The Game Boy was one of my most favorite handheld consoles to play on as a kid. When I first got one I used to take it with me everywhere I went, almost as if it was attached to me. I had all kinds of games, anywhere from Pokémon to Bomberman to Wario Land to little space shooters and arcade ports. One game I got used to belong to my cousin, Paige.
It was called Tamagotchi, and it was based on a line of electronic keychain toys that were popular during the nineties. She was a BIG fan at the time, having all kinds of virtual Tamagotchi pets in all different skins.
The premise of the game was very simple, yet a little bit complicated. You start by picking one of eight eggs in different patterns, then giving it a name. It was never clear what gender you'd get, but you could tell by your pet's color when it hatched; black meant you got a boy, white meant you got a girl. Depending on how well you took care of your pet, it would grow into different characters. If neglected for too long, however, it would eventually die.
One day I went to visit my cousin Paige at her house. She was cleaning her bedroom up and needed to get rid of some things. One such thing happened to be her Game Boy, which surprisingly, still worked. I was very young at the time, about 10 years old, so I was still really into these kinds of games.
"You're giving me your old Game Boy? But I thought you liked this old thing."
"Well, I kind of got tired of it. I didn't know what else to do with it, so I figured I'd give it to you." She smiled and handed me the Game Boy and a grey cartridge. I looked at the label, and sure enough, the title read "TAMAGOTCHI". However, something was slightly different. The label is supposed to show three images of a little creature hatching from an egg and smiling as it comes out, but the last image made the creature appear to be sick, almost dying. I figured "maybe the label's a bit worn." I shrugged it off and kept it in the Game Boy's cartridge slot to keep it safe until I got home.
I got home and went to my bed room to go play it. I turned on the game and noticed the introduction cut-scene looked slightly altered; the original intro shows a small UFO falling to earth, and crash landing near a city, but instead the UFO just crash-landed INTO the city, creating a large fire within it. I was skeptical about this, but thought it was nothing.
I went to the OPTIONS menu to look at an option called "MEMORY BOOK" which let you see small records of pets that have died on your save file. One spot had been empty because no other pet had been hatched, but two of them looked odd; one of my cousin's pets, which she named BUFFY, had a skull icon in place of the tiny portrait of the pet itself. The other, KEVIN, looked like it was sleeping, but below its age it said "SCKPRSN" which probably meant "Sick Person" due to the tiny space in the log. I was shocked; I had never seen something like this in a virtual pet game. Not only that, but why would such a thing appear, and what would it be implying? That somebody somehow "abandoned" their pet and left them to die?
Anyway, I started a new game and chose a spotted egg pattern. I couldn't really think of any names but I was certain I was going to get a female, so I put "Sarah" as a name.
I waited about five seconds for the egg to hatch, which it did, and sure enough, I got a little white blob indicating I hatched a girl. It looked as if it had a sad or bored expression on its face, and I heard a twangy sound coming out of the Game Boy, meaning it was hungry. I checked her status to see just how hungry she was, it displayed one black heart meaning she was VERY hungry.
Selecting the food icon gave me five choices, a slice of bread, a slab of meat, a carrot, a piece of cake and an ice cream cone. I chose the meat. It fell onto the ground next to my pet, and she happily gobbled it up. Then I noticed something strange. She started yawning, and I heard a little sine-wavy sound coming out of the Game Boy's speakers which was supposed to circumvent the yawning. My pet fell asleep for a few minutes and I turned off the "lights," making the screen go black so she could sleep. But just as I had turned off the virtual lights I could have sworn I saw some kind of text appear for a fraction of a second. I don't really know what it was, but it looked like it said "Don't leave me like you did the others. Please."
As a little kid of only 10 years old, I was pretty shocked. Was my own pet... talking to me?
After a while she woke up, I could tell because I heard a pinging sound indicating my pet was cheering or laughing. I turned on the "lights" and noticed she was bouncing around the screen, wide awake.
"You just woke up..." I said to myself, confused by my pet's behavior. After bouncing around for a good three minutes she fell back asleep almost instantly. After a moment she appeared to be having a nightmare because she had an almost frightened look on her face as she slept, and appeared to be fidgeting, like something was stressing her out. Some calm music started playing while she slept but it sounded eerie at the same time. I turned off the lights again and this time I saw another "message" for a split second saying "Don't put it down! Don't put it down!"
Huh? Don't put what down? The Game Boy? I heard another yawning noise as she started to wake up, and the little Z's that represented the illusion she was snoring started to disappear, meaning it was time for me to turn on the lights. I did, and I got one last subliminal message saying "Don't put it down or I won't wake up!"
NOW I was scared. It was almost as if my own virtual pet was talking to me through the Game Boy. I reluctantly did what my pet told me and held it for a long time, but then she started looking depressed. I noticed a little shadow over its head, implying it was sick, but what really got me was that the background started to get more depressing with my pet's mood. It started getting darker the more depressed it got, and then it looked like it was going to start crying. It had also been kind of crawling along the screen, and the sadder it got the slower it started to crawl as it got even more sick. Suddenly the lights flickered on and off for another split second, and the "message" I got this time was "Help me! Help me! I'm not going to make it! Help me!"
I kind of felt a little saddened; I thought my pet was already about to die after I had just hatched it (which wasn't uncommon with my skills of this game), so I quickly moved the cursor onto the medicine icon (a small syringe with liquid in it). Something was wrong; as I tried to open the menu, I got a quick glance at the two options I could pick to cure my pet, but the menu closed out before I could select anything. I tried selecting again, but this time the menu wouldn't open at all; I just heard a buzzing noise each time I tried to select it. The lights flickered one more time, with one more "message" saying "You weren't fast enough..."
After that the screen started flashing like crazy for the death animation as my little blob appeared to be dead in its tracks, her body just lay there, slumped down. There was nothing I could do as the screen kept flashing, I couldn't select anything or move the cursor at all. I noticed the background of her "room" seemed to change for a second. It appeared to briefly show some writing. Every few seconds the screen flashed, the writing would appear and say things like "TRAITOR" and "HEARTLESS" and finally I saw "YOU'RE A SICK PERSON" across the top of the window.
I was really heartbroken now; what exactly did I do to my pet? All I did was try to take care of it...and what did it mean by "I wasn't fast enough"?
Maybe it's because I didn't pick the game up fast enough...?
Finally I heard a long beep as the screen faded to white. A cut-scene then showed my pet sitting there, dead, in a gray-scale background. Now normally, the last part of the death sequence is supposed to show your pet turning into an angel and floating across the screen, or a ghost if you're playing the Japanese version, but instead, it just seemed to just float across the screen, as if some invisible hand or arm was dragging it around. After a minute or two it started to decay and decompose. After that all the images faded away, and another text box popped up saying "Why? Why did you leave me?"
I have never been more horrified in my entire life. I erased all of the data, as much as I could, and tucked the cartridge away in a place I'd forget to look.
Written by an user on 4chan. The author remains anonymous.