Tubby Bye Bye By Jessica Kylie Nichols-Vernon aka HawlSera
A long time ago there was there was this little known company called SafePlay or SafeLearn or something like that, I don’t recall the name of it as it has been quite a long time. The only reason I really recall it at all was because back when I was a little kid during the Web 1.0 days they handled distribution on a few toy lines in some rural areas. Nothing too major the licenses they had were pretty mundane there was a train set based on the Lone Ranger, not the Disney Version, and a few of the Teletubby Dolls, nothing one would go gaga for. The only thing I remember jumping out at me was a generic non-licensed white tiger plush I got off of their website taking advantage of a five dollars off coupon on online purchases that came with my little brother’s Tinky Winky doll. What can I say, I’ve always had a soft spot for animals especially large cats.
The website always struck me as a little creepy. It was a very plain website mostly made up of hyperlinks and pictures of children wearing generic t-shirts. Now it’s very common for companies, especially ones that catered to children to show kids playing with the product and trying on the clothes but this was different. None of the children wore clothes from any of the brands or featuring any of the characters that they sold, nor did any of them play with any of the toys. What the children all had in common was that they all looked upset, a more than a couple of them looked like they were on the verge of crying. Many of them had bruises, it was exactly nine. I remember that because my mom had been at a doctor’s appointment and I recall counting the kids with visible bruises to pass the time before she could come home and take me to Toys R Us to pick up the copy of Ocarina Of Time I had pre-ordered back when it was still called Zelda 64. It seemed odd to me as a kid, it kind of creeped me out but I was always the kind of person who found scary things more fascinating than off-putting. Perhaps that’s why I grew up to be a paranormal investigator, and yes I do believe there’s something after death but I haven’t found it yet nor do I in this story, so if you were hoping for this to end with an evil Sonic plush eating my soul and making you wonder how I was able to submit this to the internet if I died in it this isn’t for you. Clearly I’m not very good at my ghost hunting job.
I’ve tried on all the names I can remember the company having looking it up on the way back machine and on google, but I never did manage to find the corporation, its websites, or anything related to it at all. Sometimes I had wondered if I had imagined the whole thing, that was until a friend came by my house to whom I had told this tale before with something truly marvelous. See my brother’s Tinky Winky doll had been donated to the goodwill and my tiger plush had the tag ripped off so I couldn’t use anything I owned to verify that this wasn’t some queer misremembering of my youth as memory can be often unreliable and children can play the most strange of games. This however that my friend brought me was solid.
SafePlay had programmed and released one video game based on the Teletubbies for the PC, Game Boy Color, and SNES I remember that they advertised the only way to get it was through their site. I had no interest in the teletubbies but I did remember thinking it was a little odd that someone in 1998 would make a Super Nintendo game as this was around the time gamers were interested in big 3D colorful Worlds like Sprocket:Robot On Wheels and Banjo-Kazooie (Why do people not make games like that anymore?), what my friend had brought me was the PC and Super Nintendo versions which he had as a kid having come across them in a small trailer of his toys that his grandmother kept for whatever reason.
The PC Version I found more intriguing as it came on a floppy disc and I had never actually seen a game like this since my aunt’s eldest son showed me his copy of Ultima 2. Beyond that it was a harmless bright red floppy with nothing but a picture of one of the teletubbies, it looked like Po but the only colours on the disc’s were white and purple which given that only white was eyed for the eyes no pupils or irises or nothing freaked me right the hell out in an uncanny valley kind of way but I had seen more off-putting printing label oddities in my time from low budget companies. It was the PC Version I tried first on my grandfather’s old laptop as honestly none of my machines even had a slot for a floppy. The graphical quality was pretty decent for a floppy disc, the world was vibrant and colorful with all the familiar elements of the show even that laughing baby sun which was on the bottom right hand side of the screen with the time of day right below her as either Day, Afternoon, Evening, and Tubby Bye Bye. The controls were WASD based instead of using the arrow keys which made the game feel ahead of its time.
Having played both the Super Nintendo and PC Versions I’d say the only real difference is that the graphics on the Super Nintendo Version are a little sharper and there’s sound on that version even some voice acting in the form of clips from the show, I’m guessing that’s why that cart felt much heavier than my other SNES carts. So for all intents and purposes I’m going to just describe the SNES Version.
You played as Dipsy and did a few mini-games by interacting either with the other Teletubbies or with various items like the Custard Machine. Some of the mini-games were educational such as one where Laa-Laa would say a word and you’d have to spell it out and it was always something like “Happy” “Cookie” “Ball” “Fun” “Play” or “Cake”, on the PC Version due to the lack of sound it just showed you a picture of something and you’d have to spell it out. This game was easier on the SNES version because the picture it used for Happy and Fun were exactly the same, a smiling face. Though to be fair the game tells you in both versions how many letters are in the word you’re supposed to spell so I guess I’m just nitpicking. If you spelled the word right Laa-Laa would do a little dance, if you spelled it wrong she’d frown for a bit. There was no way to fail the mini-game but if you kept getting it wrong Laa-Laa’s face would look sadder and sadder until she started to tear up which although was uncomfortable I didn’t think much of it more than a game designer who wasn’t quite the best at working with tone. The only time I found this odd was when I tried to get a game over screen by getting all ten of the words it asked me to spell wrong in a row. This time, and only this time, the last word was Despair. Awe struck by such a word being in a teletubby game I wasn’t sure if I should spell it right or not, ultimately I opted not to which got Laa-Laa to start pouring the waterworks in an almost anime-like fashion only to be interrupted by Dipsy slapping Laa-Laa across her face something that left me in shock and her with a black eye. Ultimately I wrote this off as some kind of joke taken too far though I never played her mini-game again after that. It wasn’t the worst game over screen I had ever seen nor even the most unfitting for a kid’s game, that honor would go to the Lion King Sega Genesis bootleg where Simba hangs himself.
