I was always considered a gamer by those around me. Whether the games that I played were simple platformers by novice coders or games
Haunted Gaming - Flame23:09

Haunted Gaming - Flame.EXE (CREEPYPASTA)

such as Pokemon by Nintendo, I adored them and strove to unlock even their deepest secrets. Nothing has ever, and will never, change my mind. However, something has happened quite recently that has made me slightly warier of what I get off of the Internet. 

The game that I am speaking of was one that I stumbled upon by searching for 'Sonic games' on Google. It was titled 'Flame'. An odd name choice, but every game had to have their own title to distinguish them from the rest. It was posted up on some site that I can't remember, so don't expect me to tell you or find it again, and it's description was simple enough: 'My first platformer. Roughly based off of the Sonic series, but that is because I am only a novice at creating games. Enjoy. :)'. The smiley face made me wince, due to seeing it so many times, but I acknowledged the fact that the creator of the game was a novice. Not everyone was good at grammar and such. There was no image, so I just downloaded the game and hoped that it wasn't some sort of crazy virus that would destroy my PC forever. 

I did enjoy the game, but there was one thing that bothered me; the fact that you could never see the main character that you were controlling. She (or he) was always hidden beneath a hooded cloak or was a poorly animated blur on the screen, a contrast to the metallic enemies who moved fluently and well. I decided to shrug off the fact that the main character was anonymous after a while of playing, and named him or her 'Flame', a name that was both the actual title of the game and one that I assumed would fit both male and female characters. I only had the title screen to guess Flame's gender from, but then again, I was too busy playing the actual game and collecting 'Medallions' (small, circular bronze items scattered around the levels) to create lengthy theories. 

'Flame' was, to say the very least, a fun game. There was something exciting about completing each level with all of the 'Medallions' that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I was quick to let how anonymous Flame was slide because of the graphics which changed throughout the main levels. In each level, there were about twenty to thirty stages. Another intriguing thing about the game was the fact that from level to level, everything, ranging from the color palette to the monsters, changed. Other than Flame, of course. Flame just remained in her dull brown cloak. Only the lighting on the cloak changed to fit each level. 

The game remained at the top of my priority list for about five months, before I moved on to new game releases such as 'Sonic Unleashed' and some of the new Pokemon titles. To be honest, I left 'Flame' to rot in my games folder for quite some time, just because I had other, more exciting, games to play other than ones that had gameplay which mimicked a well-known classic. It was only when I was clearing out my PC, a few weeks back, that 'Flame' resurfaced. I knew that my memory of the controls wasn't too good after countless hours of trying to find shiny Pokemon and hammering away at the same Sonic Unleashed boss for days on end, but it was worth a shot. I booted it up and began playing again. 

Everything was normal and went smoothly, other than a few lag spikes caused by the masses of other useless ROMs and emulators I had installed on my PC at the time, as well as me forgetting which key Flame jumped with. That is, until the last stage of the last level. The stage was based off of a large expanse of volcanic land, dark and reddish, along with a large assortment of new monsters that practically blended in with their surroundings. The sky was almost grey from the dark smoke which served as clouds. Bear in mind that everything was pixilated, so the smoke did actually look like storm clouds half of the time. A volcano was in the background, towering over the area which Flame had to traverse to complete each stage. You may say that that isn't strange or weird in the slightest, but that's because the actual thing that I'm speaking of happened at the very end of the level. It could easily have been a glitch in the coding, but at the time it seemed like something much, much different. 

Flame abruptly came to a halt just before the level had finished. Thinking that a massive boss monster was going to come down from the Heavens, I sat back in my chair and watched the screen. I quickly stood corrected when Flame started running again, passing the end of the level and bringing up the 'Congratulations!' screen which appeared at the end of each level, along with a few fireworks that looked as if they were thrown in for the heck of it. I guessed that the game froze and waited to see what would happen next, or if the game was simply finished and I could say 'Farewell' to it at last if I wanted to. 

The game cut to another level. I could have sworn that that was the last level, I thought as I placed my fingers on the keys again, waiting for Flame to move from his or her place. Thing is, she or he didn't. Flame stood stock still, as if waiting for something to happen, staring straight ahead at something that was unknown to me. Despite me spamming every key on the keyboard at least three times over, she didn't move from her position. I finally closed the window, thinking nothing of it, and went on YouTube to see what Pewdiepie had to say for himself in his newest video. 

