Back in 2005, I used to play games on the Willy Wonka website. They were old shoddy Flash games for kids, based on the candies. At the time, though, everybody I knew played them.
Just a few days ago, I had a feeling of nostalgia and went on their website to find them. Sadly, there weren't any on there, just a bunch of random quotes and GIFs. I looked up a way to find them and one link on Yahoo answers brought me to the developer's site.
The site was completely blank, but after using the Wayback Machine, it pulled up a list of his games. Most of them were broken, but I was able to enjoy some of the really memorable ones. For example, SweetTarts 3D was a game in which you were a lizard trying to eat some of the SweetTarts. All of them were based on the candies and were pretty goofy, but they brought back great memories from when I was six years old.
Well, one of them did stick out among the others: the 3D Pyramid game.
Somehow, I had completely forgotten about it, even though it gave me nightmares as a child. It was a third person maze game where you were trapped in a labyrinth with a monster that would eat your flashlights battery life if you ran into it. The monster itself wasn't that scary, but the game as a whole didn't sit right with me, even as a kid.
I remember thinking to myself how dark and gritty the art style was for a game that was supposed to be about candy. The game took place in dark tunnels with realistic dirt/brick wall textures, making the candy pick ups seem out of place.
The creepy laughter was another strange choice that stuck out to me. When wandering around the tunnels, you could here random laughing. Sometimes it sounded very up close, other times it sounded distant. What was stranger was that the laughs weren't coming from your character, and they weren't coming from the monster chasing you, given the fact that there were more than one voice laughing.
Even the loading screen was odd. Insightful tips would loop on the screen while the game loaded, though one line kind of stuck out as strange reading, 'Keep your eyes open.." which never really made sense to me.
It was under the name "Spooky Pyramid.htm", so decided to pull it up. After all, it had been 11 years, so I would obviously be over the fears. At first, the game seemed to be frozen at the loading bar. Disappointed, I was about to close the tab when suddenly, a blank message box came up. I clicked it and the game had loaded.
Bizarre, I thought, but I proceeded on and chose my character. That was when things started getting weird. I was surprised to see that I had actually spawned as the monster. I thought it was a funny glitch, so I kept moving, expecting the game to crash soon.
The level was completely empty; there was no apparent threat, nor any sign of the kids. Within a few seconds, I found the exit to the first level and went through it. I was immediately taken to the second level, but the room was darker; my flashlight was only on 50%, and it was draining rapidly. I took a wild guess that, perhaps, being the monster meant my flashlight would be drained. Nonetheless, I proceeded on to find what other weird glitches I would encounter.
There still weren't any signs of life, but I had actually encountered what I thought was a blood splatter on the wall. I knew something was up; this was a children's game, no matter how creepy it might have been. I tried to reason it out: maybe this was the developer's original version, and he censored it for the Wonka site?
Considering it had little to do with the candies in general, I assumed it might have been made as a horror game at one point. I also reminded myself that some of his Wonka games were, in fact, just modifications of his older games, which had nothing to do with Willy Wonka.
Interested, I kept going and continued to find increasing amounts of blood on the walls. I soon found the exit, but suddenly a message showed up right before I began level 3: "Run".
I spawned bewildered, and saw that the ground was puddled in blood. I had come to expect this since the last level, so it didn't really faze me. However, while I made a left turn, I saw one of the children running away. It seemed transparent. I went down its path, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I was about to turn back when my character stood still, went on its knees, and began crying. The laughing in the background became louder and louder.
If the game was a horror game, it succeeded in scaring me. I decided I'd had enough of it and clicked to close the window. The last frame before it closed, I saw the monster being torn apart by the children. Behind it was a disfigured, humanoid character with a twisted smile.
Fuck that, I thought. It was late, and I had a test the next day. I lied in my bed, but I kept hearing the laughter. At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, but it kept getting louder. It wasn't long until I realized it was actually coming from outdoors.
I went downstairs and looked through my windows. That face. That horrible, inhuman face was right out there.