid in elementary. But anyways, I took the game and brought it up to my room since my dad needed to use the computer for work at the moment.
The disc was in a shoddy paper sleeve that was very worn and faded. On the front in very neat print were the words: "City Typing Adventure". On the back was a description of the game, but in very broken English. It read, "Tough typing game that test player skill". There was nothing else on the sleeve except for the title and description. No company logo or name. Not a thing. Finally my dad was done doing whatever he was doing on the computer, so I went downstairs and straight to the computer. I pressed the button to open the disc tray and the tray popped out. I took the disc out of the shoddy paper sleeve and placed it onto the tray.
It closed and I waited for an Icon or something to pop up on the screen. It took a couple minutes, but a blank icon popped up on the screen simply named "Typing_Game1". Without hesitation I clicked the icon and was brought to a retro looking start up screen. I clicked the start option and was put onto a difficulty selection screen. I wondered why a typing game would need a difficulty selection. Maybe there were just harder words to spell if you went to a higher difficulty.
The one thing that really confused me, was that the last difficulty option wasnamed Insane_1_. Okay, I got the Insane part but the _1_ part just didn't make any sense. Maybe I'd try it later, but right then I just wanted to try it on easy. I clicked the easy option and was thrown onto a blank white screen. For a minute or two nothing showed up, then suddenly a character appeared in the middle of the screen. He was just an 8 bit ghost looking character and had no detail on him whatsoever.
He had a very wide grin on his face.. why the hell was he so happy? A text box appeared saying, "Hello! My name is ghost/image_.jpg and I will be your partner through your adventures in the city! First we will start out with some simple words!"
I guess the game probably hadn't been finished completely since some things were still left out, like the ghost's name. A line popped onto the screen that said 'Type here'. Before I could get my hand on the mouse, a deep pixelated voice started to say something. "Are you ready? Go!" The first word that flashed on the screen was 'Red'. I typed it on the keyboard and It made a little success sound before moving onto the next word. 'Purple'. I typed it in and the same sound played. Next was 'Seven' followed by 'Eight'; 'Sound', 'Light', 'Food', and then finally 'Help'.
I typed 'Help' but accidentally missed the 'P'. The screen flashed red and a buzzer sound played. The ghost popped back up, still with his wide grin. "Oops! Looks like you got a word wrong. No matter, you'll do better next time, right?". Do better next time? Ghost, I did damn near perfect! The screen faded to black and then quickly switched out for another white screen. Once again the line popped up still saying "Type Here". The deep pixely voice didn't show up this time though. Once again the words showed at the top of the screen and I typed them out on the keyboard. But, on the last word 'Six', I hit the 'X' and it still showed that I did it wrong. There was no red screen or buzzer, but the ghost showed up looking more agitated.
"I see you got another word wrong. Let's hope you don't get one wrong next time. Next round gets a bit more complicated!" Wow. Lets hope you don't get one wrong next time? Jesus, that almost sounds like a threat, Ghost. Whatever, I'll get it right, you just watch me! I realized I was talking to the computer screen, I hoped no one had heard me or they might have thought I was crazy. Once again, I blew through the round, but somehow got the last word wrong...
The ghost seemed pissed off at me now. "Why are you getting these wrong? I mean, I could do this myself! You are worthless, go away!" The fuck? A game was telling me that I was worthless? Oh yeah, well screw you too game! I angrily exited the game and returned to the desktop. What a game, telling me I was worthless? What kind of child's game was that? I went back upstairs and went to my room. I spent the rest of the night reading comics, still thinking about how rude that damn game was. I didn't really want to go back and play it, but I finally did two days later.I booted up the game and was greeted with the same retro looking title menu. I clicked start and noticed that the "Easy" Option had disappeared. The 'Good' option and the 'Insane' option were still left. That was really weird. I exited out of the game and booted it back up, but the 'Easy' option was still gone. It had completely disappeared. Man, for an educational typing game, it sure did a good job of scaring the crap out of me. Reluctantly, I chose the 'Good' option. Instead of a white screen, I was thrown onto a pixelated picture of what looked like a back alley. And just like the last stage, this one had it's own special character. But this time it was an actual person. He looked almost like a drug dealer, so it was fitting that he'd show up in the alley stage.
"Hey man, I'm [Insert Name]. I'm gonna help you through these stages so you can make it out of the back alley alive.
I guess this guy wasn't finished either. Wait.. make it out alive? Okay that's just weird. I wonder where this game came from and who made it. Whoever made it obviously doesn't know what children's games are supposed to be like. Once again the line with 'Type Here' popped up, and I waited for words to show up. Again, the booming pixelated voice spoke, but this time it said "Beat this round or else". I didn't even care anymore. It was just some stupid game that was trying it's best to scare me. The round started and I blew through it with no trouble once again. Except I got stuck on the last word, there was a character that wasn't even on the keyboard. I looked over the keyboard over and over, frantically searching for the missing character, but to no avail.
The monitor cut to a bright red screen and a very high pitched sound erupted out of the speakers. It sounded like a scream mixed with static. It then switched over to an animation of some demonic type creature shooting someone with what seemed like a gun. It then switched back to a single scene.. where it showed the character from that stage lying on the ground in a pool of blood. "Why couldn't you do it you bastard?! If you weren't so damn stupid I wouldn't have.. end up.. ugh... shot." Everything fell silent and the screen cut to black. I was frozen solid. This was a lot to take in for a 5th grader. I just got someone killed. Argh.. no! Stupid me, It was just a GAME.
Just a game.. Was it JUST a game? I didn't know what the hell this was anymore. Then I heard it...
Beep, boop, beep, beep, boop.I looked at the screen but still saw nothing. Then It just appeared..
"Hello, I'm _1_. I see you've gotten yourself into a sticky situation. Don't worry.. it'll all be over soon. Then you can be with the others.
Then you can be with the others... I was done at that point. I pressed escape on the keyboard, but nothing happened.
"Oh but you must not leave now, the party's just started!"
I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I tried to shut off the computer, but that didn't work either. The screen faded to black and then to a blank white screen. The 'Type Here' line appeared. At the top there were words flashing across way too fast for me to even see what they were. And then it suddenly stopped on two lone words.
The game exited and I was returned to the desktop.
That was the end.
I have kept that god forsaken disk for years, even if it brings back terrible memories. The last time I put the disc into a computer was during the making of this story, so I could pull character sprites and such from the files. I swear that while pulling info out I could still hear that sound pattern. It was almost as if it was coming from... right behind me.