A few days passed until I started the game once more. I selected 'Continue' on the title screen and was instantly brought to that mystery level, that I could have sworn wasn't there when I last checked the level map (you brought that up my pressing M, A and P at the same time. Hats off to the guy who did that). At least Flame moved this time, although at a substantially slower pace than usual. Maybe the level was simply a small bonus that I could complete to get a prize, but some of the game's aspects were altered in that level to make it harder. That was my first thought, because as well as that, many of the monsters doubled in size and there were plenty of large holes leading down to the center of the Earth that tripped me up multiple times and sent Flame hurtling down them. It didn't take me long to realize that it would take me longer than expected to complete the bonus stage. 

I finally reached the end of the level. I was slightly disappointed by the fact that there was no massive prize for me at the end, but what can you do? Perhaps the person who made the game posted it before he or she had time to create a spectacular prize at the end. I stuck to that theory, mainly because the creator did state in the game's description that he or she was a novice when it came to creating games. I was sent back to the title screen, where I calmly exited the window and turned off my PC so that I could continue trying to beat some random boss in Sonic Unleashed for hours. 

The next day, I started up 'Flame' again to go on my annual 'Secret Uncovering Expedition' as I liked to call it. It was basically something that I did at the end of every game; I would try to uncover as many secrets as possible within a week of completing it. I only didn't do it for games such as Pokemon, simply because Missingno was overused and catching all of the Pokemon was getting old. However, in games that were created by novices, there were always a few special things floating around the coding that even the creators weren't aware of. I never reported the glitches I found, but I did always send clues to a few of my friends on how to find the glitches and hacks if they had the game. Ever since none of my friends had 'Flame', I was doing it for the fun instead of for the credit. I pressed continue and selected the level map, prepared to go through each stage until I found something of interest. 

It didn't take me long to stumble across something peculiar. It was on one of the stages in the second level, stage 8 I think. I fell into one of the holes on accident, and found myself in a large hallway. I was instantly intrigued my the hallway's odd layout, with gold framed pictures spanning the dark walls and many cracked where the floor met the walls. By the looks of it, the area was quite old. I guessed that it was a special Easter Egg that the creator of the game added in to see if anyone would find it. I was glad he or she did, or else I would be wasting my time for nothing! 

After a while, Flame paused in front of the door, which led into a continuation of the hallway. 'Would you like to continue?' popped up on the screen, along with the usual 'Yes' and 'No' options at the bottom. Without thinking about it, I clicked yes. The door swung open and Flame continued. The only complaint I had at the time was that the corridor was gradually getting darker and darker, leaving only Flame's sprite not affected by the shadow that had suddenly befallen the area. I thought that it was meant to happen, so I continued on for a few minutes, until another text box appeared. 'Would you like to light up the area?'. Yes, please, game!, I thought as I selected yes. Flame seemed to fumble around in his or her pocket, before taking out what looked like a lighter. It was a lighter. I could see that clearly when a small flame came out f the top of the rectangular object. By now, I could have praised the creator of the game for how beautiful it truly was. I allowed Flame to run a bit on his or her own whilst I got myself something to eat. 

When I returned, the words 'Game Over' where on the screen. I mentally hammered myself with hate for leaving the game to run when there could have been monsters there, due to the fact that the game practically told you that you needed some light by asking that question. Whatever had caused Flame's death, I wished that I was there to avoid. I hit the 'Restart' button to continue. 

Of course pressing that button spawned me in the bonus level. This time, it was slightly different, only because of the seemingly jollier color palette, consisting of light purples and greys along with a few dashes of amber instead of the straight-out volcanic colors. The monsters also altered slightly to look happier and more pleasant, before you jumped on them and ended their short lives. I wondered how it was like to be one of them, before realizing that that thought was completely irrelevant in every way imaginable. I could only complete the now more childish level once more and hope for a proper congrats instead of the badly animated fireworks display, adding to Flame's disappointing animation. A complete contrast to the rest which was a masterpiece, like I stated earlier. 

After the level had finished, I exited out of the window to search through the game folders. I didn't get any proper congrats again so I didn't feel like sticking around. I already knew that the strange hallway beneath the second level existed, which brought me to the conclusion that there were more secrets in the folders themselves. I knew that with my level of expertise in the coding area of things, everything and anything could go wrong, but I would do anything to discover something awesome about games. 

