The theme in October is Halloween and I’m all up for it! So why not search for those Myths that hunt gamers and players around the world?
I did an extensive search on the top three scary stories regarding games. Believe me, there are TONS of legends. I was actually surprised to find out how much pumpkin spice we like to add to our games. Here are the top three that I kept stumbling upon. They deserve our attention, because their trajectory seems to be bigger than Halloween itself.
Game: Polybius (Fictional)
What’s more terrifying than a video game that actually makes you go insane? Though the story has been debunked several times over, there’s still that shred of truth that makes one think the arcade cabinet could well have existed at one point, or at the very least a less extreme version of the tale actually did occur, what with the game’s usage of bright, flashing vector graphics — which could affect those with epileptic tendencies.
As the story goes, a mysterious arcade cabinet appeared in the sleepy suburbs of Portland, Oregon in 1981 known only as Polybius. From several “sources,” it could be best described as closely related to the game Tempest — a colorful vector shooter. Popular is too soft a descriptor for the phenomenon supposedly induced by the strange game — apparently it drove players to the point of addiction. Lines would form around the machine as clusters of anxious players awaited a turn. Visits from government agents (men in black, supposedly) would be seen hanging around the machine as well. Soon, players were said to have suffered from nightmares, amnesia, insomnia, and eventually suicide. Supposedly the game contained several subliminal messages within as well, which also has never been brought to light.
Luigi is Dead
Game: Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi’s Mansion was one of the greats from the GameCube era, and followed Mario’s older brother sucking up ghosts with a vacuum in a haunted mansion. A story has circulated for quite some time now that if you head to a very specific room in-game and stand at just the right spot, you can just make out a shadow that closely resembles Luigi, hanging from the ceiling — like he had hung himself already and you’re only playing the game as Luigi’s ghost. There’s much speculation as to what the image actually is: a glitch, leftover code, or something much, much darker? We’ll never know.
Pokemon Creepy Black
Game: Pokemon Red (Hacked)
Pokemon may be widely recognized as a relatively innocent affair, but its benign exterior belies quite a few disturbing realities. An unnamed player discovered a peculiar Pokemon known only as “Ghost” in his team of six, right after obtaining the Silph Scope, used for identifying the various Pokemon in Lavender Town’s Pokemon Tower, where the spirits of the deceased Pokemon still roam. Typically the Ghosts are later revealed as Gastlys and such, but Ghosts are not obtainable for battle. This Ghost was playable, and could use the ability “Curse.”
The player found this new and bizarre version of “Curse” made it a breeze to plow through the modified version of Pokemon Red, and continued on past the Elite Four’s defeat — essentially, the end of the game. But after the credits rolled, a disconcerting epilogue was next.
The player, now the sprite of an old man, was studying the very same tombstones of Pokemon Tower. He had no Pokemon, and the overworld was now entirely devoid of NPCs or other sprites Lavender Town’s sinister theme looped over and over as the player wandered back to Pallet Town. The chain of events that occurred afterward were enough to chill anyone to the bone. A sequence of each Pokemon and trainer the player had used the curse on rolled past, eventually culminating in a battle with the very same Ghost the player had aligned with throughout the game, which ended up being a futile affair. Ghost could not be defeated, and the battle eventually came to a head with a sharp cut to another black screen. The player was forced to turn off the game and reset to return to a playable state…only to find the game file had been erased.
Of course, it’s pretty obvious that this didn’t actually occur, but fans and believers have created their very own extensive ROM hacks that attempt to mirror the events from the story. They’re quite accurate, and serve up some delectably creepy alterations to the familiar Pokemon adventure.
Happy Halloween, everyone!