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The Bodies Are Gone[]

ROM hacking. We all know it, we all love it. The ability to modify and change an existing game to fit your wants and needs - to tell your own stories - I would go as far as to call it an art form. That might not please everyone, but let me tell you, it takes a lot of effort. I’ve tried before. Especially with more recent games, ROM hacking can be hard. So, what’s my point? What am I getting at? Well, let me ask you a question. What do you consider a “full rom hack”? A complete overhaul of the game? Some minor texture edits? What do you take into account? Hi, I’m Guy. I’ve played a lot of ROM hacks. Mostly Pokemon, as that’s one of the most popular areas for ROM hacking, but every once and a while, I’ll play some other hacks too. Today, I’d like to talk about a strange one I played a while ago. A ROM hack of a game that, as far as I know, hasn’t even been released. One I can label with no other name but “The Bodies Are Gone”. Strange name, I know. It’ll make sense once I start talking about it, don’t worry. So a while back I was looking for some Wii games on eBay. I wanted to see if I could find some obscure games that never truly got any love. I found some guy selling a large collection of games. Looking through the selection, there were a lot I didn’t recognize, so I decided to buy a few. While making my selection of games from the collection, I noticed something odd. There was an option titled “Wii Bowling” that was separate from “Wii Sports”. Wii Bowling was never distributed as its own game - only part of Wii Sports. I decided to buy it just for the hell of it. It wasn’t all that expensive - like, 5 bucks - so I decided it wouldn’t kill me to spend a little extra money to see what it was. About a couple weeks later, the game selection had arrived in a small box. I had only ordered about 3 games besides “Wii Bowling”, so it wasn’t a terribly large selection. I cut open the box and pulled the games out. When I went to check what Wii Bowling was, I found that it was just a Wii Sports copy. What a shame. But that wasn’t the end of it. When I opened the case, I found a DVD. On the DVD in Sharpie was written “Wii Bowling”. Well, they didn’t lie, I thought to myself. So that begged the question. Was this just a copy of Wii Sports burned to some DVD? Or was this some sort of separate game? I took it upstairs. Putting it in my Wii, I waited for the disk channel to change into another channel. To my surprise, the Wii Sports banner didn’t load up. Instead, a banner for a new game that I had never seen before did. The game was titled “Alley Cat”. On the banner was a “Mii” cat, similar to the ones you’d see when weighing your cat in Wii Fit, with a big, golden “Alley Cat” logo, and a bowling alley in the background. I also noticed some text at the bottom. “PROTOTYPE BY DISKSPIN INTERACTIVE NOT FOR EXTERNAL USE” So what I collected from this was that this was a third-party game, not made officially by Nintendo, and that it was some sort of prototype or demo. I moved the cursor over to the start button and hit it. I waited for the game to boot up as I passed the health and safety warning. Finally, the game booted up. It showed the logo for this “DISKSPIN INTERACTIVE” company, before giving me a cinematic opening. From what I could tell, it showed from the perspective of a bowling ball, knocking over pins, which bursted into the title screen. I read over everything there. “ALLEY CAT! Copyright, The Bodies Are Gone” Followed by three buttons. “The bodies are gone.” “The bodies are gone.” “The bodies are gone.” I almost wanted to laugh. After that cinematic intro, and with this cheery music, the majority of the text on the screen is rather strange. “The bodies are gone”? Like, as in, “the corpses are not there anymore”? Also, the fact that the copyright was this strange sentence rather then the company in the intro and the banner lead me to believe there might have been some tampering with the game. Not entirely sure what to do at this point, I move the cursor around the screen aimlessly, and eventually hit the first “The bodies are gone” button, hoping that it was the start button. And it did appear tro be. The screen went black, and I was greeted with a black loading screen with a bowling ball icon in the bottom right. Afterwards, I was greeted with a VERY friendly screen.


The screen I was greeted with.

A blonde Mii with shades and a blue shirt in the spotlight, presumably named Phillip as that was the name on the dialogue box, gave me a friendly reminder that “the bodies are gone”. On the left were presumably controls for the Plus and Minus button, but their text was reduced to the same strange sentence. On the top was some scrolling text on a translucent black bar, again saying what I had seen almost a million times at this point. Not really sure what to do, I hit A. The screen went away, and I was prompted to select a Mii. I selected my own, who was promptly dropped in a bowling alley where I could walk around with the D-Pad. I could talk to some Mii NPCs with A, but they all said the same exact thing. “The bodies are gone.” I explored for a little bit, but I accidentally ran into some sort of trigger hitbox next to one of the bowling alleys, because my Mii walked up and I was prompted to start bowling, which worked basically exactly how it did in Wii Sports. I swung the ball toward the pins, sure I would get a strike. Unfortunately, we’ll never know if I did, because when the ball came in contact with the pins, I was greeted with the lovely, familiar sound of a crashing Wii. I tried restarting the game, the Wii, no matter how many times, the game would not let me hit any pins. And all of the text still gave me that strange message. “The bodies are gone.” I decided this wasn’t worth any more effort. I returned the disk to the seller, told him it was faulty, and got a refund. Reflecting on the experience, I’m pretty sure someone ROM hacked the game to change the majority of the text to say that message. Though, after doing some research, I think I found out why. DISKSPIN Interactive wasn’t a very large company. It was basically an indie games company, and Alley Cat would’ve only been their second game. Unfortunately, it was canceled, due to the CEO doing some… questionable things. You see, the CEO was a murderer. And while the police caught the criminal, as it turns out, he was exceptional at hiding bodies. It was almost like the bodies disappeared.. It was almost like the bodies were gone.

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