I soon had a collection of five images that I wanted to investigate up on my desktop. Each were named different things: Level 2, Maze, Corridor, Color Palette Volcano and Sprite. If you haven't guessed already, I was doing three different types of research about the game; the hallway, the color palette change and Flame's sprite. Each had their reasons to be investigated. After I had done enough, I decided to send my research to the person who had made the game to show them what I had found, as well as to praise him or her on how well the game was made, other than the fireworks and Flame's bad animation. 

I soon found that the 'Sprite' image was Flame's sprite without his or her cloak, which brought much relief. She was actually a she, due to her eyes and the length of her hair. She was just a normal girl, a nice break from hedgehogs who were super fast. The others didn't bring up much that I didn't know already, so I set off in search of the creator's email. I found it in the creator's profile on that site on which he had posted the game, and I sent him the email, before turning of my PC to finally complete Sonic Unleashed. 

The reply that I received was definitely... Something to put straight into the 'Downright Weird' category of possible replied. He, judging by his name, stated that he had never put the corridor in there, and that Flame's sprite was never cloaked. He then went on to say that he had to take the game down from the site due to a series of strange happenings surrounding it, as well as telling me to uninstall the game from my system unless I wanted a virus, which happened in most cases. I assume that the guy didn't know that such information never made me uninstall a game. I went back into the files which belonged to 'Flame' after closing my email, with a contented grin on my face. 

After finding nothing more of interest, I started 'Flame' up again, only to be met with a system error and the window closing immediately after. Maybe what the guy said was right? The only thing that made me not believe that statement fully was the fact that the error had never occurred before, giving it no reason to happen now. I quickly opened the game's folders again to check if everything was alright. You will not believe what I saw... 

Files upon files upon files of glitched, hacked and copied images and other important things lay messed up in one massive folder named ~~ERROR~~. The guy must have been right. The only thing was that the virus aspect of it was missing. The game was glitched and unplayable, but no virus was in sight. I had one of the best anti-virus softwares possible to find installed as well. All I could do was either uninstall the game and forget about it, or check the images to see if anything interesting was to be found in them. 

It turned out that the images were meant to be put in a slide show, so I quickly opened Windows Movie Maker and placed them all in, shortening them to 0.25 seconds each before watching it, after finding an audio file called 'emalF' and throwing that in, too. It turned out being about a girl who was trapped in her house whilst it was burning. She looked very similar to Flame, but not quite. Her skin was a lot paler than the sprite's, and her eyes were darker. I didn't watch the entire thing for obvious reasons of not wanting to be disturbed by graphic details, but one question began floating in my mind; who recorded it? Or took photos of it and recorded the audio? It had to be either some sort of demon, not that I thought that those things existed, or a very sick person. Whoever it was, I hoped that I wouldn't get nightmares about fire that night. 

I didn't, allowing me to try and boot up 'Flame' again. This time, there was no error message, but a text box saying 'Uninstall the game and all that came with it'. After it closed, the entire window did. The desktop changed to a fiery background with a silhouette in the center, but I changed it back to my normal Mario one almost instantly. Common sense told me that uninstalling the game would be the sensible idea, so I did; after copying all of the images. There was no way that I would leave the case unsolved! I know that sounds like Fred out of Scooby-Doo or something, but seriously; I couldn't just forget about it. Curiosity killed the cat, though, as it turned out a few days later. 

I decided to search through the images, which I had hidden in one of my folders, only to find a .exe there instead; Flame.exe. Didn't I uninstall that a few days ago? I ignored that, and double clicked it, only to find that my PC shut down. I sighed, annoyed. Maybe it was some sort of crazy virus, after all... If it was, though, then why didn't my anti-virus software pick it up from the moment I had downloaded it? In fact, it still appeared to have no negative affect on my PC as far as I was concerned. I turned my PC back on, and decided to remove the .exe from my PC before going on the Internet to search up some weird game glitches to entertain myself with. 

The following morning, I booted up my PC to be greeted with the fiery desktop yet again. I changed it back to my normal one once more, although I was slightly confused about why my desktop and changed itself for the second time even when it was off. I managed to shrug it off eventually, and check if all of my folders were undamaged or if they had been affected, to. 

