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RELEASE DATE (NA): December 2013 GENRE: Adventure
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

Shrek your wings and fly... away from this.

For years now, I've been having the same restless sleep. Each and every night, one hideous and malformed dream comes to my mind and I have difficulty shaking it away. As I live each and every one of my remaining days cowering in fear, I remember what happened to bring me to this state. It happened on the 3rd of May in the year 2014.

A friend of mine, a man I had trusted for many years of my life and to whom I owed a debt of gratitude, had died suddenly. His family told me nothing about how or why it had happened, but I expected some kind of underlying medical condition. He was the kind of person who would have kept issues a secret so as not to bother anybody. He had, unbeknownst to me, left a will, which had included myself amongst the list of recipients. The will covered a lot of his rather unimportant and seemingly worthless belongings, such as CDs of bands nobody ever listened to or used AA batteries that hadn't been properly disposed of.

He had left me his USB memory sticks. Downloaded photographs of cats, print-screened social justice victories from Facebook, copied music from the Internet... With file recovery software, I found his collection of pornography, though even with my poor moral standing I couldn't bring myself to look through it. Among the deleted files, however, was one conspicious *.exe file. "Integuments Shadow of Shrek".

Without even thinking about it, I recovered the deleted executable. I knew better than to open unfamiliar executable files, and I felt bad for recovering something that someone had deleted, and I felt horrible going through the trash that once belonged to a dead man, but I felt myself drawn towards the file. A sense of ogrewhelming curiosity. It had a pixel-art representation of Shrek, the famous Dreamworks characters, for its icon. But Shrek appeared to have a perplexed expression. No, it was that of fear.

As the game started, I felt immersed, as though I had entered the game. For a moment, I forgot that I was even playing one. I stood atop a tower. All I could see for miles around were mountains. The game played like a first-person shooter, but I didn't have any weapons. My vision seemed stretched, and started to feel sick. I noticed a nearby TV, disconnected. The time was displayed on the screen, 7:12am. I knew that couldn't be the right time. I could hear music playing, ah, it was coming from the TV. "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees. I shrugged, thinking to myself, some kind of art game, or perhaps placeholder content.

I descended the stairs of the tower, making my way outside. There were a lot of stairs. I grew more and more uncomfortable. As I left the building, there was a forest path ahead of me. I followed the path until I saw a figure standing in the distance, cloaked in darkness. Was it Shrek?

He turned to face me. I panicked. He stared at me. I felt him touch my soul.

After hallucinating and seeing floating onions, I came to, in a house. A picture of a stack of pancakes wearing an astronaut's suit... Ah yes, home sweet home.

In the distance, from my open doorway, I could see a building, or something. I ran there, excited. But I grew increasingly frightened.

But what I saw... was a Shrek balloon float! The horror that came over me, I felt sickened to the very depths of my stomach.

I needed to find a toilet. A door marked "W/C". I reached for the door.

The game abruptly returned to the desktop -- I suddenly realized that the game had somehow enveloped me inside, and I had felt as though I were in the game. This made me uncomfortable, but I shook off that thought. Wait a second, I thought, I don't remember leaving Notepad open... And what awaited me when I switched to the program, I will always remember...

I panicked. I could do as he said. Turn the game off. Or... I felt an urge to continue. I wasn't going to stop now. Somehow I was driven, maybe through curiosity, to find out what was really happening. Perhaps my friend had left a message for me inside the game, maybe he knew I would go searching through his deleted files. I had thought, that perhaps he had made this game and put in this warning to ward off others so that a message could be delivered only to me. I gulped and switched back to the game.

I found myself in a bizarre world. I remembered it well, the hub world from L.S.D. Dream Simulator on the PlayStation. He must have ported the level into the game.

I found my way out and then appeared in the game world from Yume Nikki, another famous game with similar themes. I was confused.

And then, I felt driven by some strange madness to throw myself off the balcony. I did so, and the credits began to roll, accompanied by a musical number. I could hear my friend's voice, almost bloodcurdlingly frightened, saying "I swear to God, I want to slit my wrists". I freaked out. Was this what happened to him?!

The game, once again, returned to the desktop. And open, in Notepad, was another message...

Since then, I have seen my friend every night. He warns me that Shrek is coming for me. He tells me that it isn't Ogre. The face of Shrek will be the last thing I see before I die. No, that isn't accurate. No... When I have passed from this world into the unknown and frightening abyss of uncertainty, one thing is for certain... I will have become Shrek itself.

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