I've always been fascinated by glitches in video games. Small glitches, game-breaking glitches, funny glitches, creepy glitches. There's just something about the brief oversight on the programmer's part that can lead to a world of possibilites within the already large world of the game and strange effects this can have on the game as a whole that just... appealed to me. However, I never really thought about the bigger picture behind these errors. Whether someone could of left them in for a reason. At least until today that is.
One of the most famous of these is the 'Creepy Watson' glitch. In Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis you are followed by Sherlock's faithful sidekick Watson for some parts of the game. However, the developers must of forgot to give him a walk cycle because whenever you turn your back to Watson he seemingly teleports right in front of you. This made for some hilarious yet simultaneously terrifying moments for the player.
As for me, like most people, I jumped out of my seat the first time this happened to me in the game but I quickly got over it and started messing around to see how far I could push this. I loved testing the boundaries of glitches as far as I could that is if there WERE any boundaries. After a few minutes of playing around though I swiftly moved on. Once I had completed the game I didn't come back to it for several years and the 'Creepy Watson' glitch was soon forgotten.
Just yesterday on a boring, quiet weekend night in my house while I was looking for something to do to kill the time I stumbled back upon the game. As soon as my eyes saw the name of the .exe file the memory of the 'Creepy Watson' glitch sprung into my mind. Not hesitating for a second I made the decision to see how much fun I could have with it and loaded up the game.
Once I'd got to the correct part I started playing around again like the first time I had encountered it and seeing if I could get it to do anything different to what it had done before. I tested whether he would move if I got far enough away from him, whether I could get him stuck in walls or other objects, what amusing positions I could force him into. Then, after seeing if I could get him to teleport onto the head of an NPC I turned around and Watson was... gone.
Confused, I turned back around. He wasn't where he was before. I did a full 360 to see if he had teleported somewhere else for some strange reason. No matter where I looked I couldn't find him anywhere. I was thrilled. Had I caused him to teleport out of the map? Had I somehow caused the game to remove him from the level? Had I completely broken his programming? My mind rushed with all the possibilities and reasons for his disappearance. But then I froze because the NPC I was trying to force him onto had just spoken.
Staring straight at me through the screen with an unflinching gaze he said clearly and emotionlessly "Watson is still watching you know.". I was freaked out! I'm not one who is easily scared and a game had certainly never even made me feel uncomfortable before but a chill was going down my spine as the NPC announced their message. The NPC continued by saying "Even when you can't see him he is still there. You cannot see him yet he can see you".
I was not the only one with a look of terror on his face as the NPC's face somehow changed to display a very different facial expression of dread. What the hell? Suddenly in a quick panicked voice the NPC blurted out "He's always watching. Always. He can't be stopped. Noone can stop him. He's there. Always there. No matter what you do. Always watching. He's Watching Watson. Watching Watson!". He finished the last part with a maniacal laughter before he started bleeding profusely from his eyes. After a few moments of this he collapsed on the floor and looked to be dead. With heavy breathing and a quick silent prayer to God-despite being an atheist-I turned around in my swivel chair.
Watson was not behind me. I cried out to the world "He's not here! He's not!" but the sick feeling in my stomach told me otherwise. It would of been better if he was actually there because then I could take solace in knowing I wasn't just a raving madman but he wasn't. So now I wasn't just questioning whether he was there or not, I was also questioning my own sanity. I pounded my head against my computer desk trying to get this wrenching feeling out of my stomach. Eventually, blood oozing from a cut in my forehead I closed the game window.
Ever since then I've always been scared of my own shadow. I never feel safe, I'm constantly on my guard. Ever aware that Watson is still there and still watching. Whether you believe me or not is completely up to you but one thing is still true. Aware or not, Watson is still there watching me and still watching you.