My name is Todd. I’m 15 years old. I am the middle kid of my family. There’s my 19-year-old brother, Ralph, who likes to tease me by talking about science that I can hardly understand a word of. Then there’s my 8-year-old brother, Rico, who always beats me in every game imaginable, from Minecraft to Battlefield: Bad Company. My special talent is programming. I started learning around the age of 9 and now know 3 computer languages-Java, Python, and C+.
On May 23, 2015, it was Ralph’s 20th birthday. I was told to go to GameStop to get him a game. He’s not that easy to shop for, because his tastes in games are bouncing all over the place, unlike Rico, who seems to enjoy any game. On the bright side, I overheard Ralph talking with his parents before leaving the house. I heard him say that he wanted a game called Fallout 3. I was glad I heard that, because like I said earlier, my brother’s tastes in video games keep switching.
At GameStop, I looked through the shelves of the store looking for Fallout 3, but I couldn’t find it. Eventually, I went to the man selling the games and asked if they had any copies of Fallout. It turned out that there was a copy in a shelf that I missed. I went to shelf and looked for the game. Sure enough, it was there. However, I was slightly disappointed by the condition of the game. The disc was in good condition, but the case was dusty and had a few small cracks. The man at the front desk said that I could have the case replaced for free. He also said that the game was pre-owned so it was pretty cheap.
That night, we celebrated Ralph’s birthday. We had cake and then it was time for presents. As usual, Ralph loved to annoy us by opening his presents very slowly. Even after opening them, he would look over them for a long time before going on to the next present. When he was about to open my present, I got excited. Even though it wasn’t my present, I always had the habit of enjoying seeing others being happy.
To make a long story short, Ralph loved the present. He even offered me to play the game with him, until we saw that the game was only allowed to have one player. Rico came in shortly before Ralph started the game and sat down with me on the couch so we could watch him. The game started off with a cut scene talking about a nuclear war shortly before 2077 that caused the world to be in ruins and ended with the words “War…War never changes.”
After that, we went through the first part of the game-the part where your character is just a baby-without incident. Almost without incident. At one point, Rico, who happens to have sharp senses, claimed he noticed that around the part where you read a book called “I’m special,” the screen briefly became “wavy.” “Wavy? When,” I asked. Rico said “When Ralph went to page 3. Try it again. You might notice.” Ralph said “Alright,” and flipped to page 3 while I looked curiously. I didn’t notice anything. Rico said “That’s odd. It’s not happening anymore.” I just said “Huh,” starting to lose interest in what Rico claimed he saw. Rico seemed to be losing interest too because all he said back was “Ok.”
The part of the game where you’re a baby was complete and as you probably imagine, easy. The next part was when your character celebrates his tenth birthday. Like before, this part was easy, if somewhat boring. The only particularly fun part is where you get to learn how to shoot a gun and do so on a roach. (Fallout’s mutated version of a cockroach.) Shortly before Ralph’s character took out the roach, though, something strange happened. Sections of the screen began to stretch or contract, for 5 seconds or so. Everything then went back to normal. Ralph said “That’s odd. Did you see that?” I said “Yeah, but only a second or so before it went back to normal. What do you think it was? Certainly not placed there on purpose.” Rico said “I’ll look it up. Wait for me.”
Within a few minutes, Rico came back. He said that glitches like what we saw sometimes happened, but mostly on older handheld devices like the Microvision. It was caused generally when 2 or more pixels next to each other changed colors quickly. I said “How old was the Microvision again?” Rico said “Very old. 1978 or 79 or sometime around that.” Ralph said “Perhaps it’s an easter egg. If you start up Minecraft, there’s a small chance it will say Mincecraft instead of Minecraft.” I said “I’m going to go with that guess.” Rico said “Yeah. Me too.”
However, it would not be long before we stopped thinking this was an easter egg. We were now at the part where you take the goat test. It’s supposed to test out what type of job would be good for your character. Ralph’s test results said he would be a “capital wasteland manager.” However, just as he was leaving the room he did the test in, we all noticed something. The screen began to bloat and shrink in certain sections again, but there was something else. In the corner of the room, there was some sort of dark shadow. Rico said “What’s that?” Ralph decided to take a closer look. Suddenly, a tall man with a brown business suit from the sixties walked out of the shadows of the corner of the room. Ralph walked near the figure, who began mumbling indistinctly to himself. Rico managed to make out a few words of what the man was saying, including “China,” “attack,” and “collapse.”
