Part 1: Super Mario World: The Lost World
Super Mario! Ahhh.. A good game! Everyone wants Mario! This story began last month, August 5th, 2009. I was on the way to my work when I saw an old man selling old GBA cartridges near our office. I ignored it and proceeded to my work.
I proceeded to my office, booted up the PC and chat with other office mates. I was surprised to see a kid in our office. I asked his name. He said he is Jerry. One of my officemate's child. He was busy playing his GBA at his father's desk. Suddenly, he went to me.
"Hello! It seems that you have a great time playing with Super Mario aren't you?"
"Nope. I think this game has glitch."
He asked me if I can fix his Super Mario World cartridge. He also said that the cartridge was a newly bought one. He and his father bought it from the store outside the office. He was excited to see it, but the game was too glitchy.
I opened up the cartridge and I see that the saving system has been destroyed. I opened my cabinet and inserted the new one. I checked the board for more errors. So far, there are no further damages. I opened my GBA and inserted the cartridge. I insert a GBA ear loops to hear any glitch on the game. I was really creeped out to see the title screen was filled with glitchy red mountain background. The music was in a low pitch tone.It's like the bass music when you are inside Bowser's castle. I pressed start button. Then I heard a REALLY REALLY LOUD and slow voice. It says: HEERRRRREE WEEE GOOOO!!!!! SSSSUUUUPPPPEEERRR MMMAARRIIIIOO! I pressed the "A" button continuously to skip that horrible thing! The map showed up. I was really really creeped to see the Ocean red and some stones as violet. The ground is color brown and the path is color grey. The music is SO SLOW! And also, the "Yoshi's House" is now "I's Huse" Some names are also strange such as "Grey Switch Palace", "YI's LNd1" and "BOO's house". I played the "I's Huse". My eyeball nearly popped when I see dead Yoshi everywhere! Blood is dripping from the green tree, but the green tree is now grey. I immediately went of the screen and went to the YI'sLNd1. At first, no one's there. I run earned some 1-ups, Mushrooms, and a Cape Feather?! Near the end, there is a headless Chasing Chuck I tried to spin jump over it several times but it doesn't make any sense. I proceeded to the finish line. I was now in the "grey switch palace". The strange about this is, the stage has only one room. And this room was full of nothing except the Grey "!".
I pressed it and everything seemed to be normal. But after pressing it, other level's on Yoshi's island was now unlocked! I go inside the "BOO's House". The first and second room seemed to be normal. Same music is playing. The music was same from the title screen up to this stage. But after going inside the boss door, I screamed! I saw red background with a real dead kid on the background. It looks like a picture inserted on to the stage. A big Boo was chasing me and I am on a moving platform where "Iggy" was. I spin jumped over the Boo. A loud voice said "BOOO!! SSUUUPEEERRR MMMAAAARRRIIIIIOOO DDDDEEAAAADDD!!! I turned the GBA off. My boss caught me playing and scolded me. After the 10 minutes of "decoy" work, I removed the cartridge to my GBA. I immediately connected the cartridge to my computer. Beside the rom is a txt file. I opened it and saw this:
"&^0^&(Θó╦ RΘM |=_^1─ ┼ ┼ ┼
Thank you for playing Super Mario World:
The Lost World
01000101 01010110 01001001 01001100 00100000 01001101 01000001 01010010 01001001 01001111 00100000 00110110 00110110 00110110"
I opened the internet and search for the binary txt. It was: EVIL MARIO 666
I copied the ROM file to my USB drive and compied it to another empty cartridge. I deleted the ROM and inserted a Real Super Mario World game. I also change the saving system (again). I gave the fixed cartridge to the kid. Jerry was really happy to see the new game!
After the office work, I look at the GBA cartridge vendor. But he was now gone. At the exact place, I saw a cartridge with a "666" written on pentel pen. I hope I didn't pick it up. It cause a huge trouble. I go up the office and put the cartridge in my cabinet. I went home safely.
Part 2: The Cartridge Map
After getting the new cartridge, the next day, I opened up my PC. I prepared the cartridge I got from the place where the "Super Mario World:
The Lost World" vendor was. The cartridge has a torn sticker with a note saying "The Cartridge Map" written in faded pentel pen.I was planning to insert the cartridge so I can access it on my computer.
