It was back in 2006, late March. The 24th, to be exact. My friend Roy had just gotten the new Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, for the PC. Now, to this day, I’m a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls. In fact, if you came to my house, I’d no doubt be playing Skyrim. He’d gotten the game from Walmart, finding it when he knocked into the shelf, as it was behind some Madden game. The case was there and everything, so was the disc. There was a scratch running down the back of the case, which we didn't notice until we got home. Actually, we noticed that the plastic that was normally wrapped around the case wasn't there, leading us to believe that it may have been tampered with. He never let me play, and I couldn't afford to get a copy myself. We started to drift apart, though this was normal, the same thing happened when I got Morrowind. I was walking to the Gamestop, to sell some old games, so I could buy Oblivion for myself. Roy was walking the other way. He shoved into me, saying “Outta my way, loser.” I was at a loss. Roy never acted like this before. In fact, he was the one who always got bullied by those one guys, who always corner him, and take his wallet.
After that, I went home. I needed to find out what was happening. Maybe it was the game? I had my doubts, but it was the only thing that had recently changed I’d heard that a few games like Vice City had made people act like this, but those were people with Type-A personalities and such. Later that night, I snuck into his house, through the window. I saw him playing. Why? It had to be 2:00 AM. His skin was really pale, and I mean paler than usual. I waved my hand in front of his face. Nothing. He was just staring at the game.
I had to do it. I opened the disc tray, and shut off his computer, taking the disc out before. He looked as if he had been having a seizure, shortly afterwards. I did my best imitation of his voice, and yelled “Mom!” I snuck out the back door, locking it behind me. I heard his Mom scream. At least she knew now. I kept trying to think of a rational explanation. I didn't see bright or flashing lights, and he only had it when I took it out. This was too weird.
The next morning, I took a close look at the disc. It didn't even have the art! All it had was tape with the word Oblivion written on it. This was too weird. Without thinking, I popped it in the disc tray, and started playing. The first thing I noticed, was the fact that it wasn't Oblivion at all. It was some stupid Text-based adventure, called Oblivion. Now, this would have been all fine and well, except it was copyright 2006. They hadn't made text-based adventures since the 90s, at least. Text appeared on screen. “Start the Game? y/n”.
I typed y, and hit enter. “You find yourself in a cave, with a rope, a stick, and a piece of charcoal. What do you do?” It asked. The answer was easy. “Make Torch.” I type, and click enter. “Torch Made. What do you do now?” It asks. “Go North.” I type. “You find a pile of sticks. What now?” It said. “Take two sticks.” I typed. “What now?” It asked. “Light torch” I typed. “You discover a goblin. What do you do?” It asked. I smirk. “Light on fire.” I typed. “Goblin Burned, what now?”
It played normally like that for a while, until now. “Where are you?” It asked. Well, okay, it wasn't THAT weird, but still, a little personal. I typed Home, and hit enter. “Where is your home?” It asked. I suppose it probably could have a response for home. I typed in “Chicago”, hitting enter. It played normal again for awhile. And then, once again, it got weird. Weirder, than last time. “Hello Matt, how are you?” That was weird. I did not put my name in there. I reached for the power button, when “Please don’t.” Appeared on the screen. Now, there weren't motion detectors around here or anything like that. Maybe it appeared after a certain amount of inactivity?
I didn't listen, and turned it off. I noticed it was 1:00 AM. Had I played for 14 hours? I went to bed, worrying about Roy. I had heard an ambulance last night. The next morning, Mrs. Williams had called. She asked if I’d seen anything suspicious. Now, I know this isn't the right thing to do, but I lied, no. I didn't want this blamed on me. I said I saw him playing some game, though. She told me his heart rate was low, and that he was in critical condition. I slowly hung up. I was shocked. I might be responsible for my best friend’s death. I felt horrible.
I grabbed the disc from my computer, and shattered it on the pavement. I turned on my computer, to play some Morrowind, when I noticed my background was now a picture of a cut up and bloody Roy. I was horrified. I did not rationalize it was probably a virus, and I shut off my computer. Except it didn't. I turned on Morrowind, and to my horror, it was also the game. It must've been a glitch, though how could it be? It said “Hello Matt. Why did you break me?” I furiously typed “Because, you’re killing my friend!” It then said, “But isn't that what you wanted?”
I couldn't type anymore. No, literally, my keyboard wasn't working. My computer froze up, and crashed. I have a crappy computer, but a Text-based adventure? I doubt that would crash it. I wasn't curious at all. I opened the disc drive. The game was inside. Maybe I’d accidentally smashed some other game of mine. Roy was dead, the next phone call said. I sold the game at a yard sale. I sobbed, alone, in my room. I was responsible. I killed my friend. But the game was the one that caused it.
The next day, I read the paper. This has been the fifth seizure around here in the past month. Was I next? Not yet. Though maybe someone wants me dead, and they’ll get their hands on the disc. I shudder every time the thought crosses my mind. I feel sorry about all the deaths I've caused, by continuing the chain. I don’t think about it anymore. I even sold my old computer, to get rid of any traces of the game. If you ever come across a game such as this, please don’t play it. You’ll kill someone.