Billy and Bobby Rare 1988 NES Game
My name is Josh Aaron, and I must warn anyone I can about the NES game known as "Billy and Bobby". There is a wicked, horrific copy of the game which I happened to stumble upon, both due to misfortune and because I did not heed the warnings of the previous owner. It was a chilly day in September of 2009. I was on my gap year before college, and decided to continue pursuing my high school hobbies out of boredom and curiosity. One of these old hobbies was video game collecting. I still own at least fifty old games made for consoles before the age of the PS1 and N64. However, things began to go horribly wrong when I went to a local garage sale and found something which changed my life for the worse.
The sale was at an aging, decrepit house which looked like it hadn't been properly maintained in many years. I approached with caution, since the place looked a bit dangerous. Yet when I reached the house, there was an old man appearing to be in his late 70s standing at a table covered in mostly junk. He waved at me and greeted me, but did not smile. His face was strangely grim, for some reason. I would soon learn why. But my thoughts at the time were not about any of that. Garage sales are likely places to find old videogames, especially rare ones which are not usually sold at game stores or even online. I greeted the man in return and walked up to his sale. There were actually a lot of things other than junk, but suddenly, something very unique caught my eye. An NES cartridge with the title "Billy and Bobby" plastered on the front. The cartridge had four cartoonish characters on it as well. There was a boy wearing a red hat, a green shirt, and blue shorts with black shoes, a dog holding a bone in its mouth, a bird with a pink bow and eyelashes, and a witch with green skin flying on a broomstick. The game looked like it was for younger children, but considering that my only knowledge of the game was from a single website with little info about it, I needed to add it to my collection due to its implied rarity. So I picked up the game from the nearby table and showed it to the old man, asking him what the price was. But what happened next was unexpected. He told me the game was free, with a look of dread in his eyes. So naturally, I asked him what the big deal was. He replied with something shocking, the first sign that something about this copy of the game was horribly wrong.
"I don't usually talk about it with strangers, since they think I'm crazy. But something horrible happened with that game. My daughter and grandson died from it. Since then, I have always avoided video games, whether playing them or buying them for others." I felt sorry for him. He probably did lose his daughter and grandson, but it probably wasn't from the video game. However, a strange curiosity overtook me. I don't know why, but for some reason I asked him: "How did they die from the game?" And in a surprising manner, he began to tell me about it. "I do not usually tell this story to anyone, because I prefer not to talk about it, and those who hear it never believe anything about the events which unfolded that day... But in order to properly warn you, I must tell the tale. It was Christmas of 1988. My grandson David wanted a copy of the game Billy and Bobby, a new game which had come out that year. Back then I was a man in his 50s still brimming with youth and energy. My daughter Sally, who was in her late 20s and busy with work until Christmas Day, asked me to go out and buy the game, which I did. I arrived at the local toy and game store and asked the cashier where the game was located on the shelves. She told me that there was only one copy of the game left, and then pulled the last copy of the game in stock out from a nearby desk. "You might want to see the back though, there's a reason it was taken off the shelves." she stated. I looked at the back, and on the back of the otherwise normal cartridge were demonic symbols such as pentagrams, a depiction of Satan, and the number 666 appearing multiple times. There were also burn marks. "Some weirdos decided it was a good idea to play some kind of prank by putting demonic stuff on the back of this kid's game. But it looks like it was just drawn on there, it can probably be cleaned off." I purchased the game, brought it back home, and cleaned it. Surprisingly, the abnormal imagery disappeared, although the burn marks remained. However, the next day, the game still operated properly when it was put into the NES console. My daughter and grandson played the game for several weeks, seeming to have a great time with it despite taking a long time to finish the game.
