Monday, March 11, 2013

Slap Happy

I need some help.

A few days back I bought a game from a garage sale on recommendation from the original owner. She even gave me the Gameboy free of charge. She sold it for three dollars. She seemed reluctant to give it to me. As I left, I looked back to see her staring at me as though I were a soldier about to go unarmed into enemy territory.

The game had no label, so I couldn’t tell what it was. There wasn’t even any residue to show that someone had ripped it off. There was a large scratch on the back and some black streaks of something were coming out of it. Oh, and it was blue. Not any specific type of blue, just blue.

I got to my house and fired up the Gameboy. The game started. When it did, there was just a timer. It counted down from 999 to 899. Then the title screen appeared. It read; SLAP HAPPY the happiest, slappiest game of the century. The title shook me a little, but I shrugged it off and pressed start. The timer came again, starting at 899 and stopping at 799. The character select screen appeared.

Most of the characters I couldn’t choose, they were locked. The only character I could play as was a depressed looking girl named Tami, which was ironic considering the game was called Slap Happy. I chose her. The timer started up again, starting from 799 and stopping at 699. I was getting annoyed by this. So when it got to the first level I hit pause and selected save. The only thing I got was a white screen with red text reading; SAVE FEATURE HAS BEEN DISABLED BY DEVELOPER DUE TO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS. ENJOY THE GAME!

I figured I was going to have to finish this game in one sitting.

I pressed the A button.

The first level was more depressing than Tami was. I was really wondering why this game was called Slap Happy. I decided to make Tami walk around for a little while. Every few seconds someone would come up to her and say something depressing. It was really an awkward few moments playing the game. At last, I thought about turning it off.

But then I saw something pop out from the side of the screen and pop back in. Green words flashed at the top prompting me to chase it. All I could see was its tail as Tami ran faster and faster to catch up with it. Suddenly, I was prompted to press B. I did and Tami swung out a huge net. A horrible squeak erupted from the Gameboy Speakers and the screen went black.

The screen then turned white with blue text reading FIRST LEVEL COMPLETE. The count down started again at 699 but this time stopping at 650. A clink sound played every time the numbers changed.

The second level was slightly happier looking, though Tami seemed more depressed. I continued the game, curious. I made Tami walk around just like in the first level and the people who stopped her to talk said slightly less depressing things. The same thing happened with the monster, at least that’s what I think it was, in the first level. Then the countdown came again, 650 to 599.

I was starting to get the hang of this. So I kept playing. Each level got happier and the people said happier things as I caught more monsters. But Tami looked more depressed. The countdown came and went with each level, 599 to 550, 550 to 499, 499 to 450, 450 to 399, and so on until I was on the last level and the countdown was at 50. I watched the countdown until it went to zero, then the screen faded out.

The screen was then illuminated by colors of all sorts and rainbow text reading: YOU WON! NOW GIVE THIS GAME TO YOUR FRIENDS SO THEY CAN SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE!

I decided to give it to the kid who lived next door to me. He said he would play it when he and his parents went on vacation the following week.

Three days later, there was a news report about a girl from my neighborhood who died of a strange poisoning and her parents were suspected of poisoning her. They showed her picture and I realized that she was the girl who sold me the game. I started to think that she committed suicide when they showed her name, Tami. Then I realized that she sort of did look like the Tami from the game. Well, let me tell you, once I put two and two together I really freaked out. I killed her by playing the game. I killed her. I killed her. No. It must be some kind of coincidence. It must be.

Then they started talking about how this is the 7th death due to strange poisoning in this neighbor hood this year. They showed the other photos and I realized that they looked exactly like the locked characters in the game. They were dead, all of them. The next player killing the one who gave them the game. I immediately felt fear for my neighbor and myself. It’s only a matter of time…


Brent Ferguson, the author of this story, was found dead six days later. An autopsy of his body revealed a strange type of poisoning. His wife was suspected for it. About two weeks later, his neighbor, Larry Moore, also died of a strange poisoning and his parents were arrested on suspicion. The whereabouts of this game are unknown, but some have claimed to see it in used game shops, gutters, trash bins, yard sales, and Good Will stores.

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