Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Video Game Tall Tales

In tomorrow's podcast, Jorge and I talk about the phenomena of video game folklore; the myths, legends, rumors, and ghost stories that crop up around our favorite games. After the conversation, I fell down a nostalgic black hole of rumors and glitches. Allow me to share some souvenirs.

Alright: I know I've been somewhat obsessed with the X-Files recently, but bear with me for one more paragraph on the paranormal. A big chunk of tomorrow's podcast deals with Red Dead Redemption, a game that has spawned a cottage industry of conspiracy theorists. Check out this video put together by someone looking to find a werewolf in RDR:

I think the X-Files theme song really ties the whole thing together, don't you? The most hilarious thing is that these types of videos have in turn spawned counterarguments. Not only are there virtual conspiracies, but virtual conspiracy-debunkers:

So many of these videos play out exactly the way real paranormal-sighting footage does. Check out this RDR UFO:

Shaky camera? Fuzzy picture? Disregard for any mundane explanation? It's all here.

Of course, RDR doesn't have a monopoly on creepy sightings. Check out these spectral figures in Super Mario Galaxy 2:

Allegedly, people have been able to dig into the game's files and reveal more of the mystery. Be they demons, trees, or simply forgotten pieces of an abandoned feature, they sure are creepy.

Sometimes, the greatest mysteries result in banal explanations. I remember being peering through my sniper rifle in Goldeneye and fantasizing about what was hidden on that distant island in the dam level. Well, it turns out that fantasy was way more interesting than reality:

Speaking of fantasy, I've always hoped that this Animal Crossing anecdote is apocryphal. Something so tragic, yet also so targeted straight at gamers' hearts seems a bit too convenient to be true. Then again, would we really want to admit that a cloying hoax transformed us into blubbering children?

Anyway, let's end on a high note, literally. I, like many people, dreamed of one day vaulting Super Mario over the those iconic flagpoles. And, like many people, I came to terms with the fact that those poles would forever be the digital Lucy to my virtual Charlie Brown. Every time I, no matter how close I came or how much I believed it, I fell short. I can only imagine how satisfy it must have been to discover this trick:

Of course, this leaves us with the question: Now that we know what's on the other side of the flag pole, what now? I'm sure we'll find other mysteries to investigate, even if we have to create them ourselves.


  1. Reminds me of the hunt for the Triforce in Ocarina of Time. "There's a Triforce-shaped slot right there in my items collection! Something must belong there, every other space gets something. And look, here's a screenshot of the Triforce from EGM! What month's issue? Uh, April, I think, why do you ask?"

    I'm personally more intrigued by the hidden Arwing enemy in that game.

  2. Ah, that old chestnut. We were so naive!

    I'm not familiar with the Arwing thing! What's it supposed to be?