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Full list of upcoming games on the Nintendo Switch (US) (Updated 10/24/2020)
For those looking at this list and not sure what's likely to be noteworthy, I have compiled a page for noteworthy releases in October. Please give them a look if you want to see what games are likely to be some of October's highlights!
As for the full list of upcoming games, here you go:
|Games||Release date||Date confirmed by?|
|Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia (Multiple Versions)||11/3/20||Nintendo.com|
|Hunting Simulator 2||11/3/20||Nintendo.com|
|Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition||11/3/20||Nintendo.com|
|My Universe - School Teacher||11/3/20||Nintendo.com|
|Pick Me Up! - Rescue Rangers -||11/4/20||Nintendo.com|
|Battle Hunters||11/5/20||Official Trailer|
|Crazy BMX World||11/5/20||Official Press Release (Via Gamasutra.com)|
|Fantasy Tavern Sextet -Vol.1 New World Days-||11/5/20||Nintendo.com|
|Iris and the Giant||11/5/20||Nintendo.com|
|My Little Dog Adventure||11/5/20||Nintendo.com|
|My Riding Stables 2: A New Adventure||11/5/20||Nintendo.com|
|Outbreak the Nightmare Chronicles||11/5/20||Nintendo.com|
|Seven Knights: Time Wanderer||11/5/20||Nintendo.com|
|What the Fork||11/5/20||Nintendo.com|
|PAW Patrol Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay||11/6/20||Nintendo.com|
|Red Rope: Don't Fall Behind +||11/6/20||Nintendo.com|
|Trail Boss BMX||11/6/20||Nintendo.com|
|Tropico 6: Nintendo Switch Edition||11/6/20||Nintendo.com|
|Re:Turn - One Way Trip||11/7/20||Nintendo.com|
|My Universe - Cooking Star Restaurant||11/10/20||Official Website|
|Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin||11/10/20||Nintendo.com|
|Slide Stars||11/10/20||Official Website|
|Speed 3: Grand Prix||11/10/20||Nintendo.com|
|Just Dance 2021||11/12/20||Nintendo.com|
|Santa's Xmas Adventure||11/12/20||Nintendo.com|
|Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory||11/13/20||Nintendo.com|
|Let's Sing 2021||11/13/20||Official Website|
|Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered||11/13/20||Nintendo.com|
|Professor Rubik's Brain Fitness||11/17/20||Official Website|
|Sniper Elite 4||11/17/20||Nintendo.com|
|Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?||11/17/20||Nintendo.com|
|Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity||11/20/20||Nintendo.com|
|Monster Truck Championship||11/24/20||Nintendo.com|
|Death Crown||November 2020||Official Trailer|
|Ghostrunner||November 2020||Official Press Release (via Gamasutra)|
|Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal||November 2020||Official Website|
|Chronos: Before the Ashes||12/1/20||Official Twitter Post|
|Empire of Sin||12/1/20||Nintendo.com|
|Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate||12/2/20||Official Twitter Post|
|Immortals Fenyx Rising||12/3/20||Nintendo.com|
|Morbid: The Seven Acolytes||12/3/20||Nintendo.com|
|Taiko No Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack||12/3/20||Official Trailer|
|Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light||12/4/20||Nintendo.com|
|Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise||12/4/20||Nintendo.com|
|John Wick Hex||12/4/20||Nintendo.com|
|Nine Witches: Family Disruption||12/4/20||Nintendo.com|
|Monster Sanctuary||12/8/20||Official trailer|
|Puyo Puyo Tetris 2||12/8/20||Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase August 2020|
|Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend||12/15/20||Nintendo.com|
|Override 2: Super Mech League||December 2020||Official Trailer|
|Pretty Princess Party||December 2020||Official Website|
|Cyanide and Happiness: Freakpocalypse: Part 1 (Timed Console Exclusive)||Fall 2020||Nintendo.com|
|Cyber Shadow||Fall 2020||Official Website|
|Eldest Souls (Timed Console Exclusive)||Fall 2020||Nintendo.com|
|PixelJunk Eden 2||Fall 2020||Nintendo.com|
|Skyforge||Fall 2020||Official Trailer|
|Harvest Moon: One World||Autumn 2020 (European Release Date)||Nintendo.co.uk|
