Item #: SCP-1881
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-1881 is to be kept unplugged in a regular store room. Direct testing of the item is restricted to D-Classes, which are to be interviewed weekly regarding potential aftereffects.
Description: SCP-1881 is an arcade machine of early 80s design. The design is consistent with the [REDACTED] brand, but most identifying marks in the casing have been removed or painted over. A joystick and a single button are set on the console: a similar setup for a second player appears to have been removed. The machine's internals are [DATA EXPUNGED] resolution of 256x224, with 16 colors.
The machine is functional, even though the hardware appears to be partially damaged: the screen frequently displays rendering glitches, a good section of the game's images and text are corrupted, and the sound often cracks and distorts.
The "title" screen does not display a title or any credits, only the phrase "INS#RT COIN". The machine works with standard United States quarters, and only one quarter may be used at a time. Once a quarter is inserted, SCP-1881 launches its game, termed SCP-1881-B.
SCP-1881-B is divided in "stages", each of which has different rules of gameplay, and which succeed each other apparently at random. Commonly seen stages are:
- "Spaceship": The player controls a spaceship under siege by an alien horde.
- "Maze": A humanoid player-controlled figure moves around a maze, chased by bats or dragons. The goal is to acquire as many "golds" as possible before leaving the maze.
- "Insect": The player avatar is a diminutive insect-like creature that must work its way up a large structure, while avoiding "spiders" and "frogs".
- "Drive": The player controls a car driving a curvy road, while avoiding obstacles.
- "Lines": An abstract puzzle game where the goal is to push lines around a field so as to surround bouncing "balls".
- "Jungle": The player avatar is a human moving through a forest-like environment, populated with thematic enemies and obstacles such as crocodiles, snakes and quicksand.
Other stages appear more rarely, offering various skill and/or strategic challenges. Notably no luck-based games appear to be represented, nor "sports" games where the opponent is of equal strength to the player.
The stages themselves do not play in the same way when seen again: enemies increase or decrease in number, the player's movement and abilities change, and obstacles vanish and reappear. Notable cases include:
- The "Spaceship" stage appearing with no enemies whatsoever: the only entity visible on screen was the player's ship, floating in empty space. The stage continued for about 3 minutes before the game declared "STAGE CL%AR" <sic>.
- The "Insect" stage not docking lives from the player upon death, instead keeping the character's corpse on the screen. Reaching the top of the construction required assembling a mountain of the character's own corpses.
- The "Jungle" stage's scenery being upside down, except for the player character, who fell off into the "sky".
- The "Jungle" stage featuring [DATA EXPUNGED] as enemies.
- The "Maze" stage having no exit, no powerups and progressively larger numbers of enemies until the player was overwhelmed.
About 30% of SCP-1881-B players report lasting psychological effects afterwards, in the form of nightmares related to its contents and occasional visual/auditory hallucinations (a common complaint is hearing sounds from the game when unaccompanied and in quiet areas). One interviewed case, who had access to SCP-1881 before it was contained, reported his home videogame console would occasionally launch SCP-1881-B instead of whatever game was inserted.
Note: SCP-1881 was recovered in ██/██/1982 from an arcade in ███████, Iowa, after a string of unexplained deaths of 7 teenagers, mostly males, called the Foundation's attention. All the victims died in their sleep, of respiratory arrest and/or cardiac attack. None of the victims suffered from life-threatening conditions beforehand: only 2 of the victims had a family history for heart conditions, and one for epilepsy. Of note is that names of five of the victims match initials in the SCP-1881-B's high score screen.