The following writing is from 'Article A', discovered in the vicinity of Naughty Dog's old development studio:
This may seem sacrilegious, but Mario Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog aren't the only platform gaming mascots who will ever matter. In fact, with Sony entering the console video game industry, they have a trick up their sleeves that doesn't involve constructing a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo. Hopefully for their sake and ours, this will be a much more commercially successful endeavor.
Us at Naughty Dog are developing a character known as Crash Bandicoot, who Sony plans on marketing as if he is their official video gaming mascot--even though, for whatever reason, they refuse to acquire him in such a manner. There are plans to use him in Pizza Hut ads, though they'll actually just use some balding middle-40s year old dude who will attempt to desperately reach out to the younger generation. Imagine a talking bear with a skateboard and sunglasses who tells kids to stay off drugs... and that guy in the commercial will be like that, while we perfect the... real deal, so to speak.
As far as Crash Bandicoot goes, there's much more to his story than what I've just written. He will have more attitude than the forementioned Sonic, and he'll even have stylish blue jeans that will make him more relatable to tweens and other young adults. He will collect 'wumpa fruit'--or mangos... we're not sure of the name yet--as if they're Mario style coins. Cliché or not, it will be fun, and readily accepted by the gaming populous... especially when they see the live action advertisement we are developing.
The following writing is from 'Article B':
When I was young, I knew everything. But in actuality, I was just a punk who really never took advice--unless if it came from my video game industry buds.
At some point, I volunteered to help out Naughty Dog (please don't call me an intern, because I wasn't. If anything, I was a neglected friend of some of the folks who worked there.) My main tasks were purchasing coffees and sodas and pizzas and not complaining about it, and even though they paid me in packs of gum instead of sub minimum wage in exchange for the fruit of my labors, I dealt with it. I wanted to feel like I was a part of something in the video game industry, and I felt like I was making history by helping bring the orange marsupial to life in family playrooms and gaming dens across the globe.
Well, I did just that. In more ways than one.
Knock, knock. I banged on the front door of our hidden game development HQ. It was a run-down factory, which we happily chose because there were next to no taxes on it.
There was no answer. It was kind of strange, but I waited. It was 6:15 in the morning, and me and Crash Bandicoot developer Charles Zembillas were always the first ones in--with him being the very first to arrive. After all, someone had to tell the new kid what flavor sprinkle of donuts to purchase for the guys who really mattered... and if I was lucky, he'd also supply me with a toothbrush to sparkle the toilets with. Sparkles, sprinkles: I was a jack of all trades.
Five minutes or so after my initial knocking, I knocked again; loudly and with a little bit of Sonic the Hedgehog esque attitude.
Luckily for me, Charlie answered this time. He seemed a little... off, though I didn't notice it right away.
"I think you have some ink on your forehead.", I uttered to Chas. It was like he woke up from a bad dream. He looked untidy, unkempt... unlike his usual self.
"I think you should come inside. It's friggin' freezing out here, bro. ... Well, that, and I have something non X-rated to show you. It's a secret though, so keep your lips sealed, ya dig?"
I nodded. It wasn't everyday that someone showed me something that mattered. I crossed my fingers and hoped it wasn't a dead rat for me to dispose of, or an eviction notice from the landlord.
Charlie, he took me to the very back of the building. A room I'd never been to before. 'KEEP OUT' it read, in bold red letters. It was in the Wingdings font, but I've studied Wingdings so well to the point that I had all the symbols memorized.
I bragged about that in school once, and the school bully gave me a weggie. His name was Armpit. He was Eastern Indian. ... Also, when I got home from school that day, I found my ant collection in shards.
"Are you sure we're allowed in?", I inquired to Chuck. I shivered, though maybe it was because we didn't have proper heating in our modest urban dwelling. It was the kinda place in which you'd see pipes hanging from the walls, rusted and adorning graffiti.
I never really thought much about the art people spraypainted around there, but I did notice an outline of what appeared to be one of those secret decoder rings you might find in a cereal box. "If you have your secret decoder ring, solve the puzzle now.", a caption below the makeshift jewel read. Again, I don't know why this unnerved me. It just did.
"Well, given that I run the place, I'd say it's fine." Charlie opened the door. "C'mon, take a seat. We've got stuff to talk about, and then I've got something to show you. ... Again, it's not X-rated, so sorry about that."
All of the vague language bothered me more than a little bit. Also, I don't know what the hinge on the door was composed of, but whatever it was creaked like a cat in heat--and I didn't have a boot to throw at it. Charles showed me to a couple of plastic lawn chairs, and instructed me to have a seat. If Sony truly offered our modest programming and development crew a few thousand dollars, it certainly didn't go into this building's furnishment.
"I hope you don't mind me saying this Charles, but... the crappy get-up here is making me wonder where those couple of G's got spent, if you know what I mean."
"Oh, I know exactly what you mean." Chuck wandered off into some space that couldn't have been much larger than a one-person lavatory. "I've got a little something I want you to taste test. ... Again, it's not x-rated."
"Darn. I was really hoping for a fuzzy peach."
"... Wow. Believe it or not kid, you're on the right track!"
Charles came back. He had some sort of fruit item in his hand, and yeah, it definitely looked kinda like a peach, though I didn't know for sure what it was. It reminded me of the wumpa fruit I overheard the people who mattered--in other words, everyone who wasn't me--discussing in a game dev meeting.
"It's a mango", he said. "Try it."
"I don't know, this doesn't look so good.", I uttered, feeling around the texture. It was kinda soft, a little slushy even. It was like it had already gone bad on the inside.
