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(To begin, I'm not entirely familiar with each and every cliche that exists, so I apologize in advance. If there is a place I can go to look this up, feel free to tell me.)


NAMCAP


As I was born in the 90's, I grew up with my Playstation 1 and Nintendo 64 (at least, I think I had a Nintendo 64). One particular game that I loved to death was Pacman World, more specifically, the 20th Anniversary Edition. Unfortunately, as I was very young, I didn't take very good care of my games, and as a result, the disc became heavily scratched over time, rendering it unplayable, even on my Playstation 2 and 3. I felt horrible about this fact, until I made a recent discovery. A new video game store opened somewhere close to my house, and they offered a disc cleaning and repair service for a relatively cheap price. As it was my birthday coming up soon, I figured I could show them the disc and get it fixed.

The next day, I had my mom drive me to the store, disc and case in hand. I approached the counter and told the worker behind it, "Hi, I'd like to get a disc repaired." The employee gently took the case from me and looked at the disc inside. "Yeah, this game is pretty scratched up... but it's nothing we can't handle." The employee told me back with a grin. "Oh, wait... this is the 20th Anniversary edition..." He added quickly as he noticed the game's title. "I heard about this interesting glitch in it... but I'll tell you more about it when the game is ready. Just come back in a few days!"

The worker handed me a receipt that would allow me to pick up the game when I turned it in. I went home and placed the receipt in a safe location.

A few days later, it was my birthday and the designated date. I went back to the store and noticed that the same person was behind the counter. "Hey, what can I getcha?" He asked me. I showed him the receipt, and he handed me back the game case with a good-as-new-looking disc in it. "Oh, yeah, the glitch..." He reminded himself. "Go behind the twin palm trees in the pirate section of the hub world." The worker simply told me. I paid him, and went back home.

I popped the disc in my Playstation 3, and wouldn't you know it, the game worked again!

The nostalgia began to flow into me as the title screen loaded, and I started a new game. The moment I heard the ever-so-cheery theme of Buccaneer Beach, I couldn't help but shake with excitement. "Oh, how I missed you!" I shouted as I gave my PS3 a hug. I completed the level, and made my way back to the hub world.

I began scanning the area for the twin palm trees that the cashier told me about. "I've had this game for so long... why have I never heard of this glitch?" I asked myself as I did so. It was only a few seconds until I found them, and I proceeded to go right between them. The screen went to black, as if a level was loading. Instead of showing a still image of Pacman in part of the level, it just showed the words "THE GATEWAY" along the top of the screen, as well as three yellow question marks and an image of Pacman scratching his head. As the level loaded, I noticed that the level consisted only of one room, which was shaped like a fat square. The only decorations in this room were a red button in the center of the room, a pair of torches, a few small plants, a signpost that was known to give hints, and a cave exit. The only thing was, the torches, signpost, and cave exit were all upside-down. "I guess all I can do now is push that switch..." I told myself as I made Pacman butt-bounce the switch. The room rotated so that the torches, sign, and cave were all right-side up, and the switch was on the ceiling.

I could finally read the signpost, but all I saw was what appeared to be gibberish.

It read:

" PACMAN - .DLROW RUO NOPU REGNUH LAITSEB SIH HSAELNU LLAHS HCITWS SIHT SESSERP OHW EH TAHT NWONK EB TI TEL ."NAMCAP" FLESMIH SLLAC EH .DEYORTSED SAH EH SEVIL ESOHW ESOHT TUOBA GNIKNIHT TUOHTIW STAE DNA STAE DNA STAE EH .YTEFAS S'ENOYREVE ERUSNE OT ,RETSNOM SIHT SSERPPUS OT DEIRT I EVAH GNOL"

I ignored the message for now, since I felt it unnecessary to copy the whole thing down. I entered the cave, and I was greeted by the World Hub's still image again, but the hub itself had changed. The natural lighting made it look like the sun was setting, and the hub's layout had reversed. In addition, there were ghosts dressed up in area-appropriate costumes wandering around freely and happily. As soon as they saw Pacman, however, they frowned and backed up, as if they were afraid of him. As I explored this new area, I noticed a series of posters that bore a smiling image of Pacman with a circle and line drawn over it, as if to say, "No Pacman".

I was getting creeped out, but I was also curious, so I pressed onward, past the Ruins, Space, Carnival, and Factory sectors, all of which had their levels' doors closed. As I approached the sector that was supposed to contain Toc-Man's Mansion, I noticed that a black figure that stood near the mansion's doors. As Pacman approached him, he turned around to show his face. The figure appeared to be a negative version of Pacman, with black skin (if you can call it that), yellow eyes, and blue shoes and gloves.

"Well, well, well..." The figure said in a text box. "If it isn't YOU..."

Pacman, being a silent protagonist, gestured to tell the figure that he didn't recognize him.

"I am Namcap, and I rule over this world. Don't you realize how much harm you've caused over all these years?"

Pacman silently told Namcap that he had no idea what he was talking about.

"You fool... take a look!" Namcap replied as six ghosts came into view, three on each side. All of them looked sad.

"You've been causing these ghosts so much trouble with your drug addiction! They can't even sleep at night! Every time you take those Power Pills, you go on a rampage and eat those poor ghosts like some ghoulish monster! They don't want to hurt you, only help you!"

I couldn't help but almost shed a tear as I read Namcap's speech.

Namcap continued speaking. "I've been secretly creating a sanctuary so they may live in peace without having to worry about a... a... a villain like you! I'm amazed that you managed to find it, even! Now leave, you monster! Hopefully you've seen the error of your ways." Namcap concluded his speech as he pointed toward the area that Pacman had entered from. Once again, I entered the Gateway, but this time, the signpost's message was legible.

It now read,

"LONG HAVE I TRIED TO SUPPRESS THIS MONSTER. HE EATS AND EATS AND EATS WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT THOSE WHOSE LIVES HE HAS DESTROYED. HE CALLS HIMSELF "PACMAN". LET IT BE KNOWN THAT HE WHO PRESSES THIS SWITCH SHALL UNLEASH HIS BESTIAL HUNGER UPON OUR WORLD. - NAMCAP"

I couldn't believe what I was reading. I mean, the mere thought of Pacman being the villain all along was mindblowing. I saved the game when I went back to the normal hub world, and turned off the game. I began to think afterward. I still loved the game with all of my heart, but I would never think about it the same way again.

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