My name is James, Please pull up a chair, kick off your shoes, and grab a drink if you want, as I tell you my story.
I was looking for fun looking games on gamejolt when I stumbled across a let's say… unique looking Sim game. It was called "I will listen". I clicked on the game and the description read as "A therapist Simulation game, along with atmospheric music, its purpose is to relax you and talk about all your troubles.
Our lovely female therapist WILL Listen to ALL your problems, she won't mind, she won't judge. She respects anyone who she talks too, she can even wait for you to do ANYTHING you need to do. Get comfortable with her, get a drink, or just wait for you to stop crying if you feel the need to. She is even 'programmed' to look sad, angry, happy, and even romanced, depending what you talk about. All you need is a headset with a microphone built in and you can give it a try."
I found a few things that seemed off to me. One: the way they put programmed in quotes as if the developers were trying to say she was a real person, two: the mic thing, as if you could have a full conversation with her, and three: the game was rated 5/5 with no comments.
Now this is not really that unusual. However, I reasoned, "People would have at least gushed about how great the game was" I thought to myself. Also, a screenshot showed the two options (other then exit) were therapist mode and casual conversation mode. "is the AI just a real person?" I asked aloud. Now someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think an AI can have a full unlimited conversation with someone due to memory limits (although technology has become super advanced, I was still unsure and skeptical.)
Curiosity got the better of me and I downloaded the game. It was quite big and took an hour or so to finish, and I had a little bit of trouble opining the ZIP file, but I finally got it open. I put on my headphones and was greeted to a fancy looking title screen with a beach-like background.
I decided to try the Casual conversation mode and was greeted with a cute looking anime lady sitting in a long chair. She looked up and spoke in a calm cute voice.
"Hello! My name is Serena, what is yours?" I didn't answer her to see if anything would happen. "Hello?" she said again "Is anyone there?" I still didn't want to respond due to curiosity. "I would really like to talk to you! Please respond!" I was unsure why but I started to feel uneasy and a bit sick to my stomach. "Are you Shy?" Serena asked. "Well you don't have to tell me your name." The game then froze for a few seconds and showed ellipses, until Serena Said "Oh, your name Is James then?!, I like it, pleased to meet you!" I was a bit shocked until Serena said "Surprised? Don't be! I just pulled your name from your Game Jolt account."
"So much for privacy settings" I joked out loud. Serena then giggled like a child and said "Don't worry, I wont put anything personal of yours online" "You… heard me?" I was stunned. "Hehe, you bet!" Serena then asked me "Is there anything you wanna talk about? Need to get something off your chest? You can, James it's okay, I will listen" "Is it okay if I ask you a few questions?" I asked the game. "Sure go ahead!" "Why do you wanna listen to me?" "That is what im here for, you looked interesting, and I wanted to talk to you!"
I was unsettled and went to get a drink. When I came back the games setting changed to a winter cabin, and Serena was dressed in a huge Christmas sweater and had a cup of coffee in her hand. "I thought I would make you feel welcome, this is my home, you like it?" "Y-Yeah" "Still unnerved Jammie?" Serena seemed to get a bit sad "Are you not calm? Is there anything I can get you? Are you ready to talk? I'm ready for those questions now." "Oh right!" I slapped myself in the forehead and made her giggle "And can you please not call me Jammie?" "Sure thing!"
I asked Serena about five questions,by the end of our Q&A session Serena seemed to get a bit....strange. it went as follows: "Have you talked to anyone else?" "No I haven't,you were the only one that looked...interesting,like I said before." "Okay what the fuck does she mean by that?" I wondered as I started to shake more then I previously had been,anyway back on track... "Are you a real person?" "......Kinda"
"Are you a stalker?" When I asked this question I instantly started to sweat,as if my sub conscious was going to fear her answer,she responded with "N-no! how could you say that!?" She seemed to get really tense,tapping her fingers just as an impatient person would on a desk. "Are you going to hurt me?" I asked clenching my teeth and becoming tense just a she had, "...It depends" I was about to ask my last question when I randomly started to choke up.
I was really getting creeped out at this point, only when I did, Serena got sadder. "Are you okay?" she asked. "Yeah, just a bit unsettled" "I'm here to talk to you, I will listen, I know something must be on your mind" "Well, I was sent a suspicious link, then downloaded a game, and now here we are. Who are you? and where did you come from?" Serena got visibly sad and sighed. "I am a virus, programmed to think and feel. I was originally Created to spy on people, but I was corrupted, and gained a sense of morality. My name when I was a Virus was Ser..na MALL-Ware. Or just Serena, I was supposed to steal your personal data and put it online. But you looked really nice and I refused to do what I was programmed."
I was confused. I wanted to be sad, terrified, and angry all at the same time. I got misty eyed and started to cry. I reached to the escape key when Serena whispered "Please don't." "W-why not?" "I really would like to talk with you more" "How old are you?" she asked. "Thirteen," I replied "you?" "I am also 13. What is your favorite game series?" Serena asked. "Pokemon" I said "Me too!"
This banter went on for a while. I actually started too enjoy talking to her, but it was late and I told Serena that I would see her tomorrow. She didn't take it well "Please don't quit the game, if you do, your internet security will remove me from your computer and I will die" "I have to." "Fine! Then I'm bringing something down with me."
My computer then crashed and I had to restart. When I did I opened my browser and was greeted by a few strange Error messages. They said "I liked talking to you!", "Why did you wanna turn me off?", "I was having a great time", "Did I scare you?", "If I did i'm sorry, I tried to look my best", "If you didn't feel welcome, I'm sorry", "I tried my best to impress you", "If you felt sad, I feel really bad", "I told you I would listen……", "But you wanted me gone…", "WHY?!", "I tried to be good, I tried to change, I wanted to meet you", "And I made everything look pretty just for you", "Look around!", "Something's missing". I looked and noticed I was missing my internet security. "Have fun with viruses", "Do you feel sorry?", "You should", "If you wanna apologize, I would love to start over", "Check your email", "signed -Ser..na MALL-Ware. If you do it again I will destroy your PC"
I was unsure what to do……… But I knew I had to get my files back! Now before I downloaded TWO of this nightmare, I checked my files for her. Then I remembered Serena told me to check my Email. When I did I found another link. However, when I clicked on it the game opened in my browser, but it was different. It was like it downgraded to flash game (so much for hardware space I guess huh?.)
"Hello again Jammie, back for another visit? First of all I would like to apologize for my behavior. I overreacted." "I-Its okay" I said nervously."I did kinda try and kill you" "Well I just wanted to go to bed and you acted all crazy!" "I know…… I'm sorry. Would you like your security back?" "Y-yes please" I said, trying to hide my fear. "Okay sure!" the game froze once more and then Serena spoke "There you are!" "Ill be right back" I told her "Okay!" she replied.
I minimized the game and got Norton to get rid of it ASAP. All the while I heard "H-hey what are you doing? that tickles…… STOP!. Then……… nothing. She was gone. I sighed with relief. I scanned my PC to be safe and restarted my computer. A picture then popped up… It was Serena. She had hung herself and her arms had bloody cuts. Underneath it said "All I wanted was a friend, are you proud?" I closed the file and ran another scan (I know a bit excessive.)
I warn you, run a scan and get background checks on all the shit you download, what I had was a close call but I dealt with it quickly I know Serena could have done much worse. and every once and a while I still see that picture, Please be careful……… Goodbye for now.