Top 10 Video Game Urban Legends
Since the early days of video games, young gamers have whispered secrets on the schoolyard and spent long hours trying to make the most outrageous gaming myths come true. Some kids heard their best friend’s cousin found Mew under a truck in “Pokemon”; others were utterly convinced there was a secret way to find the Triforce in “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” Before gamers banded together on the Internet and used their collective knowledge — and the ability to hack into games and parse their code — to rule out the impossible, any schoolyard whisper could turn out to be the truth.
So listed here are 10 urban legends found in Video games, that may or may not be true.
10. Fallout: New Vegas – The Lone Wolf
The Lone Wolf Radio shack in Fallout: New Vegas appears abandoned, but this was not always the case. Originally, it was planned to be the home of the Lone Wolf, a character far more sadistic and depraved than any featured before in the Fallout franchise.
He was planned to hose the Lone Wolf Radio Station, which would feature insane ramblings and rants at unpredictable intervals throughout the day until 11PM, when the station would go quiet. The Lone Wolf would then return at 3AM with a child. A different child was featured every night because the Lone Wolf would announce on air, “Everyone is gone. You are all alone. Let it all end,” before viciously murdering them live on the station.
Listening to the broadcast at 3AM would initiate a quest: Little Dead Riding Hood. In it, the Courier has to track down the Wolf. He can either kill the Wolf or assist him in murdering a child, resulting in a perk that allows the player to kill other in-game children. Accessing the child murder option was supposed to be very difficult to achieve. The character, quest, and perk were ultimately scrapped due to their shocking nature, plus the sheer effort required to record a unique murder for every night until the quest is complete.
Supposedly, Obsidian thought that the question would involve too much effort and might be too dark for the tone they hoped to establish.But the abandoned shack and the ramblings on the wall are real.
The story of Polybius has all the ingredients of a good urban legend: It’s creepy, and it’s mysterious. And it’s likely based on truth, at least to some degree. How much? Who knows.
According to the legend, Polybius was a game that appeared in a few arcades in Portland, Ore., for a short time in 1981. The cabinet was supposedly completely black (minus the logo), and the game was supposed to be very similar to Atari’s shoot ’em up Tempest, except for the addition of Pac-Man-type mazes and logic puzzles, and the fact that it drove people insane. Kids hooked on the game began experiencing side effects like nausea, sleep disturbance and aversion to video games.
So what’s the truth? Well, we know there was a glitchy prototype of Tempest (the game Polybius was supposed to resemble) that caused nausea, and we also know the U.S. government approached Atari to design a special version of one of its games in 1980. Snopes.com. In 2006 a man calling himself Steven Roach said he was involved in developing the game for a nameless South American company. The game, while certainly addictive, caused epileptic fits and was quietly recalled. The company went under shortly after. If Polybius ever existed, this might be the most likely scenario. The simplicity of it is certainly alluring. In the time since Roach’s post, many forum goers have found vast inconsistencies in his report. So who knows? Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not.
8. Braid – The Girl Is an Atomic Bomb
On the surface, the critically acclaimed indie hit Braid is a straightforward platformer like so many 8- and 16-bit era games. You play Tim, a dude who can reverse time and uses his powers to find a missing princess, Mario-style. But the simplistic gameplay is deceptive; the symbolic and ambiguous ending hints at a larger, stranger story (SPOILER: The “princess” you’re trying to rescue isn’t exactly happy to see you). And beyond that, Braid has a creepy secret.
Hidden throughout the game’s five worlds are seven secret stars. The game doesn’t give you any acknowledgment that they’re even there — no achievements, no hints, no clues, nothing. You can get through the whole game without even knowing they exist, and even if you know what you’re after, they’re exceptionally difficult to find and obtain. One star requires waiting in a screen for two hours just to get to it, and another can’t be acquired if you’ve already completed the second world
So what happens after you gather the seven stars? Nothing, at first. If you return to the game’s final level, however, there’s a slight difference.
