When Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3Ds game was announced, I was so happy. Years of playing the original, then Super Smash Bros. Melee, and then Brawl and had gone boring. I was excited to play as Villager and countless other newcomers when the actual game came out. Little did I know it would be months upon months before the game's release. Still I waited, patiently and happily.
One day, when I was more hyped than normal, I thought I should just put in the old Super Smash Bros. Brawl game to play while I wait weeks and weeks. So that's what I did. I took my dusty Wii console out from under my pile of Xbox 360 games, grabbed the torn up game case of Brawl and got to work. Wiping off smudges on the disc with my shirt, I popped it into the Wii. Almost five years without play and the thing worked like a charm. I powered up my small television, took a controller, and sat down on my couch. I was ready to play!
I was greeted with the familiar nostalgic look of the Wii Menu, the game icon popping up at the top corner. I pressed the icon and the game started up. As it loaded, I looked at the black screen that was my TV. I could see my reflection; a broke young adult, sitting on a moldy couch in a dirty apartment. The only cash I had was a crumpled twenty in my wallet, the only clothes I had were the ones on my back. Depressing...was I even going to be able to purchase the new game when it came out?
My thoughts were jolted away when a flash broke the black silence. I smiled. The camera panned through a cliff full of Super Smash Bros. fighters, such as Mario, Luigi, Samus, Captain Falcon, Yoshi...they kept coming. Finally the camera panned away as the words 'Super Smash Bros: Brawl' filled the middle of the screen. An entourage of choir music sang the main theme, bringing back years of memories. Although I liked the intro cutscene to the game, I was ready to actually play. A click of the 'A' button and it all ended. Short loading and I was there.
The main menu looked exactly the same, just the way I liked it. I went over to the Smash option (which means offline battle) and looked at the characters I had. I was disappointed that the only unlockable fighter I had was Falco. I guess I was never really a pro at this game anyway. Being clearly alone, I chose a CPU fighter and put him at middle difficulty. I looked at my opponent; who can win against Peach? Scrolling through the characters I finally settled on Falco, the only new one. Quickly I chose 'Start' and I was looking at a map select screen. Very little stages were presented so I just chose Battlefield, a classic.
'3, 2, 1, GO!' the announcer shouted, and the match begun. I jammed buttons as fast as I could, hoping to hit the CPU. The CPU, Peach, flew out at me like a bat out of Hell. I panicked and hit two buttons at once, making Falco execute a Smash attack. Peach's sprint towards me was blocked by my fist, sending her flying backwards. I myself let out a whoop of excitement as I went in for another attack. Of course, just my luck, Falco tripped. I always hated tripping in this game.
On my feet and struggling to get up, I cursed as Peach came in to finish me off. I braced for impact. She hit me alright, but nothing major. I flew a short distance, quickly recovering. I ran in to attack with my blaster but Peach blocked me again with a low standard attack. Down I fell, and she hit once again. That was it; I flew around like a ping pong ball before finally exiting the stage with a boom. 'Game!' the announcer shouted. I was at the victory screen, astonished that this terrible computer player beat me.
Was I that bad? Apparently. I went back to the character select screen, or at least I tried too. An alert chat box popped up reading 'New Fighter Unlocked!'
Really? Well, that was cool. I already had a new fighter. Hopefully it was Toon Link or ROB. Ecstatic, I continued. But then I realized something was up. Since when did new challengers appear like that? I thought you had to fight them before you could unlock them. Slightly worried but also happy, I peered at the character select screen to see who I unlocked. Already something seemed off; Falco was gone. Just gone. He wasn't available to battle and his icon wasn't there. What the....
In Falco's place was...Peach. I sighed, relieved. The characters just shuffled around since a new fighter joined the roster. I looked up to confirm my assumption but found that there was Peach in her normal spot, right next to Luigi and Mario. I gulped, looking down to Falco's spot; another Peach. There were two Peach fighters. I looked at the screen, very confused. After a bit of thinking I shook it off, chose Kirby for me and Pit as the CPU. I drew the CPU difficulty all the way down to 1, the easiest. Then I chose the map; Final Destination.
The match begun just like last time, but this time, the CPU stood still. Pit just stood there. Was he waiting for my turn? I took this time to rush at him with everything I had, and boy did I land a good hit. Pit yelled and flew over the edge, spinning down under the map. A boom, a 'Game!,' and then I had...won?
Stunned by my simple win, I continued to the next round. This time the CPU would be a bit harder, since the level 1 CPU wouldn't move. Once again I was stopped by an alert. I braced myself for the odd 'New Fighter Unlocked!' stuff, but I was met with different text; the alert read "That can't be right. Let's try that again! Remember?" a short loading screen and then the fighter select. I was still wondering why the alert said that. What did it mean it can't be right? And remember what? And how come I got a new 'character' when I lost but nothing when I won?
Then I saw the fighter select screen. I scanned it for lost characters and I found that Kirby was missing. But he didn't have another twin icon like Peach; Kirby was gone. He wasn't in the roster anymore. My heart skipped a beat. What was happening? I looked over at Falco's old spot to see if the Peach glitch had ended, but I saw that it hadn't. There were two Peaches. Right next to it was...two Pits.
This was insane. Two Peaches, and two Pits. The characters that were CPUs duplicated. I wondered if maybe the game was so old this game breaking glitches were too common. But then again, was that weird alert I got a glitch? Or a hacker? Or maybe a...ghost?
