The Left 4 Dead 2 Incident
I hope you'll forgive the sudden appearance of this story. Seeing some of the tales featured on your YouTube channel, I figured you might appreciate these events. They all came about while playing Left 4 Dead 2, on the 360.
Now, I've been a gamer for quite a few decades, and have played a large number of games. Of course, with all my experiences, I've seen plenty of things, many of which others refuse to believe unless they were there when it happened. With this game, weird and unexplained occurrences were the norm. After all I was playing it online most of the time, stuff like that is bound to happen. Now, it wasn't so much weird in the creepy way, but more in the "man I wish I was recording this" kind of way. Of course, most of that stuff happened before I replaced my copy of the game, because at one point it finally crossed the line.
Before, whenever I'd play, I would always have a problem at the plantation where you had to climb a ladder in order to enter the house. My problem, there was no ladder. Whenever I reached that point, there would be nothing I could do. To rub salt in the wound, sometimes there would be an ammo pile there. Given how I really don't like giving up and letting the zombies kill off the character, it would turn into my last stand. However, it was more like slow death given how the survivors would die off one by one.
But that wasn't the incident that pushed things over the edge.
You see, once I was playing versus online with some of the guys, and things were rather even. There was even a moment when I charged one of the guys out of a window in Dead Center, yelling BONZAI in an almost trolling manner. Of course, they got even when later they dangled me from a balcony with a smoker, just out of reach and out of view of the bots. The game was running smoothly until the connection to the server dropped. It tried to reconnect automatically, but no success. The game should have kicked me out to the game/lobby configuration, but instead it went all the way back to the title screen.
Now, normally the title screen is full of zombies just standing around out in the open, but this time it was different. It was inside an empty safe room, door shut and barred. After a few moments, "pull trigger," appeared on the screen. Didn't really pay it any mind, I mean normally you could get away with pressing any button.
When I pressed a button, the screen flashed red and was followed by a yell, as if I had just got hit. I pressed more buttons, and the red flash appeared more and more from the direction of the corresponding button. The Y button made the top of the screen flash, the A button made the bottom flash, so on and so on. On top of that, the yelling was soon followed by sounds of whimpering and heavy breathing. After a while of pressing buttons, the words faded and were replaced with "quit it," or "stop," before turning back to "pull trigger." By this time, however, I was in goof off mode and could care less. I mean, it was just a video game, right?
I button mashed the controller, causing a red frame to light up the screen, along with the sounds of screaming. It was as if the cameraman was being torn to pieces by an invisible hoard of zombies. I muted the volume given how the sound effects were going a little overkill, but the words began to change more and more as I continued. "Don't do that," "stop it," "no, please." It was as if the game was begging me to end my rapid button presses, as if I was doing something wrong. When I finally let up, the words on the screen simply vanished along with the Left 4 Dead 2 logo, leaving only the image of the empty safe room. I unmuted the volume and the sound of sobbing began to play through the speakers. Uncontrollable, pain ridden sobbing.
I turned the volume off again because it was starting to make me feel like I was some sort of monster. Like I had just beaten some faceless person to the edge of death. Granted I'll be the first one to send people flying like rag dolls in Saints Row, or throwing bombs at chickens in the Zelda games, but this. It was just so gut wrenching that I couldn't stand to hear it anymore. All this from a game that's nothing but killing tons and tons of zombies. Way to go jackass, you're such a swell guy beating a mystery person into a bloody pulp.
After a moment, the words began to appear on the screen again. "Pull trigger." I began to wonder, why does it want me to pull the trigger? A few moments passed and it read "please, pull trigger." My mind speculating on what would take place if I followed the words on the screen. Even though it was just a video game, a video game that wasn't even functioning normally at that, I couldn't bring myself to find out what would happen. So, I chose not to pull the trigger.
Instead of exiting the game, I just turned the whole thing off. I took out the batteries from the controller, I unplugged everything, I didn't even bother to take the disc out, I wanted the whole thing to end that bad. I was tempted to power it back on just to get the disc out, but I didn't want to touch it, let alone think about it. Not now any way, at least not now after what took place. The whole experience, when I processed everything, just left me feeling sad and depressed. Like I was on a new low, and the gravity of the situation was crushing me into the ground. I hated it, I despised it, I loathed it, and just as I was depressed, I soon became overwhelmed by anger.
How could I have done such a thing? Have these games desensitized me so much that the suffering of another person is worthless? Of all people, of all things, for someone who enjoys helping others, I've picked one hell of a way to turn myself into an asshole. I was beating myself down, beating myself up, tearing myself to pieces and getting worked up over the guilt of inflicting who knows how much pain onto a nameless, faceless... someone. The rational side of me yelling "IT'S ONLY A GAME", while every other aspect screamed "YOU MONSTER!!!" Finally, in a fit of rage I picked up the controller, reached back with the torture device in hand and...
I couldn't. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't pull myself to throw the controller. Looking at it, I began to feel stupid over what I had felt. The rational side was right, it was just a game. The sound effects were just that, and the graphics were just computer generated. There wasn't even a person on the screen. I shook my head, somewhat in shame for letting myself get so worked up, and sat the controller back down on the table.
I grabbed the TV remote to watch... well, anything to take my mind off of it. So, I turned to the Food network, and propped my feet up on the table. After a moment, I got hungry, so I decided to get something to eat. As I was getting up, I ended up knocking the controller off the table, where it landed with the sound of a gunshot.
It was loud, and close. Just as my feelings and emotions had changed, my thoughts returned full force. I felt cold chills, as if I was just drained of everything. I stared at the controller as it lay dead on the floor, face down and lifeless. Hesitantly, I knelled down and reached for it, as the speculations ran through my head. As the fears rolled in, I tried to reason things out.
The system's unplugged. It has no batteries. It wasn't even on. I didn't even touch it. It was about all I could do in the attempt to calm myself down. Having lost my appetite, I sat the controller back on the table, and went to bed. All the while trying to forget EVERYTHING that took place.
The next morning, I slowly awoke to the sound of the doorbell and rapid knocking. One of the neighbors was at the front door asking if I knew anything about what happened next door. Not knowing what was going on, I stepped outside in my pajamas to see police and paramedics next door. The garage door was open with crime scene tape crossing. The coroner already had the body bagged and was loading whoever it was for transport. Inside the garage, there was a chair on it's side, some rope, and a large pool of blood.
I wanted to forget. I needed to forget. I tried to keep myself as composed as I could, as I told the neighbor who was with me that I couldn't stand gawking at the scene. They understood (yeah right) and I went back inside my place. As I laid in bed, I couldn't help but think about the night before. I needed answers, but wasn't sure what to do.
After a few hours, I plugged the system back in, installed the batteries, and (after turning the volume off) turned the game back on. When it reached the title screen, it was dark. Very dark. It wasn't an open area, or the safe room, or anything for that matter. There wasn't any text on the screen, nor was the logo around. It was a black textured screen with a very, very faint line down the middle. After a few moments, the line began to move, then split apart to reveal a blinding light. I didn't see much else, because I quickly hit eject, grabbed the game disc, broke it in half and fed it down the garbage disposal.
I turned off the system and turned to the news. As if it was clockwork, they began reporting on the "murder" next door. "Authorities believe [name withheld, just in case] was bound, then brutally beaten before they were shot, and left for dead."
The investigation has been suspended due to no credible leads. Though inconsistent with their findings, some believe it was an assisted suicide.