Have you ever played Berzerk? I’ve always been too much of a puss to ever play it. If you saw what I saw, if you felt the sadness I felt, you wouldn’t play it either. It was 1981, I remember it was early Saturday morning, the sun had barely risen. Me and my friend Jeff sat outside of the video arcade. We always got up early on Saturday and waited until the Video arcade opened.
One time we got chairs we waited so long. Jeff was nineteen at the time. He was only a few months older than me. I looked over at Jeff and asked him what time it was. He pulled a leather hand watch out of his pocket. I had never seen it before. Maybe he stole it, he's always been a little rebellious to the law. He looked down at the watch and told me it was 6:30 A.M. I sigh.
"How come we always come so early?" I asked.
"I’ve told you this a million times," Jeff replied."I always want to be the first to play Berzerk"
... Berzerk? He always plays Berzerk. He shakes slightly in excitement as he looks at the arcade machine through the window. We wait another hour. After each hour more and more people began to show up. They had more common sense than we did. We usually waited 2 to 3 hours for the place to open.
At 8 o’clock a man with a short beard walked up from inside the arcade and unlocked the door. Jeff and I with the small crowd of people by our side rushed through the doors of the arcade. Jeff was the first to get to the coin booth. He gave his 5 dollars to the young man on the other side of the counter.
He handed Jeff 20 silver 25 cent coins. He clenched the quarters in his fist and jammed it into his back pocket. He ran over to the Berzerk machine and slammed the quarter into the slot. He pressed the start button and is greeted to a robotic voice to my knowledge says "ATTACK IT!"
A large smile washed upon Jeff's face. He ran through each level blasting each robot and avoiding the evil smile, or Evil Otto as he's called. I refer to him as the death smile. Invincible, unstoppable, evil. After getting my ten dollar’s worth in quarters, I pulled out a chair and watched Jeff play Berzerk. I always watched because he always was playing it and it creeped me out too much to play it.
He rubbed his face on the screen. I can hear him whisper, "Come on, COME ON!"
Each time he said it, his voice became louder and more violent. It became so loud that I couldn’t hear the ambiance of people in the arcade. He shot the last robot on the screen and ran into Otto. The screen flashed. Jeff got the high score.
He fell to the ground. At first I thought he was joking and I giggled. His body started to flail on the floor.
"Jeff are you alright?" I ask.
"JEFF!" I scream! Everyone in the arcade stared at the flailing body on the floor. I dropped to my knees and put my hands on his chest.
"CALL 911!" I holler.
When I said that I noticed something evil happen. The screen of Berzerk flashed again and you could see the demonic smile laughing.
"It was you" I whisper.
I always knew that game was sketchy, but not like this. I started to sob. Jeff's body stopped moving.
"Oh my god," I whisper. I put my head on his chest.
I holler "WHERE'S THE FUCKING AMBULANCE?" I lay on his chest for a good ten minutes.
I heard a siren coming from outside. In a matter of moments twin men pulled me up and grab Jeff. They were paramedics. One paramedic tried to revive him. "CLEAR!" He hollered. I saw him shake his head and say "No good." The other paramedic ran to the ambulance and grabbed a body bag. I leaned on the wall next to the arcade machine and sobbed. They grabbed Jeff and put him into the bag. They zipped up the bag.
The men picked up the bag with Jeff's lifeless body inside and hauled it off to the ambulance. The two men put his body into the car, shut the back, and enter the cab. I walked outside and watched the ambulance move out of the parking lot. Jeff died of a heart attack that night. I walked back into the arcade and looked at Berzerk. The Death smile was still there laughing.
I pointed to the machine and said "It was you." Out of anger I drive my fist through the screen. Sparks flair and the screen shattered. I pulled my hand out of the shattered screen and stared at it. There was 1 shard of glass in my knuckle. A long streak of blood ran down my arm. The owner screams "HEY MAN, YOU CRAZY?" to which I reply "No... Just angry." I opened the door and stormed out of the arcade.