|Toy Soldiers HD||Autumn 2020||Official Website|
|Alchemic Cutie||Q4 2020||Official Website|
|Alter Cosmos||Q4 2020||Official Website|
|Circadian City||Q4 2020||Announce Trailer|
|Counter Terrorist Agency||Q4 2020||Official Website|
|Defense Corp||Q4 2020||Developer Comment on Reddit|
|Ever Forward||Q4 2020||Official Website|
|Metal Revolution||Q4 2020||Official Announcement on New Game+ Expo Live Stream (via Gematsu)|
|Train Mechanic Simulator||Q4 2020||Official Website|
|Golden Force||Last Quarter 2020||Official Trailer|
|Clive 'N' Wrench||Winter 2020||Official Trailer|
|Commandos 2 HD Remaster||Winter 2020||Official Twitter Post|
|B.Ark (Timed Exclusive)||Late 2020||Nintendo.com|
|Beach Buggy Racing 2||Late 2020||Official Website|
|Dicey Dungeons||Late 2020||Nintendo.com|
|Hoa||Late 2020||Wholesome Direct 5-26-2020|
|Quantum League||Late 2020||Nintendo.com|
|Signs of the Sojourner||Late 2020||Official Trailer|
|World of Horror||Late 2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Dangerous Driving 2||Holiday 2020||Official Website|
|King of Seas||Holiday 2020||Official Trailer|
|Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game Complete Edition||Holiday 2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Speed 3 Grand Prix||Holiday 2020||Official Trailer|
|Astrodogs||2020||Developer post on Reddit|
|Black Book||2020||Official Trailer|
|Bladed Fury||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Breakpoint||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Car Mechanic Flipper||2020||Official Website|
|Circuit Superstars||2020||Official Website|
|Cthulhu: Books of Ancients||2020||Official Website|
|DARQ: Complete Edition||2020||Official Trailer|
|Devil's Hunt||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Door Kickers||2020||QubicGames 2020 Direct|
|Farm & Fix 2020||2020||Official Website|
|Farm Manager 2018||2020||Official Website|
|Flipper Mechanic||2020||Official Website|
|God Fire||2020||QubicGames 2020 Direct|
|Good Night Knight||2020||QubicGames 2020 Direct|
|Greak: Memories of Azur||2020||Official Trailer|
|Hatch Tales (Formerly Chicken Wiggle Workshop)||2020||Official Website|
|Hazel Sky||2020||Official Trailer|
|Heaven's Vault||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Hellpoint||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Hero: Flood Rescue||2020||Official Website|
|Hindsight 20/20||2020||Announce Trailer|
|Kingpin: Reloaded||2020||Official Trailer|
|Littlewood||2020||Official Twitter Page|
|Lords of Exile||2020||Official Website/Official Trailer|
|Mail Mole||2020||Official Trailer|
|Maneater||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Moon Village||2020||Official Website|
|Mushrooms: Forest Walker||2020||Official Website|
|N1RV Ann-A||2020||Announce Trailer|
|Necrobarista||2020||Official Twitter Page|
|Nyx: The Awakening||2020||Official Reveal Teaser/Official Website|
|Olija||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Videogame||2020||Official Website|
|P.U.G.S. Agents||2020||Official Website|
|Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire||2020||Interview With Developer|
|Plastic Rebellion||2020||Official Website|
|Poker Club 4K||2020||Official Trailer|
|Real Boxing 2||2020||QubicGames 2020 Direct|
|Samurai Gunn 2||2020||Nintendo.com|
|Spacebase Startopia||2020||Announce Trailer|
|Spin Rhythm XD||2020||Announce Trailer|
|Tennis World Tour 2||2020||Official Trailer|
|The Good Life||2020||Nintendo.com|
|This Is Pool||2020||Official Website|
|This Is Snooker||2020||Official Website|
|Those Who Remain||2020||Official Twitter Page|
|Trigger Witch||2020||Kinda Funny Games E3 Showcase|
|Unheard||2020||Official Twitter Post|
|Unlucky Seven||2020||Official Website|
|Unto the End||2020||Official Trailer|
|Purrtato Tail: By the Light of the Elderstar||2020 "or when it's done"||Official Fact Sheet|
|House Designer||2020/2021||Official Website|
|Ring of Life: Survive in Proxima||2020/2021||Official Website|
|Gal*Gun Returns||1/28/21||Official Trailer|
|Märchen Forest||1/28/21||Official Press Release (via Gamasutra.com)|
|Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy||1/29/21||Official Twitter Post (Koei Tecmo Europe)|
|Re:Zero – The Prophecy of the Throne||1/29/21||Official Trailer|
|Little Nightmares II||2/1/21||Official Twitter Post|
|Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury||2/12/21||Nintendo.com|
|Fallen Legion: Revenants||2/16/21||Official Trailer|
|Wings of Darkness||2/25/21||Official Press Release (via Gamasutra.com)|
|Wrath: Aeon of Ruin||2/25/21||Official Website|
|Bravely Default II||2/26/21||Nintendo.com|
|Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town||3/23/21||Nintendo.com|
|Balan Wonderworld||3/26/21||Official Twitter Post|
|Monster Hunter Rise||3/26/21||Nintendo.com|
|Turrican Anthology Vol. 1||February/March 2021||Official Website|
|Turrican Anthology Vol. 2||February/March 2021||Official Website|
|King's Bounty II||March 2021||Official Trailer|
|Sky: Children of the Light||"A few months into 2021"||Official Website|
|Blue Fire (Timed Exclusive)||Q1 2021||Nintendo.com|
|House Secrets: The Beginning||Q1 2021||Official Website|
|Lord Winklebottom Investigates||Q1 2021||Official Website|
|Pet Clinic - Cats & Dogs||Q1 2021||Official Website|
|Root Film||Q1 2021||Official Press Release (via Gamasutra.com)|
|Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World||Q1 2021||Official Gamescom Trailer (via IGN)|
|Turrican Collector's Edition||April/May 2021||Official Website|
|Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions||Spring 2021||Nintendo.com|
|Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality||Spring 2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassin||Spring 2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga||Spring 2021||Official Trailer|
|R-Type Final 2||Spring 2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster||Spring 2021||Nintendo Direct Mini 7-20-20 Partner Showcase|
|Surviving the Aftermath||Spring 2021||Nintendo.com|
|Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion||Spring 2021||Official Trailer|
|Foreclosed||Q2 2021||Developer Interview|
|Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ (Multiple Versions)||Early 2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Cris Tales||Early 2021||Official Website|
|Poison Control||Early 2021||Official Trailer|
|Subnautica: Below Zero||Early 2021||Nintendo.com|
|Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny (Nintendo Switch Exclusive in US)||Summer 2021||Nintendo.com|
|Griftlands: Nintendo Switch Edition||Summer 2021||Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase October 2020|
|Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin||Summer 2021||Nintendo.com|
|Ys IX: Monstrum Nox||Summer 2021||Official Trailer|
|Party Crasher Simulator||Second Half of 2021||Official Press Release|
|The Lord of the Rings: Gollum||Late 2021||Gamescom 2020 presentation (via Dailyradar)|
|Aeon Must Die||2021||Official Trailer|
|Apex Legends||2021||Official Website|
|Artifact Hunter||2021||Official Website|
|Axiom Verge 2||2021||Official Website|
|Azur Lane: Crosswave Sails the Seas||2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Bear and Breakfast (Timed console exclusive)||2021||Nintendo.com|
|Digimon Survive||2021||Anime Expo panel (relayed by NintendoEverything.com)/Official Twitter Post|
|Dual Gear||2021||Official Trailer|
|Earth Defense Force: World Brothers||2021||Official Trailer (Gamespot Exclusive)|
|Gamedec||2021||Official Trailer (Gamescom 2020)|
|Lenin - The Lion||2021||Official Trailer|
|Lost in Random||2021||Official Press Release|
|Lost Words||2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Mineko's Night Market||2021||Nintendo.com|
|No More Heroes 3||2021||Nintendo.com/Official Twitter Post|
|Phantom Breaker Omnia||2021||Official Trailer (via IGN)|
|Port Royale 4||2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Rogue Lords||2021||Official Trailer|
|Rune Factory 5||2021||Nintendo.com|
|Serial Cleaners||2021||Official Trailer|
|She Dreams Elsewhere||2021||Nintendo.com|
