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I was bored one day so I searched around online for things to do. I eventually came across a ROM emulator of A Link to the Past, and decided to play it. It had an odd file name, but I loaded it up and started playing. The title screen said “A Link to the Future” and the story was radically different. Ganon wasn’t the villain. It stated, “And the seven wise Ganons sealed away the evil Link”. Something was seriously wrong. Starting a file, I found Link in the Dark World, with only the Fighter’s Sword and Shield. Something soon became apparent, though. It was the Light World with the Dark World’s color palette. Beating the dungeons, I came to the Tower of Hera, or Ganon’s Tower. When I entered, I immediately obtained the Big Key, and the only room was one with ten large chests. A sign stated “Don’t get it wrong, or you will pay.” I opened the first chest. It said, “You got nothing! Brilliant, Holmes!” As soon as I exited out of this, Link suddenly died.

I looked in all the chests, dying another eight times, getting the Magic Mirror in the last chest. Using it, I found myself in the Light Dark World. After beating the Dark, or Eastern, Palace, the maiden said to me, “Thanks to you, I can escape the clutches of the evil Zelda. Link...How have you broken the seal? You were never meant to exist, a glitch in a piracy...” Now I started to freak out. I merely saved and quit, though, and stopped for a while. The next day, when I shrugged off the ordeal of the day before, I played the game again. Now, there was another strange thing happening. Link had only one heart container. I continued to the second Light Dark dungeon, and upon beating the boss, a heart container that was purple appeared. Taking it, it turned out I made a bad move. The one heart I had was gone, and Link died.

When I continued, it happened again! As soon as I saw Link, he died. Exiting, I saw a second file there. Link was holding a broken sword, wearing a black tunic, looking scared. Playing it for no reason other than curiosity, I was loaded into a...side scrolling world? It looked like Mario World, and I got to a castle-type-level-thing. The music was playing as a creepy weird version of the Legend of Zelda Overworld Theme with an 8-bit feel to it. I was loaded into a bare room with nothing in it, but then I heard someone jump in. No way...It was...

Mario? Yes, I’m dead serious. Mario. He said, “Do you think that anyone would send anyone else free games?” He then started to jump on Link for what seemed like fifteen entire minutes. He then struck the familiar pose for completing a level, until Link, with a single slash of the sword, knocked him over, and then, he sprinkled Magic Powder on Mario. Mario began horribly transforming. He eventually turned into the creepiest thing I have ever seen. Ganon, with a horn coming out of his head and seemingly no visible flesh, just massive bones. Link was horrified at Mario (if it even WAS Mario) for being so demonic that he turned into THIS. Then, the game suddenly quit, with only a message.

The message said this. “I am the developer. I have disappeared for years now. You pirated a game, and paid for it. You must spread word. Works as brilliant as the Super Nintendo must remain what they are. I am the developer. No good comes from stealing, all thieves take note. I am the developer. I have disappeared, to reappear. Reappear where the amazing works have been stolen, hacked and pirated. I am the developer. Remember me.” This continued to flash on screen for half an hour, and I couldn’t quit or load anything. When I shut down the computer, it was still spookily on screen, flashing over and over, playing the message over and over, countless times, until finally, the screen lit up to my normal Spirit Tracks desktop background.

Once I loaded up the game, it was if nothing had happened. The title said “A Link to the Past” and the story was the same. The game played just as intended, except for one detail. The final maiden, Zelda, said “The developer returns again to haunt all who steal. Be warned...”

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