Suddenly, my boss called me. I left the computer and the cartridge unplugged. My boss scolded me for being so sleepy at work. Blah blah blah, etc. I didn't listen to what he says. All that matters for now is about the cartridge vendor. After for almost 15 minutes of scolding, I went back to my desk. And I was surprised to see the cartridge inserted and my computer shut down! I immediately unplugged the cartridge and talk to my "desk mate".
"Gary! Did you inserted this cartridge on my PC?"
"What? Can you see what am I doing? I am doing what you should do! Get back to your work man!"
I ask others if they inserted the cartridge. But no one said yes. I return to my PC and boot it up. My antivirus window appeared saying "1566 Threats has been successfully quarantined and remove. Virus has been removed upon reboot." I checked the virus names: "Sality Virus", Malware, etc. I run an immediate full-system scan. No virus was in my PC. I downloaded a new "Firewall" and update my Antivirus and proceed to my work. The cartridge is still bothering me. After our lunch break, I return to my desk and activate all firewalls and antivirus. I plugged in the cartridge and I'm surprised to see plenty of virus! It was like 5k+. I had a hard time plugging in and plugging out and plugging in again the cartridge. But at last, after for almost 8 reboots, I successfully cleaned up the cartridge.
The next day, I went and finish my work early. I plugged-in the cleaned cartridge and I'm surprised to see thousand of virus! This time, I didn't make any reboot. I checked what's inside the cartridge an I saw a Rom file, txt file and an un-executable "robotics.rar File???". I checked the txt. It says that:"Copy the robotics.rar to the main rom. It will jam connections and prevail hackers to see and edit the rom. Please beware that after inserting the file, remove it quickly to prevent tormenting malware attack. -S"
After reading this, I scanned the Rar file and found that it is a pushbot. I immediately delete that file and sent to quarantine. I made a virus clean-up then I reboot my PC. After opening the rom, I was surprised to see hundreds of games installed on the rom. The rom has mixed games of Mario, Pokémon, Sonic, "Barbie??", and so on. In the far end of the list, I saw a "game" named "Cartridge Map". I opened that game. But actually, it's not a game. It's a map of the current city where I am now. It looks like a "Google Map". There are blue points and 1 red point. One of the blue points is the location where the "vendor" was. It was like a motherboard. The path of electricty represents a road. Something like that.
The Red point is bit far from our office. The red point was almost 3-5 miles away from ours. I planned to get to that point. I prepared myself. I went to the office the next few days to resume my job. After 2 weeks, I packed-up and I went to the red point. I forgot "The Cartridge Map" on my desk. But fortunately, I have written down a small map on the back of my journal. I went to that location. But as I go near the red point I found something strange. I checked my phone and I saw that it has no signal. I checked my GPS and it's battery is drained. I opened my palmtop. But it doesn't making any response. All I can see with it is "Error Connection 102". I continue walking. I made it to a small, abandoned looking building. I went inside and I'm surprise to see horrific pictures on the wall. These pictures look like a head, a big white head smiling, with circled eyes and no nose. I was not comfortable to see it so I went out side and I was shocked to see the cartridge vendor was behind me! I ran as quickly as I can. I stopped on a 7/11 store. I went inside and bought some hotdogs. I seat on a vacant place near the window. While eating my food, I checked my phone, and I receive a new message (there's a little signal now). I went to my inbox to check it. An unknown number. He says: "I'm watching over you!". I click the exit button and keep my phone. I went up and consume my food. I looked to the window and I'm surprised to see the cartridge vendor was now in the other road selling his old game cartridges. I asked the cashier if he knows the man selling old GBA cartridges. Here's what he says: "Do not ever talk to him! And do not ever talk about it! He's evil!". He continued serving the man on my back. After turning around, it's the point that I notice that the person behind me buying some thing on the cashier was the vendor of the game cartridges! I immediately turned again and talk to him. I said: "Who are you?"
"Hey I'm talking to you!"
"...... Bring back my CARTRIDGE!"
