SCP-6261

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krakenattackspecs.png

A screen in SCP-6261-1, where the 'player character' is attempting to retrieve the 'Spectacles of Tireseas' from the 'kraken'.

Item #: SCP-6261

Object Class: Neutralized

Special Containment Procedures: The original development kit containing 6261-1 is kept in low-value storage at Site-106. Personnel are encouraged to interact with it to further familiarize themselves with video games, as several other anomalies related to Arcadia are beginning to surface, and Foundation personnel typically have low proficiency with interactive entertainment.

SCP-6261-2 is in high-value document storage at Site-106. Efforts are being made to decipher any and all thaumic rites in the art and text of SCP-6261-2. Products or byproducts of these rites are to be immediately placed into high-value containment and inspected by Sourcing & Containment.

Description: SCP-6261 refers to two items acquired by the Foundation in 1984, during several strategic purchases of assets from the collapsing corporate Group of Interest Arcadia. All items related to the now-canceled franchise known as Magequest.

SCP-6261-1 refers to a piece of software on an Atari 2600 development kit, entitled Magequest: Prison of Circe. SCP-6261-1 is an 'adventure' video game, in which a digital representation of the individual playing the game (or 'player character') is guided around the island of Aeaea, with the goal of finding and terminating an entity ('non-player character') representing the mythological Circe. This 'non-player character' entity is believed to possess some form of awareness, as it is actively hostile to the 'player character', attempting to terminate it using various obstacles ('traps') or hostile entities ('monsters') throughout Aeaea.

An instruction manual indicates that, in order to complete SCP-6261-1, the player needs to gather ten 'mythological treasures' from across Aeaea, before proceeding to a lake in the center of the island and encountering Circe herself. However, being struck three times by 'monsters' — including centaurs, harpies, a kraken, and a wild boar — will result in a 'game over' state in which the player character is transformed into a pig. The 'game over' screen for SCP-6261-1 is a mild cognitohazard, and exposure to it will result in individuals displaying behavior such as squealing, attempting quadrupedal locomotion, and attempting to ingest non-edible material. These behaviors cease after 30-90 minutes. To date, no member of Foundation personnel has completed SCP-6261-1.

gameoverscreen.png

SCP-6261's 'Game Over' Screen. Cognitohazard not present in reproduction images.

Several supplementary materials to SCP-6261-1 exist. Primary among these is a comic book, designated SCP-6261-2. SCP-6261-2 retells the portion of Homer's Odyssey in which Odysseus and his crew are stranded on Aeaea, ending on a cliffhanger as Circe challenges the reader to stop her plans to cook and eat Odysseus's crewmen, who have been transfigured into pigs.

The instruction manual for SCP-6261-1 indicates that it is intended to interact with SCP-6261-2. During the course of gameplay, numbers will appear corresponding to pages of SCP-6261-2, as well as specific panels on said pages, featuring hidden words revealing part of a secret message.

In reality, SCP-6261-2 is an anomalous manuscript containing several thaumaturgical rites. Transcribing or reading aloud the words SCP-6261-1 points to, in the correct order, triggers one of the rites; individual words, or words in an incorrect order, produce no effect.

Addendum: The Magequest Contest: Recovered marketing materials related to the Magequest franchise indicate that SCP-6261-1 was meant to be the jumping-off point for a contest backed by Arcadia. Dubbed the "Magequest: Artifacts of Power Contest", participants would have to play the four planned games in the franchise and 'uncover mystical secrets to win fabulous treasures', using 'hidden clues' in both the game and included comic book. Among these planned 'treasures' were a 24-karat silver amulet, a 18-karat golden orb, a white jade necklace, and a ring with the winner's birthstone set as the jewel.

It is currently believed that Arcadia possessed access to a thaumaturgical volume which was adapted into SCP-6261-2, and SCP-6261-1 was created to attempt to divine a specific rite from SCP-6261-2, which Arcadia could not locate in the original volume; in essence, the "Artifacts of Power Contest" was intended to use the Arcadia customer base to locate the desired rite, as several thousand people playing SCP-6261-1 and activating all available rites would be more efficient than attempting each rite individually.

