I opened the door and stepped inside, ready to jump in my bed after 8 straight hours of work. I took off my coat and work uniform still covered with the snow from outside, went into the bathroom and took a long hot bath. 20 minutes later and I was almost sleeping in the shower, thinking about the meaning of life and those things that pop in your head when you're in a boring bus drive or when trying to sleep.
I left the bathroom and went to my bed under the warm covers and grabbed my 5 year old craptop to play some games or watch some videos. For it being a "craptop" the only games it could run without much problems were GTA San Andreas and below, including emulators. Browsing through my library of emulators, I opened ePSXe and grabbed my PS1 games in my dusty wardrobe. Just looking through them made me feel like wanting to go back in time.
Megaman X4-X6, Tekken, Driver, Final Fantasy IX, Resident Evil 3, Crash 1-3, Spyro 2...
I really had no idea where to begin. Since ePSXe lets you insert your game's CD in the disc drive I didn't had to download any pirated ISO's. I could play the 100% original game. Besides, the feature was very handy as well. Browsing through my games, I found two which I used to play with my dad all the time. The first two Harry Potter games. God, how I loved them! I know the PS2/PC versions are probably better, but the nostalgia always speaks louder for me.
I chose the first one, The Philosopher's Stone, configured my controller and inserted the CD in my craptop's disc drive. The game booted up, and I was greeted by the classic title screen after selecting my language. After you begin a new game and in certain parts in the story, there will be a cutscene with a book showing you some images, and one dude narrating the events, wich I hated for being unskippable.
I played for some hours, until I reached the part were you have to gather fire seeds for Hagrid. Before moving on to the next part of the game, I remembered something and decided to backtrack to the entrance hall, were Dumbledore first introduces you to the school. I looked at the names of all doors in the area, and there it was. The broom cupboard.
I used to play this game and it's sequel with my dad a lot. We 100% completed them various times, unlocked all wizard and witches cards and all that you could think off. But the only thing we couldn't do no matter what was open that stupid door. The younger me didn't pay much attention to it. "It's probably filled with brooms, just as the name says. Why even bother."
But the older me was sure that there had to be some kind of secret or easter egg inside. Or maybe it was a black void of nothing, which completely defeats the point of having a door there. It even said the name of the room and had the lock in it, for god's sake! I always HATED when games did this. They tease you with doors, only to have them permanently locked. Or even worse, leaving it only as background or a wall texture.
"I'm not feeling like rushing the game and 100% it today just to see if that door opens." I tought to myself, disappointed a little.
That is, until I decided to download a 100% save file on the internet. I went to those generic game cheats/hints forums and found myself a juicy 100% file, with everything collected and 30 hours invested in it. I tought it was weird because this game is not long. You can 100% it in less than 8 in-game hours easily. Well, maybe the guy just liked to roam around aimlessly or left his game on for 20+ hours, who knows.
I set up the save and opened the game again to load it up. The game loaded and I found myself in the gryffindor common room, along with some chocolate frogs and a health potion, near the fireplace. Opening the start menu showed me that all witches and wizards cards, spells, and Bertie Bott's beans rewards were all collected. I left the common room and made my way to the entrance hall to address the elephant in the room.
My eyes grew wide as I went down the stairs and saw it. The broom cupboard was finally unlocked. I gotta admit, I was VERY scared to open it at the time.
I went close to it and saw the square button icon, indicating that I could open it. I had the strongest goosebumps I've ever had, and my mind was screaming "Something is fishy here!" to me all the time.
"How in the world did the guy unlock this door? I never tought it was possible! Dad and I spent countless hours trying to unlock it, but to no avail! How the f*ck did this guy do it!? Well, I think I deserve to see what is inside at least!" I said out loud.
I pressed square and harry opened the door...
"OH GOD WHAT THE F*CK! JESUS, TURN THAT OFF! GOD MY EARS!"
The moment the door opening animation ended and when the screen transition was supposed to begin, the game froze accompanied by a ear piercing shriek, just like when you tilt your SNES or N64 cartridge, your reward for that being ear destruction.
I pressed ESC and close the emulator, my ears still ringing loud as a bell. I couldn't decide between being disappointed for the only thing beyond that door being a freeze, or furious for having a heart attack followed by ear destruction.
I still had no idea how the guy unlocked that door. I don't think you can modify the game using save files, as far as I know. And I'm 100% sure that my copy of the game is genuine. Confused, I went to the forum were I downloaded the save file to see if I could contact the guy that provided it.
His forum name was Nankens. I clicked on it and sent him a message, explaining what happened and asking how the hell did he unlocked that damn door.
About a week ago, I finally got a response. He replied to my message with a link to a private IRC chat, along with instructions on how to connect. I was surprised that people still used IRC, but I followed his instructions and managed to connect to the private chat.
<William78> Hey man, what's up.
<Nankens> What is it that you wanted with me?
<William78> It's about your Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone save file you uploaded to the forum. I have some questions about it.
<Nankens> Make it quick.
<William78> Alright, alright. About the door to the broom cupboard. How in the world did you open it? I never tought it was possible! It even crashed my game when I went inside!
<Nankens> Forget about it. It's nothing. You're not supposed to go in there anyways.
<William78> Excuse me? What do you mean?
<Nankens> What you just read. Forget about it and move on kid. It's your fault for poking your nose where it doesn't belong.
<William78> Wait, what!? You posted the file on a public forum! If you don't want anyone "poking" in it, why did you put it there in the first place? And more importantly, what is beyond that damn door!?
<Nankens> THAT IS NONE OF YOUR CONCERN! I don't give a shit about what will happen to you. I clearly included a readme file along with the save that was supposed to warn idiots like you to NOT open the stupid door! You ignored the warning and opened it. Now it's YOUR F*CKING PROBLEM!