|Shin Megami Tensei V||2021||Nintendo Direct Mini 7-20-20 Partner Showcase|
|Skatebird||2021||Indie World Showcase 12.10.2019/Official Statement on Kickstarter.com|
|Starbase Startopia||2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Saviors of Sapphire Wings/Stranger of Sword City Revisited||2021||Official Trailer|
|Summer at the Edge of the Universe||2021||Official Twitter Post|
|The Legend of Bum-bo||2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Tormented Souls||2021||Official Trailer|
|Trails of Cold Steel IV||2021||Official Trailer|
|Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong||2021||Official Trailer|
|Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground||2021||Official Trailer (via IGN - Gamescom 2020)|
|Where Cards Fall||2021||Official Trailer|
|XIII||2021||Official Twitter Post|
|Narco Tycoon||First Half of 2022||Official Press Release (via Gamasutra)|
|Sea of Stars||2022||Official Trailer/Official Trailer|
I miss anything? Mis-marked exclusivity? Have an official source with updated info? Let me know!
Reflections on the 1992 Chuck E. Cheese Ball Pit Incident
I was sixteen years old at the time. I’d recently landed the esteemed job of “dish boy” at the local Chuck E. Cheese franchise. At the time, ball pits were still very much a thing.
They’re calling 2020 “The Year the Ball Pit Died.” Actually, that’s just what I’m calling it. But I don’t see a resurgence of ball pits taking place after the coronavirus clears up. I say good riddance for a couple of reasons. First, ball pits are fucking disgusting, if you didn’t know that already. Second –– well, let me give you a bit more background, then it will all make a lot more sense. Maybe with enough context, you’ll believe what happened to me.
Back to ‘92. As a sixteen-year-old Chuck E. Cheese dish boy, part of my job was to “clean the pit.” At the end of every month, we’d pull all the balls out, put them on massive tarps, spray them with disinfectant, then pile them back in. It took hours. You wouldn’t believe the type of shit we found at the bottom of the pit. Cheap toys kids had won in the arcade, beloved blankets belonging to little girls and boys, lost forever in the sea of plastic, and moldy slices of pizza that had been there for weeks, just to name a few treasures.
Because it took so much effort to take out the balls, we did preventative maintenance. After closing every night, I got sent into the danger zone with a bottle of OdoBan and a fresh roll of Bounty paper towels, with the express purpose of identifying “dirty balls” and “giving them a once over.” Despite the task sucking mightily, my fellow high school co-workers and I had some good laughs.
The manager of the franchise –– who also owned it –– reminded me a lot of Gustavo Fring from Breaking Bad. Not because he was Chilean (he wasn’t), nor because he owned a meth empire (he didn’t, at least not that I know of). But the manager had this crazy attention to detail and expectation for excellence. He would make his Chuck E. Cheese franchise the most successful of all time or die trying. He did die trying. Heart attack, ‘94. But that’s not the focus of this story, so let’s get back to it.
Ball pits, yeah. Disgusting and impossible to clean. Kids, faces smeared with grease and cheese, would dive into the fucker head first. I shit you not, one time I saw this kid standing on the edge of the pit and taking a piss right into the middle of the thing.
No bueno. Especially in 2020. Not a chance governors are signing off on that shit again.
You probably haven’t heard much about what I’m going to tell you. As I mentioned earlier, most people haven’t because it took place in ‘92 in a shithole, mid-Atlantic suburb. There was some brief press about what happened, a few urban legends about the dangers of letting your kids go near a ball pit (right alongside the ones about HIV-laced needles being put in the coin slot of public payphones), but eventually, the cops chalked what happened up to a standard abduction.
