First off, let me explain myself. Not once will you hear me claim something demonic or out of this world was happening. You will never hear me claim that I bought a game at a strange and out of place game store or garage sale and no; I didn’t find this game just lying in the trash. It just so happens that I owned this game and for one reason or another, I can’t explain what happened one evening when I was playing it.
It was one week from my 22nd birthday and I decided I would have some friends over to celebrate my birthday early seeing as how I worked the whole week of my birthday. We were just reminiscing and sharing some old stories of the good ole days back and forth and then we heard a series of small taps.
We all decided to investigate and find out what was going on. Honestly, I think we were just trying to look tough in front of one another. I for one will admit I was a little uneasy when I heard these unexplainable noises.
Upon further inspection, we did not find the source of the noise but on the bottom shelf of my entertainment center laid a cord just sticking out of the swinging doors on the cabinets.
When I opened the door to push the cord back in half hazard like, I saw my Super Nintendo. So did my friends evidently. I could tell by their faces and the fact that they kept talking about some of the old games we used to play. So for their sake and a bit of nostalgia, I decided to plug it up and pop in one of the games from my small collection; Doom.
We all sat back and prepared to have a blast from the past, so to speak, as we started to play. We all were trying to one up each other on difficulty setting and then we decided to put it on the hardest setting titled “I am a death incarnate.” No that’s not made up. That’s the real name of the difficulty.
After a few hours of constantly dying on the final part of the game, (part 3/3) we decided to go to the beginning but keep the difficulty and slowly work our way down.
So, we reset our game and picked our difficulty once more; “I am a death incarnate.” We picked the first part. Mainly just few small and easy yet challenging levels basically so people can get their bearings on the game as they continue to play. This is when the unusual things started to take place.
The first few enemies you encounter are known as cyber demons. These are easily dispatched with the pistol and ammo is never a rarity. In a normal situation when you kill one of these enemies, their bodies would fall to the ground in a pixelated gore of a mess. It was sort of satisfying as an indication of death. So you can only imagine how surprised I was that when I would kill one instead of leaving a pixel mess on the ground they stood on, they would just disappear as the screen flickered a bit as if getting some sort of interference like the antenna on an old television.
We shrugged it off as just an old game showing its age in glitches. I just felt a little uneasy though as if someone was watching over us as we played after the “glitch” occurred. After a few more hours of playing a few friends went home and it was just me and one more friend named Damien. We both decided that it was a long enough day and that we were maybe a little too tipsy and just wanted to get some sleep. So I showed him to the guest room and I wished him goodnight and closed the door.
On the way back to my room to get some rest I heard the small taps we heard earlier. This time it was just a little louder than before. I decided to pay it no mind since we couldn’t find the source earlier and shrugged it off as just some rodents in the roof knocking stuff down in the walls. I was half way to my bedroom and started to yawn. Sleep was going to be the best thing ever in a few minutes. Then I tripped and almost fell on my face. When I looked down to see what I had stumbled upon, I was shocked to see the manual for Doom lying on the floor.
I looked at it puzzled for a second. I didn’t even remember owning the manual. Feeling a little more uneasy I picked it up and shoved it in the entertainment center. The taps had stopped so I felt that I should sleep while the rodents were being quiet. The next morning, I woke up and wandered out to the living room in a half daze. Damien was still asleep so I thought I would sneak some of the left over pizza from last night as breakfast. After scarfing that down and chasing it with some mountain dew, I thought I would welcome the day with a little bit of call of duty on my Xbox 360. To my surprise when I turned on the system it would flicker on the shut off. I thought it was acting up but was a little confused because we had just played with it the night before. So I stood up a little disappointed and went to the kitchen to put my dishes away and came back to the living room.
I was shocked and frozen when I saw that my Super Nintendo was turned on and the doom soundtrack was playing. I thought Damien was playing a prank on me and I went to the guest room to confront him. No sign of Damien; just a note stating that he had gone home. At this point I was scared. I went to sit on the couch and looked over and the manual was sitting neatly next to the controller. I know I put all of this away before we went to bed. So out of either fear or stupidity I began to play Doom. I had nothing else to do anyway.
The glitch that I mentioned earlier about the cyber demons' death sequence was no longer taking effect. This was due to the fact that I could not find any enemies. I took the cartridge out and blew into it like everyone does to clean them out. I put it back in and started it up and still nothing to fight. I decided I would just spend some time looking for secret areas and see if I could find anything I missed as a child while this glitch was going on.
I started to feel like I wasn’t controlling the character like someone else was telling me where to find the secrets. I felt like someone was whispering over my shoulder ‘Hit the A button on that wall. Yeah that one. Now go to the computer terminal. Good… Good.’ I just kept following these “whispers” and soon enough I had found everything. At least I thought it was everything. The tapping began again.
It seemed like they were telling me when I was close to something. They would get louder the closer I got to a secret and quieter the farther I got from it. I eventually ran into a computer terminal. Then it wasn’t tapping anymore. It sounded like a loud stomp in my attic. It shook the house. I interacted with the computer terminal and it sent me to the final boss battle. Basically a fight with the devil.
Before you enter the chamber with the “devil”, you are in a room and circled and surrounded by enemies. The odd thing about these enemies though is that they did not attack me. They just breathed loudly and watched me as I made my way to the end of that room and the entrance to fight the devil. I could feel their eyes just following me even outside of the game I felt like I was being watched and observed while I play and before I knew it I was at the entrance. The final entrance, to the final room, to the final boss fight in Doom. I had only seen this area once and that was back then I was I think six years old and I had never beat it. I played the boss once and after dying only once I gave up.
