Wednesday, May 23, 2012

EXP Podcast #173: Virtual Urban Legends

We all know there's no such thing as ghosts (right...?), but what about virtual ghosts? This week, inspired by Jason Johnson's piece on Red Dead Redemption's haunted mansion, we discuss the myths, urban legends, and tall tales that crop up around games. We talk about the ways games facilitate far out theories and why mysteries are so alluring to players. Of course, you can't have conspiracies without fellow conspirators, so we're looking forward to hearing your theories in the comments.

And, just for fun, here's one of my favorite haunted RDR videos:

Some discussion starters:

- What are some of your favorite gaming myths, rumors, and/or ghost stories?

- What type of game best facilitates folklore? How do rules, systems, and plots inform theories?

- How have gaming urban legends changed over the years?

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 29 min 48 sec
- "Black Undead Damnation," by Jason Johnson, via Kill Screen
- A list of rumors about Tumbleweed, from the Red Dead Redemption wiki on Wikia
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. One myth that perplexed me for a while was the Hadouken in Mega Man X. I tried it, my buddies tried it and ultimately determined it to be fake. It didn't help that the actions required to trigger it took a lot of effort (four careful playthroughs of a specific level) and seemingly counterproductive activity (jumping into a pit at the end of said level). It's like the myth was designed to waste time. And of course, we first read of it in an April issue of a gaming magazine, so we ultimately dismissed as an April Fools prank. Of course, the myth turned out to be real after all, and many years later I successfully triggered it on an emulator.

    One type of myth that seems to have vanished from the face of the earth is the fabled Minus World, where glitching the game to interpret code as bizarre levels, monsters and items. In the age where the operating system itself keeps data and code separate, these became increasingly implausible. Even if you could force the game to read data from code, all you would get is a messy and uninhabitable mess of 3D meshes. Instead, the focus seems to have shifted into purposefully-made developer rooms and dummied-out content.

  2. No mention of the unicorn in Red Dead redemption?

  3. I completely forgot about the hadouken Mega Man X thing! My friend and I tried to pull that off so many times and I don't ever remember succeeding. Time to look it up on YouTube.

    Such a weird cross-Capcom reference!