Sonic.exe originated as a Creepypasta by Sir JC the Hyena seen here) concerning a man named Tom who receives a bizarre CD in the mail from his friend Kyle, who hasn't been heard from in a while. Disregarding Kyle's note telling him to destroy the CD, Tom plays it and is disturbed by the title screen showing Sonic with bleeding red eyes and black sclera. As he plays the game further, Tom bears witness to just how monstrous X, this incarnation of the blue hedgehog, really is.
Since then, Sonic.exe has received fan-made sequels and has also been produced into a video game of sorts that replicates the experience (sans Sonic actually coming out of the screen), by YouTube user MY5TCrimson. The SomeOrdinaryGamers walkthrough of the game can be watched here.
A sequel (also in video game form, and made by MY5TCrimson too), based on a spin-off, Sally.exe, is available here.
An Ordinary Sonic 1 ROM Hack, a crossover ROM hack of the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game, was released at Sonic Hacking Contest 2013. In this game, Sonic.EXE invades the game and targets the genuine article. Unfortunately, the author was unable to complete the game before the contest deadline, so Star Light Zone and Scrap Brain Zone are Dummied Out. However, he has recently confirmed that he is working on a complete version of the game, two years after its original release.
A fan film has been created as part of a YouTube series titled Tales from the Consoles as the pilot episode. To watch it click here
In 2013, the official sequel was made. However, it doesn't focus much on the game itself (in fact, only two of the three new scenarios were described), rather what happens when you play the game.
Since its creation, the game has also spawned many clones of it, including SuperMario.exe and Sunky.MPEG.
On October 31st 2017, the author of Sonic.exe posted a remake of the entire story. If you wish to look at the tropes of the Sonic.exe remake, click here.
Sonic.exe provides examples of:
- A God Am I: One of the messages that X leaves on the screen is "I AM GOD".
- All There in the Manual: At one point, the author to the original Creepypasta revealed X's official Backstory which, amongst other things, explains his nature, his personality, why he resembles Sonic in the first place, how he's able to steal his victims' souls, and what he actually does to his victims.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- An Ordinary Sonic 1 ROM Hack allows monitors to respawn. The reason for this is so that Sonic will always have a way to temporarily return his world to normal and prevent Sonic.exe from killing him. There are also more monitors in general in the hack compared to the original Sonic 1, including in the fights with Eggman, because the author said that the game would've been Unwinnable by Design otherwise, but he also stated that the additional amount that was put in wouldn't end up making the hack "too easy".
- Once you enter the goal area in the normal world or defeat Eggman in the third act, the game won't switch to the Dark World in order to prevent a Kaizo Trap from occuring.
- And I Must Scream: According to the backstory for the titular character, this is the fate of all Sonic.exe's victims due to him simply taking their souls and placing them in bodies that look like Sonic the Hedgehog characters just so that he could "make them his slaves", as well as killing their "bodies" in gruesome manners.
- Apocalyptic Log: The letter written by Kyle that comes with the package, as well as Derek's diary.
- Ax-Crazy: X. Psychotic, sadistic, and totally devoid of human compassion.
- The Bad Guy Wins: In-game, X succeeds in killing Tails, Knuckles, and Eggman in Tom's playthrough. In Derek's playthrough, he's killed Shadow and Sally, though Derek refuses to finish the game as Rouge. Outside the game, X has claimed many victims thanks to Shannon Goldman and the Cult of X distributing the game, and will go after anyone else next.
- Big Bad: X is the demon taking the form of Sonic that, in-game, kills Sonic and his friends, and outside the game kills people in the real world.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: X and Eggman in An Ordinary Sonic 1 ROM Hack. Eggman plays the same role he did in the original game (conquering South Island and turning the animals into Badniks), while X appears periodically to drag Sonic into a Dark World and chase him.
- Black Eyes of Crazy: X has black sclera.
- Black Eyes of Evil: The Zalgo-ified title screen.
- Bloodier and Gorier and Darker and Edgier: Than the main Sonic series. An Eldritch Abomination brutally and bloodily murders the characters before going after people in the real world.
- Broken Heel: Tails slips when running from X in 'HIDE AND SEEK'.
- Check-Point Starvation: An Ordinary Sonic 1 ROM Hack. At first it's averted in the normal world, where all of the checkpoints keep their original spots. It is then played very straight in the Dark World, where both the checkpoint lampposts and the goal turnstile are gone. This means that you could be closing in on one of them, only for the game to warp you to the Dark World, causing it to vanish, and instead have you risk starting the whole act over again should you die from anything there.
- Cosmic Horror Story: A bizarre attempt at one, given X's nature and what it does to people, not to mention the theft of souls.
- Continuity Nod: Tom and Kyle are mentioned in the sequel. Apparently, they weren't the first to play it...
