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It’s not something whispered about in certain circles, it’s not something that comes in a plain-looking jewel case, it’s not by a nameless untraceable developer… and it’s certainly not supernatural.

The game in question is indeed called The Theatre (r before e), and was developed by a company called Salida Software. I’m fairly certain it’s an English company, despite the Spanish name. As far as I know, all they made was learning software (I have a maths suite from them lying around somewhere), so The Theatre was likely meant to be some sort of edu-tainment game. It was obviously never finished, probably from lack of funding or the parent company going under.

The description in the original story is actually pretty accurate; it’s in a first-person perspective with flat sprites in a 3D-ish environment, and it's glitchy as hell. The Ticket Taker has an egg-shaped body, and one of his hands is huge and misshapen, I think to look like he’s reaching toward you for your ticket. The description of the Swirly Head Man is also accurate - he's a glitched version of the Ticket Taker. I saw a few people saying that he looks like Giygas, but that’s not the case. The features of his face are red because his lips are gigantic. I have absolutely no idea why his face is swirled, though, because while there are a few character sprites in the game’s resources, that isn’t one of them. Oh, and just to clarify, the sprite is a bit creepy. That’s all. It’s not terrifying. It’s never filled me with a sense of dread. It’s just a bit creepy.

The game plays pretty much exactly as stated in the story; so accurately, in fact, that I think the author must have downloaded it somewhere themselves and wrote based off their own experience. I’ll admit that some things in it can be unsettling, but not OMG crap-yer-pants scary. Like I said, the game is unfinished, and very glitchy.

The idea was that you'd select a movie from one of the posters on the wall, enter the theater, and play a minigame. The minigames are buggy and missing resources, to the point of being almost unplayable. There doesn’t seem to be a time limit for any of them, so you just have to plow through until you’ve done something right enough times to be dumped back into the lobby. What’s described in the story is what happens if you don’t select a movie; you’ll be allowed to enter the theater, but since the parameter of which game to load hasn’t been set, you’ll just be dumped back into the lobby.

Here’s where it gets a bit weird. If you continue to enter the theater without choosing a movie, odd and sometimes creepy things WILL happen. I’m not sure why, but if I were to make an educated guess, it'd be that glitching past the minigames like this causes variables to reach values that they weren’t meant to, resulting in things appearing where they shouldn’t. Or, y’know, the game is just messed up to hell and back. It’s been years, but here are some of the effects I can remember:

  • The Swirly Head Man's presence.
  • Movie posters appearing out of their frame.
  • Textures changing color.
  • A legitimately disturbing audio issue.
  • Other characters showing up.
  • Other areas becoming unlocked.

The last two are obviously the most interesting ones. Sometimes, you’ll spawn into a small room with a black floor and green walls, which will crash the game if touched. Sometimes, you’ll appear in a room similar to the lobby, with a concession stand… kind of. There’s a woman behind the counter with an incredibly poorly-drawn popcorn machine and soda fountain, but it’s all just an image on the wall, a big yellow concession stand mural. I don’t remember if you can interact with it or not.

The only other character worth talking about is a guy in a brown jacket who appears on the sidewalk outside the lobby. Looking back, I don’t think the story mentions this, but to the left of where you start out, there's a row of glass doors looking out onto the street outside the theater. If you glitch past the minigames enough, a man in weird-looking jacket (I think it’s supposed to be tweed?) with a huge smile on his face will appear on the other side of the doors, staring at you. And when I say 'a huge smile', I mean a HUGE smile, like Freaky Fred or Spark Brushel (both of whom you can Google image search if you want).

…Actually, since the brown jacket man has the same body shape as the Ticket Taker, he looks a bit like the mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas. His smile isn’t creepy, though, it’s just broad. What IS creepy are his eyes. While the Ticket Taker, ashtray, and other sprites will always face you, the smiling guy is anchored in place like one of the walls. His eyes, however, are always staring right at you. Just thinking about that gives me chills… there’s nothing overtly scary or supernatural about the game itself, but that’s one thing that I will admit legitimately scares me. They're like a porcelain doll's…

Ahem. That’s pretty much all there is to The Theatre. If you can find it somewhere, I’d recommend downloading it just to see what it’s like. Oh, one thing I’d forgotten… as stated in the story, getting the game to run is, to say the least, difficult, but I think someone got a hold of all of the code and resources and compiled it and added their own installer or something. Again, there’s nothing paranormal about the installation, it just doesn’t work well.

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Original author unknown

Originally uploaded on June 30th, 2011