That was that. Kids started diving in headfirst all over again.
The kid who disappeared was named Miles Penrose. Eight years old. He was attending the birthday party of one of his friends. All their families were there, the moms chatting about their suburban existences, the dads pounding beer and talking about the glory days. The party started at around three o’clock, and they booked a roped off area until seven. Four hours of the kids going wild, slurping Coke, scarfing down pies as fast as the cooks could make them.
A little after four o’clock, Miles went missing. And his mom went ballistic. They shut down the restaurant, made sure everyone stayed inside, and the cops started taking statements. There were so many people there that the questioning went long past midnight. Miles’ mom continued melting down. His dad stared around angrily, accusing everyone in the restaurant with his eyes.
There’s a classic Hollywood plotline that you have 72 hours, three days, until your chances of finding whoever went missing winnow down to zilch. But Miles was long gone as soon as he went below the surface of the ball pit. And no one saw what happened but me.
I was busing tables when I saw a flash of movement, stopped, and looked through the ball pit area’s plastic windows. Miles had been standing alone in the pit, smiling. If he was actually friends with whoever’s birthday it was –– and not just a sympathy invite –– he sure as hell wasn’t one of the popular kids. Quiet looking type. Red hair. Goofy smile. Fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. But for the few seconds I saw him before he disappeared, I could tell he was a nice kid. Just gave off that vibe.
Suddenly, from all around Miles, pale arms reached up. Seven arms, exactly. The arms were so translucently pale that the veins stood out like dark blue extension cords. Miles’ expression changed to one of utter horror. Whatever was beneath the pit had grabbed onto him. I thought it was just other kids messing around at first. But the arms looked old, almost dead. Like they’d come from beyond the grave.
Miles started slipping below the surface of the pit. He was screaming. I could see his terrified expression through the plastic windows. But the other kids were screaming too, high on sugar and having the time of their lives. Nobody noticed when Miles went below completely. He was reaching out of the pit up toward some invisible life preserver that wasn’t there. Our eyes met for a second, then one of the hands reached up, covered his face, and yanked him violently beneath.
The only sign Miles had been there at all was a small disturbance in the pit, the balls trying to follow the source of whatever was pulling downward. Sort of like Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi, grains of sand falling into a dark, gaping maw. But the pit was so stuffed with plastic balls that there was nowhere for them to go. They just rolled around on top of each other as Miles disappeared.
The kids carried on playing. I stumbled to the back of the restaurant with a plastic container full of dishes and started cleaning them, too terrified to tell anyone what actually happened.
Thirty minutes later, Miles’ mom noticed he was gone and went looking for him.
The cops questioned me, just like everyone else in the restaurant. I was the only one with a story worth considering.
“I saw him disappear into the ball pit.”
“Yeah, he disappeared.”
“What do you mean he disappeared?”
“There were seven hands, all around him. They reached from underneath, like they were coming up from a grave or something. Then they pulled him down.”
The cops looked at each other. I could tell they thought I was just some dumb kid being a pain in the ass.
“You watch a lot of horror movies, son?”
“Yeah, I do.”
It was the truth. I wasn’t going to lie to the cops. I’ve always loved horror movies.
“Horror movies about zombies, maybe? The living dead?”
“Why does it matter?”
“We’ll ask the questions, son.”
The managefranchise owner, the one who died two years later from a heart attack, came over.
“Is there a problem, officers?”
The cops shook their heads.
“No problem. Just taking statements from the young man here. But we’re finished.”
The franchise owner grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me aside.
“Get your ass back to the kitchen and clean the dishes.”
I hustled away, wanting to tell the cops more but knowing I’d missed my opportunity.
That was just the beginning of the night for me. The manager told me to call home and tell my parents I’d be helping empty the ball pit to look for signs of Miles. No one believed me that he’d disappeared into the pit, but the cops decided to empty the thing anyway.
