In 1997, Bullfrog Studios, a pretty unknown game developer released a hospital management game called Theme Hospital.
It was, as you would expect it to be, to start your own hospital and compete with other hospitals to be the best. Eventually, it wouldn't be only one hospital, but twelve hospitals you needed to manage. That's right, you needed to make twelve hospitals, and reach a certain goal in each hospital in order to beat the game. The graphics where as cartoony as you can get, and there were really funny diseases in the game like bloated head or slack tongue. This game, my friends, played a large role in my childhood and it still remains one of my all time favorite games for PC.
I wish I still had it to this day though, but... I don't know if... oh screw this. I'm just gonna tell you what happened
It was the year 2007, ten years after the release of the game and I was playing some Sims 2 on my old PC because I did not have anything better to do.
My parents were both going shopping that day and my brother was watching some TV. I then got bored on the Sims 2 and closed the game. I thought to myself; what other games can I play? Then I remembered Theme Hospital and was overjoyed. It was such a long time ago when I last even thought of the game. Sadly, my mother sold my game at a yard sale, she thought I didn't love the game anymore. So I went online and looked for a download of the game, and after half an hour I found one. Maybe I was just stupid or overjoyed, but I did not notice at first that the website the link brought me to looked a little strange...
It was completely black with only a photo of the game's cover, and under it was another link that would start the download. I clicked on the link as soon as the website loaded. The download was rather quickly done, I'd say after 5 or 6 seconds, which was strange, too because normally such a download did take a while. After the download was done, I was brought to the installation progress which took only a minute to do, and then I got to play the game I always loved to play so much...
The Bullfrog logo appeared as normal and the intro began as as normal, too. I then got to the player select menu where you just needed to type in your name. After that you would normally get to the main menu to select what you wanted to do, but in the menu, something else happened. I was in the overview screen where you would see your hospital, but then I saw that my hospital already had some doctors and nurses, but there were no rooms yet.
I build some rooms where they could work while wondering why I was not brought to the main menu at first. Then the hospital suddenly opened without any notice. The first patients came inside right away, I was really startled by this because as I had mentioned, this was not supposed to happen. The doctors then walked to the patients and text popped up.
This was the strangest thing to happen so far, because the text had a different font than you would normally see in the game. It said "Welcome to our hospital. Please enjoy your stay." And then the patients were brought to a normal GP office. The doctors then took the diagnoses of the patients. One of the doctors sighed and another text window appeared saying, "I'm sorry to say, but I'm afraid you all have... Autism."
"What!?" I yelled because I knew what autism is. It's a handicap that causes wild behavior and different thoughts about the world. It's basically something you can't get rid of, you have that diagnosis forever. I know because I had autism myself. Had this game and I something in common?
The patients started to cry, and the doctors helped them get up. They all got into beds and the doctors were discussing about something...
I couldn't hear what.
After an hour or so, the discussion was over and the doctors looked at the patients as another text box appeared, stating, "We think we can save you all from this disease, but you all have to pay a price."
The patients did not argue and said, "Let's do it." They were brought into an operating room and each one of them got on a table.
There were a lot of doctors who each had a knife in their hands. Slowly, one of the doctors moved to one of the patients and suddenly, the screen switched to a first person view from the patient. I saw the big knife the doctor held. I didn't know why he had one, but then he said...
"Well, well, well, Maarten... looks like you can do nothing else but pray, I think." Did... did he just say my name? I thought. Then I saw the doctor swing his knife into the patient's chest and I heard a scream that sounded like my own voice screaming. I was shocked by this because now, I got it.
The doctors hated people with Austism. Why? I don't know for sure. The doctor was stabbing and stabbing and a lot of blood spread out of the chest of the patient. The screen then flickered and loud, screeching static was heard. After I screamed and tried to escape from the game, the game then disappeared from the screen. I sat there, frozen in front of my desktop, thinking about this nightmare of a game. Why was it this screwed up? Why did the game know my name?
I wanted to look for the same download again, but I never found it. As if the link never existed in the first place. The game had also deleted itself.
It's been 5 years since this happened now, and never have I experienced something like this again. I still love the game like I'd said, but I want to forget what I saw.
I know this story might sound cliched, and it may be but please...