It all started in the summer of 2012. I was done with all my summer assignments from school, my schedule was free, and the days seemed to get longer and longer. My brother would play the Xbox 360 often. Out of boredom, I posted on a video games board of what games I should buy with a limited budget. Other than Skyrim, Battlefield 3, and Minecraft, many members of the board recommended Shadow of the Colossus. Out of curiosity, I searched for videos on YouTube for gameplay and instantly wanted to buy it. After searching through many video game retailers, I decided to see if GameStop had it. After waiting in a line for five minutes, I asked Steve, the clerk, if he had Shadow of the Colossus for the PlayStation 2.
After I asked the question, he recommended me to buy the Ico bundle for the PlayStation 3 and I replied by saying "I don't have a PS3." However, he mentioned having only one PS2 version, but it was in a very bad condition. After asking to see the disc, the clerk pulled out the case from the store shelves and handed me a light Shadow of the Colossus case containing only the disc but no manual. After examining the disc, I only saw three minor scratches in the reflection of the store's lighting. I told him I would take the game off his hands and paid my $17 for the game, yet he did not include tax. Overjoyed, I decided to play the game that night as soon as dinner was over.
The game's startup screen was as planned, a serene orchestra of string instruments, woodwinds, and chorus played in the background as Wander (the player) and Agro (the player's horse) make their journey to the Forbidden Land. I started a new game with no problems, Wander and Agro walk through the Shrine of Worship, Wander leaves his dead love Mono on the alter in the far center of the proscenium, and Wander and Dormin strike a deal involving the 16 colossi.
The game was working almost as if it were new (except for a few minor frame rate problems) until the ending of the eighth colossus, Kuromori. Rather than Wander lying down on the floor of the Shrine of Worship with shadow figures watching him sleep, I saw a first person perspective of Wander watching Mono sleep on the pedestal. When Mono woke up, she had the most beautiful sapphire-blue eyes I have ever seen and the lovers embraced for a few seconds.
Mono broke the embrace, kneeled at the ruined statue of Quadratus, and started crying for about 10 seconds. When she lifted her face out of her arms, she stared at the screen with blank, soulless eyes and tears heavily ruining her makeup, and the beautiful colors gradually changed to an old-timey film filter as she gradually lifted her face. After 10 seconds, Wander placed his arm gently on her shoulder and Mono left out a loud, animal-like yell as she pinned him down to the ground. She then pulled a chef's knife and yelled in English "Why did you kill my children" with the subtitles being a white text with a black outline of what appeared to be the Japanese translation.
As she jammed the knife into Wander's stomach, he immediately jerked awake as if he was startled by a nightmare. Wander walked nervously and hunched over to the altar where the still-dead Mono was lying and (Wander) started crying uncontrollably, almost as if he was tormented by something(or someone). After 10 seconds of crying, the camera zoomed out to the ceiling for Dormin to tell him of his next colossus. As I headed to the dry lakebed on Agro where the Ninth Colossus (Basaran) resided, I noticed the bright, lush grass started to transition into gravel and the sun became further blocked by storm clouds.
At the basin of the lakebed, I saw a cut scene of Wander dismounting Agro and examining a skeleton wearing his poncho and headband. Stuck between the headband and skull, was an envelope addressed to a bunch of Japanese text and the letter read "Nerdlihc ym llik uoy did yhw?" After reading the envelope, I took a picture of it using my cellphone, and as soon as the picture was developed, the tortoise-like colossus emerged from the cave, Wander jumped back onto Agro, and the cut scene ended. After defeating the colossus, the massive beast fell to the ground on its back as it lied dead. Rather than the normal colossus's death where black tendrils leave the body, the colossus fell and a brown-walnut shaped boulder; that appeared to be a brain, splattered outward and covered Wander's poncho in blood. Rather than falling from the black tendrils, Wander dizzily swayed side to side, threw up, and passed out in his own pile of vomit.
When it asked to save, I chose the "yes" option and took out both the memory card from the slot and put the disc back in the case when it was done saving. After looking the receipt for 5 minutes, I placed it in the case of the game along with the CD and memory card and headed to my friend Alec's house. I told him everything that has happened and he thought I was "Batshit insane." When I showed him the picture of the envelope and the skeleton, he immediately invited me inside and loaded his PlayStation 2 emulator on his PC.
After a few seconds of loading and configuration, he told me to put the game in the disc slot so that we can examine the game, yet when I opened the case, the receipt was gone from the box. Shocked and disgruntled, I asked Alec if he found any strange animations or files in the game's code. Even though he saw nothing out of the ordinary, he did however; reveal that the letter addressed to the Japanese person was a reversed version of "Why did you kill my children?" Even though this was a minor revelation, I thanked him, took both my disc and memory card, and went back home that night, which was honestly the longest night I have ever experienced.
The next day, I arrived at GameStop at 8:00 a.m. as they were opening up; I explained to Steve my experience with this game, including "Mono's children and the letter." He told me a story of a man named Sataro Fukiage, a serial killer/rapist from Japan; who killed children by abducting them, stabbing them through the top of the skull, shaving the victim's hair, and leaving a strange marking similar to a colossus' weak spot on the stab location after violating them. After performing his 7th murder/rape in 1924, he was executed 2 years later on August 28, 1926 at 4:21pm, The exact moment I bought that god-forsaken game.
I asked Steve what I should do with this game, and he replied by saying "continue to play it; most likely, this ghost is trying to tell you something." Later that day at around noon, I called Alec on Skype and told him what happened with the serial killer. He told me immediately to dispose of the disc and delete it from my memory card. After the Skype session with Alec, I went outside to throw the disc and the case to the garbage. As I climbed back upstairs, I saw the case of the game on my desk where I have left it. I then opened the case to see the receipt I lost and a note that said "Please, do not treat me like trash, I have more to show you."