After running articles about terrifying games, urban legends, and the horrifying reality of Pokémon that simmers beneath its saccharine surface, we thought it only best to finish the task of ruining our readers’ nightly rest with a series of stories more matter than meta. Whereas previously you could tell yourself “it’s only a game/the twisted imagination of a disturbed video game journalist”, expect no such luck with these forthcoming tales, as all are grounded in their own fair share of terrifying reality.
666. The Goldshire Children
When the World of Warcraft was young, many tales questionable integrity floated around: zombie panda bears, goblin brothels, state-run Chinese sweat shops farming for gold 24/7.
Some jokers spoke of an assemblage of ankle-biters that would come together in the human town of Goldshire to trace the pleasant pattern of the pentagram. Follow them for long enough and, it is said, they’ll lead you to a haunted house, replete with spooky music and the deathly wails of monsters in the background. It all sounds a little ridiculous, but it’s also all completely true.
Why do the children do this? The event was never found to be connected to any quest, major or minor, nor does it appear to fit anywhere into the established lore of the game. It’s just something they do, every single day, since the servers were first turned on seven years ago. Perhaps Blizzard hopes that in constant repetition of this occult ritual they will finally realize their dream of calling Cthulhu into our earthly realm. Or maybe its a curse placed on our computers that compels us to buy more Blizzard games.
Either way the message seems clear: stop playing World of Warcraft, your life may depend on it.
The tale of MARIO began late one night on SMWCentral.com, a popular place for new ROM hacks of Super Mario World. The first user to try it reported that upon downloading the compressed .rar file, simply named “MARIO”, he found a text file with nothing but nonsensical characters and a single repeated phrase: “find me”. The game itself was not in a format that was immediately available to play. After some tinkering, the user, Adam, began to explore the frightening tale.
No one’s entirely too sure what MARIO is supposed to mean. There are references to evil acts perpetrated by the titular plumber and a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that Yoshi is somehow behind the events of the game and possibly punishing Mario through them. Many have speculated that the end of the short title is representative of Mario’s suicide and descent into a hell of his own making. All in all, it makes for an unnerving experience.
But the nightmare doesn’t end there, and when someone else on the forum returned to look at the text file initially passed off as gibberish they discovered that it was instead an image. When assembled, they found the following image:
4. The Luna Game
Earlier this year a simple platformer called The Luna Game was added to the popular My Little Pony fansite The Equestria Daily. Unlike most of the games on the site, which were all web based, The Luna Game needed to be downloaded to experience all the promised thrills. Those who did, however, were in for a nasty surprise as after thirty seconds of unnerving gameplay and creepy music the game would freeze, crash, and kick you back to the desktop whose background had now been automatically changed to this image:
By the end of the day, the game had been taken down and the rules changed to prevent anything similar from happening again. Too little, too late, for the bronies who had soiled themselves thinking, if only momentarily, that the twisted soul of Applejack was haunting their computer. The game’s maker has since gone on to make five more Luna Games, each just as horrifying as the last but none with quite the same shock value as the original.
3. The Hall of Tortured Souls
From as far back as the early ‘90s the development teams at Microsoft have been slipping easter eggs into their software. Microsoft Office is notable for this. In the ’97 edition, a rudimentary flight simulator, pinball game, and Magic 8-ball were hidden in Excel, Word, and Access, respectively.
For Office 2000, the team outdid themselves with a Spy Hunter like game called “dev-hunter”, made all the better with oddly capitalized phrases such as “A CHART SAYS SO MUCH EVEN THOUGH IT DOESNT REALLY SAY ANYTHING BECAUSE IT CANT REALLY SAY ANYTHING BECAUSE IT CANT TALK” and “MALICIOUS PIXIE”. That’s a little odd, but not too off-base.
And then there’s Excel ’95, whose developers hid a creepy maze game called “The Hall of Tortured Souls” within. The title alone would would be bad enough, but they went further with the addition of low resolution shots of the dev team plastered against garish red walls that look like they’ve been painted with the blood of that same team, who sold their souls to the devil. Or at least that’s the best reason we can come up with for why the developers would include pictures of themselves in the fucking Hall of Tortured Souls.
That veritable bastion of knowledge named Cracked.com once listed the next entry on our list as amongst the most evil video game characters of all time. Otto, from the 1980 arcade game Berzerk, might not seem like much at first glance, indeed he seems to look less like Satan and somewhat more like a perfectly regular dude with a big smile and a cheery disposition.
So, how does such an innocuous looking fella develop a bad rap? A lot of it, indeed some might say – all if it – has to do with being the only video game antagonist in history to take the destruction of the players avatar one step further and kill the actual player themselves.
In 1981, a 19-year-old died of a heart attack after posting a high score in the game. The next year, just to really nail it in the head, Otto went ahead and did it again. By “it” we are of course referring to causing the death of a human being, in case that fact hadn’t quite sunk in yet.
Go ahead and take your Resident Evils and your Silent Hills. From now on, those are but lullabies compared to the fatal horror of Bezerk and its otherworldly antagonist.
1. Ben Drowned
Buoyed by multiple characters, “video evidence”, and an antagonist who seemed to have a life of his own, Ben Drowned went from a post on the /x/ board of 4chan to one of the creepier Alternate Reality Games ever unleashed on the web. The game was so well done, in fact, that many didn’t even bother to question the veracity of the tale. It just became an accepted fact that somewhere out there, a copy of N64 classic, Majora’s Mask, had been haunted by the malevolent spirit of a boy named Ben.
There’s enough material on Ben Drowned to fill and article many times the size of this one, and we’d recommend reading it for yourself, rather than hear the tale second hand. Still, here’s a very quick rundown: college student acquires Majora’s Mask, game is haunted, evil presence infects computer and messes with the student’s attempts to tell the story. Over the course of a few months, the story grew until the student in question ran out of money and was forced to come clean. Only, we don’t really believe that last bit do we? It was all just a ruse perpetrated by Ben to make us forget all about him and his terrible plans.
Well, actually, no. We do believe that, because as it turns out that even the creepiest stories out there tend to have a logical explanation. Even when said explanation isn’t necessarily obvious (i.e. Hall of Tortured Souls) or forthcoming, a lot of these tales can be put down to “people fucking with people”, which might actually be evidence of true evil in the world, or at least mild dickheadery.