Author's Note: this is a Creepypasta meant solely to be read word for word. I know that may seem obvious and intuitive, but trust me, the effect drops by an enormous factor to have someone describe it to you rather than reading it yourself, or having said person read it word for word. The story written here was designed to entangle and grip hold of the reader's mind, an effect entirely toppled by skipping the important details
Johnny, you could say, was a rather disturbed teenager. Diagnosed with ADHD as a young child, he had no friends to speak of, and went to a “special school”, for gifted kids. He didn’t have many interests other than the simple pleasure of video games from time to time. He would play the nights away until they bothered him no more, and owned eight different vintage gaming consoles, almost all of them bought second hand. He never had the money as a younger kid to buy the consoles new, most of the one he had now were from collections other than his own. He was only missing one from his abundant repertoire - a Nintendo 64.
Having bought a copy of Super Mario 64 from a local secondhand antique gaming store some time ago, he was itching to play it badly. The game was entirely normal looking, just a bit dusty and chipped; about the expected look for it’s age. He had been harboring this game for so many weeks that it was clawing at the back of his mind. Eventually, he couldn’t hold back anymore. He looked online, and went around to five or six different shops to try and get an old Nintendo 64. He searched and searched, but to his dismay most of them either had broken ones, mainly for display, or hacked handheld devices that played Nintendo 64 ROMs. Johnny was disappointed at every turn, but wasn’t about to just give up. He ran to the shop where he bought his copy of Super Mario 64 from, and to his surprise they had a system available. It looked utterly ordinary, all except for the reset button, which seemed cracked in some unmentionable way. The clerk warned Johnny that this system was recently given to them by an old collector. He told Johnny that the reset button was stuck somewhat, and the Nintendo 64 might restart without warning. The clerk objected to selling it, and told Johnny he would be dropping it off to be dismantled for spare parts later that week, but Johnny was desperate. He paid full price to have the machine and brought it home as fast as he could run.
When Johnny arrived home, after he got to his room to go to sleep he took out his Nintendo 64 and began to install it into an adjacent wall. He connected it to his TV and inserted his copy of Super Mario 64 into the slot. The game opened up normally, the title screen was not anything severely unusual. He began a new game and started playing. He was just so excited to begin playing, that he couldn’t contain himself. After all these weeks of anticipation, here it was! He was jumping on Goombas, dodging the chain chomp in the first level and accumulated 3 stars before losing a life. That was when things began to act somewhat odd.
As the death animation was playing, and Bowser's silhouette overtaking the screen with his maniacal, chiptune laugh, midway through it the game suddenly and unexpectedly seemed to cut away, as though it had reset. The strange part being that, instead of cutting to the title screen, it just cut straight into the middle of Mario's idle animation, as he was standing outside the castle, in the exact spot you would normally be in if you had just loaded up the game. The reset cut directly into the middle of the castle yard theme, and it was all very jarring and... creepy.
Nonetheless, Johnny decided it was a simple fluke, and was way too caught up in his rush of excitement and adrenaline in playing the game that he forgot all about it within 30 seconds. for a second he feared that the reset may have cost him to lose his progress, but surprisingly, all his stats were entirely intact as though pulled from a moment just before he entered last the level. He didn’t even lose a life. This same behavior went on as Johnny played more and more levels. The game would stick him smack dab at the start of the game whenever he died, with all his previous stats intact. Eventually Johnny got used to this behavior after about the eighth death, and played the game with no second thoughts as to why it acted like this. He even considered it hardcore, since lives were effectively worthless, but it seemed such a strange way to accomplish this effect that he put the thought aside.
Johnny was having the time of his life playing this game. Not only had he been waiting weeks to do so, but it had presented him with this new, interesting challenge that he bet no one else had ever experienced. Of course, other than the previous owner. He began to think about how they could have broken the system in such a way for it to act so strangely, when Johnny noticed something weird that seemed less so a glitch. The toads that would normally stand around the castle and happily greet Mario were, instead of hopping up and down cheerfully at the mere chance of being able to talk to him, wore this interesting solemn look upon their faces, and their idling animations were somewhat more dull, and slowed down. They wouldn't look directly at Mario until he spoke to them either. When Johnny tried talking to them, they would all stutter a little near the beginning of their text blocks, but by the middle or near the end would show this barely noticeable head-shaking animation and act perfectly normal, as though trying to forget some horrible fate that recently befell someone they knew. Maybe someone close. If Johnny tried talking to the toads again afterwards, they would all act perfectly normal, as though nothing was in any way wrong. Johnny had about 21 deaths tallied up now, and although ignoring it superficially, he knew inside him that any problems totaled up with this particular Nintendo 64 did not just sum to a broken reset button.
