Better Luck Next Time

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The final ending screen.

Growing up in the 2000s, many children were of course Nintendo fangirls and boys, with how popular the handhelds like the DS and the Game Boy Advance were, and home consoles like the GameCube and of course, the Wii. I was also one of these kids. I loved to waste time away completing my favorite games of the time, content with what I was doing, but always jealous of my friends and close relatives because they had one game that I always wanted. Mario Kart Wii. My parents never let me have this game due to their strict rules of games about driving and racing because they saw games like Grand Theft Auto and Carmageddon and assumed all you did in the driving games was running over pedestrians in bloodshed.

Whenever I stayed around my cousin's house for sleepovers and stuff, I would always convince him to boot up his Wii, pass me a controller (in the wheel of course), and slide the Mario Kart disc into the disc slot in the front of the console. Whenever we played it went smoothly and fine, whenever we would complete a cup, he would always get first and I would usually come in between 5th and 8th, just because I hadn't played it much, I still considered it a win though. Thankfully he would never rub it in my face like my friends would, he just told me how I could get better if my parents bought me the game. I then had to awkwardly explain my parent's rules and he somehow understood what I meant and my current issue.

One night I stayed over at my cousin's house, we played Mario Kart Wii once again, as we would do. Like a ritual, sort of. However, only after having one round of the 50cc Star Cup, he decided to hit the bed early and let me switch the console off, eject the game, and put the controllers away all by myself. Now, my cousin was a heavy sleeper and as soon as I stood up to eject the game, he was already rolled over and zonked out before I knew it. Noticing this, I decided to leave what I was doing, not turn the console back on and continue playing the game. I grabbed the TV remote and turned the volume to zero to not wake anyone. As I booted the console back up, the disc made sort of a scratchy sound as the disc span, I thought this to be just an error with the disc and let my cousin know in the morning.

Grabbing the Wii mote, I opened the game and created a new license for myself using one of my friends' Mii of himself. I chose Mario and the Nostalgia 1 car, Automatic drifting and the Mushroom cup. Everything was surprisingly going smoothly, getting in the top 3 of each of the tracks, besides one, Toad's Factory. I was speeding ahead away from all other racers, but this all fell apart when I got crushed by a weird crusher thing in the track. The game then switched to a completely black screen, besides my place of the race, it went straight to 12th as soon as the screen went black. The console crashed as well as this, freezing on that screen, but, the blaring and screeching audio of the crash still played, even when my cousin's TV had no volume on it. I thought it to be unusual and a little creepy, but came to the conclusion of a glitch with the TV.

I quickly shot up and ran over to switch the TV and console off and head to bed, hoping to resolve this issue tomorrow night, by myself.

Skipping over the day for the sake of this story, my cousin decided, because we got back late from what we were doing, around 10:00 PM, and he got to bed early. I told him that I'd stay up a bit later, and he let me for some reason. I gave it 15 minutes as a gap to let him properly drift off to sleep. I couldn't wait any longer and after 10 minutes I quickly booted the Wii up, grabbed the TV remote, turned the volume to zero once again and pulled the Wii mote out from under my cushion and started up the game. I noticed something off however, Mario was weirdly missing from the roster of characters, and his box was completely blank, with me unable to select him, or, whatever was left of him. I just decided to pick Luigi instead and play in the Flower Cup instead. Easily breezing through Mario Circuit and Coconut Mall, I reached DK Snowboard Cross, which I did fall off a cliff in the first lap, but the same thing that happened to Mario happened with Luigi. The black screen, the 12th place text, the crash sound, and him missing from the roster was all too peculiar to be a coincidence. I decided to play again for some odd reason, maybe to test it once again. I picked Donkey Kong and purposely drove off of a cliff, and the same thing happened.

After this, I got ahead of myself and picked every available character to do the same thing with each and every one of them. Peach, Baby Mario, Koopa Troopa, one by one, they were all knocked down one by one until there was one character left, Bowser. Sighing, realizing that I may have just broken the game, and the disc entirely, I picked Bowser and Wario's Gold Mine. The underground mine section has mine carts running through them, but for some reason, once I got down there and in front of one of them, the one in front of me flew backwards and crushed Bowser in between the two.

The crash sound played as I expected, and it was just a black screen for about 2 minutes. But then, it muted. A screen had shown, in black and white, of the game completion screen with the text "Better Luck Next Time!" from the game over screen plastered on over the normal text. Where the Mii would be standing on the podium, was a completely black rectangle, seemingly censoring out something.

I knew I would have to wake my cousin up and show him, but as I spun round, he was gone, not hidden under the covers, not up to the toilet, but just completely gone. My parents never let me stay round there again, and I was glad of their decision. I never wanted the game ever again in fear of this happening one more time.

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