As a child, I really loved playing the Sonic the Hedgehog games on the SEGA MegaDrive. Sadly, when nostalgia hit me one evening, I found out our console broke when we moved, meaning my mom threw out all of the old games.
I decided to search eBay for a pre-owned MegaDrive. I stumbled across one that was at the rather cheap price of six pounds, including delivery. The description claimed it also came with Sonic 1, but on closer inspection, the cartridge's paper seemed to have been torn off, with a label crudely placed on the front, written on in a scrawled script.
I thought nothing of it and decided to bid on it. Oddly, despite it having a day to go, I immediately won the item. I proceeded to payment, left my feedback, and it arrived within three days. The MegaDrive was in surprisingly good condition, considering the price; it was almost brand new, other than having smudged fingerprints. I blew into the labeled cartridge (old habits die hard, you see) and inserted it int the cartridge slot.
The TV screen flickered on. The familiar image of the SEGA logo faded in left to right, but instead of the joyus chorus, there was a cacophonous blast of static which lasted for longer than it should have.
This is where things got weirder. the title screen was polluted; black sludge poured into the sea and there were dark skies and lightning. The music was slower and in a dissonant minor key, and when Sonic popped out of marquee, he looked genuinely terrified and afraid. I thought this must have been some sort of hack until I hit start.
I saw Robotnik, in graphics far more realistic than possible for the time, holding a lifelike rabbit by the ears. He looked full of malice and hatred, his pince-nez glasses glinting as he revealed the machete in his other hand. He held it up to the defenseless animal's throat and slit it, blood pouring out like a fountain. Robotnik began to laugh, but it was almost like he was in the room with me; it was so realistic.
The game went to Green Hill Zone, where the music was replaced with a low buzzing drone. The background looked just like it did on the title screen and, again, Sonic looked visibly shaken. His skin was paler and he appeared to shake with fear. On running, he began to cry.
Nevertheless, I decided to play through as normal, just to see if this was some sort of cruel joke. I ended up losing rings against a Buzz Bomber, eventually. The noise on losing my rings was a harsh ringing, and I heard Robotnik chortle once more, his face flashing in the stormy background. Sonic hit the floor; I was unable to control him at this point as the Buzz Bomber began to descend on Sonic's helpless body.
The Buzz Bomber literally stabbed Sonic, and all I could hear were tortured screams. I couldn't take my eyes off of the crudely animated sprites of Sonic writhing in pain as the Buzz Bomber rammed into him. This went on for a good 30 seconds before the Buzz Bomber flew off, leaving a bloodied Sonic corpse behind. The screams subsided as the screen faded to black.
I heard incredibly deep murmurings in some sort of weird language that was possibly Japanese or Korean. Again, the hyper-realistic Dr. Robotnik faded into view, but this time he was holding an even more realistic Sonic by the head. Sonic was crying, begging for mercy, sheer terror in his cries, but this time Robotnik didn't have a knife.
He literally broke Sonic's neck, the sound reverberating, and I was 'treated' to the sight of Robotnik kicking the defenseless corpse of the hedgehog around, blood flying everywhere. Sonic's spikes were breaking off, while all the time, the distorted sounds of Robotnik's laughter and Sonic's screaming played.
A messages appeared in Japanese with a selection: Yes or No. I chose Yes, somehow driven to continue. I appeared back in Green Hill Zone, but this time there were graves where the totem poles were. Sonic was even more afraid, looking directly at the screen as if begging me not to continue, but I felt I had to.
When Robotnik appeared, there was a blast of loud cacophonous synth sound. Robotnik's face was contorted with sheer disgust for the hedgehog and before I even had a chance to attack, Robotnik's wrecking ball slammed into Sonic and crushed him against the side of the screen. Once more, the screams played, but the screen began to glitch terribly and turn gray, almost into television static.
Before I had a chance to hit the power button and take out the cartridge, I heard, very clearly, in a deep voice, "This was your fault, and your fault alone." I looked at the television and the hyper-realistic Robotnik's face from before occupied the entire screen.
The words 'Game Over' flashed over his face as I saw Sonic's hyper-realistic carcass fall and land on top of the letters, sliding off and hitting the 'floor.' All you could hear was Sonic whimpering, crying, and asking, "Why did you do this? Why?"
I promptly ripped the game out of the console and threw them both straight into the garbage. To this day, I have never seen that eBay seller online again. My computer returned 404s when searching in the history, and anyone I asked on the eBay forums claimed the user had never existed in the first place.