Kids favorite things are probably pop rocks or actions figures but not me. All the lights, the
blinking lights. Red, green, blue; my favorite colors. My parents always said to save my
quarters and I did, for Wonky’s. A few blocks down on Kelly road across the bridge is where
Wonky’s lives. That’s where I spend my quarters’ not at the gas station. Most of the arcades
around here are a lot better then Wonky’s. Those arcades have all the cool games by Atari,
Konami and Namco. Although those games are appealing and enjoyable Wonky’s was still my
favorite. The smell, damp and putrid was the smell I enjoyed. Wonky’s never got new games,
always the same old games. Pinball and pong were probably the only things keeping Wonky’s
up and running.
On a pleasant casual day during spring break I would soon be unprepared to see a
shocker that any kid would love. I walked into the Wonky’s not expecting much, just to play a
couple games of pong. Weird, I thought to myself, Mr. Wonky usually greets me at the door. I
look around to see what’s up. I see new colors, new cabinets. Wonky’s had gotten Donkey
Kong, Centipede, Pacman
and Mario Bros. I hadn’t been that excited since I played my first
game at Wonky’s. I approached the cabinets until I meet a drawback, these games are 4
quarters. As disappointed as a kid who gets its swirlied I look around to see if Wonky’s had
gotten anything new. Squat. Wonky’s had lost its magic touch. 4 quarters games made me
outrageous! I walked out deflated and furious.
Cooled off and reasonable, I came back to Wonky’s, with tons of quarters to play the new
games. I went with my friend Brett since nobody else was willing to go to Wonky’s. Brett is a
kid in my grade, tall, blue–eyed, and extremely calm. Mr. Wonky greeted us when I came in
but there was no time for conversation. I haven’t seen any of these games in person. I’ve
heard of them through the kids around Philly. I’ve heard that centipede is one of the greatest
games out. Instead of playing centipede, I decided to play PacMan.
Brett just stood there like
he didn’t have any coins or something.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t have any coins,” he said in his soft voice. I gave Brett a handful of coins and told him
to have fun. He frolicked away having a grin on his face I put my four wellearned
from chores and put it in the slot. It was a different game then pinball. First there was a screen
like pong. Also the colors were different and more vibrant. Pacman
was fun until the ghost
ate me. I decided that these games were not as amusing as I wished them to be so looked
around one last time to see if there was anything I missed from last time. I looked around the
usual pinball machines and the claws that are impossible to win a prize in, until I see in the
corner camouflaged like a four leaf clover in the grass. Brett was playing and it looked like he
was having fun. I was confused. The cabinet looked fairly new but there was no instruction on
how to play, just a screen and a joystick. All it said was next to the coin slot is “1 quarter” and
up top it said “Mirage.” I felt a cold breeze and a voice that said in a quivered tone “Quarters.”
Although it felt eerie all I really cared about was how there was a new cabinet that only took
25 cents a pop. Once Brett had finished I put my quarter in. The screen burst up into a dark
colored screen with the words Mirage and move joystick to start. Usually the games have the
instructions and the company but his game was different. I was excited. I move the joystick
down and the screen changes. As the new screen pops up I notice slight screen with words I
couldn’t make out. The new screen shows you at the bottom and the ghost up top. The ghost
is supposedly laughing as I tell in the creepy animation but it sounds more like a cry. Odd I
thought to myself as I moved the joystick around avoiding the fireballs the ghost was shooting
down. This was the whole game, to avoid the fireballs. No game I played was more complex
than this game besides Pacman
that I just played. I loved it.
The next day I walked into Wonky’s with a crap ton of quarters to be spent on Mirage. Again I
decided to bring Brett because he wouldn’t stop talking about how much fun he had
yesterday. Brett usually was a gloomy kid so I was happy he could enjoy himself. I talked with
Mr. Wonky himself to hear anything I could about the game. He said
“Mirage is a great game.”