Before I could enter the room I could hear the other enemies whispering things. I could barely make it out but what I could make out was things like “Back for more Jake?” or “Round 2 already?” or even “You know you won't win.” I took it as if it was just a nice touch by the creators because the voices sounded pixelated just like everything else in this game. I went in the room and fought the devil. I fought him for a long fifteen minutes and even then it seemed like it would last even longer. Finally, it was done. I had won. After beating the devil, my game flickered and I could see the devil fall to his knees I cheered over this pixelated victory. Then I knew something was wrong.
My game started to flicker more as if there was even more interference then static. The static became louder and louder till I was afraid the neighbors would call the police over the noise. Then black screen with a simple message. “I hope you are happy.” Then something happened. The devil was shown again with his face looking toward the ground in shame as he had been defeated again. Then he looked at the screen and a pixelated demonic laugh could be heard. His face became distorted and I was becoming more and more disturbed the longer it lasted. Then a loud high pitched scream then silence as the system shut off.
I tried to turn the game back on and it wouldn’t work. All my other games did and I just shrugged it off. Pretty much in a cocky manner like “Screw it! I beat Doom! It doesn’t need to work anymore.” I went through the rest of my day with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I even went back and beat my other games. Super Mario World, Chrono Trigger, and Legend of Zelda: A link to the past. Then I went to bed with a day of victory still in my head. Then I heard a tapping. Nope it wasn’t going to bother me. I beat the game the tapping will stop. Then my door opened. Nope nope still not fazing me then I heard in a high pitched squeal like voice “Well are you happy?” and then I remembered the distorted face of the devil after I beat him. Fearing that would be the next thing I would see or hear I asked quietly, “What do you want?” Then I heard a response. I guess it should have been an expected one.
I heard in the same whiny voice a drawn out sounding “YOU”. I quickly tumbled out of my bed almost like I was falling to the floor. I ran out to the living and to my surprise the game was on. Doom was on. The distorted face still on the screen as if it was mocking me as I stood there. Then I screamed. It was all a dream. I thought maybe it was just my imagination running wild since I was a little worked up over beating that game.
I looked at my clock. It was 6 A.M. The sun would be coming up soon. So I basically said screw it and sat up and started to wake myself up.
I stood up and stretched and thought about making some pancakes and some coffee. Been a while since I have been up this early. As I went out to my living room half asleep i noticed my tv was on. I thought I must have left it on by mistake before I went to bed. I just turned and went to the kitchen to start some breakfast. I was too tired to think deeply on the tv being on. I started the coffee and skipped pancakes and just had some cereal. I went back to the living room and found the tv back on. I turned it off and went back to my room. I sat down on my bed and started listening to music on my laptop. Then the speakers went out in my laptop so all I could hear was a deafening silence until the static of the tv turning on could be heard. This time I heard the snap of the power switch on the Super Nintendo slide into place as the system turned on. I came out to the living room and stood there horrified and started telling myself 'You are dreaming. This is just a crazy dream.' I sat down on my couch and picked up the controller as if compelled by some unseen force. I had to play Doom. Not only was my heart beating faster and faster. I could feel myself getting angrier and angrier.
As emotions started to run with a mixture of a speeding heart my hands became sweaty as I pressed start and found that I could only choose one difficulty. The only one I could choose was labeled simply, "You Won't Win". I took this as a challenge. I felt like if i didn't beat the game this time, the happenings would only increase till I broke and lost my sanity. I thought maybe I would use the shortcut that I learned and use the computer terminal to skip to the last boss fight in the game. When I did this my character died. When he died I felt something. I don't mean that metaphorically. I mean I physically felt pain as if it was really happening to me. I looked up and saw I had two lives remaining which was odd on its own considering there was never a "Lives" counter in this game to begin with.
I pressed start and continued on a path of nothing but relentless maps and merciless enemy placement. Every hitpoint of damage I could feel as if I was in the game myself. So I started to take it slow even though everything in me said END THIS NOW. After putting in much of a night's worth of work and losing only the one life. I made it to the room. The room of the devil.
I entered the room but unlike before it felt odd. Instead of the enemies just egging me on as I made my way to the entrance, I was surprised to see that there were no enemies. Just pictures. Pictures of me. I sat down and felt my heart sink a little. I knew that the game took its defeat personally now. The pictures of me were not distorted or anything. They were just a pixelated me. When I entered the final room. I saw him. The one who haunted that heart stopping nightmare. The devil. His face still distorted. "Welcome back." He said in a pixelated demonic voice.
He then proceeded to rip my character in half. I felt like I was on fire as this happened and actually let out a scream. I saw my "Lives" counter drop from 2 to 1. Then a message popped up. "Now the odds are even. If I win, you have no lives to continue. If you win, the same will go for me." I fought my hardest. I could feel my face getting moist from tears of fear and sweat from adrenaline. I was getting annihilated. I had 35% health left and we had only been fighting for maybe 15 minutes but it felt like an hour. Then something happened. The game froze. Time stood still as the pixels started to catch up with one another, I thought for sure I would be dead. I wasn't dead yet. While I had the chance I caught the devil off guard and put as much damage into him as I could. I won.
I could hear him say. You weren't supposed to beat me. Not this time. Then he exploded into a pixelated mess of gore like the other enemies as an indication of death. Then the end credits. I sat on my couch crying tears of joy. I let out a long and loud victory yell and watched the credits and cursed at every name I saw. Then the final message.
"Congratulations. You survived." I heard a high pitched squeal like the one from my nightmare then the game shut off. I didnt even try to turn it back on. I took it out. Looked at it and threw in the sewer drain at the end of my street. I won. I didn't need that game anymore. Good riddance.