Creepy Video Game Urban Legends That’ll Give You Nightmares

Creepy Video Game Urban Legends That’ll Give You Nightmares


Everyone loves an urban legend — and gamers
are no exception. From haunted cartridges to cursed athletes
to developers suffering tragic fates, these are some of the creepiest urban legends in
the video game world. Be sure to leave the light on… because you’re
in for a spook. The so-called “Madden Curse” is a long-standing,
strange phenomenon that adds a sense of dread to an event that should be worth celebrating. It’s also one that has gained a heightened
level of notoriety over many of the more obscure entries on this list, as it has seemingly
affected several high profile football players. Essentially, this curse affects any player
unlucky enough to be featured on the cover of one of EA’s Madden games. The curse seemed to begin in the very first
year that the series featured a star athlete on the cover — instead of John Madden, who’d
appeared on previous covers — when running back and Madden 99 PAL version cover athlete
Garrison Hearst suffered a leg break that led to a degenerative bone disease. Over the years, horrible injuries and career
setbacks have followed athletes who have appeared on the cover of a Madden installment. Sure, there are a few players who have seemingly
remained unaffected by the curse, but isn’t that always the way with urban legends? It’s way easier to get spooked out by the
sheer number of misfortunes that have followed that coveted spot in video game stardom. In the early 2000s, it was reported that Saddam
Hussein and the Iraq military had purchased somewhere around 4,000 PlayStation 2 systems
and were planning to use all of their parts to build a military supercomputer. This report was picked up by various outlets
and caused a bit of a stir, despite the fact that there was no evidence that the PS2s in
question were ever shipped to Iraq. Not only this but, as pointed out at the time
by Wired, quote, “If Saddam really were to build a supercomputer on the sly, he’d probably
rely on hardware he already owns,” rather than go through all of the trouble of converting
thousands of PS2s into something that could only theoretically work. Eurogamer similarly clowned on the anonymous
source that originally broke the news, saying that it all sounded, quote, “suspiciously
like a Sony marketing ploy rather than the words of even the most unintelligent of military
intelligence experts.” Considering most of the “report” was concerned
with the PlayStation 2’s incredible ability to process polygons, it sure read more like
an overly excited owner’s manual for the PS2 than a genuine warning of doom. Playing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
is already an unsettling experience. However, if one unlucky player is to be believed,
the game is just a gateway to an entirely new world of terror. In the story of “BEN Drowned,” a player found
a seemingly haunted Majora’s Mask cartridge at a garage sale. While playing, he experienced weird changes
to music and dialogue in the game, but wrote this off as a glitch. The experiences became more harrowing as he
began interacting with an entity calling itself “Ben” that possessed the game, which eventually
affected his dreams and threatened him in the real world. Readers ate up every detail of this supposed
game, trying to decipher its meaning through various message boards and posts. The waters were muddied a bit further when
the original poster uploaded videos of his playthrough, with eerie events mirroring his
story. The videos were most likely made by manipulating
the original game’s code, but that didn’t stop them from lending a kind of tangible
legitimacy to this particular tall tale. As with all urban legends, it doesn’t take
too much convincing to buy into it. Of course, it eventually came to light that
the whole “BEN Drowned” affair was an ARG — or, “alternate reality game” — created
and orchestrated by content creator Alex Hall, a.k.a. “Jadusable.” “Hey everybody, this is Three Dog, your friendly
neighborhood disc jockey. What’s a ‘disc?’ Hell if I know. But I’m gonna keep talking anyway.” In Bethesda’s Fallout 3, players are introduced
to the character of Three Dog, who hosts the Galaxy News Radio program. If a player decides that they’ve had enough
of Three Dog and all his sass, they can put him down — but some of these players have
sworn that they could still hear the character running a “numbers station” following his
death, which broadcasts bizarre messages in a variety of coded ways. In particular, this urban legend entails Three
Dog broadcasting Morse code messages that seemingly predicted future events, including
the date of actor Gary Coleman’s death and the massive BP oil spill of 2010. It also anticipated events that have yet to
come to pass, like Britney Spears’ surprising Oscar win of 2023. Though Bethesda themselves eventually debunked
the existence of this radio station, it’s a pretty eerie account to read through. As GamesRadar mentioned in their coverage
of the urban legend, the folks who put together this hoax went all-in, reporting their “findings”
with dialogue that sounded like it came straight out of the game. The story was almost too elaborate for folks
to not believe in the magic radio station of the wastelands — despite the fact that
it was basically a creepypasta story that took on a mind of its own. In 1997, an episode of the Pokémon anime
became infamous for a strobing animation sequence that caused seizures in hundreds of Japanese
children. This led to the episode being banned, but
it certainly gives credence to the idea that not everything is fine and dandy when it comes
to the world of Pokémon or their creators. Which brings us to the myth of “Lavender Town
Syndrome,” which states that the music from Lavender Town in the first generation of Pokémon
games included some subliminal tones that drove multiple children to end their own lives
when the game was first released. While that sounds a little too outlandish
to be true, Kotaku points out that the banned episode provides just enough precedent in