I smiled at the silly thought. I was now interested in this glitch. Match after match I chose different CPUs and fighters, and I continued to kill myself. Everytime I threw myself off the edge, I lost. But I had the alert from the start every time: 'New Fighter Unlocked!'
After doing it dozens of time, my roster was two Peaches, two Warios, two Meta Knights, two Luigis, two Yoshis, two Zeldas, and two Pits. I was virtually laughing at this funny roster now. For the next match, I used Luigi as a CPU and a Yoshi as my character. I chose Battlefield again and the match begun. Just for fun, I gave it all I had to beat the CPU. It worked, and I was victorious. What would the message say this time? The screen showed Yoshi cheering as he won, and then the alert popped up.
"You will never learn. Remember what happened last time? Remember Me?" the textbox read. My smile faded as the alert stayed up longer than usual. I clicked the A button over and over but it wouldn't go away. Eventually it did, but right afterwards another alert came up; this time it repeated. "Remember Me?" in bolder text than before. My eyes widened as I was actually scared now. I couldn't help it as the screen switched over to the character select screen again, and this time I was greeted with the same fighters as before but their duplicates were missing. The roster was just Peach, Wario, Meta Knight, Luigi, Pit, and Zelda. Wait, no, there was no Yoshi. And there wasn't anybody to replace him. It was just the other 6 excluding Yoshi.
So Yoshi was gone for good just like the dozen others I lost in this similar process. I shook away my fear and chose Wario as the CPU and Meta Knight for me. The match begun on Final Destination. This time I would lose so that I could get another duplicate. That is how it worked the other times.
The match begun. Yes, it begun. No countdown, no 'Go!'s,' no nothing. I was standing there looking at Wario. And there was no music. It was silent. Wario wasn't moving either. I carefully moved my character over to Wario to attack, but stopped halfway when I heard music. It was music alright, but it sounded eerie and much different; it sounded like the default stage music warped and slowed down a bit, making it sound creepy and off kilter. My heart started beating faster when I heard this music, but I continued towards Wario. I noticed the closer I got to the Wario CPU the louder and more strange the music got. When I was just touching Wario the music was so eerie and loud that I had to turn the volume down.
I was scared to attack the CPU. Weird crap starting happening and I wasn't sure if it wise. Obviously I was meant to win this match, so I attacked. Wario flew across the stage, finishing with a 'Boom!' I had won, and the match ended. I went to the victory screen again to see Meta Knight's cheering, but I didn't see the character. I was looking at a blank space. No victory music, and no character. Only Wario standing in the back clapping. After a long while of seeing Wario clap and clap, an alert appeared:
"You have not won. You have lost. You will suffer."
That was enough for me. I didn't care what 'glitches' happened next, this was screwed up. I grabbed the remote to turn the TV off when-
The batteries fell with a plop on the muddy carpet. I assumed the remote was open, causing the batteries to fall. I picked them up and put them back into the remote and looked up at the screen again. There was a new alert:
"Remember what I said? Remember Me?"
Right after I saw it, another one appeared:
"Everybody is dead. The new fighters are dead. Their guts have painted me, remember? Remember that?"
I felt bile rise in my throat as I aimed the remote at the sensor to turn it off. Right as it powered off, I saw one last textbox appear...
I saw it for a split second before I was looking at a black screen. I felt a drop of sweat hit my hand. It was over, or at least I thought it was. I was staring into the powered off TV, looking at my reflection. I could barely see it since the daylight turned to night, and I only had a single dying lamp. For a second I thought I saw a figure behind me when I looked into the TV reflection. Scared out of my wits, I spun around. Thank God...nobody was there.
I instantly took out the Brawl disc and put it in the game holder, unplugged the Wii, and put it all away. I played for so long that it had to have been ten at night, so I brushed my teeth in a hurry and went to bed.
I had a restless night. I tossed and turned all night, uneasy thinking about the game. I felt cool breezes touch my cheek and something strange touch me at random spots during the night. When I actually fell asleep I had nightmares. Not related to the game, but nightmares of a person. Warped music, screaming children, all of these noises filled my dreaming head as I saw an image of a person covered in red and black smudges. In my dream a camera seemed to draw closer to that man, the closer I looked the more gore covered his clothes. I don't remember much else. I don't really remember my dreams all that well, but I remember his face and his talk. I remembered the music and screaming. I remembered...him. I remembered him. I remember the blood on his jacket, the blood on his forehead....I remember even what he was telling me.
He was saying, "Remember Me." Not a question this time, a statement. A command.
And then it hit me. I did remember him. And I always have remembered him. He was with me at birth, at childhood, and at my parties and birthdays and graduation. He wasn't my brother, my father, or anybody like that...he was always there though. He never left. Never. And I remembered him.
At my graduation, I can only recall foggy memories of him finding me secretly and giving me a gift. It wasn't until after I awoke from my restless night that I remembered his gift to me;
Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He gave me that game. And when he handed it to me secretly, he whispered something into my ear so that my parents who were gone at the time couldn't hear me;
"Now Jonathon, when you play this fun game, think of me. Remember me. When you play this game, remember this moment. Remember me, and my face, and my actions. Don't forget it, you hear?"
He turned around and saw my parents coming, at least that's what I recall. And the last thing he said before I never saw him again was... Well, he said....
-by Justjackbros (Jack)