As we mentioned, the level is pretty trippy to begin with: At first it looks like you’re helping the princess escape from a bad guy, but then it turns out you’re watching the situation in reverse and she’s actually escaping from you. But play it after you have the hidden stars, and the level is subtly changed in such a way that you can actually catch up to the princess and touch her, at which point she begins flashing freakishly and you hear the sound of a nuclear bomb detonating.
Apparently it’s all a metaphor for the creation of the atomic bomb; or, more specifically, how its creators possibly wished they could turn back time and undo all the damage. Of course, that’s so far removed from this colorful run-and-jump game that it really proves how out-there some of these conspiracy nuts are.
There is also this quote from Kenneth Bainbridge, the head of the Trinity atomic bomb tests in the end credits.
7. GTA IV – The Heart of Stone
Because the game world is so vast that you can almost never fully explore all of it, the Grand Theft Auto series is full of bizarre urban legends about what you can find hidden there. Like the one that claims you can see Bigfoot wandering around, or Leatherface, or the ghost of CJ’s mom. The truth, however, is even stranger than those rumors.
This involves the Statue of Happiness in GTA IV, which is exactly like the Statue of Liberty except with a disturbing, almost inhuman grin.
The statue is only reachable by helicopter, boat or swimming to the island, which seems like way too much effort to look at a monument that’s clearly just background scenery for your killing spree. If you still decide to go and you manage to climb to the upper level of the statue’s base, you’ll see a door with a sign that reads “No Hidden Content This Way.”
We’re assuming not many people make it past this point, because if you can’t trust a video game about stealing cars and shooting people, then who can you trust? However, if you do walk past the sign you’ll find a ladder that takes you inside the statue, where you’ll see this:
That strange glow suggests that there might be something supernatural about this. Also, the fact that it’s a giant beating heart. Why is that there? What does it do? Can you kill it? If you think no GTA player has ever tried that, you’ve probably never met one. No, you can’t kill it (not even with the rocket launcher, which does kill one of the pigeons on the outside of the statue), and nobody knows why it exists.
6. Super Mario 64 – ‘L is Real 2401’
Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time have more myths and rumors than any ten video games. If you were a fan of the Mario games before the N64 then you probably noticed something strange about Super Mario 64— Luigi is eerily missing. After the game released, many assumed there was some way to unlock Luigi hidden deep within the game. Rumors were rampant.
The rumors grew even more when gamers discovered what was written on the star statue in the castle’s courtyard. Engraved is “L is real 2041.” Obviously this meant that there was some way to unlock Luigi, and the number 2401 had to play an integral part.
I approached the statue, and when I did a dialogue box popped up, “L is Real” it said, I hit the A button, “2401” it said. I was confused, L is Real? 2401? What did those mean?
Gamers have a tendency to be dramatic, this quote above is from creepypasta, and whenever gamers find something they don’t understand , they make up ways to understand it via doing the most made up stuff. Like Unlocking all 120 stars without losing a single life was a popular method. When that was proven false, many thought the key was unlocking 120 stars in an impossibly brief amount of time. That didn’t work. Some believed that players had to achieve certain stars in a certain order in order to get Mario’s evasive brother. My favorite method was getting every coin in the game. There are 2672 coins in Super Mario 64, and a few of them are stuck behind walls—a programming glitch on Nintendo’s part. There were many, many methods. None worked.
This same texture reappeared in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on a plaque in Dodongo’s Cavern. IGN received so many questions and supposed methods to unlock Luigi that the staff offered a US$100 bounty to anyone who could prove that Luigi was in the game.
5. Super Mario Galaxy 2 – The Shadow People of Hell Valley
From one Mario to another, just goes on to show how much influence the Mario games have had. In a game like Mario, you’re usually too focused on not falling off the crumbling catwalk into the lava below to ever really stop and look around. Especially in Mario Galaxy, where you are zipped across space from one world to the next, the vastness of the game world just whipping by you in a blur.