Confused was the first emotion I got since Mr. Wonky usually always give me a deep
description of each and every game I ask him about. Mr. Wonky is a short guy, about 60
years old and cheap. He’s just trying to keep his business alive and I’m pretty sure he lives
here too. I walked over to corner where the stunning game stood. I spotted it and quickly put
my quarter in the slot. The screen was the same colors, black and eerie orange. Brett pushed
me over cause he wanted to play first. The screen said Mirage but now I discovered an
instruction menu and a character menu. The weirdest thing of all was that every single
character box in the selection menu said, “Come at night, save me.” Brett didn’t notice a thing
and just kept playing. He chose his character and played on. This game was getting creepy.
This game was starting to scare me. I decided it was best to come at night. Wonky’s closes at
9:30 so I decided to come at nine. I trucked the door open and slowly walked toward the
game. As I got close I already saw Brett playing. He was laughing hysterically and didn’t
notice when I called his name. I was now officially scared. The screen had letters that were
hard to make out. It didn’t even look like Brett was playing, he just looked at the screen while
his player moved by itself. I looked closer until I made out the words, “QUARTERS.” Brett was
playing a different mode. It was going till he died. Soon when he was close to beating the high
score that was at the top corner of the screen a suddenly went black. Something was forcing
Brett to do things he usually wouldn’t do. The high score screen had a list of ten. The screen
burst a flash. The screen said “Save me.” In different color font more words were on the wall.
This game is haunted. I have to save this ghost that is living in purgatory. I have to save Brett.
Brett ran out the door once the game turned off. All it wanted was someone to finally beat the
game but no one ever played it until now.
I went to go get Brett because I was going to Wonky’s. I ringed the doorbell.
“Hi Mrs Clarkson, is Brett home?” I said
“No, he has gone missing.” She said. I realized what has happened. The game has consumed
him. The game has disturbed him. I knew Brett was gone, but Mrs Clarkson will always keep
looking for him.
I had to save that ghost. I needed to find where Brett really was I went to Wonky’s to
play but there was yellow tape all over the place.
“What’s going on?” I asked a police man writing something down.
In a deep and raspy voice said
“Mr. Wonky has died. This arcade is closed now.”
“How did he die?”
“He bled out.”
Inside I could see Mirage. It moved from the corner right into the middle of the new games.
There was blood all over the screen.
“Officer!” I yelled, as my face was right on the glass of the arcade.
“That game in there has killed Mr. Wonky!”
“Nonsense child, now scram.” He replied.
“Look, blood all over the screen!”
The officer barged into the arcade and inspected the scene.
“It wasn’t the machine. Someone is messing with to get away with murder.” He
“This is serious, go home and let the cops solve this.”
I walked home in puzzlement as I swore the machine was haunted. Someone is messing with
it to try to shut down Wonky’s, and it worked. I researched Mirage at the library hoping to get
The library had one article on Mirage. In the newspaper in the 50’s, it stated that
Mirage was a game that made people mentally crazy. There has been deaths and
disappearances of the people who had played this game. I needed to play the game for
myself. At night I snuck in to Wonky’s with one quarter to play one game, Mirage. I put it in the
slot and the game screen was back to the original black and eerie orange. I played Endless
mode like Brett hoping to gain some clues about Brett and Mr. Wonky’s death. I played and
played with the music starting to hurt my head and screen making me dizzy. I fought through
it. The screen started to flash words that went to fast for me to see. I stayed alive and brawled
with the game. The game screen suddenly went black. The only thing the game did was say
that it won. I started feeling off balance and light headed as he game chanted that it won. I
stared at the screen hoping for something to show up. And something did. A monster pop out
like it was real and said in a deep demonic voice
“I won.” I fainted.
The final day
I woke up at the library. I started talking to myself and shaking. Something was wrong.
The game, I thought as I started to walk like a zombie out of the building. It won I thought to
myself as I completely forgot what I was about to do. Suddenly I had no control over my body
as I waddled my way back home. The game has won, I told myself. The legends are true. The
game has won it took everything I lived for. I apologized to Brett even though he wasn’t even
close to me and I prayed for Mr. Wonky. From that day I told myself that arcades are a curse.
I wa smart enough to realize that and now I know that I should save my quarters. So maybe
I’ll by some pop rocks or action figures and see how I like those.