36, going on 37 deaths, and 37 resets, Johnny paid closer attention to the toads each time he entered the castle. They seemed sadder and more devoid of their usual cheery self each time he died, and the game reset. Eventually they stopped trying to push off the burden they had been holding back for so long, and had severe trouble talking to Mario. One even burst into tears at the mere sight of him. Johnny was mortified by the whole nature of the scenario, and in a combination of pure fear, amazement, and the initial adrenaline rush from plugging the game in, decided to dive deeper into the heart of this monstrosity, only to his own fault he would later have to blame. It took a while but Johnny eventually reached the final star door on the castle with enough stars to enter. He burned through more than 65 deaths, but it seemed worth it at the time. Johnny was almost ecstatic to beat Bowser one last time, but in light of his current situation felt a lonely seed of remorse and decided to check up on the toads, for the last time. Johnny walked back down the wide, never-ending staircase and into the large circular room surrounding it, and saw to his surprise, some of the toads were missing. In fact, almost every single one was nowhere to be found.
He ran around and tried looking everywhere, but could only find a total of three of the toads remaining: the one at the front door, the one by the large grandfather clock, and the one near Jolly Roger Bay. These toads were acting far from normal: one was sprawled on the ground, crying incessantly, of which Mario was even unable to initiate chat with. Another, leaning against the wall with a thick stream of tears falling from their eyes, was looking down and trying to forget the horrible tragedy that had recently occurred. If Mario tried talking to him, the toad would not even look up; he would merely murmur something unintelligible and then yell at Mario for disturbing him in this time of despair. The third one just stood there with wide, blank eyes, and his animation was barely noticeable, if he at all even had one. Mario could not initiate conversation with this one either, but the strangest part was that by pressing the A button to talk, Mario could not talk, so instead he would attack. Instead of passing harmlessly through the toad, as an accidental attack might, Mario knocked toad over to the ground and he tumbled helplessly on the floor for a few seconds before rolling face-up with that same, interminable stare. This toad was practically a statue with nothing to give nor gain from any future encounters. Johnny felt severe remorse for this one especially, for he knew from the depths of his heart, that this toad would almost definitely be next.
The most notable part about this was in fact Mario himself. Although the behavior of the various toads remaining in the castle have changed dramatically with the proceed of game-play, neither Mario's disposition or animations altered one bit. He seemed perfectly aloof and naive about the whole situation, as though it had barely grazed him. He was neither sad for the toad’s loss, nor happy that they were gone. He just didn’t give a damn. To stare into his perfectly ignorant and mentally sane face in light of the currently horrendous situation was maddening in itself, even when in others it might have seemed absolutely acceptable. No part of Mario's body language even slightly alluded to his differed feelings toward what was happening, it was almost as if he didn’t even know what was going on at all.
Johnny was no longer happy about any of this. He was absolutely mortified by every minute detail, whether or not he experienced any one of them consciously or otherwise. He was not moving on because he wanted to complete the game anymore, on the contrary. He wanted to stop playing as soon as possible; But his body just wouldn’t let him. The grip of unadulterated fear held tighter and tighter with each passing death, and after a while Johnny forgot he was even playing a game. He just assumed to be dreaming this whole situation, all the while glued to his old, noisy scan line television screen, subconsciously controlling what he thought was a direct projection of himself into this fearsome world. Johnny was not awake anymore. But his brain continued playing, whether he wanted to or not.
Regrouping all the emotional reserve that existed within his feeble psyche, he ran up to the final star door guarding Bowser's stage and walked the long hallway, towards an enticing picture of Princess Peach. Could he finally have her back? He wondered this contemptibly as he fell down a deep chasm from a trapdoor that opened up under him. Tricked by Bowser again! But there was no level below him. He fell for what he felt to be an eternity, all the while the accumulated weight of past events he had desperately been trying to suppress were quickly creeping up on him, and an unavoidable paranoia onset almost immediately as saw the fate before him. For as clear as the brightest day, there was a heavy spike smeared with thick, black blood lining the bottom of the pit. Mario saw it and knew he could not escape its grasp. Falling all the while, he imagined what it would be like to be able to fly. If only he could fly now, he thought, just as the spike impaled upon his brittle skull. There was no escape, there never was. Not from this game.
And then, the game reset.