<William78> What the hell are you talking about!? There was no readme file in the zip package!
Nankens left the chat right after that. I double-checked, and there was no readme file in the zip that I downloaded.
Some of the things that Nankens said creeped me out a lot. He said something would happen to me, that I wasn't supposed to open the door and that now it was "My f*cking problem".
Still scared, I decided to open the game and load the save again, this time with the sound turned off. I approached the door again, made a savestate and went in. No surprise, the game crashed again. I decided to tweak with the graphics and sound settings in the emulator. Maybe it had something to do with the crash.
After tinkering with it for a while, I found a preset that didn't crash the game when I entered the door. The drawback is that I had to completely disable sound and switch to the lowest resolution possible. No idea how that worked, but it did. I finally went inside.
immediately I noticed I was taking damage like crazy for no reason, so I quickly made a savestate, looked for an invincibility gameshark code on that same forum and activated it. Inside it was a small room full of boxes filled with brooms, something you would expect from the name of this room. I looked around and around but found nothing strange, until I took a better look at some empty boxes. They had names written on them. From the looks of it, these were forum/IRC usernames.
I seached the area for some minutes, until I found a familiar username in one of the boxes. Nankens. What could this mean? Investingating the other boxes, I came across one that will never leave my memory. There it was. William78, my IRC username. Right now I could feel the hair on my skin standing on it's top and my heart skipping beats. I had no idea what these names or this room were for, but I dreaded to even imagine it. I had the feeling that this room was some kind of graveyard, or maybe something even more disturbing.
I heard a knocking sound on my window and jumped. Pulling the curtain revealed the wind blowing mildly, making the nearest branch knock on my window like and old lady asking for shelter in the middle of a cold winter night.
I turned the game off along with my computer and decided to call it a day, trying to forget all that happened and maybe get some sleep. I needed to clear my mind.
"This is just a prank by that stupid Nankens. Yeah, just a prank..." Trying to calm myself down was like trying to stay confortable sitting on top of an syringe mountain. I couldn't sleep, hearing strange noises all the time. I was so alert that I could probably hear someone opening a bag of chips from miles away. I had the feeling of being watched, that invisible eyes were scouting my house, observing my every move.
The next day I woke up after getting only 2 hours of sleep. I thought of calling the police to help me, but who would take a story like that seriously? What was I gonna tell them? "Cops please, protect me from some scary shit in a video game!" That would never work.
I turned on my laptop and went back to the IRC channel to see if I could speak to Nankens again. I was surprised to find out that he had left me some messages during the morning. He was nothing like the rude Nankens I knew.
<Nankens> Hi, please forgive me for what I said
<Nankens> I'm sorry, I'm TRULY sorry, please for god's sake forgive me
<Nankens> I dont want to stay here anymore, PLEASE
<Nankens> Please help
<Nankens> Please hel
<Nankens> We will be good friends won't we William?
I was speechless. I tought he had gone completely mad. First he swears and acts like an asshole with me, now he apologizes and begs for help. Wiping the sweat from my face, I tried to rationalize all of this, my attempts were quickly proven futile.
Out of ideas, I tried contacting him again.
<William78> Hey, are you all right? What the hell is happening!?
<William78> HEY! Are you there?
<William78> Oh thank the lord! Are you okay? What happened?
<William78> Look pal, if this is a joke, IT'S NOT F*CKING FUNNY!
<Nankens> Joke, funny. Hi
<William78> What the hell is wrong with you? You sick bastard! This is not funny!
<Nankens> Sick. I am.
<William78> You are sick? Just tell me what is happening! Please!
<Nankens> It will get you,
<William78> Okay I'm done. Have fun with you stupid jokes. Idiot.
I couldn't tell if he was really just joking with me or not. Maybe he has some kind of mental illness, or maybe he was kidnapped. This whole thing gave me painful headaches. "It will get you." What was that all about? I was never this scared in my life. I felt the urge to run away from my home and never return. But then, where would I live? Would this "thing" still go after me? Despite how painful it was, I burned the game and deleted my emulator. I felt like I burned part of myself along with the game, as well as a part of my memory and childhood.
Nankens never responded to me again, no matter how many messages I sent him, both on the forum and on his private IRC. I wanted to punch Nankens for posting that save file on the forum, I really did, but inside I was deeply worried about the guy. The messages he sent me... They felt desperate. Like he was begging me to forgive him and help him. I wanted to help the guy and clean all this mess. I was tired.
In the following days, I didn't feel safe in my house anymore. Nankens' words echoed in my mind asking for help, along with my own. The knocking on my window got louder each day. The wind was blowing more intense, carrying a terrifying moaning along with the piercing cold. I heard noises and felt an intimidating presence around me. Burning the game didn't make the "thing" very happy. It was trying to get me. I could sense that it was tracking my every move, my every scent, my every tought.
<FuzzySolid> Hey guys, just wanted to share with you all this save file I found here in the forum. It has everything in the game unlocked, including that broom door that no one ever managed to open! But it came with a readme file inside, it's kinda weird so I would love if you guys could tell me your opinions about it. Credits to William78, the one who uploaded the zip with the save and the readme file. I don't have the readme file, my antivirus deleted it, thinking it was a virus somehow. Here is what I copied from the file before it got deleted:
"PLEASE DO NOT OPEN THE BROOM DOOR, IT WILL GET YOU! Please, help us. Please...
So that is the gist of it. I found it pretty strange and a little creepy. What do you guys think about it? I sent this William78 guy a message and he told me to talk with hiim on his private IRC channel. Maybe I will find out how he opened the door.