This story starts with Super Smash Bros Brawl.

I had just gotten a Wii for Christmas, so when I heard that there was a new Super Smash Bros game coming out for it, I was psyched. I had Super Smash Bros Melee for Gamecube as a kid, and it was my favorite game ever back then.

I started saving up for the game, but never managed to fit in time to go get it into my busy schedule.

About 6 months after the game’s release, I finally had a free weekend to go get the game. I drove down to my local GameStop, but when I got there, they were all sold out. I wondered if there was something else I could buy, and I started rooting through the used games bin to see if I could get something cheap. Then, lo and behold, I found a copy of SSBB just sitting there at the bottom. The paper in the game case showing the box art was gone, and all that was in its place was a piece of paper that said “Smash Bros Wii” and had a crudely drawn Smash Ball on it. I checked inside just to make sure the disk was there, and it was. When I brought it up to pay for it, the cashier seemed to flinch when he saw the box. I was too excited to care though, and I paid for the game, got in my car and went home.

When I got home I immediately popped the game into the Wii, and it started up as normal. The intro played, and it went to the title screen. When it got to the menu I chose the “brawl” mode. For some reason, all the characters were unlocked. Huh. I thought games saved data onto the Wii memory, not the disk. Oh well. I had seen Meta Knight shown off in the E3 trailer for the game, and he looked pretty cool, so naturally, I chose him. I made the three computer characters random characters, and the game went to the stage select screen. Unlike the characters, only the starting stages were unlocked, except for the custom stages. There were about fifty or so, and they all appeared to be the same thing. Curious, I selected one of them, and the match began.

The stage was a pure white rectangle on a solid black background. The background music was Meta Knight’s Revenge; “what a coincidence,” I thought to myself. I then noticed I was fighting Lucas, Ness, and Toon Link. But every time they hit me, the music grew quieter and they got slower, as if they were getting more hesitant to attack me. I also began to notice that Meta Knight’s mask was starting to crack. I was so weirded out at this point that I barely noticed that Toon Link had hit me with a boomerang.

At this the music stopped completely and Meta Knight’s mask shattered with a crashing sound. The screen almost immediately went black. By this point, I was legitimately scared, and was pretty sure these weren’t typical glitches. I then heard a distorted version of what I later found out to be Wolf’s down taunt; “What’s the matter, scared?”

This was followed by a horrible, ear piercing screech, some slashing sound effects, and a few screams. I was really freaked out, and was about to turn the game off when an image came back on the screen. It showed the stage, with three bloody skeletons lying on the ground. Meta Knight was standing over one of the skeletons, with his back to the screen. He swung his sword a few times, and a round, flat piece of bone fell off of one of the skeletons. Meta Knight picked up the piece of bone and put it on his face. When he turned around to face the screen, I realized that the bone was carved to look like Meta Knight’s mask.

I immediately tuned the Wii off and took the game back to the store. When I got there, the cashier gave me a look that said, “I told you so,” I saw a copy of Super Smash Bros Brawl that was on the store shelves and appeared to be brand new, but I walked right past it and decided to buy Super Mario Galaxy instead. I haven’t touched Melee since.

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