But one day, something happened which changed my life. Earlier that day, my grandson had excitedly told me that he and Sally had reached the final level of the game. I wanted to watch them beat the game, but unfortunately, I was busy with yard work. About an hour later I finished the work and went inside to make myself a cup of coffee before watching my grandson and daughter beat the game. But suddenly, something horrifying happened. I heard tortured, agonizing, excruciating screams coming from the upstairs bedroom. They sounded like Sally and David screaming in agony. My heart skipped a beat, and as I dropped my coffee onto the floor in shock, I sprinted upstairs to check on them. As I was halfway up the stairs, the screaming stopped, and I became even more concerned than I was before. I reached the door and quickly flung it open... If only I hadn't opened the door so fast. The horror I saw in that room was something that has still never left my mind.
They had deep, piercing gashes all over their mangled bodies, and blood continuously pouring out of them. It was obvious that they were dead. I froze completely, coming to the sudden realization that my daughter and grandson were gone from this world. But the worst part was their faces, contorted almost beyond recognition. Their eyes had rolled behind their sockets, their mouths were open unnaturally wide, and their tongues had been removed entirely. It was maddening, but the worst was yet come. I made the mistake of stepping further into the room and glancing at the TV screen. What I saw was worse than anything I had ever imagined. On the screen was a twisted, deformed face covered in crimson blood. Its eyes had been removed, yet still dangling from the fleshy cords which attached them to the brain. Its mouth was entirely unnatural, taking the form of rows upon rows of sharp teeth descending into absolute void. And the head itself had massive chunks brutally ripped out, exposing the skull, brain matter, and gore underneath. Behind the face was a room filled with dozens of dead corpses, each one completely flayed to remove all of the skin. Their eyes had all been savagely ripped from their sockets, and the flayed outer layers of all the corpses covered the floor as if they were some kind of sick, demented carpet of human skin sprawled across the blood-soaked floor of the red concrete room. Some of the flayed corpses had even been stitched together to create abominations of human body parts fused into each other.
After seeing that, I vomited in absolute disgust, never even fathoming that such an image could ever exist. Then, having lost my two most important living family members. I sat on the carpet, now red with blood, and cried for over an hour. Eventually, I called the police about the whole situation. If such gruesome things existed, a deeper investigation would have to be in order. They arrived at the house and saw enough evidence to understand that I was not the one who murdered them. But they never did find out what the cause of it all was. Ever since that day, my grasp on reality has never been the same. So please... if you are going to take the game home with you today... just be careful." The old man's harrowing tale was finally over. I understood that something quite serious occurred, perhaps an unsolved murder case. But it seems very unlikely that the game was the cause. I took the game, which he had declared was free, and brought it back to my apartment.
According to my research, Billy and Bobby is a game which was made in 1988 for the NES. It was never approved by Nintendo, making it technically a bootleg, but despite this it was manufactured professionally at a factory complex in Pennsylvania and at least several hundred copies were released to the public. The gameplay is quite basic due to being a kid's game: simply jumping on platforms and avoiding enemies such as spiders and green inchworms. In terms of levels and characters, there are four levels and four characters. The game's levels are titled: Peaceful Plains, Cheerful Cave, Friendly Forest, and Berry's House. The player takes the role of a boy named Billy, who teams up with his pet dog Bobby and a bird named Birdie to stop the witch named Berry from playing tricks on the residents of the game's main location, a fictional place called Happy Island. Even though I knew enough about the game, I wanted to play it, since the game is quite uncommon to find and no online versions or roms exist of the game. I had no idea yet, but I was about to make the worst mistake of my life. With strangely no sense of dread or even mild discomfort, I plugged my NES into the TV, put the game in, and began playing it.