But if you ever do get the chance to stop and stare into the distance, you’ll find some extremely creepy shit. Specifically, in one level of Super Mario Galaxy 2, if you switch to first-person view and look in a certain direction, you can see shadowy figures standing at the edge of the galaxy.
Anywhere you go on that level, if you look up and to the left, they’ll always be there. You can’t come any closer. You never meet those “people,” and nobody in the game ever mentions them. There are a few different opinions of the existence of the Shadow People. First, since the texture file is named “HellValleySkyTree” it is possible that the figures are just alien looking trees within the level. However, blowing up the image and seeing them close up raises some doubts about this idea among players.
So this is basically a video game version of the Slender Man urban legend. Fans have already started seeing them in other levels, writing fan fiction stories about them and speculating on what they could be: Local villagers (that is to say, aliens) watching Mario from afar? Those weird-looking giants from Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask?
So what the hell, Nintendo? Some claim “Hell Valley” is the Japanese name for that level (which wouldn’t be surprising, actually), or the name of a beta level that was abandoned … but none of that comes anywhere near explaining why those dudes are there and what we did to make them look at us that way.
4. Mario Universe – Luigi Is Dead
If you thought there could not be more legends to be found in Mario games, well here you go. Mario fans are always looking for hidden conspiracies in those games. We are, however, a little disturbed by what they’ve actually found.
Take Luigi’s Mansion for GameCube, which is about Mario’s taller, greener brother hunting ghosts in an old mansion. According to an urban legend that keeps popping up in the always-reliable gaming message boards, if you go to a certain room, stand in a specific spot and wait for lightning to strike, you can see what looks like Luigi’s shadow hanging from the ceiling. As if he had just committed suicide.
The simplest answer and the most overused one would be that ‘Luigi has been a ghost all along.’ But it could be a glitch, while others claim the game was originally meant to be much darker and this is one of the many leftovers from the beta version.
3. World of Warcraft – Dungeons of the Dead, and Devil Children
World of Warcraft have hidden areas that were closed off and abandoned by game makers but still exist if you know how to sneak in. And they’re equally creepy.So, there is a unused dungeon just outside a game area called Karazhan (sometimes referred to by players to as “Lower Karazhan”). It’s a dungeon that was apparently scrapped partway through development, and in front of the entrance is an impassable gate. But just as with that old abandoned mine outside of town, you can sneak in (in this case, you can get around the gate by way of various glitches). And inside, you find this:
Among the typical WoW dungeon maze of tunnels, you find The Upside-Down Sinners. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an underwater room chock full of handless, eyeless people, chained upside-down and left to drown.
Popular speculation is that Blizzard backed down from using the dungeon because they were afraid that it might bump the game’s rating to M, but there’s no real way to know.
But that’s not all the creepiness in WoW . The first town you encounter after the human starting area is a place called Goldshire, and it has its own dark secret.
A house on the edge of Crystal Lake, which is just east of town, is normally empty. At 7 a.m. on the game’s server clock, however, you can sometimes catch six little kids in the room, standing in a pentagram.
Some players have heard strange noises, like banshee screams or the voice of C’Thun, a former high-end boss ripped straight out of the Cthulhu Mythos, saying, “You will die.” You can even follow them from Stormwind City, the human capital, all the way to the house, and they never break their cute little pentagram formation the whole way. Creepiest of all, though, is the music that plays when you enter the room. It’s completely custom music, found nowhere else in the game, That means it wasn’t some lone weirdo who programmed these kids’ behavior. They had to get the music department to construct an all-new piece to go along with them.
2. Portal – GLaDOS is a Women Upside Down
There are only two characters in Portal — the one you control and a deranged A.I. called GLaDOS. You spend the entire game jumping through GLaDOS’ hoops, solving the teleportation-based puzzles she leaves for you (on the promise of cake) and slowly piecing together that something’s is not right here.