Flame.exe was actually back in the same place as yesterday, although I was certain that I had deleted it from my PC. Of course I was going to see if it worked. I double-clicked it, expecting the same thing as before to happen, but instead was greeted with the title screen from 'Flame'. Intrigued, I clicked 'New Game', due to the fact that 'Continue' was grayed out. I wasn't surprised; my game data from 'Flame' had been deleted along with the game and it's files, other than the ones that had somehow transformed into Flame.exe. The only question was how Flame.exe was even there? I only copied the images, not the coding, and you couldn't make a game without coding! Well, I was content to wonder about that as long as nothing creepy happened. 

The .exe started like 'Flame' did, a short level to explain all of the controls and introduce the monsters, before launching you head-first into the game itself. It wasn't until the second level that things began to show that the .exe wasn't a direct copy of 'Flame', but something completely of its own nature. For example, it went straight into the city level instead of the ones that it was meant to continue with, whilst the level after that was of the same city but burning. I cringed slightly when I remembered the photo slideshow, before my mind concentrated on the current stage. 

After another city level appeared, this time burned to the ground, I closed the window. I was not just going to control a sprite through stuff like demolished skyscrapers after caves, fields and cities that were not destroyed in the slightest. I took my early exit as an excuse to see if there was any game code or data in %appdata% that 'Flame' had missed in its uninstallation process. 

There certainly was no data, but there were millions of images. I wasn't going to go through each one individually, so I threw them all into Windows Movie Maker to see what they were. Even before I pressed play, I could see that it was another slideshow, but of an event that would hopefully not be the most disturbing thing on the planet. 

It was similar in a way to the slideshow before it, but instead of showing a girl burning, it showed what caused the heart of the fire; the girl. She seemed to be playing with a lighter in a dark hallway, but accidentally dropped it on the floor when she tripped. The floor was wooden, so all that the girl could do was run from the fire or face death right there. The slideshow showed the girl running back the way she had come as the fire grew and spread around the area, until the slideshow was engulfed by the flames of the fire. The question from the last slideshow appeared in my head; who had enough cruelty to film it and not save the girl? I guessed that that question was not going to be answered until the last slide. I skipped to it, to see a shadow standing in the middle of the fire... So was the shadow in the fire that kept appearing on my desktop the girl? That meant that the hallway could be the small secret that I had discovered. Maybe the game creator actually wasn't aware of the area. The game over screen could have been... I dismissed the thought almost instantly. I didn't feel like creating too many theories to puzzle over at a later date. 

Leading up to the day that I am writing this, various strange glitches have kept appearing in some of my other PC games; ranging from burning cities, to characters' weapons switching from their usual one to a lighter. The glitched were mostly found in my Pokemon ROMs, where all of my Pokemon other than my fire types had the burn affect on them, no matter how many times I took them to Nurse Joy. Even after I had deleted everything that involved Flame.exe and 'Flame', including the images, the glitches carried on affecting my gameplay. My anti-virus still hadn't picked anything up, despite being on and me performing various scans. The games that I get on my PC that weren't there when 'Flame' or the .exe were around are also affected. So what is affecting my PC if there is nothing there to hack it? 

Along with that, other things have been happening that are slightly more extreme than a few glitches in my games. A large chunk of my images have changed to assorted images from the two slideshows that I had watched in Movie Maker. Upon closer inspection, I noted that some of the images were numbered. I threw them into Windows Movie Maker, only to reveal one sentence, that scared the life out of me, although to you it will probably be a laugh to read about. 'Can you see me now?' My PC then shut down, only after revealing an image for one second, Flame, laughing, burned and scarred, with the monsters behind her, cowering away from the girl. Maybe there is a possibility that the girl turned into Flame after the accident. If there is, I am not going to discuss it to save me from having vivid flashbacks of the game. 

All I have to say now is that I have deleted everything that I could have used to prove it. I didn't think that I would post it at the time, so there you go; irrational fear made me delete everything of the game. I don't know how people take screenshots (I play video games more than mess around with PCs, mind you) so that that plan also unusable. All you can do is decide for yourself whether you think this is real or not, and go from that. As long as I know, I will try to forget, so that maybe my PC will stop glitching up with things that should be in 'Flame' and not my PC. If only I had listened to the game creator and had uninstalled the game before things managed to escalate... 

Nat5105 (talk) 10:27, April 11, 2014 (UTC)

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