I was bored, and suddenly began to remember about how great those times were when I was just six, playing Super Mario World for the whole day in my old SNES, which was still working, in the depths of my closet.
I decided to revive those clear moments of fun by buying a brand new cartridge of Super Mario World on eBay. I decided to buy a unit from a pop-up that appeared suddenly when I visited eBay.com. It was just five dollars, so I bought it. Seven days later, it came in my mailbox...
The box wasn't the original game's. It had no text or drawings, just the words "Mario World" on it. The cartridge was entirely black; the label of cartridge was Mario's face, without Yoshi or anything else on it. At first I thought it was a bootleg game, so I decided to check it out. I installed the SNES back on and popped the game in. What I saw was weird.
The "Nintendo presents" screen was distorted. The logo was slanted, had a few colored pixels on it, and it lasted a lot longer than it was supposed to. The coin sound was distorted too, very low pitched. When it disappeared, it quickly flickered in red with a zoom in, with a quick glitched noise. I was stunned, but tried to understand it was just a kind of...minor glitch. The title screen appeared. The music played normally, but the title was "Mario World" in red letters. Some of the steel blocks on the sides of the screen were gone, and the word "Nintendo" was entirely black. Mario wasn't running in the demo map, and the background was black, while the level was just scrolling. The music began to pitch down, i felt uneasy. I grew nervous after a few seconds, when the title screen slanted, the colors of the demo level became darker and morbid, and the music became loud and very slowed down.
A few seconds later, the title screen slanted even more with a ghostly effect, the colors of the level were completely glitched, and the music was completely distorted, almost blowing my ears off. I just pressed start, waiting to get to the overworld. I noticed the file select screen wasn't there and I began playing in the single player mode without choosing. The intro screen seemed normal, until the message popped up. Everything got completely messed up, the screen and music were purely distorted, and the message box was a bunch of scrambled letters. Some seconds later, it flashed something. The foreground and Mario were black, the background was plain red, and the message was a bunch of "nohope".
The overworld was completely silent. There was no level name, Mario wasn't on the top left of the screen, I couldn't choose any levels, and after all, there wasn't any other level. So I entered the only one. That level seemed fine, except for the background, which was from NSMB. I began to run to the right, it looked endless, but something was starting to go wrong. The music started to slowdown while the background was losing its colors. Seconds later, the background was entirely distorted along the music; the foreground I was running on was warped and inverted.
Suddenly, the music became very distorted and loud, along the background again. A big black shadow was coming at my direction, but I couldn't escape, I was still running. Mario got swallowed by the shadow, and I was again in the overworld. The overworld seemed that was without some parts on the left and top, it was frightening me.
The title level was "LOSEYOURHOPENOW" in messed up letters. I was reluctant to continue, but I had to go ahead. The level's loading was slower than the usual. This time, it was just Mario, which was a black shape, on a bland level with red background and white, less detailed foreground. I was unable to move, his jumps had no height.
Suddenly, Mario disappeared for a few seconds. And reappeared, walking ahead, without me controlling. He walked for a few seconds, until stop in front of something that was a black shape too. It seemed like Yoshi... dead and sunk into a stack. I was getting very scared at that point. I was unable to get Mario outta that place, my controller wasn't replying to my commands. Until... the background turned black with blood stains in it, Mario distorted, and the screen went black. The message "YOUCOULDNOTSAVEHIM" flashed quickly in the darkness.
I was back to the overworld. The background was even smaller, but this time, the colors were morbid, there were demonic whispers in the background. The level name was the word "Luigi" repeating without spaces and in random lower cases or capitals. I entered the level again. This time, it looked more peaceful...
Mario was stuck in a big room made of cement blocks. The music was not loud, but it was eerie and calm. The background was a blue sky with clouds, moving to the left very slowly. That ambiance was calming me down, but I was still afraid. There were no exits, but a frozen note block in the right side of the cement jail. I began to hit it, but it wasn't bouncing, it was like hitting another cement block. Some hits later, Luigi appeared in the left side. His eyes were completely red, and he wasn't doing anything. I was unable to walk to the left for some reason, so I kept hitting the block. The noise of the block hitting was a buzz, and each hit was making him flick to Mario's direction.
I wanted to get outta there, but I couldn't. After some hits, the background went black and red, along the foreground. The music got distorted and loud, and in Luigi's place a pipe suddenly appeared. The note block was not there anymore. In the pipe, a piranha plant was coming up and down. I decided to go inside it, but instead of warping, I heard Mario's scream from Mario 64, along many noises that seemed like massacring. I felt like Mario was being mauled with realistic noises, inside the pipe, by that Piranha Plant. Luigi was flickering around the level while that happened. I was utterly scared at that moment, barely could I move.
Once again, I was back to the overworld. There was almost nothing, just a red spot where Mario was on. The level title this time was "thehellawaitsforyou". I was absolutely nervous, but I entered in. The level was nothing but a red gradient where Mario was on. Mario was eyeless and walking by itself. The background was the title screen words "Mario World". The music was a sort of distorted piano song. Mario walked, and passed by Bowser and Baby Bowser, both impaled and dead on some sort of pole. He then stopped in front of... Oh God. He was impaled too. I was completely shocked; Mario facing Mario?! Was that a phantom or what?!
The level exited by itself some seconds later.
I was back to the title screen. There was no music, but this time, Eyeless Mario was walking on it, passing through some objects. There was no reaction in the controller this time.