- Dead Person Impersonation: Kyle's fate in this spinoff. The note, supposedly from Kyle, was actually from X, and intentional Schmuck Bait to sucker Tom into playing the game out of curiosity.X: No one will ever notice what happened to him, not even his family. Why? Because I took his place.
- Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Kyle's letter tells Tom not to play the Sonic game. No guesses as to what Tom does right after reading that...
- Eldritch Abomination: X himself is this. According to his official backstory, he was created in the gap between dimensions and had originally did not have an appearance resembling Sonic himself. He's omnipotent within his home world, to the point where he can make his world seem a lot like Sonic's at first glance just to give his victims a sense of false security. And the Sonic characters that X kills? Those are actually his previous victims, trapped in the bodies of Sonic characters and forced to be his "slaves" (all the while they're being killed in-"game" in very gruesome manners just to play with future victims before he steals their souls).
- Evil Laugh: X does it regularly. Tom comments that it sounds like that of Kefka. The playable version uses Kefka's laugh, naturally.
- Evil Twin: X to the real Sonic. According to backstory information, however, he didn't start out that way. He only adapted an appearance resembling Sonic because he's a huge fan of him.
- For the Evulz: All the things X does like trapping Sonic's best friend into hellish dimension for torture'em and/or kill'em are simply to satiate his sadist and depraved instinct.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Several hints of this are seen in the text screens, such as it asking "READY FOR ROUND 2, TOM?"
- Full-Name Ultimatum: In the sequel, when X cuts off his contact with Cole, Derek exclaims, "Goddamn you Sonic.exe!!!"
- Gory Discretion Shot: The game cuts to black when X lunges at Tails and Knuckles, followed by a high-pitched scream and a laugh.
- Guilt-Induced Nightmare: Tom is shown to be distraught after X kills Tails and Knuckles. After Knuckles's death, Tom decides to take a nap, and has a nightmare that he's in a dark room with only a light bulb above his head as he hears Tails and Knuckles calling out, "Help us..." and "Why did you give us to him?" He hears X laughing evilly and telling him that he's next, too.
- The Hero Dies: Both Tom (as revealed in the sequel) and Derek meet their fate by X.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: You get into one of these when playing as Knuckles. You can try to punch X, but he teleports away every time, and eventually Knuckles will just break down crying.
- Hope Spot: "There is a way to release ourselves. A spell to obtain our souls once more. But we must speak it - but when we speak - no sound. We are all deaf. So failure is inevitable."
- Immediate Self-Contradiction: In Sonic.exe 2, on October 24, Derek says that he was assigned a case on Halloween. No, we're not kidding.11:22 am October 24th, 2011
Wow, pretty interesting way to start off a case on Halloween.
I started to think Sonic was actually trying to talk to me through the game... But I was too scared to think that.
- And from the original:
- Invincible Minor Minion: When Sonic's world goes abnormal, every single enemy is invincible. Sonic just bounces off of them if he connects.
- Interface Screw: In Version 5, before the next Japanese text appears, the UI starts glitching out with "SCORE" and "RING" being mirrored and eventually the UI slowly disappears altogether.
- Jump Scare: The high-pitched scream that emits from X's victims. Also, the static and some of the images appear as such.
- In An Ordinary Sonic 1 ROM Hack, either getting a game over or even getting through all of the available zones will result in this as you're greeted with the "I am god" face from the games.
- Last Stand: The protagonist, along with a few other people in Anti-Sonic.dll.
- Luck-Based Mission: An Ordinary Sonic 1 ROM Hack as a whole. When a level begins, it takes 12 seconds and a half for the level to warp to X's world. After you escape once, the timing of subsequent warps is random. This can lead to unwinnable situations as levels are only beatable in their normal version (the ending turnstile is not present in the Dark World, but the screen will still lock you in the end zone if you approach its position while in X's world, leaving you with no way out. On the other hand, entering the goal area in the real level will knock X out and allow you to finish).
- Retsupurae has done a reading of the creepypasta in their usual (cynical and negative) style.
- Yuriofwind has a reading of the story's "first" act, but he summarized the rest, because the rest is pretty much the same thing as the part he read. He also MSTed the sequel in a 52 minute video.
- Bad Creepypasta has done an MST reading of the original story then later riffed the sequel while playing a drinking, getting hammered while mocking the story.
- The Annotated Series did this visually to the game version as a Hallowe'en special.
- Tales from the Consoles has riffed the creepypasta in the pilot episode.
- Masterpiece of Shit Theater has offered its own reading.
- Fanfic Theater 3015 of all people has also riffed this creepypasta right here.
- Man on the Internet does his own MST right here.
- The Most Dangerous Video Game: Quite literally made by a monster that doesn't belong in this world to steal men's souls and make them its slaves.
