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Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
I had heard rumors of the game’s existence on various gaming sites and messages boards, but I never thought it was actually real. I spent a little over a year trying to track down a copy, but I always came up empty-handed. That was until a few weeks ago, when the game decided to find me. I am here to beg you, DO NOT go looking for it. If an unfamiliar game shows up at your door, leave it be. It can disguise itself under any platform and does not abide by the rules of our universe. If you are unfortunate enough to play it, I will provide instructions below to hopefully give you a fighting chance.
The game decided to present itself to me on a Sunday at 12:00 AM. It had manifested itself into a blank Nintendo 64 cartridge with no writing or sticker logo, and was placed outside my front door with no note or instruction.
I paced around for 20 minutes and tried to comprehend where it had come from, and who had delivered it. Eventually, I hooked up my console and inserted the cartridge. My version of the game had titled itself “Halloween 64” and included an inverted Nintendo logo. It also displayed a few presumably non-existent dev companies like Eulogy Inc. and Last Breath Software. The title screen included the words Halloween 64— Press Start in text made to look like cheesy green slime.
As soon as the game begins, you will be unable to quit until it is complete. I’m sure you’re thinking, “just turn it off, unplug it, or walk away.” If only it were that simple. The game has several methods of self-defense, and the harder you try and disrupt it, the stronger it becomes. The power function of the console will not respond if you try to turn it off; the red power light remains on and the system operates like normal. The cartridge cannot be removed. It does not matter how hard you pull, it will stay locked in place. If you annoy it enough, the cart will become scalding hot and burn your skin to the bone. In addition to this, all outside communication will be lost. Your phone and internet will not function while the game is running. Any door or window that leads to the outside world will be inaccessible. My front door wouldn’t open and all of my windows became shatterproof. To be honest, I’m not sure if time even passes while playing the game, as every clock in my apartment remained at 12:00 while playing.
You are given 10 lives.
Certain aspects in the game will be mirrored in reality. Any pets you own will die as soon as you lose a life. As you lose more lives, you will get sick; very, very sick. I became nauseous, my head started to pound, and my nose began to bleed. The more lives you lose, the worse you will feel—but you must keep playing. I can only conclude that losing all lives will result in death.
LEVEL I – The Neighborhood
Your third-person character in Level One is a child dressed in a skeleton costume, carrying a jack-o-lantern bucket. You start off in the middle of a suburban neighborhood covered in cheap Halloween decor. The street had a striking resemblance to the one I grew up on – I can only assume this is a detail that is different for each player. Although the street appears linear and endless, it is not. As you move forward, the street lights behind you will go out. DO NOT go into the dark, KEEP MOVING. If you move your character into the dark, you will lose a life. As you play, you will notice the darkness creeping behind you in reality. After a few hours of running down the virtual street, all of the lights in my apartment went out one-by-one. Whatever you hear, see, or feel, it is very important to not take your eyes off of the screen during this level. You will hear doors in your home open and close, footsteps, and a familiar voice whispering in your ear. DO NOT lose concentration or you will lose more lives. You may even feel a hand rest on your shoulder. Eventually, the level will end without notice. The timer on the screen showed that I ran for 7 hours and 26 minutes before completion.
LEVEL II – The House
Level Two is displayed in first-person. You will enter a house with limited visibility, as a dim flashlight is your only source of illumination. As you progress through this level, you will notice a difference in temperature around you. My apartment was freezing, making it extremely difficult to concentrate. Again, you must keep playing; if you get up and try to adjust your thermostat or get a coat, you will lose a life. I lost four lives during this level, and started coughing up blood. As you move through the house, you will discover various weapons. When you recover all of these weapons, you can progress to Level 3. These weapons cannot be used in self-defense. It is best to not equip them, as your character will only use them to commit suicide, thus resulting in the loss of more lives. As you move through the dark house, you will hear and see things that will test your limits as a human being. I will not go into detail, but I saw and heard things in the game that were deeply personal, disturbing, and worst of all… genuine. Be prepared to witness every terrible experience of your past, all of those things you have repressed, forgotten, and maybe even went to therapy to try work through. Once again, you must keep playing, and you must collect every weapon.
LEVEL III – Final
This one. like the last, is in first-person. I entered this level with two remaining lives, almost certain that I was destined to fail (Like the former levels, I believe that it is custom tailored to the person who is playing). You will enter a bedroom and see a person lying on the bed, asleep. They may resemble a loved one, a friend, or yourself. I saw the body of my best friend who passed away ten years ago. You will have access to every weapon you grabbed in level two: a knife, blow torch, baseball bat, and screwdriver. Your objective is simple – kill the person in the bed. They will not fight back. Once their health bar is diminished, you will win the game. I chose the knife. I walked up to the bed, aimed, and struck the body with the blade. White hot pain filled my eyes, and I instantly discovered the catch of level three. Whatever pain you inflict on the person, you will feel in reality. You will not lose any blood, you will not lose consciousness, and you will not die— but you will feel every single sensation. If you take too long in-between blows, your player will lose a life. The person on the bed will beg you to stop – they will scream your name again and again. It took me 20 minutes to stab them to death, and I could barely hold the controller when it was over. I completed it with just one life remaining.
My body was cold, frail, and broken. I remember reading Game Complete on the screen just before blacking out. I am not sure who the game will choose next, or if it already has chosen— I just pray that they will read this before it’s too late.
Publisher’s Note: The author requests that anyone who desires to narrate, perform, or adapt this story to any other format, or feature it on a YouTube channel, podcast, or other platform, contact them for permission before doing so. Use of the author’s work without this permission is strictly prohibited. You may reach the author here. Thank you!