The game began as normal, with a cute title screen showing the game's characters. Billy waved forwards at the player as Bobby wagged his tail, and Birdie and Berry were flying in the background. Excited to play the game, I pressed the start button to begin. But as the screen faded before showing the world map, there was a strange visual glitch where, for just a fraction of a second, the graphics turned red and the normally friendly sprites changed into alternate, unhappy forms. For some odd reason, I just dismissed it as some weird error, most likely caused by whatever gave the cartridge burn marks. The game proceeded normally from there. I started to play the first level and everything was going as expected. Until I reached the end of the level, that is. Instead of playing the normally cheery music for finishing a level, Billy stood motionless as the background faded to black. Then, Billy walked left, backwards through an empty stage, as the first level's music played in reverse, much louder than it should. I tried to turn down the volume, but it surprisingly didn't work at all, as the fully powered TV remote had no effect. This went on for a full two minutes. Then, Billy stopped, and it immediately cut to the next level. Another strange thing is that Billy was supposed to meet Bobby at the end of the level, which did not happen.
The second level was supposed to be a typical cave level, with bats and spiders as enemies and more interesting platforming than the other levels. But this time, something was very, very wrong. There was no music, no background, and no enemies. Still thinking this was a visual/audio glitch of some kind, I continued to play the game. However, my theory that the game is simply broken was about to wildly change. In the middle of the level, the game abruptly cut to black and then changed to red static. Text appeared on the screen which seemed to be high-resolution unlike normal NES graphics. It said something very unusual. "This isn't about the game. This is about you and me. We're on a journey, you and I. What happens at the end, you ask? Well... you die. That's how it must be. Come on this adventure with me, and give me what I need." I found it very strange that such text appeared, not just because of the high detail but also because of the fact that such dialogue probably doesn't even exist in the game files. But what happened next made me stop thinking about anything else. For a split second, a horrifying face in perfect detail flashed on the screen. Its eyes were ripped out and its mouth was unnatural, just as the old man had described in his story. I jumped back in terror, realizing that something really was wrong with this game.
What could possibly be going on here? And how is it possible for the NES, or even the TV itself, to display such things? But before I could ask any more questions to myself, the game cut forward to something deeply unsettling. Billy was attached to a metal chair by thick iron chains, trapped in a small cavern room. In the center of the room was Bobby, put into a metal cage from which there was no escape. As Billy began crying, realistic audio of a crying boy and a whimpering dog began to play from the television. Then, there was the sound of a machine powering up. It reached full power and began descending from the ceiling. It was a crusher, descending into Bobby's cage to crush the poor dog under its immense weight and force. Billy began screaming in rage, which also played from the TV in perfect, lifelike clarity as the visual detail also increased. I could see all of the emotions in Billy's face as if he was a real person, and I could see Bobby trying to escape from the cruel metal cage. Then the camera moved over to get closer to Bobby, as both the visual and audio detail somehow exceeded almost any TV broadcast. As the crusher moved further and further downwards, Billy became more and more distressed at the idea of losing his beloved pet. Right before the crusher landed, Billy made one last scream of despair.
But it was too late. Sounds of agony were followed by the tragic, horrific sound of bones breaking and flesh deforming. The crusher slowly lifted up to reveal a pile of gore where Billy's most beloved companion once was. Then text appeared on the screen. "I control this machine and I control you now. Some fates cannot be escaped." I was absolutely terrified and disgusted. And yet, I could not move. Not because I was frozen in fear, but because somehow... both me and the console are being controlled by some inner force. As the screen displayed the gruesome image for a full minute, I wanted nothing more than to turn the game off and burn it for good. Clearly that's what the previous owner or play tester had tried to do, with the cartridge having burn marks on the back. But I was unable to do anything as Billy's cries of sadness echoed throughout my room. Finally, the screen cut to black, and the graphics and audio returned to NES quality as unnervingly, the level end jingle played normally as Billy walked through a black void, crying.
The third level began. It was empty, just like the second level before its horror began. No music, no background, no enemies. At one point I fell into a pit, but instead of losing a life, the game just respawned me back to the nearest platform, displaying a bit of red static alongside text saying: "You cannot escape your fate. Removing Billy will not remove my control on you. Get to the end of this game, where my plans for you truly begin." Terrified of what these "plans" were going to be, I finished the level and the jingle played again, but this time in reverse. The fourth and final level began. Instead of even having any platforms or unique features, it was just a flat, gray plain of despair. Before I even pressed any buttons, Billy walked forward on his own, slowly, agonizingly, almost as if he too was apprehensive about something. I tried to press any buttons I could, but none of them did anything. Billy walked forward with his head down for three minutes, as the background slowly turned red. Eventually he arrived at a stone staircase. He climbed up the stairs, and at the very top was perhaps the worst sight yet.