Ralph said “Sounds like whatever he’s talking about is bad.” “And has something to do with China,” I added. Rico said “He just said the word oil.” “Oil,” I asked. Ralph said “I think we need a new theory to what’s happening in this game. Definitely not a glitch or easter egg.” I said “Maybe it was hacked. The game was pre-owned.” But Ralph and Rico didn’t hear me. They were looking at the game screen again. The game had gone pitch black, other than a few spots of dark gray. The dark grey spots turned black, like the rest of the screen. The camera then zoomed out, showing what looked like a city and judging by the text on the signs, it was Chinese. A few seconds later, the camera cut to orange-red before showing the city again, but in ruins, like in fallout. There was also a giant banner covering one big building with a radiation symbol on it.
Ralph said “uh, you were saying what?” I said “I said maybe someone who owned the game before us hacked it. It happens in a lot of creepypastas.” Ralph said “I don’t think someone could do it with THIS quality. Then again, you’re the computer expert.” I said “You could do it with this quality, but you would need a LOT of computer experience. If there is a computer hacker involved, than he or she definitely has had a ton of experience with programs and graphic design.” Ralph said “I’d prefer to reject that theory because it’s somewhat far-fetched, but then again, it’s anyone’s guess what’s going on.” Rico yawned. I looked at him, then at the time on my watch. I said “We can discuss this tomorrow. We should be thinking about going to bed right now.”
The next day, I woke up fairly late. It was a weekend, so it didn’t matter. The moment I walked out of my room, Ralph came up to me looking frightened and troubled. “What’s wrong,” I asked. Ralph said “Mom’s calling 911. Rico’s…” His voice broke. “He’s what,” I asked, feeling troubled myself. Ralph said nervously “In a coma.” I said “How do you know?” Ralph said “We think he is. He’s not waking up. We tried everything we could think of to wake him.” He now sounded somewhat frustrated.
A few minutes later, an ambulance arrived to take Rico to the hospital. At the hospital, everything was rather quiet. Except for mom and dad, who could not stop crying. I felt worried, as did Ralph. The only movement either of us did for the next half-hour was occasionally looking at each other anxiously and somberly. After 30 minutes of this, a doctor came up to my mom and dad, who were sitting on the opposite end of the room from me and Ralph. My mom said “Is Rico ok?” The doctor said “We’re at a loss to explain how he’s in a coma. His adrenaline levels are higher than normal. His brain waves are fast but shallow-the same you get when you’re alert.” My mom said through tears “But he’ll be ok, right?” The doctor replied “We did a blood test and found him free of anything biological that might have caused this. About him, it’s unpredictable what’s going to happen to him, as we never seen anything like th…”
He was interrupted by a sudden loud panic coming from down the hall. Before anyone could react, we heard doors sliding open and we noticed something else about the scream. It was getting closer and sounded like a kid no older than 8. The doctor was the first to react as he turned around the see Rico running past him in a state of panic. He stopped when he got to us. He shouted “The man was right!” Me and Ralph looked at Rico, dumbfounded. Rico said “Can you hear me?!?” Ralph said sternly “Of course we can hear you. Calm down!” Rico took a few deep breaths. I was about to say something, but I decided to wait until Rico finished being embraced by mom and dad. Of course, me and Ralph both hugged him too.
After that, while mom and dad were talking with the doctor, we decided to discuss what Rico meant when he said “The man was right.” Ralph said “What man?” Rico said “Hmmm, where to begin?” We waited for a moment before Rico said nervously “I had a dream that I was talking to a man. The same one we saw in fallout. He was talking about a 2035 war between China and USA over fossil fuels. He said there were going to be tons of nuclear bombs launched causing the ozone layer to go away and destroying both sides of the war along with most of the world. It very bad, because I’ll only be 29 when it happens.” I said “How do you know if this is true?” Rico said “I don’t think it’s a coincidence, since the guy was shown in the game too.” Ralph and I began to feel discomforted.