A few months ago, I noticed a small classic video game store that had seemingly popped up out of nowhere on a street I walk by quite often. I'm always on the lookout for a variety of older, hard to find games so, naturally, I went inside.
It was a very small shop - about the size of a bedroom - with wooden walls that were bare except for several video game posters on them. They looked like the kind you got in issues of Nintendo Power, but weren't exact matches. There was an Earthbound poster of a frightened Ness staring at the background that shows when you fight Giygas, a poster of Sonic in the drowning position in a very dark underwater city, and several others.
Sadly, the selection of games wasn't very good. They covered systems going all the way back to the Atari 2600, but only had about 10-20 games for each. Most of them were either common ones everyone had or crappy ones nobody wanted. I didn't find anything I was interested in and was about to leave when something caught my eye.
It was a gold Ocarina of Time cartridge. I already had the game, of course, but had to examine this cartridge because of how beaten up it was. The cover was almost entirely torn off, the plastic was cracked and chipped in my places, and there was something that looked like a burn mark on it.
The cart was only $1.99 and for some reason I felt drawn to buying it. The clerk didn't say a word to me; he just took my money and I left with the cartridge.
After leaving the store, I started to wonder why I had bought a copy of a game I already owned, especially one in such horrible condition. Since I had it, though, I decided I might as well see if it actually worked. I put it in my N64 and when I turned it on I was immediately greeted by ReDead shrieks against a solid red screen.
I turned the system off, pulled the cart out and put it back in, and tried again. This time, I saw Zelda's character model lying face-down, slowly rotating, while Ganon's laugh played. I tried once more and actually got the intro screen. It had a slowed down version of Hyrule Castle Town's music playing and the game wouldn't respond to the controller.
Cartridges were capable of some rather odd effects when they were broken or tampered with while a system is turned on. I had heard about cart tilting with N64 games and since I wasn't going to be able to play the game anyway, I decided to try messing with it.
I put the game in once more, getting some glitchy character models while what sounded like cymbals crashed repeatedly. I started slowly tilting the cart and, to my amazement, this actually made the game start the intro screen with normal music and response to the controller.
Two of the files already had saves on them, so I selected the third and started the game. The game started with the Deku Tree's monologue, but the text was different.
"Death is the only thing this cursed land is good for. The cruel goddesses created life only to toy with it and laugh at the the pain of those they gave it to. I wish for death.
The last sentence repeated itself several times, filling up six text boxes. The game finally switched to Link, who was in the middle of having a nightmare. It happened normally, more or less (Ganon had Zelda's face). Link woke up with a scream. There was no Navi, so he got up on his own.
I had control of him, so I exited Link's house. There were no other characters in Kokiri Village. I couldn't go into houses, either, and the hole you crawl through to get the Kokiri Sword was missing. Since Mido was there, I went directly to the Deku Tree without any problems.
No cutscene played, but the dungeon was open and I went inside. The dungeon looked nothing like the one in the normal game. It looked more like the inside of a castle. There were no enemies and I didn't have any items, so I explored. As I went from room to room, I could hear children's laughter as it got louder and louder.
When I finally found a sword, it was sticking through the ribcase of a skeleton, as if he had used it to kill himself a very long time ago. I picked it up and a text box appeared. "You got the Hero's Sword! Will you be wise enough to use it for the right purpose?"
At that point, a Majora's Mask style Wizzrobe (the old man type) appeared. He didn't move as fast as the ones in Majora's Mask and I was able to kill him easily with the sword. He slumped over instead of exploding or fading, as you'd expect a Zelda enemy to do. Instead, he said something.
"You have taken my life, but I will be avenged. My pet will deliver my vengeance."
The doors to the room locked and I began to hear growling and the sound of heavy feet running. This went on for at least twenty minutes. I was becoming more frightened than I should be for a video game character. Finally, a gigantic Wolfos burst into the room.
I tried to fight it, but my sword had no effect. The wolf mauled Link to death, leaving a bloody corpse behind. The game froze on that shot and there was no Game Over screen. I attempted to play the game again, but it never displayed anything except that final shot no matter what I did.(This story is credited to a person called KI Simpson.)