The Story Itself
Once upon a time I attempted to play Disney's The Emperor's New Groove, having never seen the movie and having received the game as a gift from my cousins. I do not hold a grudge against them for passing this plagued piece of software on to me, I'm considering doing the same thing and sneaking it back into their house.
The Emperor's New Groove on Playstation is an interesting case, being a Disney game that, incredibly, is quite competent, and mildly humorous...at first. It plays as a 3D platformer and involves lots of item collecting, not too much and not too little. Several scenes from the movie were apparently heavily expanded upon for the game, according to the in-game characters themselves, "This scene was much shorter in the movie," referring to the River level.
There is a lot of Fourth Wall breaking in this game. All of the characters are self-aware of their existence within a video game and frequently make meta references to game mechanics and even the person playing the game. This can be amusing for a short while, but sooner if not later, the jokes will wear thin and the Demon Llama will show himself.
I finally grew fed up with the game, it just wasn't fun, and it was getting to be kind of stupid too. I put the disk away and hid the game in the furthest, darkest corner of my collection. That night, around 2AM, I was visited by the Demon Llama. He whispered to me, breath stinking of grapes and hay, "The game isn't over yet, there are at least twenty more levels to go!"
I rolled over to face the voice, but nothing was there. However, the warm scent of grapes and llama spit remained heavy in the air. The next morning, I poured myself a bowl of Cheerios only to discover that each and every individual Cheerio had been replaced with grapes. I was mildly disturbed, perhaps even frightened, but I chose to ignore the omen.
That day at the college, I adjourned from math to fetch a drink from the water fountain. As I lowered my head to the cool stream, I heard the distinct clomping of hooves echoing from the hallway behind me. I spun around so quick that I nearly gave myself whiplash, and again I thought I saw nothing. Then I noticed that the bathroom door at the end of the hall was just closing shut. I raced down to the door and kicked it open, and to my profound shock, I saw smeared across the mirror in grapes and llama saliva, "YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO."
I returned home at sundown in a daze. In the hallway mirror, I noticed that my face was very pale, and for good reason. How could Kuzco the Llama be communicating from beyond the television? My mind worked feverishly, fearing the worst: Somehow the Disney developers, in their constant breaking of the Fourth Wall, had somehow stumbled into another dimension entirely. The Kuzco I had encountered was perhaps not the same comical character from the films, but some unspeakable thing imitating him from a distant field of stars well beyond the sight and scope of humanity's technologies.
I was not certain how to proceed, but I felt certain that my life was in very real danger. I could not obey the abhorrent being's demands that I play its game: such action might be the key to fully opening the hole between dimensions that the foolhardy developers had created. Then nothing would stop the unimaginable from crawling into our world and annihilating all that oppose it. I finally resolved to purge the save files from my memory card,destroy the disk, and perhaps warn others. It occurred to me, though that this game was quite old and had almost certainly been completed by many children over the course of its existence. I could feel my skin crawl. Perhaps my copy of the game was uniquely demonic. All the more reason to eliminate it permanently.
As I descended the stairs into my basement, I was surprised to find that the television was already turned on. I felt something in my chest grow cold and alert, but I had to complete my task. I switched the Playstation on and accessed the browser, and as the memory card files loaded I saw the face of the Demon Llama. I clicked on the game's icon, and gasped aloud as the image of the Kuzco turned and glared at me. Then it began to expand. It stretched larger and larger until it began to push against the glass of the television, bleating and shrieking madness. I screamed and stumbled my way back up the stairs as the Demon Llama pursued me.
I ran to my front door, hand on the knob, ready to run, but I hesitated to listen for the thing that should not be. I heard nothing but the furious pumping of my own blood…then, hooves on hard wood floors. I tried to quiet my breathing as I observed the shape of the Demon Llama, now attempting to stand on its hind legs, trotting in an obscene, infantile manner. It moved into my kitchen and I could hear it rummaging through the drawers. Silence, and then the slow clomping of hooves, a lanky shadow moving around the corner. I glimpsed the creature only for a brief moment before my mind could not bear the sight of it and I fled the house. It's eyes glowed bloody red, foamy spittle running in globs down its distorted face, and a large steak knife clutched impossibly in one of its front hooves.
Night had fallen on the streets outside my home, but it was still too early for the street lamps to turn on. I ran in a panic down the street, searching wildly for any sign of people, but there were none to be found. Behind me I could hear the mad bleating of the Demon Llama and the irregular clacking of its hooves as it attempted to chase me on two legs, "Eh-yaeh!…mgh'aaa…YOG-SOTHOTH!" I ran until my vision grew dark with fear and exhaustion. I maintained my lead on the thing as I led it on a chase around my block, finally returning to my home where I threw open the door and then slammed it shut behind me, throwing the dead bolt for good measure.
My knees buckled beneath me on my living room carpet. I was exhausted. I clawed at the floor with my hands, tried to pull myself to the basement stairs. I had to destroy the save files and the disk, nothing else mattered. I could hear the shrieked bleats of the beast outside my front door, carving at it with the knife it took from my kitchen. I forced myself to stand again on wobbling legs, moving—no, FLYING down the stairs to the Playstation. It still waited on the memory card screen. I took hold of the controller, heart nearly exploding out of my chest as I heard the front door break open upstairs. I opened the Emperor's New Groove file, the hooves were descending closer to me. I highlighted the delete option. The monstrous bleating was ringing inside my head as the hooves thundered down the stairs behind me. I clicked delete, and rolled onto my back as the Demon Llama screamed in its unknown tongue, bearing down on me, knife raised.
Then, a piercing clarity entered its eyes, the pupils shrinking as its whole body began to shudder. Its limbs swung about, contorting into sharp angles. The hideous mouth worked violently as its long tongue rolled out to the side, limp, "fn-tagn…e'yah! E'YAH! E'YAH!" I watched as it breathed its last, the corpse falling across the couch, the floor, and me. Its flesh bubbled and began to run like a thick gelatin just heated. As its body melted apart into a gooey purple ooze, I sniffed the air and found it fresh with the distinct scent of grapes.
I avoid thinking back to that time now, and this tale exists only as an archive for my experience with the accursed game. The disk remains hidden away in that dark corner of my game library. When the haunting ended I was not certain that the disk need be destroyed. Perhaps it was simply the act of creating a save file that allowed the game-and the horrid things from beyond-to gain their foothold on the Earth. I may yet erase that last tiny bit of evil from my life one day, but for now I am able to breathe easier with the knowledge that I escaped a great danger, and perhaps prevented a jabbering, monstrous horror from invading our quiet planet.