the real world to lend an uncomfortable amount of legitimacy to this tall tale. The mysterious Morrowind mod known as “Jvk1166z.esp has gained notoriety for its supposed effects on a player’s computer … and their sanity. The story goes that this mod came out in the
mid-2000s to add some gnarly effects to The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, but no one could
ever get it to work, with the mod instead corrupting save files and locking up the game. Once again, the truth is finicky with these
legends — but supposedly, one player was able to get the mod to play. The player said that most of the game’s NPCs
would collapse dead, with the ones who survived taking to strange behavior, staring upwards
and repeatedly saying things like, quote, “Watch the sky.” Not only that, but this player found a dungeon
in the game that displayed pictures from the player’s personal files on the walls. The game also began to insidiously seep into
the player’s subconscious, with a mysterious spider-legged assassin appearing to the player
in his dreams. While there seems to be no evidence that this
version of the mod actually exists, the story has taken root as fans try to figure out how
it could all be possible. Spoiler alert: It can’t. But hey — that doesn’t make it any less
spine-tingling. This one has a pretty plausible explanation,
but it doesn’t stop it from being creepy. In Luigi’s Mansion, there’s a genuinely chilling
moment wherein Luigi answers a telephone during a blackout in the mansion. Lightning flashes outside, and for a brief
moment, Luigi’s shadow is projected on the wall in a ghastly way, appearing as though
the shadow of Mario’s brother is hanging from the ceiling. The most reasonable explanation for this horrific
shadow is that it’s simply the result of a glitch in the game’s lighting. When the lightning strikes outside the window,
the angle of the camera causes Luigi’s shadow to be projected upwards, giving it an eerie
— but ultimately harmless — appearance. However, this is the internet — you know,
where reason goes to die — so of course people have speculated that this shadow is
a remnant of a darker version of the game, echoing what was shown during its E3 2001
trailer. Remember this spooky thing? Some have even theorized that the shadow proves
that Luigi himself is a ghost and unaware of it, having died when he entered the mansion. While this is likely not the case, it sure
does make the game a little spookier to just imagine the possibility. In a change of pace from the usual origin
of these urban legends, this one was kicked off and encouraged by the developers themselves. Twisted Metal: Lost was a bonus feature in
Twisted Metal: Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition, consisting of a series of levels from an unfinished
Twisted Metal Black followup. What makes this content “extra twisted,” though,
is the lore behind it: Supposedly, the game went unfinished because the entire development
team died in a plane crash. Part of the lore explained in Lost is that
the game only saw an official release because Twisted Metal mastermind David Jaffe received
a letter supposedly signed by the six deceased developers, demanding the game be released
in some form. When asked by Wired whether or not the letter
was for real, Jaffe said: “The answer is that there’s a nugget of truth
there … Certain things are embellished or enhanced for dramatic reasons.” This has led to much discussion among confused
fans in the years since, with the main debate seeming to be just how much of the story is
true and how much is just a twisted marketing ploy. It’s more or less accepted by all gamers capable
of critical thought that Petscop doesn’t actually exist. That said, that doesn’t stop it from being
one of the most enduring modern video game urban legends. Petscop is supposedly an unfinished PlayStation
game that came into the possession of a YouTuber named Paul, who has uploaded videos of his
explorations into the game. Though the videos started off as very cute
and colorful, the scenery and pacing quickly devolved into a confusing labyrinth of horrific
imagery and references to real life child deaths. All the while, Paul’s confused and concerned
commentary makes the whole thing feel just a little bit too real. Is Petscop an elaborate prank, or did Paul
really find a terrifying relic that should have stayed unreleased? As mentioned by Eurogamer, these videos — which
are likely animated by Paul himself — have led to a real world obsession from viewers,
steering the hoax into alternate reality game territory. Redditors have taken to trying to suss out
the game’s meaning, with theories that involve everything from Dr. Seuss to occult activity. Basically, the internet has been given yet
another mystery to unravel, and that mystery’s name is Petscop. “THE HUMANOID MUST NOT ESCAPE.” Like Polybius — a fictional, mind-controlling
game that’s said to have supposedly caused seizures, amnesia, and violent episodes among
its players — 1990’s arcade game Berzerk also apparently killed people. Unlike Polybius, however, this game was definitely
real. One death has for sure been connected to Berzerk,
with a teenage player suffering a heart attack while playing the game. Over the years, other deaths have been attributed
to the “Berzerk curse,” including at least one other fatal heart attack. It seemed like death and misery followed Berzerk,
but much of this could be attributed to the type of hearsay and rumor that can spread
in these unfortunate circumstances. The game’s creator, Alan McNeil, has gone
on record addressing these legends. While he confirms that one player did die
while playing Berzerk, he says that the other apparent heart attack connected with the game
was merely a coincidence. He explained: “The owner of the arcade said he didn’t finish
the game – he was out of breath from the moment he arrived until he dropped. The legend is way better than reality: the
excitement of playing a game killing a player after setting a high score…” In other words, it’s the fear of that kind
of deadly excitement that made the legend of Berzerk get a little out of hand. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more SVG videos about your favorite
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