I may not be much of a retro gamer, but this little obscure story isn't made for the faint of heart.
As usually these days, we have easier ways to obtain older games, but some games that were outshadowed by bigger titles such as Mario or Castlevania have been even harder to pick up in stores.
But as I stated, now everything exists out there, but what I stumbled across have frightened me until this day.
It was a Saturday night, I've just got home from a night shift work as a warehouse guard. It made me rather paranoid because as a child I had a few traumas where my older sister scared the hell out of me, by being behind my couch while I watched "House on Haunted Hill. Yeah I know, it's rather silly.
However, after I sat down, I did the usual. I booted up my computer. I went on 4chan, on /r/, for a request of an old game which I've forgotten the name of.
I described it as a game that reminded me of Kid Icarus but for the Sega Genesis system, it was action packed and looked like a horrific shooter where you fight demonic beings in high heavens.
After a few hours of idiotic posts of memes and misleading links as well as a sudden heart attack from a Jeff pop up scare which downright pissed me off, I saw another post right before the page went 404.
I shouted at the screen because I accidentally refreshed the page too fast, while I saw glimpses of what seemed to be the game which I remembered from my childhood.
My computer froze for a second, a sudden flicker occurred in my room which caused my computer to go on a reboot. I had a sudden shiver down my spine and still felt paranoid after the job.
I went to the kitchen to make some coffee, calming my nerves down. Turning on the tv for some sense of company, having Facebook active at all times and checking what my friends were up too.
A message came through on Facebook by one of my friends stating, "Hey, I've got a link to the game you were looking for"
I frowned in doubt at the message at first, thinking that he would obviously prank me with jump scares.
But as I clicked the link, SHIT! - my Skype activated with the loudest volume, I shaked for a moment but shrugged it of in laughter. Silly me being paranoid and scaring myself like that.
Managing to calm down, I clicked the link and it was an instant download.
I opened Kega Fusion, the Sega Genesis emulator and to my surprise, I saw the screen. But for a moment as I looked away and heard something knocking on my window, the game flickered for a second.
Scratching my back, I thought for a second that I saw myself on the screen, looking at myself, but I must've seen wrong. I took a last sip of my coffee, when I started to hear the casual knocking on my window again.
I took the headphones off, walked to my balcony but nobody was out there. I shivered and felt uneasy, but what frightened me wasn't really the idea of something tapping at my window this late at night - what really made me break down a few tears was that in the corner of my left eye, I saw the light flickering rapidly with my chair slightly moving towards me.
My first reaction was screaming and throwing my cup of coffee in the direction of the light. I got paralyzed. But nothing was out of the ordinary. Well except the broken glass of my cup - which was given to me by my sister, by the way.
After an exhausting clean up which seemed to last another hour, I started feeling tired, but I still felt uneasy and didn't feel like sleeping at all.
I wrote what happened on my Facebook status but I was unable to post it.
"My Internet is gone" - I whispered to myself.
"One last attempt", I thought. I opened Kega once again and noticed that the game was already active.
It took me to the starting screen, although this is where it got downright disturbing.
This version of the game didn't give me the sense of nostalgia, it didn't bring any forms of joy but rather dismay and made me shiver once again.
Everything felt wrong, the screen was saturated so that it almost seemed it were black and white.
The angel on the picture had a upside down cross behind him and the music sounded distorted.
Was this a ROM hack? Is some fucking twisted son of a bitch messing with me?
The title of this game was even called "Flicker". I shivered, as most of the things have happened today were related to this.
I didn't want to play it. Even the options I had were "PLAY" and "PLAY?".
What does this even mean? There are no options, no options at all.
I'm usually used to horror stories, but my mood wasn't right and the more I thought of it, the more my inner child emerged causing me to panic.
I couldn't shut the game, the Internet wasn't working, the desktop suddenly crashed as did Kega, but the game was still active.
Why yes, I could shut the computer of, if it wasn't a laptop with 24 hours battery on. But my curiosity got the best of me.
I grabbed my controller, braced myself and clicked play.
The screen got darker and a red text flickered where the other PLAY? option used to be.
"Do you remember?"
I had no idea what it was asking from me but I played along. I still felt terrified and helpless but I clicked "play" once again, and only then did it take me to the first stage.
The name of the stage was "Remember me?"
The layout was exactly like I remembered it, nothing weird happened and nothing happened for the whole session of the level.
As I progressed to stage 2, the game froze for a second and brought me straight to stage 6 where the title now said "Flicker".
I threw my remote to the ground and fell of my chair. The game was playing itself at this point.
No obstacles were there to stop me, the angel continued firing his endless barrage of white missiles.
But the screen faded slowly as it got to the final boss of the stage.
The game stopped, my cellphone rang. It said that my friend Martin called, but when I answered it I heard a very familiar voice.
"Finish, or are you too scared?"
I put the phone aside, my head was pounding, my neck was cold and tears were dropping.
Attempting to finish it, each time I struck the boss, a pixelated scream was heard.
I needed to overcome this mess, so as the last bullet hit the boss, I felt something touch my shoulder.
My heart just stopped, I passed out beside my laptop.
The next day I heard the same knocking on my window which woke me up. I woke up in a scream and looked at the window and saw my best friend.
He told me that I never responded when he called last night, he heard me murmur and whimper before the phone hanged up.
I opened the balcony and dragged him into the room and as I sat him on the chair and put on the game, he was confused and worried about my sudden shift in behavior.
But he played along, he activated the game and nothing seemed to be weird about it. It's name was Wings of Wor, the screen was normal and so was the game itself. Nothing even flickered or behaved out of place.
While he sat there, playing it, I went to the kitchen to put my cup pieces together where the initials of my sister were.
So Martin, what did you think of that game? - I tried to smile and think of something else.
Uhm, the game was great, but you do know that I sent it to you - he looked at me with odd expression.
You sent it to me!? - I yelled at him and grabbed his shirt.
Dude, what's wrong with you? - He breaks free and walks to the corridor.
I'm sorry - Looking at him with angst and frustration.
Don't worry about it - As he opens the door and calmly walks out.
Oh by the way, I never got to try that game you sent me, what was it called, FLICKER.exe? - He walked out as street lights behind him started to flicker.
Written by Cybershroom.