When Tate finds an old video game in the confiscated items bin at school he swipes it and takes it home, thrilled that it seems to be a game based on an old horror movie. There's certainly no horror to the game play, but will Tate ultimately be beyond horrified once he finds out what defeating the three witches in the game does to his family? More
If anyone asked Tate's overprotective mother Jamie, she'd say that her son was going through a phase, dressing in black all the time, moping around, concerning everyone in the family. But as Tate sees it, he's just expressing himself and would rather be left well enough alone by everyone, especially his mother and older sister Michelle. As for his younger sister Taylor, she's much more tolerable but still worries too much about him.
Sure, he's been in detention most afternoons, but not for anything bad, just for refusing to join in and preferring solitary creative time to himself. But today, during his favorite month when all things creepy and horrific are widely celebrated, he finally has a rare reason to smile.
Obviously his family is quick to notice as he ignores them and heads to his room, some worrying more, some less because at least he seems less mopey. And what could be the reason for this sudden mood swing, what has the somber dismal Tate so unusually excited getting home from detention?
He found a video game in the confiscated items bin while sitting in detention by himself. It was just lying there and he knew they wouldn't miss it until the end of the semester. Not only that but this video game was an old cartridge based horror video game, a parody of an old movie he remembers seeing a long time ago.
The name of the game is SINtendo pumpkinHEAD and Tate knows the movie was pretty graphic and twisted. He only hopes the game is too... but when Tate plugs this cartridge into a universal cartridge reader game system he got for old secondhand games long ago, he is quick to discover that it's nothing like what he thought it was, certainly nothing remotely scary about the cheesy game he sees appear in pixilated glory on his bedroom TV.
Instead of a horror game, it's clearly a ripoff of Pac-Man but instead of a yellow character eating dots while getting chased by colorful ghosts, this game has a character called pumpkinHEAD, a simply animated pumpkin that chomps on floating candy corn dots in a grid like maze with three random poorly animated witches replacing the ghosts.
Bothered by all his excitement and clearly misplaced enthusiasm, Tate decides to play the game anyway, since the rules are a little different than Pac-Man. For one thing, the candy corn dots will continue to reappear until he successfully chomps down each of the witch characters, and Tate is pretty amused that the three witches look remarkably similar, at least as similar as a bunch of colored pixels can look, to his mother and sisters
And so begins the game of SINtendo pumpkinHEAD. Yet what Tate could never in his most creative imaginings conceive of is that as he chomps down the first witch, chasing her in the simple maze grid and watching her vanish in a colorful little animation, the family member she looked like is simultaneously experiencing something truly bizarre.
Beginning with Michelle, his older sister, currently out at a restaurant meeting a professor of hers to discuss a potential scholarship she is up for, the elimination of the witches in SINtendo pumpkinHEAD leaves their real counterpart with an impossible to ignore obsession for giving head wherever they are, at least after they see a pumpkin.
With Halloween right around the corner, pumpkins and pumpkin decor is everywhere, including that restaurant where good girl Michelle drops to her knees and crawls under the table.
Soon it's Jamie, Tate's mom, heading over to the neighbor she can't stand, letting him know just what she thinks of the carved pumpkins he has decorating the front of his home.
And after Taylor... Tate has won his game, but are there really winners when he has no idea what he inadvertently just did to his own family... his own kin? It's all there in the title of the game, even if he can't see it until it's too late, until the most frightening end of the day he ever could imagined arrives. SINtendo pump-kin-HEAD.
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