- Nightmare Face: But of course. At the end of Eggman's level, a hyper-realistic representation of him appears on-screen.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: X is impossible to kill or avoid, and Sonic will die instantly if X catches him. Your only means of survival against him is to smash open monitors to return Sonic back to the normal world.
- No Name Given:
- The original creepypasta never does give a name for the demonic Eldritch Abomination that terrorizes the narrator, with "Sonic.exe" being the most popular Fan Nickname to distinguish him from the original Sonic. According to the original author's follow-up, the character has taken the nickname as his own name. The sequel validates this name, as well as giving him the alias "X".
- In An Ordinary Sonic 1 ROM Hack, the character is referred to simply as Him.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Eggman's level takes place in a long, empty hallway that gradually dims as he descends each level. Considering what has already been seen by that point, Tom could only wonder what would happen to Eggman.
- Omnicidal Maniac: After you finished playing, your soul is ripped from your body, you get a number scratched on your chest, and your computer's hard drive is wiped of everything except the Sonic.exe file.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: The Dark World is designed to turn you into this. Grabbing rings in it actually depletes your ring counter. This, combined with the invincible enemies, the checkpoints disappearing, and the ever looming threat of X trying to kill you, makes the gameplay a lot more challenging.
- Perspective Flip: Through the Eyes of the Characters, played through, well, the game's characters, X himself, and one of his unfortunate victims.
- Pop Culture Symbology: The entity manifesting itself as Sonic in-game is actually an Eldritch Abomination that has a dark cult of its own, specializing in distributing the game copies.
- Primal Fear: In the text version of Sally.exe, half of Amy's face is left with holes, triggering the reader's trypophobia.
- Puzzle Boss: The fights against Eggman's contraptions are turned into this. In the Dark World, Eggman is invincible, but hitting him four times in a row will make him drop a monitor, which will allow Sonic to return to the normal world and dish out damage on Eggman while he has time. Defeating Eggman also means X will not try to get you before you move on to the Egg Prison capsule.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- The first sign that something is horribly wrong with this version of Sonic.
- This is also true of the Badniks/Eggman/Robotnik in An Ordinary Sonic ROM Hack. Whenever you enter X's world, all the enemies and Eggman have their eyes replaced with dark eyes and red pupils (think Robotnik's eyes in non-Japan 90's media), and they are invincible in this realm.
- Schmuck Bait: Tom is advised by Kyle's letter not to play the hacked game. Guess what Tom does.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Tails and Knuckles after X catches up to them.
- Sensory Abuse:
- In Hill Act 1, when you first run into X there's a static noise that starts layering on itself, becoming louder and louder.
- And don't forget that bloodcurdling scream.
- Slasher Smile: You think?
- Songs in the Key of Panic: Every time X shows up to close in on Sonic, the drowning music plays to warn you how much time is left to smash a monitor and evade him.
- Skewed Priorities: Tom is more worried about fictional video game characters being murdered than the fact that Kyle may have died trying to save him.
- Survival Horror: The romhack turns the original Sonic game into this. Sonic has no control over when he gets thrown into the Dark World. His only means of escape is smashing open certain monitors, but that's only a temporary fix. And in the Dark World, both enemies and Eggman are invincible and after just seconds of play, the timer starts counting down and X starts closing in on you, and it's absolutely impossible to avoid or fight him, and you die instantly if he catches you. The tone and art of the game also calls to mind a horror film.
- Too Dumb to Live: Tom in a nutshell. He is told not to play the game, but he does so anyway.
- Unwinnable by Design: The "games" X presents himself in are actually inescapable traps used to torture and mangle his victims. The control the player has over the characters is simply a façade X uses to torment the player along with the characters.
- Would Hurt a Child: X kills Tails. Subverted if you know via X's official backstory that they're actually X's previous victims trapped in a body resembling Tails'.
- Xtremely Kool Letterz: The demon known as "Sonic.exe" also goes simply by "X".
- Yank the Dog's Chain: The ending to Version 5, considering the game ends before you even get to see Sonic and X start fighting.
- You Bastard!:
- As Tom plays the game, Tails, Knuckles, and even Eggman ultimately fall prey to X. Following Knuckles' demise, Tom receives a message that tells him "So Many Souls to Play With, So Little Time...Would You Agree?" Tom then comes to the conclusion that he has sent these characters to their doom, just as Kyle has when he played it. When you get down to it, the game is deliberately designed as such.
- And in Sally.exe, Cream, Amy, and Sally also meet their end at his hands.
- In the playable video game version where the player cannot keep them from dying either.
- The narrator in the spinoff Anti-Sonic.dll blames Sonic fans (and to some extent the reader) for writing X into existence with their fanwork (e.g. fanart or fanfics).
- Even worse, in the sequel, it's revealed that the Sonic characters who died are the representations of human souls who became X's slaves.