"If you like working in the game development biz... you'll try it, Lewis."
It wasn't like Charlie to threaten me. Combined with the pen ink scribbling on his forehead and the fizzy, untidy hair, I was beginning to think that there was something wrong with Charles Zembillas. Regardless, I thought of my dreams: Lewis Digges, President of Naughty Dog, leading Crash Bandicoot into the new golden age of gaming. Come the 2030s and 2040s, Mario and Sonic would be off in mushroomy and green hill pastures, but Crash... Crash would be a mainstay, and the indisputable king of gaming mascots.
"Uh... fine, man. I really don't see why me eating a peach--mango, whatever--has much to do with my job, but fuck it, I'll try it."
Charles asked me to apologize for cussing, and I did. Then I took a bite of the mango, and wow, was it disgusting. I knew a hot girl named Margo once, and she was the first thing--or person, whatever, I don't mean to objectify women--to enter my mind once I learned about this exotic new fruit. But this fruit wasn't so hot. It was disgusting, because it was rancid, but even worse, I swallowed something sharp. I spit the fucker out like a filthy whore who just learned that her time on the clock had expired.
Chuck fumed. He was visibly pissed. Untidy wasn't even the word! I felt a tingling in my spine as he turned as red as the mango was orange. He brushed the hair out of his eyes, to reveal...
"... An N. You have a giant, staticy N on your forehead, Charles. Like the guy from the classic British comedy, Red Dwarf. Yet instead of an L... you have a fucking N."
"Hey man... no more cursing! And you haven't even begun to see what's next! ... By the way 'Ming Lee', you just swallowed a needle." He laughed neurotically, but as for me, I went dizzy.
"Who the fuck is Ming L--"... nope, I didn't get to finish the sentence. I was out cold.
I woke up in a laboratory. It was full of random chemicals that didn't mean much to me, so I didn't bother worrying too much about it.
Charles, or should I say the Mad Doctor, turned around in a swivel chair and stared directly at me, like into my soul even. He seemed to have lost a lot of height. Not just inches, but feet. His eyebrows were thicker, and he looked... really, really angry, but kind of... funny at the same time, somehow. Even if I didn't find this situation funny at all.
"There is no Charles. I have a faint, fuzzy memory of something, someone else from some other time, but he's gone now. MY name... is Dr. Neo. Dr. Neo Cortex.", he laughed maniacally, twirling his hair like a flirty school girl. "And as for you... I have a faint memory of you being someone else. But I believe you have recently changed... and I don't just mean your clothes."
I looked around some more, but what I really should've been looking at was me. My skin had turned orange... or was that all just... hair? My gut had shrunk into what looked like a... marsupial-shaped belly. Instead of my classic black elastic sweatpants, I was wearing stylish blue jeans. I stared into a lab mirror and noticed...
Oh my gawd.
Oh my fucking gawd.
The best part was that my eyes were a beautiful, piercing green. The worst part was that I was no longer human.
"CRASH BANDICOOT! YOU AAAARE THE VIDEO GAME!", Dr. Cortex screamed.
At that moment, I freaked the hell out. Luckily, he hadn't tied me down too well, and I busted my way out. I didn't know what to do, because if I called the police, they would just take me to Animal Control or a zoo or something. I was going so mad! I spun around... faster and faster, like the Tasmanian devil, even, as Dr. Neo Cortex came closer, and closer.
I realized that there were mangos everywhere. I spun and spun and spun, and they all went flying. I knew I had to do something about Charles's... or Dr. Cortex's behavior, and fast. I don't know what it was--something instinctive, maybe--but I leapt on some of the lab crates. I was expecting to land on some beakers or something otherwise sharp and glassy that would cut me open and make me bleed, but inside were even more mangos, as well as a... tiki mask?
"Woodabigaw!" It... it was lifelike. I mean, not like CG from a movie, or like some cheap mechanical object made in 8th grade science class, but it was real!
Dr. Cortex jumped on me, knocking me to the ground. He playfully licked me. "This part is x-rated!!", he screamed. I realized what he meant when he hit me with some sort of x-ray laser beam. I expected it to hurt like hell, and I admit I yelped a little bit, but all that really happened was the tiki mask that was hovering around me suddenly went away. ... Huh.
I spun my way out of this uncomfortable position. I jumped and jumped and jumped, leaping on box after box. I somehow found three of those island-inspired masks, and I felt... like I could do anything, somehow. I ran into Dr. Cortex. He screamed comedically, and his gun went flying. I was not interested in killing anyone or anything, so I ran, and I ran.
I picked up a labcoat and a detective-like hat from a rack on my out the lab. I put them on and rummaged through the pockets of the coat to find an airline ticket to some tropical island, somewhere. As I felt my nose becoming rounder and less like a man's, I realized that I may not have had much time to make an escape... but now I knew where I could go. It would be a 9:00 flight.
I'm satisfied that I've written enough about this. It's getting physically harder and harder for me to write, and I noticed that I can't get myself to speak too many words, either. Just let it be known what's really going on here. I know no one can help me, so I'm making a fresh start, far away. Hopefully where Dr. Neo Cortex will never find me again--and life will cease to imitate art.
Crash Bandicoot's girlfriend, Tawna, finished looking through the long neglected journal that Crash kept among his other recently untouched belongings. According to him, ever since he was hit by a rolling boulder in a hog racing accident, his memory had been off. He couldn't explain to her for sure who he was or where he was from. But now she knew the truth. And it was too much for her.
She packed her things--56 wumpa fruit, a couple of abnormally large, multicolored gems, and a tiki mask of her own--and she left the hut, never to be seen or heard from again.