I woke up in a panic a month ago; beads of sweat rolled down my face and dampened my pillow covers and sheets. At the time I couldn’t remember what made it happen, maybe a nightmare. I thought for a moment and shrugged it off eventually as just an odd night, as I had to go to work at nine that morning and I was already late. I work at a GameStop mostly because (believe it or not…) like any kid from the early ninety’s, I got into videogames just as they were getting good. I work as a manager there, usually providing advice to customers on what console or device they should buy. The main reason I love working there the most is because of the vintage videogames, as they would always bring me back to my childhood. Memories would buzz in the back of my head when I remembered pulling in secret all-nighters to breach a level on Sonic I had trouble with.
After work, I would go to the back of the store and borrow a vintage videogame. They remained in the back because as all gamers believe today they’re now only an ornament to the beginning of an era, for me however it was different. Don’t get me wrong however; I love a new fps or adventure game now and again to keep up to date with the trends of new videogames. I am a very large fan of the Sonic series, as I have said before. It was the pinnacle of my early childhood and still retains deep and exciting memories from my youth. I had discovered when was searching the web that night, many old videogame copy discs had shown up on Ebay such as Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, Mario Bros, and other popular titles. As an avid retro game player I didn’t hesitate to shoot the man selling them an email, telling him how badly I wanted to buy his games. Luckily he responded in a relatively fast pace, asking me which I wanted. I responded with an “all of them” and he replied with a well-mannered “thanks”.
It didn’t take long for the package to arrive, only a few short days. I was trying so very hard not to tear open the package on the way home, as excitement almost had overtaken me. The thing I liked the most about ROM’s is that it is a whole lot easier to play than a regular old console, it was always a hassle to find older videogames for good prices and discs made it a whole lot easier and cheaper. After digging through and sorting all of the discs and placing them accordingly, I looked back just to check if I missed anything… and sure enough I missed one disc. However this disc was different, it had no markings or titles unlike the others and seemed to have been thrown into the bottom without much care. This particular disc raised questions and I was eager, but still cautious to find out what the disc was. When I placed it into my computer I made sure I scanned it over twice to know if this executable would bring any harmful viruses with it, but to no avail… The only thing I found particularly suspicious was the fact the game took up eighteen gigabytes. This was of course very strange, as no retro game copy I’d heard of would ever take up that much space on the ram. With no other options or notable red flags I had no other choice but to launch the file and see what would happen. To my surprise the game had instantly appeared in windowed mode without a download indicator or a download for that matter, the game had begun.
There was no intro, trademark, or even a company that you’d usually see. People who make these copies usually keep details like that to retain the nostalgia of playing an old videogame, so it was quite odd. The title screen was a bland and simple black background with bold-white newspaper text for word-design. “Memoriam” was the title for this odd game, I had never heard of such a game from anywhere or anyone even talk about this game’s existence. I thought at first it was a very obsolete title that was forgotten over the years or scrapped, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. There were only three options on the title screen: “new”, “load”, and “options”. Clicking options or load brought me back to the title screen, so “new” was the only choice. After clicking “new” the game started with a black screen and a very melancholic, yet beautiful piano song as the first text appeared
“Hello, do you like flowers?”
I word box had appeared below the text, but typing would not register, not even enter. I sat and thought for a while… until more text appeared.
“P-please say something… speak to me...”
Speak? At that moment I was completely dumbfounded… I didn’t know what to think, but regardless I did as the unknown speaker asked and answered the question.
“Yes” I replied. I waited for a little bit, and sure enough I got a response.
“That’s great… what kind of flowers?”
“Red-roses” I said with caution.
“Those are beautiful… mine are black roses…”
This was very interesting; whoever made this game obviously wasn’t messing around. I read attentively, as the text slowly appeared in the box.
“I… I’m sorry…”
I had no idea what that last sentence meant, what could it have meant? I couldn’t fixate however, as the game had started…
The game was black, white, and grey in colour. From what I could see it was an rpg, similar to the mechanics of Earthbound. However the graphics were very detailed and was in a very distinct art style to the likeness of a manga book. The game began in a bedroom; it was a very bare bedroom with the only distinct item or object being the bed itself. Without a word of text the character under the sheets got up out of bed… it was a teenage girl from what I could tell, she was wearing a very tattered tank top and sweat pants. Her black hair was long and stretched down to her hips, and her bangs concealed her eyes very ominously. I moved the character around to see if I could interact in the room, but the only option was to move through the door at the front of the room. There was a brief black screen, and then it faded into a side-scrolling point of view. I moved the character along the long hallway; I noticed the hallway was slowly deteriorating as she walked further. The hallway was distorting terribly, and the pictures that lined the wall were becoming incredibly warped. After about a minute of walking I arrived at a door… there was something about this door that was making me unsettled, I felt that whatever was behind this door… was making me sick. I opened it reluctantly, and the screen once again faded black. There was a text box that appeared.
“He doesn’t like flowers…”
A wave of unexplainable dread overtook me as the screen faded out of black. The view had shifted back to an overhead angle, and the walls of the room that was revealed was full with warped and distorted paintings of faces. At the center was a chair facing forward, I moved the character closer. Before I interacted with the back of the chair, it turned around with a thud revealing a man sitting with his head hung which raised frame-by-frame to reveal his face. It was much distorted and hastily drawn; his eyes and mouth were extremely out of proportion. His gaping mouth opened… and the screen blackened once more.
“She… is … mine…”
And the game saved….
END OF CHAPTER ONE