People on the shop all turned quiet and look at us. 3 of them looks like scared. The vendor turned his back and go to his stand. I went back to my house. I have some nightmares about the pictures I see. The next day, I checked out the new on the headlines. The headline was written in bold black and thick letters: Old Cartridge Vendor Man, Missing! I went immediately to the 7/11 and I ask the cashier about it. He doesn't reply whatever I ask. I went to my office. I know, boss would scold my because I'm late. But this time, its different. Everyone was rushing and look likes scared! Our boss talk to me saying: "Help us remove this plague!". I ask my seatmate Garry on what happened. He says, one of our office mates, Leo, tried to insert the cartridge. He played the cartridge. After long hours of playing, he went to the CR. The other office mate found him dead on an office cabinet. Blood were spilled over the cabinet door. Behind the dead Leo is a message written with blood: "Give it BACK!" After that, virus attacked the system violently and delete huge amount of data. I checked my PC and I was so surprised to see the picture of the cartridge vendor dead with all cartridges surrounding around him. I stole "The Cartridge Map". And went to the red point. I threw the cartridge inside the building and went away immediately, I saw a text message on my phone: "Thank you!" from the similar unknown number. The next day, I checked the newspaper. I saw the cartridge man, dead with all cartridges spread all over around him. "The Cartridge Map" was staying on the top of his head.
12:45 noon: I got a new delivery. I was creeped out to see so many cartridges own by the old cartridge vendor! I put them all to my warehouse.
Part 3: Finishing My Job
I know, at this point, I was thinking that I really should not have done that. But in a long run, fixing that insane cartridge is a good work. And I don't really want to do anything bad. I want to make Jerry happy. But following "The Cartridge Map"... it's insane! I was so regretful this monday morning thinking of the whole bunch of "evil" cartridges. I think of what should I do with them. Suddenly, I got a new message from that unknown number. He says: "HELP ME!"
Well, the old cartridge man is DEAD! You know that? And why is this old cartridge man still sending me txt messages? I searched my contacts to see anyone, or anything who can help me. I found a number of an old best friend! It's Rhodes. Rhodes is an IT technitian. He finished studying with his masteral degree of being an IT. He is more knowledgable than me. I mean it. I called him. We talked about the cartridges and I tell him about the Old Cartridge Vendor. He agreed to meet up with me tomorrow. I packed up the cartridge. I prepared my old GBA SP. I woke up early in the morning, fix myself and went to our meeting place with Rhodes. We went his house.
We opened up a total of 6 computers (4 PC and 2 Laptops). He brought out 3 GBA SP (I think I will not bring out mine). We inserted the connector to each computers. First, we enable all "antivirus" protection and firewall to all PC. Then, we cleaned up the cartridges. We tried to played each cartridge. Some are really not working that looks like an unfinished glitchy game. We made a record of all the cartridge. The next day, We found out that all of the game cartridges are unfinished and something scary will appear at the end. We now, then tried to insert the cartridge on the connector. Each cartridge has the same number of viruses 1,566 each. And If you did unplug the cartridge, the 1,566 virus will still be there. So before unplugging the system, you should remove the "robotics.rar" implanetd on the cartridge to successfully clean up the cartridge. We copied 8 "robotics.rar" files. After cleaning all the cartridge, we inspected the "robotics.rar" with different programs. We found out 8 pushbots that recreates binary codes upon deletion.
Nothing seems unusual. We replaced all fake horrible roms with a new working rom! We also replaced the saving system and many other elements. After replacing, we are ready to go. Within 5 days of working, we made a stand that sells working cartridges. I was ready to pack up when I saw "The Cartridge Map" below my bag. I mmediately turned on my GBA to check if it has been cleared. Inside was a dialogue box. It says: "Thank You!". Then a loud freaking noise arise! It's a big static noise. This cause me to be dizzy. The static noise was like a supersonic tone that really pierce your ears. The tone has a very loud frequency. After the static noise gone, I fainted.
I woke up. I was surprised to see I'm in my office desk. I turned around and I see Leo alive! I talked to him.
"Leo! You alive! Is this real?"
"What are you talking about? Are you still dreaming? I'm 100% alive!"
My boss scolded me for talking to Leo and not finishing my work. I checked the office cabinet and there's no blood stains. I asked the officemates about what happened. I asked Alice.
"Alice! What happens Yesterday?"
"Dude? Are you drunk? Your doing your work yesterday! Your so happy yesterday because it's August 4th and today is "Pay Day". You know that??"
I almost faint when I heard it. I checked my cellphone and I'm so surprised to see the number of the "Cartridge Vendor". His message says: "Thanks for Finishing my Job! Good Work!"
A few hours later...
I saw Jerry, playing the Super Mario Cartridge that I "edited". I take a little look while he is playing. All elements are now normal. Nothing's wrong. I asked Jerry: "Hello! It seems that you have a great time playing with Super Mario aren't you?" He replied back: "Yes sir! Thanks for fixing this!" He smiled and continued playing the game.
Written by Strawhat Neo