“This. Is. MY. Curse.”
Lexington-Fayette – Quick: when you think of heavy metal, what comes to your mind?
Dark and scary things, right? Satan, demons, death, rotting zombified corpses trying to rip your face off (or if you were a teenager in the 80s, perhaps hairspray and leather pants?); anything that might invoke fear.
It should come as no surprise, then, that a fan of the popular heavy metal band, Killswitch Engage, has found a connection between the band, and a creepy Soviet-Russian game that was once at the forefront of gaming’s most popular urban legends.
The game in question? Killswitch.
The story of the infamous game goes that in 1989, the Russian-based Karvina Corporation created one of the first horror adventure games, featuring 2 characters: Porto and Ghast. Reportedly, Ghast was nearly unplayable, thanks to the character’s invisible appearance (or lack thereof?), so you played as Porto, wandering through a mine-turned-hell, solving puzzles and such.
The kicker to the game, was that – in addition to the very limited number of 5000 copies that were released – the game would self-destruct upon completion.
Numerous playable versions of the game, similarly to Polybius, have surfaced on the Internet, which is funny considering the game is purported to have been a title that “no one has ever seemed to have played”. As it just so happens, one person may know the source of the Internet-leaked game.
Altair Murtaz, a fan of Killswitch Engage since 2001, reported that he managed to hang out with the band on their tour bus following a Kentucky concert in 2008. “They were completely chill dudes, and we were having a great time”, Murtaz says in an interview, reporting that he and the band “drank whiskey, smoked a lil’ green, and played some games”.
“Then, things went south when I noticed a floppy disk sitting on the table”, Murtaz claims. “I said to the guys, ‘yo, what’s that?’, and they were like ‘man, it’s nothin’. So I got up for a closer look, and the whole band stood up”, Murtaz says, at which point, the band assertively asked him to leave.
Murtaz tried to explain that he would back off, and that his curiosity had momentarily gotten the better of him, but the band would not budge.
“I didn’t understand what the big deal was at the time. I managed to catch a quick glance at the floppy disk before the drummer snatched it up, but for the longest time, I couldn’t make out the meaning of what I thought I read”, Murtaz goes on to say.
“I could’ve swore it said ‘Killswitch 89’, but that was it. I played around with theories in my head, and finally wrote it off as perhaps a memento of the bands formative days, presumably pictures of their teenage selves trying to act tough, as teens into heavy metal and guitar playing do.”
Years had passed, when Murtaz came across an article on the Internet about a strange game known as Killswitch, a game shrouded in mystery, that was released in 1989. “It was at that moment that it hit me, like a freight train full of rubber ducks”, Murtaz recalls.
“They’re a freakin’ metalcore band – one of the most popular genres of metal in the US at the time – so they’ve got money. Coupled with their love for gaming, and obvious social connections, I’d say it’s safe to assume that they hired some top-notch programmers to reverse-engineer the game, and keep it from blasting itself into oblivion, then uploaded the game to the Internet, while still holding onto the only existing physical copy of the game for themselves.”
While I’m inclined to agree with the sentiment, and at least half of Murtaz’s theory, I personally believe they used the power of the metal to seal away the bastard child of the Karvina Corporation in it’s true glory, never to be played by mere mortals again. After all, why would any collector just leave lying around, the last known physical copy of a game?
I surmise that, the game – although seemingly innocent in nature – may have secretly been a gate to hell, carefully pieced together by satanic Russian computer programmers. The plan was to open the portal when all 5000 copies had deleted themselves; something Killswitch Engage wasn’t about to let happen.
Their popular song, ‘My Curse’ also points to such events, hinting at the fact that the entire band was now cursed with attempting to keep order in the world by sealing away an evil spirit. And why else would they cover the popular Dio song, ‘Holy Diver’, if not for some religiously-motivated subtle indicator that they had conquered an evil spirit in the first place (homage? What even is that?)?
Like all good guys that seal away something nasty, they foolishly demonstrated their trusting, good-guy nature of leaving things that should be locked away, hidden in plain sight, almost allowing Mr. Murtaz the opportunity to unwittingly let loose evil. Fortunately, unlike traditional Japanese RPGs, they at least had the foresight to realize what was happening before a demonic force waiting to open a portal to hell doomed us all, and the band got sucked into a 273-hour epic quest to restore peace to Earth.