Most of the mini-games were this boring to play as Tinky Winky’s was identical only you did math problems he’d dance if you got them right and he looked angry if you got them wrong, it wasn’t as off-putting as Laa-Laa’s crying but I swear only time it looked like he was about to strike Dipsy with a strange brown pixelated object that looked like a belt but then Dipsy ran away as Tinky Winky slapped at the air, admittedly this was kind of funny to watch. Though I kind of wish Dipsy had gotten hit as he deserved it for what he did to Laa-Laa.
The only other of the mini-games worth mentioning were a matching game with Po using playing cards on a picnic blanket and a racing game with the vacuum cleaner that was very hard to control but next to impossible to lose where you had to press various buttons in succession to get your character to move the first one to the custard machine wins. The custard machine itself just gave you one of those sliding puzzles where you rearrange a picture of Dipsy’s face until you put it back the right way.
Each time you did a mini-game the time of day would slide one later. If it was Day it’d go to Afternoon, Afternoon to Evening, and Evening to Tubby Bye Bye. Once it got to Tubby Bye Bye either a text blurb shows up on the PC Version or a voice plays saying “Time For Tubby Bye Bye!”
During Tubby Bye Bye, Po, Laa-Laa, and Tinky Winky go inside their house and an arrow points towards the house beckoning you to go in. Once you do you play a sheep wrangling mini-game with cloud borders where Dinky dressed as a cowboy asks the player to count the number of sheep outside the pen and if you did they went back inside their pen if you didn’t they ran away. At the end of the mini-game you’d hear “Teletubbies, Say HELLO!” As the cycle started over again.
There was a path leading downward away from the home, but every time I went down the path Po, Laa-Laa, and Tinky Winky would rush downward to stop me from going that way and an audio clip would play saying “Bad Tinky Winky!” Or a text box on the PC Version.
This is where things get interesting, as one time while I was playing the game for curiosity’s sake my friend suggests trying to go down that path when the other teletubbies went inside for Tubby Bye Bye. I thought that there would just be an invisible wall like in most games but to my surprise the screen actually scrolled downward and I was allowed to progress. Things seemed normal for a bit as what was down two screen scrolls was a plane looking path like the one before it except the house and the places for the mini-games removed. On the third scroll something changed as the colors began to look faded. I continue doing this and the colours look more and more faded each time until eventually the grass is black and dead looking. I keep going and it stays like this, I thought it was just looping when finally I see a wolf chewing on the bones of a sheep with two more dead sheep near him, three in total, the same number of sheep I let get away in the dream mini-game the last time I had played it. My heart is racing as things had just started getting a little too Misfortune.GB for my tastes.
I try to interact with the wolf, I pushed every button on the controller until finally I’m not sure what I pressed but I hear a voice say. “Your actions have consequences for those around you.”, I push the button again and all I hear is the wolf barking.
I go down the path one more time not sure of what else I could do here when I reach a small graveyard, as I approach it it starts to rain and I lose control of Dipsy. Dipsy goes to the middle of the graves and begins to look over each and everyone one of them. Nine in total. Nine graves. I wondered if this was a reference to the kids with bruises on the website.
Dipsy then turned and faced the screen before throwing his hands in his eyes
“Game Over!” The voice said.
That freaked me the hell out, I tried pushing any of the buttons on my controller but nothing. It just kept replaying the same sounds of Dispy crying again and again on an endless loop. Resetting the game made everything normal again as if nothing had happened. No bleeding eyes on the title screen or anything like that it worked just fine. Maybe this was just a bad ending, though who the hell puts a bad ending in a kid’s game is beyond me. The whole thing reminded me of Sonic 2’s Game Gear version where if you don’t get the Chaos Emeralds, Robotnik kills Tails causing Sonic to look up at the sky with a sad face to see a Tails constellation. Damn that was messed up.
I tried this trick on the PC Version to find it worked though the wolf instead of chewing on the sheep he just barks at Dipsy who runs back home. The wolf claiming that Dipsy “Smells like delicious sheep meat!”
So I let some sheep go the next night when I play the mini-game and try the path again. This time I got the same result as the SNES version but with text boxes instead of voiceovers.
I’d love to share my copy of the game with you as proof, but I left with my friend to get something for lunch and when I came back I saw a black car pull out of my driveway with no license plate attached to it and zoom off. When I went inside my SNES and my grandfather’s laptop both with the games inside were stolen. I found it odd they took the SNES and the laptop. I have an Xbox One, a 3,000 dollar gaming PC, and a ton of jewelry that all stayed where it was, but they took those things? Weird. I talked to the police but they said that what I gave them wasn’t much of a lead and even if they did find the stuff taken I’d have to go to small claims court where I likely would only get a small cash settlement that would get eaten up by lawyers anyway.
If anyone knows where I can find a ROM of the SNES version or a torrent of the PC Version, let me know.
The title of the game was “Teletubbies:Time For Tubby Bye Bye”, I can’t find any proof that the game exists. Heck, when I used google I just found my own story recalling my time with the game. So if you come across it, I’d really love to see it. It's not that the game was particularly fun, it's just that I've always loved Horror and Creepypastas in general and I'd love to know more about whatever gold I had that was taken from me like a burglar in the night by a burglar in the day.