I'm scared. I don't know what the hell just happened, but I'll write it down to the best of my ability. I'm an avid Sqeenix fangirl, and my favorite game of theirs is The World Ends With You, TWEWY for short. I had a copy that I'd beaten and was even going for 100% completion on when my brother managed to scratch the game cartridge, rendering it useless. Heh, last time I let him borrow my games. Luckily, my girlfriend had a copy of the game and offered to let me have it since it would occasionally lose her save data. (She'd chalked it up to a problem with her DS itself. Boy was she wrong...) I happily accepted the game and went home to play it.
I popped the cartridge into my 3DS and booted up the game. It froze on the opening menu and I started to worry it wouldn't work, but it unfroze after a minute or so and loaded normally. I started a new game, and it seemed to be playing as normal until I met Shiki, your first partner in the game. Normally Shiki demands to make a pact with Neku, your character, he reluctantly accepts and the newly formed team is launched into battle. However, this time the dialogue was different. Shiki still ran up to Neku demanding to partner up, but Neku stayed silent. Shiki began begging to team up, shouting that the Noise, this game's enemies, would kill them if they didn't. At this Neku looked up at her and a picture of the psychokenisis pin appeared on the bottom screen. Slightly scared, I clicked it and the cutscene of Neku strangling Shiki with the psychokenisis power from later in the game played. As the cutscene finished, the end of day animation played, claiming the day was titled "ONE DOWN".
After this, it cut to a scene of the Reapers, the game's main antagonists, discussing what had happened. They seemed shocked that Neku had killed a fellow Player. At this I gasped. If the game had been going as normal (or as normal,as it could get at this point) Mr. H, a friendly character who often helps out the protagonists, would have stopped Neku from killing Shiki and given the pair the fusion pin. However, this conversation made it clear that Neku had really killed her. I know I should have stopped, I should have known this was wrong, but I was curious. I had played TWEWY to death and never seen this before and wanted to know what happened next. Besides, it was a game. What was the worst that could happen? I kept playing, promising myself that I'd ask my girlfriend about the game once I'd finished it. The conversation ended with the Reapers resolving to kill Neku before he could cause any further damage.
The scene then cut to Neku in the Scramble Crossing, the game's usual starting area. His sprite was the depressed one, but instea of hiding his mouth in the collar of his shirt like usual, it was visible and he was smirking. "Killing people is much more satisfying. Don't you think so, Lizzy?" read the text bubble above his head. I honestly should've been more freaked out that the game knew my name, but I figured it just read it from the DS system like it did for my player card and payed it no mind. On the touch screen, two options popped up, "yes" and "no". Now this was strange. Neku was interacting directly with me? Hesitantly, I selected "no". I just can't stomach being responsible for someone's death, even in video games. At this, Neku seemed to scowl. "Weak girl. I'll change your mind." How did the game know I was a girl? I never told it that. At this point I was beginning to hope this was a prank my girlfriend was playing on me with the help of one of her tech-savvy friends. If that was the case, I would be pissed. However, I kept playing, determined to see this through to the end.
Finally, I had control of Neku and decided to explore to see what I could find. Scanning revealed no Noise to fight, and I had no money so shopping was out, so I tried to find any of the other characters. It didn't take me long to find Beat and Rhyme, a couple of the protagonists who were siblings. I walked Neku over to them, but stopped when I noticed something odd. Rhyme's sprite appeared to be lying on the ground and Beat appeared to be crying by her. Rhyme does die early in the game, was it possible she was dead here? Just then, Beat spotted me and ran over, initiating a cutscene. "You killed her, you bastard!" He shouted. I prayed Neku would deny this, but he just smirked. "Yes. It was fun." As soon as I exited that text box, a battle with Beat started up. I fought him almost as a reflex. The battle wasn't too hard, as I was used to playing on Ultimate difficulty and Beat didn't have much health, but what happened when I defeated him was deeply disturbing. Instead of going to the battle results screen, Neku walked over to Beat slowly, and a picture of the slashing pin appeared on the touch screen. I didn't want to click it, but I did anyways while repeating to myself "it's just a game". And then Neku beheaded Beat. I looked away as soon as I realized what had happened. Once I'd calmed down enough to continue, I turned back to the screen. The end of day animation played again, this time claiming the day was called "ISN'T THIS FUN?"
Another new in game day started up, opening once again with the Reapers discussing what had happened. However, this time it was only Kariya and Uzuki, and their discussion implied all the others had been killed. This took me by surprise. Had Neku continued killing offscreen? Kariya and Uzuki agreed that Neku had to be stopped, and the screen cut to Neku again. Once again, he talked to me. "Are you having fun yet?" I selected "no" once again without hesitation, causing Neku to sigh. "You're so boring. Go to the Shibuya River. There's something fun to see there." After that, I was given control. I tried to go anywhere but where I was told, but all other paths were blocked off, so I made for the Shibuya River. I was shocked at what I saw. All the characters Neku had killed, Shiki, Rhyme, Beat, the Rapers, all of them were nailed to the wall as if they'd been crucified. There was pixelated blood running from the nail wounds and the characters's mouths. I dropped my DS and ran to go puke. (I have a rather weak stomach for these kinds of things) When I came back, a dialogue page was up. It read, "The Game you have played is special. You have seen the truth." My eyes widened. "The truth"? Was this text box trying to say that this is what had really happened in TWEWY? At this, I shut the DS off and pulled the game out. I didn't want to play that thing any more. I was way too freaked out to continue.
UPDATE: I confronted my girlfriend about the game. She seemed confused. She told me that she hadn't done anything to the game beyond cleaning off the cartridge to try to fix her save data loss glitch. When I tried to show her what had happened, the game played like normal. What the hell? That game was fucked up when I played it. I don't know if I was hallucinating or dreaming or what, but I just don't want to deal with this damn thing anymore. I gave my girlfriend the game back.
UPDATE #2: I had emailed Sqeenix about the game after confronting my girlfriend, and they finally wrote back. This is what it said:
"Dear Loyal Customer,
We are sorry to hear of the bad experience you had playing our game, but have been unable to recreate your problem. It is possible you are in possession of a hacked cartridge. We encourage you to find a solution and will reward you if one is reached.
Square Enix, USA"
Typical megacorporations. A reward though... I'll do some research into who owned the game before my girlfriend, as she got it used.
UPDATE #3: That's it. Reward or no reward, I'm not going any further. The game belonged to Zachary Smith, a 15 year old boy. Zachary had some mental illness, nobody knows what, and he would do some fucked up stuff. Like, torture and kill animals. And then he switched to torturing and killing people. When the police finally caught him, he killed himself. I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm not about to put myself in a position to change that. I wish I'd never played that game.