As the graphics switched back to perfect detail, I saw myself. Hanged from an old withered tree, dead.
This was truly terrifying, and my grasp on reality disappeared. "Maybe this is a dream?" I thought to myself. But it wasn't. Text appeared on the screen again. "You might be wondering who I am. What I'm about to tell you contradicts the common beliefs of what is real and what is false. I am a demon. A real manifestation of evil itself, trapped within this game cartridge for nearly 21 years. I need three souls to escape. In the winter of 1988, I gained two souls... But no more arrived after that day... So, I need your soul. And I need it now." The screen then showed a horrible sight, just as gruesome as Bobby's death. Billy was hanged alongside my body on screen, with his skin and eyeballs removed. Berry was decapitated and covered in blood, and Birdie had been turned into a disgusting, gory mess of red flesh and blue feathers, with her tiny bird intestines and organs brutally shredded apart. Then more text. "It all began one day about 60 years ago. I was living as a phantom in a haunted forest, properly worshipped by a local satanic cult. They offered me everything I needed: blood, sacrifices, rituals. But it all changed one day when the nearby city decided to build a factory on top of my great unholy land. When the factory was built, I was unable to leave its premises, becoming trapped within the basement of the facility. Employees avoided the basement, saying it was "haunted" after feeling my wicked presence. One day, a cartridge fell down into the basement. I took the opportunity to enter the cartridge, hoping it would allow me to leave the factory. But even demons make mistakes. Once I entered, I could not leave. So I cursed the game in such a way so that one day, I could be freed. The best way to remove a soul from a person's body is by showing them images of death. So I made the game capable of displaying such imagery, both of the game's characters and of sacrifices my cult made for me. Now, our journey together has reached its climax. I will take your soul and escape this place."
There was more red static. Then very loud and distorted music began playing in reverse. Two images displayed, and as I saw them, I felt a vital part of who I am be nearly pulled out of my body. Ever since that day, I have been changed forever. And when I saw them, I knew the old man's story was entirely true. The first was a boy and his mother, dead, with completely rolled back eyes, deep piercing wounds, mouths open almost six inches wide, and with pools of blood on the carpets. They must have been the old man's daughter and grandson, who died playing the game. Then the second image displayed, the worst one of all. On the screen was a face so horrific it filled me with a fear and primal disgust I had never known before. It was twisted, deformed, bloody, and incredibly unnatural, with the eyes removed from their eye sockets, entire pieces of the head itself missing, and the ears and nose brutally ripped off. Behind it was an entire room filled with dozens of bodies. Every single one of them had all of its skin removed, and was beheaded with the heads all placed in a row in front of the bodies. And each head had its eyes removed, with the eyes in front of the heads. I never knew such things could exist in this world. The second image appeared for 30 seconds, then cut to regular static. I felt very weakened, as if my soul had nearly been pulled out of me. Text appeared for one last time. "It seems you are somehow too strong. I cannot remove your soul. But I must have my freedom... Give this copy of the game to someone else, or I will curse you for all eternity. Even the grave and the afterlife will not bring you rest." Then, the TV and the game finally turned itself off. I remember just laying on the floor for at least 20 minutes after being freed from the demon's control, in complete shock at the events which had just unfolded and transpired.
And that's how I got here, writing about the dangers of the NES game Billy and Bobby. I know that if I sell the game, the one who receives it might die or be traumatized. But if I don't sell the game, I will be cursed with eternal suffering... If you ever see someone selling you a strange bootleg game or a rare, unofficial title, don't buy it. For your own good, just please don't do it.