At the end of the game, you meet the real GLaDOS, a huge, robotic entity. You fight her and you win and everything’s great (albeit in an “… or is it?” sort of way).
When you get to take a look at GlaDos, did you find it unsettling? At first she looks like a mess of machinery and cables, but if you look closely, she actually resembles a human figure hanging upside-down. That’s not a coincidence: If you play through the game with the commentary track on, Jeremy Bennett, the game’s art director, says, “Eventually, we settled on a huge mechanical device with a delicate robotic figure dangling out of it, which successfully conveys both GLaDOS’ raw power and her femininity.”
Originally, according to Bennett, she resembled an upside-down version of Botticelli’s “Rise of Venus”:
But her final model doesn’t really look like that at all. The posture is all wrong. In fact, the people at game-ism.com think she looks more like a woman who has been bound and gagged:
So what does that mean? According to the folks at that site, all GLaDOS wanted was to be free (a goal you help her achieve when you kill her). As for how she got like that in the first place, well…..
1. Portal 2 – Who is GLaDOS, and another Test Subject.
Portal 2 brought us everything we loved about the first game (portals). What it also brought us is a whole bunch of weird secrets, and some of them are downright creepy.
GLaDOS used to be human. She was married to Cave Johnson, her real name was Carolyn which is slightly explained with little hints in the second portal game. Cave was obsessed with science,and so he built robots called turrets. They served the purpose of defending Aperture Laboratories.
Players who decided to hunt through Portal 2’s sound files found recorded lines of dialogue that aren’t in the game — more specifically, an increasingly agitated woman saying “I don’t want this!” If you’ve played the whole game you can guess that’s actually (spoilers ahead) Caroline protesting her transformation into GLaDOS, but it still sounds kinda rape-y if you don’t know the context. In fact, J.K. Simmons, who provides the voice for Caroline’s boss, purportedly refused to record his half of the scene because it was so disturbing. The developers actually agreed and dropped it from the final game.
In the game you also find remnants of a previous test subject. For instance, in one of the earlier test chambers of the game, you can find an abandoned room hidden off to the side of the level, much like the abandoned rooms found in the original game. This one’s got a creepy surprise, though. If you stand close enough to one of the graffiti-covered walls, you can hear a kind of disturbed chanting. Someone went ahead and pulled out the sound files embedded in the game: the voice is clearer, but still nonsensical.
Fan speculation is that this is a background character (introduced in a comic book set between the two games) named Doug Rattmann — a schizophrenic who was the only survivor of GLaDOS’ neurotoxin attack prior to the events of the first game. And he apparently lives inside a wall. He also just happens to be the dude responsible for all the graffiti and junk laying around the labs in both games.
In fact, in another of his rooms, you can bring a radio inside and listen to some kind of strange, blaring noise. It’s even an achievement. But that’s not the weird part. That blaring sound is an encrypted SSTV image signal, and if you take the time to decode it, it’s actually a reference to another scene in the game, which hasn’t happened yet.
+ Honorable Mention : Kill Switch
Killswitch is a game that was supposedly created by Soviet gaming company Karvina Corporation in 1989. Only limited copies of the game were produced (between 5,000 to 10,000 copies) and it was very popular among Soviet gamers. The game itself was a pioneer in the survival horror genre. You had to choose between two characters, a girl or an invisible demon. The goal of the game was to navigate through an abandoned coal mine while battling demons and coal monsters. As it was hard to navigate the game with an invisible character people choose to complete the game with the girl character. Unfortunately, No one ever completed the game with the demon, because upon beating the game all trace of it would be erased from your hard drive.
In 2005, an unopened copy of the self-deleting game surfaced on Ebay where it was promptly bought for $733,000 by a man from Japan named Yamamoto Ryuichi. Ryichi had planned to document his play through of the game on YouTube. The only video Ryuchi posted was of him staring at his computer screen and crying.
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