Video game enthusiast, Billy Mitchell says that Marble Madness (released in December 1984 by Atari) is responsible for ruining his life, and quite possibly driving him into a state of psychosis.
"The game was a joy to play at first," Mitchell explained. "The track ball was fun to use, the mazes were original, and challenging. I breezed through the practice, beginner and intermediate race levels. I found to aerial race to be one of the best designed boards of any game I have ever played. I had just gotten past those french fry looking hammers, and was on my way to a record score." Mitchell went on enthusiastically. "But, then it happened..."
Billy Mitchell zoned out, a panicked look on his face, frozen in what can only be described as addled confusion but then continued his eyes all a glaze, "The next board started up, The Silly Race. There was a big smile on my face because it just sounded like it was going to be so much fun. But then, just as I was about to start a text box popped up on the screen and changed my life forever!"
For those unfamiliar with the game, the text box reads, "Everything you know is wrong."
"I read the box, and at first I didn't really give it much thought." Mitchell explained. "But after playing through the level with everything upside-down, and all the rules backwards it really started to set in. I realized everything I knew was wrong! I can't even remember if I finished the ultimate race or not. The next thing I remember is laying in the gutter outside Star Worlds in Dekalb."
After that Mitchell's life was what he described as "a total nightmare."
"Do I go to the bathroom in my pants or on a toilet? I used to think the toilet, but you know, now I think that might be wrong. Do I drive a car or try to ride backwards down the freeway on a unicycle? Do I drink water or hot sauce? Is it supposed to burn like that or is my mouth just sensitive? I don't know. I don't know what is right or wrong anymore, but I'm pretty sure that everything I know is wrong."
After switching his pants with his shirt, and attempting to walk around on shoes that he placed on his hands Mitchell fell down on the ground and started trying to lick some dead bugs clean that he found on a nearby window sill.
When asked what was the original intent in adding that text to the beginning of the silly race game designer Mark Cerny responded, "I just thought it sounded cool, and was a good way to let the player know that some of the rules had changed for that particular race. It wasn't my intent to challenge gamers, and make them question everything they understand about reality."
There have been several reports about other individuals having a similar reaction to the silly race, but no word has come down whether any action is to be taken.
Cerny concluded, "I have to admit that after thinking about it, if someone wasn't expecting it and let their guard down after hearing the innocuous title of the silly race level a statement that asks you to question your reality could hit pretty hard. Although, I suspect most people were just happy to have the acid pools give them time back on the clock."