Two hours later, after we got all of the balls out, I saw something strange. I’d never seen it before, even though I’d cleaned out that pit a half dozen times.
Built into the wood floor of the pit, past slices of rotten pizza and cheap plastic toys kids had won in the arcade, there was a trap door. Snagged on a rusty, protruding nail at the trap door’s edge, there was a coin purse. It was one of those fake kiddy wallets that moms give their sons and daughters on trips to places like Chuck E. Cheese so they don’t carry around a bunch of loose change in their pockets.
I looked closely at the coin purse to see that it was embroidered with a name:
When I told the cops who were helping out about the trap door, they came over to take a look. The manager, huffing and puffing, shoved me out of the way. He looked ready to commit murder.
“What’s under the trap door?” one of the cops asked.
“Crawl space,” said the franchise owner. “No one goes down there anymore. We’ve long since tossed the stuff that had been stored under the floorboards, mostly trash and old tools. This building used to be a machine shop.”
The cops insisted on having a look. The unlucky guy who drew the short straw went underneath with a flashlight, but he didn’t find any sign of Miles. There was no exit point, either. The trap door led into the crawl space beneath the building, but nothing led out.
When all was said and done, they chalked Miles’ case up as a standard disappearance. Seventy-two hours passed. Then a week. Then a month. After six months, they stopped looking. Miles’ mom came to the restaurant every day, walking into the ball pit area and looking around for her lost son. On a couple of occasions, she pulled me aside, recognizing me as the one who’d said Miles had disappeared beneath the plastic balls.
After catching me talking to Miles’ mom for the third or fourth time, the manager told me to pack my shit and get out.
Twenty-eight years have passed since the day Miles Penrose disappeared at the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in the town I’ve long since left. I’m middle-aged now. Well, not exactly middle-aged. I’m fifty-four. I’m twice divorced and have one kid I talk to, one who hates my guts. But let’s not get into that. The direction my life has gone is a bit of a sore subject.
Up until November of last year, 2019, I hadn’t thought about what happened to Miles for a decade or more. Life does that to you. Memory is weird. You only reserve mental space for the essential stuff. Looking back, it makes me sad that Miles’ memory wasn’t essential after a while, but that’s just the way things go.
So, November 2019. Right as the coronavirus was heating up, but not quite a state of emergency yet. Ball pits were still allowed, as was in-person dining. My friend, his wife, and I went to a fancy gala in the city. It was an art exhibit put on by this fancy pants auteur from Europe. $200 a ticket, but it was an all-you-can-eat lobster feed, so I was onboard.
Only when I walked in did I realize that the centerpiece of the exhibit was a giant ball pit. There were a bunch of white, plastic balls piled into a big above ground pool. Around the pool was a deck with the buffet and dining tables, everything built atop scaffolding covered in artificial turf, so it looked like a hillside.
Summer Vacation. That was the name of the exhibit. Funny timing, because it was winter, one of the coldest ones on record in the city I’d relocated to. Blizzards had been bombarding the city for weeks, and one was currently raging, covering the urban landscape in snow.
A lump rose in my throat when we got inside. I had avoided ball pits like the plague since what happened in ‘92. I insisted that we leave, but my friend and his wife reminded me that the tickets were nonrefundable. They had no idea about the trauma I’d experienced as a sixteen-year-old. It became the topic of conversation for the first part of dinner until we switched to talking about something else I can’t remember.
I watched, out of the corner of my eye, as person after person jumped into the pit. Moms and dads. Grandmas and grandpas. People were reliving their childhood, which I think was the point of the exhibit. There were kids there too, the sons and daughters of filthy rich patrons of the arts.
What happened next was almost exactly the same as what happened to Miles Penrose in ‘92. A little girl was standing in the pit by herself. Her name was Sarah Wallace. She was blonde-haired and rosy-cheeked, smiling in a state of complete and utter bliss as she watched people of all ages jump in.
Suddenly, from around her, pale arms protruded from the pit. Seven arms, exactly, streaked with veins so dark that they may as well have been black. Sarah screamed, but once again, no one heard her. People were too busy talking about art, screaming in jubilation, and chomping down all-you-can-eat lobster to notice.
