I'm baaaaaaaack. And I bet you weren't expecting a Nintendogs creepypasta. Same old, same old - Should probably be read word for word if making a video, but it's really up to you.
It's An Innocent Game... NowEdit
Growing up in the mid-90’s, it was every kid’s dream to find a job where they had to do nothing except play video games. You know the old saying – love what you do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life and all that. As most of my friends started growing older, their dreams became more realistic, but I never outgrew those childhood fantasies. It wouldn’t surprise me if you thought I was some jobless nerd who still lives in his mom’s basement. And you’d be partially right… I am a nerd.
After teaching myself some coding, I was offered a job at Nintendo of America in 2004 as a beta tester. It should come as no shock that I was thrilled and immediately took the job. Growing up, it had never occurred to me that the final product that I always played on my Genesis and N64 didn’t automatically happen, as I was always too caught up in the spectacle of my current playing session. To have a chance to be a part of the process of getting the final product ready for other people to buy made me feel proud – like I could claim that each video game I tested was partially my creation. At Nintendo, they give us some leeway on what games we end up beta testing because they want us to be focused on what we play so as to catch glitches, bugs and graphical/gameplay errors. I’m not ashamed to say it; I’ve always been a fan of what most gamers would call “casual games.” While other gamers will throw their hands up in frustration at having to redo a boss fight or solve an excruciatingly hard puzzle, I’d just kick my feet back and plant pitfalls in Animal Crossing or take my Nintendog for a walk. If you think that being a beta tester sounds amazing, you’d be right. With one notable exception.
Around August of 2004, I was asked to review a new casual game called Nintendogs that was supposed to release in the following month. To most, deadlines like this would stress them out, but I wasn’t fazed. Being a regional office, we don’t get a lot of bugs that we have to work out, so we normally expect anything coming from the main headquarters in Kyoto to be fairly close to finalized. Typically we act as a last line of defense in keeping bugs out of soon-to-be-released games. Even normal bugs would be remembered by the people who tested the games, but this… I’m not sure I should call it a bug.
The original version of Nintendogs looked very different from the one that most people know now. The first iteration looked more like a higher def version of Animal Crossing. The camera was third person, and the game cycled through days in much the same way that Animal Crossing did. The player’s gender could be customized, and you could select from a list of breeds which you wanted your dog to be. You would walk around your room and once you found something you wanted to do, the game would then switch to first person mode as you interacted with your dog. Once night rolled around, you would go to bed, but not before reaching down to have your dog lick you one last time before you fell asleep. Most of this should sound familiar to anyone who’s played this game, but some of this had to be cut, and not because of any errors.
I was having a great time with this game. I even thought I had potentially found my new favorite casual game. I was only asked to play the first week to test out all of the features, but I found that I just couldn’t put it down. On the 30th day, everything seemed normal and I was about to write off this game as error-free, when a loud sound woke up my character in the middle of the night. This made me jump in my chair – nothing like this had ever happened before. I saw my character reach down to check on the dog, and a tongue appeared and licked my character’s hand. I could control my character after this, and the only place it would let me go was the bathroom. Once the bathroom loaded up, I felt my stomach knot. There, hanging from the ceiling was my dog, (Or what was left of it) and written in its blood was the phrase “Humans can lick too.”
My body suddenly became very cold as I realized what that meant for the tongue underneath the bed. I couldn’t think straight. What the hell was something like THAT doing in a casual game? That kind of shit was pushing it even for horror games! I began to feel nauseated. Running to the bathroom, I barely made it before I threw up. After regaining my composure, I walked to my boss’s office and told him I needed to show him something. After showing him the game bathroom and explaining the events leading up to it, he didn’t say anything, but I could tell he was disturbed. He told me to give him the copy of the game, and I did. He asked me to keep the story quiet while the main branch looked into it, but as it is with these things, rumors started swirling in spite of my silence. Some people in the company even started calling the game haunted. I knew better, but I was still clueless as to how such a benign game turned out so appallingly creepy. Luckily for us, the Japan branch found the answer.
According to my boss, there was an employee at the Kyoto office who felt like he was underappreciated and went to his boss to ask for a raise. Not only was he denied a raise, but he was also docked vacation time. Unfortunately for the rest of us, (And especially for me) this employee happened to be one of the company’s main coders and as a way of getting back at the company, he programmed the bathroom scene into Nintendogs, assuming (rightfully so) that if something like this was discovered post-release, parents wouldn’t trust their kids’ video games to Nintendo and sales would plummet. He apparently had knowledge of how far the testers were supposed to go and only programmed the scene to be triggered after one month so that it wouldn’t be caught by us. Unfortunately for him, I was one of the ones testing. Once they figured out that he was the one who changed the code, he was immediately fired, and last I heard, they were even bringing up vandalism charges against him. I’ve heard of disgruntled employees doing some crazy things to get fired, (My personal favorite being the Goofy at Disney World taking off his head in front of the kids, flipping them off with his giant costume gloves and yelling, “Fuck you kids!”) but this was just a little too morbid.
My boss granted me a little down time, assuming that I was traumatized by the test. I'm not sure if I'm still traumatized, but it was certainly a shock. I still beta test for Nintendo – nothing could ever ruin it for me, but a few months later, a recoded version of Nintendogs was passed on to us to test, and I asked to be left off of the testing team. I felt bad for whoever had to take my place though. I could tell that they wanted the testers to make sure nothing like this would happen once the game hit market, as they made them play through a full three months. I did peak over the shoulder of the testers a few times, and it was clear that the coder had messed with more than just the 30th day, as the entire game was now in first person perspective and there was no character as which you could play. Fortunately for everyone involved, this version passed with no bugs or mutilated dog corpses and released in April of 2005, 7 months after its planned release.
Just let that be a lesson to all you CEO’s out there. Don’t piss off your employees and they won’t try to scare you shitless.
Footnote: After doing a little research on the coder, (Who didn’t do any jail time for altering the code) I was able to discover that he had based the scene off of an actual crime that took place in Kyoto back in the 1970’s. The perpetrator was never caught, and the case quickly pushed out of the minds of everyone involved. The victim's family moved out of town shortly after the incident. So I guess in this instance, the truth really is more… unsettling… than fiction.
To those of you who were paying attention, you might be able to tell that I ripped the "Humans can lick too." idea off of another creepypasta. Since it (The pasta I ripped off) was my favorite, I wanted to try and make it gaming related, but this was the only video game I could make this work with. It was a bit of a challenge and it's definitely not my best work, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.