Test Log: Since acquisition, personnel from the Department of Procurement & Liquidation have attempted to 'win' at SCP-6261-1. The following is a log of notable attempts.

Operator: Agent Marcus Fume

Description of Playthrough: Game begins as normal, on the western shore of Aeaea. Fume acquires three of the ten treasures, and notes down words from SCP-6261-2 as they appear.

Upon completion of a seven-word sentence, the paper which Fume taking notes on becomes charged with electricity and causes a power failure throughout Site-106, deactivating SCP-6261-1 in the process. SCP-6261-1 was unresponsive to Fume's inputs following reactivation.

Operator: Agent René Walker

tararus.png

The screen with the entrance to 'Tartarus', as encountered by Agent Walker.

Description of Playthrough: Game proceeds as normal until Walker enters the 'Tartarus' area to acquire the fourth treasure. The numbers '7' and '4' are visible at the top of the screen, indicating Page 7, Panel 4 of SCP-6261-2. The word 'communicate' is hidden in this panel.

Walker, a telepath, attempts to establish psychic communication with SCP-6261-1. He reports receiving the image of a flower in the genus Asphodelus, but no meaningful communication beyond this. It is speculated that SCP-6261-1 is, or contains, a sentient being.

Tartarus, and the treasure within, is guarded by Cerberus. Walker fails to pass Cerberus, and reaches the game over screen. Upon viewing it, Walker displays anomalous behavior for sixty-two minutes.

Operator: Agent Cynthia Schulle

gameglitch.png

The inverted colors encountered by Agent Schulle; the player character is standing on the water in this picture.

Description of Playthrough: Schulle attempts to walk into the ocean on the western shore of Aeaea, and finds it passable, unlike all other water in the game. Walking to the west reveals one of the ten treasures, as well as the numbers "10" and "3"; the word in this panel is 'assist'.

Schulle notes down a three-word sentence originating from SCP-6261-2, which causes the colors of the map to invert; some of these colors are not supported by the Atari 2600's color processor. This, inevitably, caused the game to be more difficult to navigate; however, the issue was resolved upon resetting the console using the switches. This, however, also reset all of Schulle's progress.

As with previous tests, Schulle reaches the 'game over' screen in Tartarus, upon failing to pass Cerberus. Anomalous behavior displayed for thirty-nine minutes, with a minor pyrokinetic episode as Schulle's control over her abilities was temporarily interrupted by the cognitohazard.

Operator: Agent Marcus Fume

Description of Playthrough: Gameplay starts as normal. After collecting the third treasure, Fume attempts to toggle several switches on the Atari console, citing that his son has done the same in the course of his gameplay. Doing so produces a series of numbers that correspond to the words "amulet" "never" "locate" and "assist" in SCP-6261-2. These do not trigger a thaumic reaction.

Fume manages to collect two treasures, but is again thwarted by Cerberus. Anomalous behavior was displayed for sixty minutes.

Operator: Agent Cynthia Schulle

Description of Playthrough: Before collecting any treasures, Agent Schulle uses the thaumic rite which caused inverted colors on a previous playthrough, and attempts to play the game as normal. However, only one treasure appears; none of the others are present. A combination of numbers corresponding to the words 'laughter' and 'foolishness' appear on every screen, alternating.

P&L Personnel soon realized that no meaningful progress was being made with SCP-6261; said personnel had minimal knowledge of video games, with the most experience belonging to Agent Schulle, whose father helped sell Pong cabinets prior to her recruitment in the Foundation. As such, alternatives were sought out.

Senior Agent Hubert Ruyter suggested that, due to the relatively harmless nature of the anomaly, civilians who regularly played video games should be temporarily recruited by the Foundation. An advertisement for video game testers was placed in the Miami Herald; after two months, there were only three responses. Public opinion towards video games had turned in recent years, following a glut of low-quality software on the market and plummeting profits in major video game companies, particularly Atari.

Of the three respondents, two were able to collect seven of the ten treasures; the final respondent, however, showed much greater proficiency with SCP-6261-1. Their intake interview is included below.