I jumped up from my table and ran full speed, leaping into the pit where she’d gone under. I did my best to swim beneath the plastic balls, but they were too thick. I just slipped around, the mass of plastic preventing my progress.
I climbed out and noticed everyone who’d come to the gala was looking at me –– some with smiles, thinking I’d joined in on the fun, some with looks of terror that a 50-year-old man was flailing around like a crazy person. Sarah Wallace’s mom was scanning the area for her daughter. Our eyes met, she registered what had happened, and she began to scream.
The way it played out after that was eerily similar to the way it had happened in ‘92. Cops came. They questioned people. They questioned me thoroughly, given that I was the one who’d noticed Sarah was gone. They emptied the pit. But the difference between this time and ‘92 was that there was no trapdoor. The base of the pool was made of a solid piece of plastic.
The standard seventy-two hours passed, but I’d known the second Sarah disappeared into the pit that she was gone, just like Miles.
It was late on a Sunday. I was at my expensive downtown loft, alone. The loft is up on the third floor. There’s nothing outside –– no fire escape, no nothing. If you open the window and step out, you’re falling onto hard concrete forty feet below.
That night I’d been busy researching the history of ball pits, searching Google’s archives for news of disappearances at McDonald’s, Chuck E. Cheese, and Burger King restaurants throughout the 90s. But I was coming up short.
Then, all of a sudden, the power went out. I didn’t think much of it. The blizzard, raging for weeks, had caused the power to go out a bunch of times already.
The apartment cloaked in darkness, I walked to my bedroom thinking about Sarah Wallace. With the combination of heat blasting inside my apartment and cold air hitting the glass from the outside, there was thick condensation on all the windows. I got into bed despite knowing that sleep was a long way off. It had been hard to come by since what happened three days earlier at the art gala.
Something terrifying happened then. I noticed movement outside my bedroom window, obscured by the condensation. But it wasn’t physically possible. There was no fire escape. It was a straight drop, forty feet to the street below. Sure, window cleaners came once every six months, but it was almost midnight, and they’d already come the previous week.
I got up from my bed and walked to the window to investigate the movement. When I got to the window, there was a massive BANG, like a hand had slapped the other side. The glass rattled. I stumbled back into my bed, forced to take a seat on the edge.
I saw seven hands appear on the other side of the window. They began tracing something in the condensation. But that wasn’t possible either. They were on the wrong side of the glass. The condensation was on the inside.
Still, the tracing continued. My heart jackhammered in my chest. I closed my eyes. When I opened them, there was a message.
“I will stop sniffing around like a cheese-hungry rat.”
__ YES __ NO
The message about me being a cheese hungry rat –– the connection to the 1992 Chuck E. Cheese ball pit incident –– whatever this paranormal entity was, it was the same one from all those years ago. The same one that had taken Miles Penrose in ‘92 and Sarah Wallace, three days before. I got up, taking slow steps toward the window. The room had become freezing cold, but the message traced in the condensation remained.
Part of me wanted to keep searching for Miles and Sarah, to find the truth about what happened to them. I wanted to keep researching disappearances at other ball pits, if there had been any.
But being as terrified as I was –– and I hate myself for it now –– I traced a giant X next to “YES.”
Suddenly, seven ghostly hands reached up from the floor inside the apartment, planting themselves on the window with another BANG. They began rubbing the window in circles, the wet glass squeaking as they did.
I stumbled back into the bed again, forced to take another seat. I closed my eyes.
When I opened them a minute later, the message was gone. So too was the condensation. Outside, it was snowing as hard as it had been for weeks. There was nothing on the other side of the glass. No pale hands attached to vein-streaked arms were reaching up from the floor.
I was alone in the apartment –– just me, the memory of Miles and Sarah, and an overwhelming sense of guilt that I decided to give up on their memory.
If 2020 is truly “The Year the Ball Pit Died,” I’m grateful. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. But I hope for the sake of kids everywhere that I’m right.