As I stared at the cartridge in my hand, I spaced out. It's one of those moments where you get too caught up in your thoughts for practically no reason. If someone would've seen me, they would have thought I had a mental problem or something like that. The thoughts weren't even about the game I was about to play or the console I just got last night. No, they were about school work and other stuff in that category. I came back to earth and placed the game in.

The game was Super Mario 64 and the console was, well, the Nintendo 64. I had bought both last night at a Superbowl party for a small price of only 60 dollars, likely because they're not worth much to some. I quickly took up on the deal due to my interest in old school games and my desire to play them authentically rather than an emulator. My friend wasn't a Nintendo person, but he had it lying around since he got it as a Christmas gift and had no use for it. There were four games that came with the console: Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, and Pilotwings 64. Overall a decent lineup in my opinion. My only complaint about the deal was that there was no Goldeneye, but he said he sold it to his local game store for a small price. Whatever. I'll probably find a copy of the game online or in a garage sale. But hey, I had Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time! Real cartridges! If It wasn't for me working at St. Vincent de Paul today I would've stayed up all night on that thing. However, seeing as I got home at about 1 in the morning, I decided that wasn't the best idea. Maybe I could get an hour in or so before I leave tomorrow.

My alarm went off at 7. I set it to 8. I woke up grumpy because of the hour of sleep I didn't recieve. On the plus side, at least I could get some game time in. I got on my clothes, plugged in the 64, and looked at my small selection of games to play. Mario 64 seemed to be the best option due to how quick it is to make progress, so I chose that one. Speculation arose over if there was already a save file. It was very small speculation, of course. I mean after all, what's so special about a save file if there was one?

As the game started up and I moved through the title screen, I saw that, yes, there was a save file already present. The file had all 120 stars collected which answered my question about what was so special. However, I really didn't care, so I went to delete it. Problem was, I couldn't. The game had this bug where it would show the file being erased, but when I went to the main selection screen, it was there again. I blamed this as a technical error considering the game's age and it's (likely) mistreatment by it's owner. Because like my friend said, he hasn't played any of the games since he got them, he probably doesn't care. After some small thought, I just started a new file.

The opening cutscene played with Lakitu floating around the castle and Mario jumping out of the pipe. As soon as gameplay started, I noticed a very strong delay in the controls. It was a two second delay between input and action which was very off putting. I wondered if this was a one time thing as some other games have had delays in controls be removed after certain points. I ran inside of the castle and my theory proved to be somewhat correct. The controls would switch between normal functionality and two second delay at pretty much random. It was disorienting and a tiny bit confusing as well. Because of these issues, I was losing excitement and desire to play the game at a speedy rate, so much so that I only wanted to do the first mission in Bob-Omb Battlefield. When the level started I noticed several glitches. The pink Bob-Ombs had nothing to say, even if I interacted with them. The audio was screwing up by cutting in and out, changing it's pitch from high to low, and the volume going up and down. It was giving me a serious headache. Graphic and textures were alright, say for some missing facial features on Mario's face.

Upon reaching the top of the mountain where King Bob-Omb stood, a text box appeared on screen. The text read:

"You have crossed my battlefield with incredible odds! Such bravery in such a wimp like you! I can't believe it! I guess we'll have to see whose better in a fight to the death!"

I was confused. That text wasn't in the original game but it fit strangely like it was. Was it my memory? No, it couldn't be. Was this a romhack? Probably. It would explain the technical errors if the hack was made by an amateur.

The battle proceeded as normal. I dodged the King's maneuvers and threw him on the ground. The only difference was that it took four hits to defeat him instead of three, but that's about it. Following his defeat, I was given a star with no other text from him, which was another difference from the original. Whatever, why did it matter? I was going to stop playing anyways. After going back to castle I saved and quit. Now on to Ocarina of Time.

I played through the first dungeon before I quit. Nothing out of ordinary. I actually felt somewhat disappointed due to the lack of new content via hacking, but at least the game was functional and worked properly. I didn't get to play anymore games after that. It was time to leave.

The day went by slowly before returning home. I had bought some McDonalds and was ready to plow through some Zelda before I found my Nintendo 64 and all of it's games gone. I searched around without a clue as to where it could possibly be. I didn't move it! It was gone, and I didn't know where the hell it went! I took a break from searching and ate my food. I checked my email, only to find a message sent from my friend:



Subject: N64 

Hey, Garett. Sorry for not telling you sooner, but I need that N64 I gave you. I forgot about something dealing with the cartirdge slot: It's busted. I asked Seth to come by your house and get it for me. Sorry!

sent 4 hours ago"

What the fuck?! Did he seriously ask someone to break into my house and steal my stuff?! What the hell?! And why Seth?! Actually, who the hell is Seth? I don't know him! Why does my friend need that 64 so badly that he'll get someone to break into my home?! What the hell is going on?!

I called the authorities to report a break in. However, when they arrived they moved me out of my house and put handcuffs on me.

"Sir, you're under arrest for the murder of Garrett Links. Anything you say can be used against you in court of law."

"What the hell?!!! This is insane! What the fuck are you talking about?!!"

"We've received an anonymous tip that you had possession of all passwords and online accounts belonging to Garrett Links. You were assumed to be the murderer of Garrett and the cause of his disappearance five weeks ago due to an encounter between you and him right before Garrett was reported missing. Along with that, we've studied several emails sent by the St. Vincent de Paul association asking you for your help as you haven't been there for four weeks. An investigation and grant of a warrant reveals that you started going back once the emails were sent out."

I keep a record of Garrett's passwords written on a slip of paper and hidden away. I have no idea how Seth found it.

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