Intake Interview 6261-3
Interviewer: Agent Rutyer
Subjects: Digby Du Bois ("Subject") and Marianne Du Bois ("Subject's Mother")

Agent Ruyter: Now, what's your name, young man?

Subject: I'm Diggy Du Bois.

Subject's Mother: Digby. He has a bit of a speech issue.

Agent Ruyter: And how old are you, Digby?

Subject: Seven!

Agent Ruyter: What's your favorite video game?

Subject: I like Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, and Mario Bros., and Miss Pac-Man, and Adventure, and…

Subject's Mother: He spends $20 at the arcade every weekend. He's so proud of all the high scores he has. He kept on tugging my arm to come here, said that it gave him a… a feeling.

Agent Ruyter: What kind of feeling?

Subject: Smell. Like Pac-Man. Smells 'lectric.

Agent Rutyer: Sorry, a smell?

Subject's Mother: Digby… the doctor thinks he has synesthesia. That's a thing where senses get cross-wired, like how some people can hear colors? He says when he touches things, he can sometimes smell stuff. He says my coat smells like wildflowers.

Agent Ruyter: Interesting.

Agent Ruyter produces some non-anomalous marketing materials related to Arcadia from a folder on the table. Neither item features labels or logos that would indicate a connection to Arcadia.

Agent Ruyter: Digby, can I ask you to touch these, and tell me what you smell?

The Subject reaches out to grab the first item.

Subject: Smells like… smoke and old people.

Agent Ruyter: Old people?

Subject: Old people smell. My great-grandpa's home smells like that.

Agent Ruyter: And the other one?

The Subject touches the other item.

Subject: …it smells the same! I've never had that happen before! How'd you do it, mister?

Agent Ruyter: All right. Miss Du Bois, if you're willing, we're going to have Digby play an unreleased game for us.

Subject's Mother: Just like that? But you've not even seen—

Agent Ruyter: He's perfect for the job, trust me.

Ruyter, a psychometrist, hypothesized that Digby Du Bois possessed similar abilities. Du Bois was allowed to play through SCP-6261-1; an account of the playthrough is described below.

Operator: Digby Du Bois

circefinalscreen.png

The penultimate screen of SCP-6261-1.

Description of Playthrough: Within a 10-minute timespan, Du Bois collects the first nine treasures, but when faced with Tartarus and Cerberus, rather than trying to pass through directly, Du Bois presses the fire button on the controller. This causes the player character to shoot a projectile which destroys Cerberus; this feature is not documented in the manual, and it was assumed the fire button was non-functional.

Following the collection of the tenth treasure, Du Bois proceeds to the lake in the center of the island. A feminine figure emerges from the water, and a series of numbers corresponding to a twenty-word long sentence appears on the screen. Du Bois is asked to write it out.

Upon completion of the sentence, the paper it was transcribed on transforms into a silver amulet. Before it could be collected by Ruyter, who was observing, Du Bois grabbed the amulet, and held it to his ear, before speaking to it softly.

This action caused a powerful release of thaumic energy that, according to Du Bois, 'granted his wish', which was 'for video games to be good again'.

The amulet is now thaumically inert; it is speculated that obtaining it was Arcadia's original goal when creating SCP-6261.

Triangular_Talisman_of_Count_of_St_Germain.png

The amulet created by the final thaumic rite of SCP-6261.

Since this event, SCP-6261-1 has been completed several times; however, the feminine figure has not reappeared, and SCP-6261-2 has failed to produce any new thaumic effects. Therefore, the Foundation considers SCP-6261 effectively neutralized.

Due to concerns regarding the effects of amnestics on children under eight years old, none were administered to Du Bois. However, he has been marked as a potential recruit for P&L in the future, should it be proven that he does possess psychometric capabilities.

Shortly after Du Bois' use of the amulet, a Japanese toy company announced its plans to bring an 'Entertainment System' to the western market, capable of playing video games. The events are believed to be related, but the success of this product, given the current state of the video game market, is unlikely.

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