These events took place during August 2003. What you want to believe is up to you. This is a warning as these stories appear everywhere. On forums all over the internet. Softwares like these exist. Viruses like these exists. You are never safe. I will not use any names for privacy reasons.
It was my son's birthday next week he was 12 and he kept asking for a Nintendo Gamecube, so as a surprise I went to the game store and purchased the console. I told him that he was definetly getting a Gamecube and I said that after he finished school tomorrow I would take him to the game store so he could pick out a few games to play on his birthday. So the next day, I picked him up from school and took him to the game store. It took about 10 minutes for him to finally decide on what he wanted, he choose Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Brothers Melee and Sonic Adventures 2: Battle. I kept the games and the console in my room for safekeeping.
On the day of his birthday he opened the presents and was ecstatic to find the console and the games he picked. Immediately he wanted to plug it in, connect it to the TV and start playing. Unfortantly I had to get to work, I worked at a finance centre on the outskirts of town, mostly doing night shifts as it was good pay and long hours so he could get away from the house. But today was different, I was doing a short shift than normal instead so after calling my sister to babysit I got in the car and went to work.
It was about 9pm I got a call from my sister, she said that my son was crying his eyes out in his room and she couldn't get him to stop and the only response she got from him was 'The game..' and nothing more. After my shift ended an hour later, I drove home to find he was still crying but not as bad as my sister described. His eyes were red raw and he was shaking. I calmed him down by midnight and got him to sleep. My sister sat me down in the living room and told me what was wrong.
She said that he was playing Super Mario Sunshine but it was different than his friend's copy he frequently played round his house as his friend already owned a Gamecube. Upon loading up the game, the music was really bad quality, the voices of Mario and the enemies had a really demonic deep voices and everytime he lost all his health the screen would go blank and then say the words 'Don't cry. Smile' and he felt very scared. He then put in Sonic Advenutres 2 and the same bad quality and deeper voices was happening and the words 'Don't cry. Smile' popped up everytime at game over. He left the console to enjoy the rest of his birthday and came back to it to play Super Smash Brothers Melee and yet again, the same thing was happening. Just this time at the select screen when he choose Mario the game crashed, and he couldn't turn it off. The words 'Don't cry. Smile' was really faded but noticable in the background. It couldn't be coincidence that the 3 games he choose at a game store had the same problem.
I didn't know what to believe. I though I had to check out what he was so distraught about. Now, I wasn't really used to modern day video games although I was brought up with the NES so the controls couldn't be that complex to work out. I started up Super Smash Brothers Melee and did exactly what he did, choose Mario at the character select screen. And that was when I froze and so did it. The game crashed, I attempted to turn it off but it didn't and I didn't see any words in the background. It might of been my poor eyesight I didn't know. I put on Super Mario Sunshine and exactly what my sister described was happening to me right now. Demonic deep voices of what should of been Mario's was frightening, sounded like it was something from the movie The Excorcist it was horrifying to listen to. I turned it off because I couldn't take it anymore. I came to terms that my son was right. All 3 games had something wrong with it.
I couldn't take the games or the console back to the store, because A. It was past refund time and B. What was my excuse? The games were possessed? So I gave the 3 games and the gamecube to my technician friend who specialised in software programming, viruses, modifications anything to do with a computer and what happens underneath. This was his report.
"I broke down Super Mario Sunshine into files using a programming software and was able to seperate them into different catagories. Audio, Video etc. It took me at least an hour to go through all of it and that was when I noticed a file called 'DONTCRYSMILE'. Before clicking it, I checked SSBM and Sonic Adventures 2 and broke them down into files and found the exact same file. I tried double clicking but nothing was happening. My computer crashed and turned off. I turned it back on to find that my desktop background had been automatically changed to a grotesque and disturbing image of what seemed to be a smiling face of a dog (which after some investigation found out to be a known internet legend called smiledog) and not only this but my files were all renamed 'Don't Cry. Smile' this really alarmed me. I knew instantly that this was a computer hacking virus. But what doesn't make sense is why it would be on 3 completly different game discs. So then I thought it must be the console itself. I took a look at, stripped it down to its motherboard and noticed some modifications on it, it had been tampered with. In conclusion, someone has modified the Gamecube with a virus called 'DONTCRYSMILE' and infects every game that is played on the device. I recommend that this Gamecube should not be used anymore"
I was very disturbed by this report he sent me. It was few days later he said he was able to trace down the origin of the virus with an address. It was an address of an old electronics manufacturer that was based in the town we lived in, but it went out of buisness because of poor sales. I turned on my laptop and typed in the name of the electronics firm into my search engine, it came up with a news article that said that some of developers had been arrested because they had put viruses onto electronics like computers and game consoles. Although one of the developers who created the virus is still on the loose. This is had to be it.
I took the Gamecube back to the store anyway as I thought I had a good reason why. The lady at the desk asked what was wrong and I explained to her about the virus, the games and that my son was having nightmares and the news article. She was very familiar with the story and she said she knew one of the developers that was arrested but never met the others. She was disgusted as she knew someone who had the same thing happen to them but on their computer. I asked her if anyone had access to the Gamecube apart from anyone who worked here and she said that a man had came a day before I purchased the console and bought it. Although he brought it back the next day saying it wasn't what he was looking for. It was preowned but never played with. So he was the one who put the virus on there, maybe he was the other developer at large. It sent shivers down my spine and rotted me to my core. She sympathised me and gave me a full refund so I could purchase another Gamecube for my son. Despite he had gone off the idea of playing video games for a while.
It was a Friday night, I was sat at my desk with my laptop scanning the internet about everything about the virus and the developers. I came across forums, discussions about how they or someone they knew have the same thing virus. What was horrible I read was a little girl was watching her brother on the computer after he had downloaded a game which contained the virus on and she was witnessed to scenes of a disturbing and violent scarring nature. What still bugged me was why would they do such a thing? something to be remembered by? anyway the title 'Don't cry. Smile' still questioned me. What was it supposed to mean. Don't be afraid and smile? A joke? Well anyway. I guess we all just have to forget about it and let the memories drift away from mind. But I fear this may not be the end. Because it may be a start to thousands of people wanting to copy exactly what they did. Don't cry though. Smile.