The world of video games has always been a fertile ground for myths, rumors, and urban legends. From hidden Easter eggs to supposed cursed games, gamers have long been fascinated by tales that blur the lines between fact and fiction. In this exploration, we delve into some of the most enduring gaming urban legends, attempting to separate the truth from the myths that have woven themselves into the fabric of gaming culture.
1. Polybius: The Cursed Arcade Game:
Legend: Polybius is an alleged arcade game that emerged in the early 1980s. According to the legend, players experienced a range of bizarre effects, including amnesia, nightmares, and even suicide, after playing the game.
Reality: The Polybius legend is widely considered a hoax. There is no concrete evidence that the game ever existed, and the myth likely originated as an internet-based creation. The story plays on the idea of a mysterious and malevolent video game, adding an air of conspiracy to the gaming world.
2. Lavender Town Syndrome:
Legend: Lavender Town Syndrome is a creepypasta tale associated with the Pokémon Red and Green games. According to the legend, a high-pitched tone in Lavender Town’s music caused numerous Japanese children to experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, and, in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts.
Reality: This urban legend is purely fictional. While Lavender Town’s music does have an eerie quality, there is no evidence linking it to any harmful effects. The tale likely emerged from the desire to add a sinister layer to the beloved Pokémon franchise.
3. The Madden Curse:
Legend: The Madden Curse is an alleged phenomenon where the athlete featured on the cover of EA Sports’ Madden NFL video game experiences a streak of bad luck, injury, or poor performance in the following NFL season.
Reality: While the Madden Curse has been a fun superstition among fans, it lacks any factual basis. Many cover athletes have gone on to have successful seasons, and any correlation between the cover and subsequent performance is likely coincidental.
4. Ben Drowned:
Legend: Ben Drowned is a creepypasta story surrounding a haunted and cursed copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. The tale involves a malevolent entity named Ben, who supposedly curses the player and manipulates the game.
Reality: Ben Drowned is a fictional story created as part of a creepypasta narrative. The haunted game cartridge and the accompanying spooky events described in the story are entirely fabricated, designed to evoke a sense of horror and suspense within the gaming community.
5. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Burial:
Legend: The legend claims that Atari buried millions of unsold E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial game cartridges in a New Mexico landfill in 1983, turning it into a mass grave for one of the most infamous video games in history.
Reality: This legend is true. In 2014, documentary filmmakers uncovered the long-buried E.T. cartridges in Alamogordo, New Mexico, confirming that Atari did, indeed, bury unsold inventory. The burial was a symbolic act reflecting the gaming industry’s struggles during the video game crash of the early 1980s.
6. The Secret Cow Level (Diablo II):
Legend: The Secret Cow Level is an urban legend in the world of Diablo II. Players believed that by following a series of complex steps, they could access a hidden level filled with weapon-wielding cows.
Reality: The Secret Cow Level is not a mere legend but a real Easter egg deliberately included by the game developers. Accessible through specific in-game actions, the level pays homage to a similar rumor in the original Diablo and has since become a beloved part of Diablo II lore.
7. Herobrine in Minecraft:
Legend: Herobrine is a mythical character believed to haunt Minecraft. Described as a mysterious, omnipotent figure with empty eye sockets, Herobrine was said to terrorize players by altering their worlds and engaging in unsettling behaviors.
Reality: Herobrine is entirely fictional. The legend originated as a hoax created by a player who posted a fabricated story on a Minecraft forum. Despite numerous claims and mods attempting to bring Herobrine into the game, the character has never been part of the official Minecraft experience.
8. The Haunting of Majora’s Mask:
Legend: The Haunting of Majora’s Mask is an urban legend associated with the creepy and unsettling nature of the game The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Players have reported eerie occurrences and unexplained happenings, suggesting the game itself is haunted.
Reality: This legend is purely fictional. The eerie atmosphere and unsettling themes in Majora’s Mask are intentional design choices by the game developers to create a unique and atmospheric gaming experience. There is no evidence of supernatural or haunted elements within the game.
9. The Killswitch Game:
Legend: Killswitch is rumored to be a cursed and haunted game that causes strange and paranormal occurrences when played. The legend suggests that those who play the game experience unexplainable phenomena, leading to a sense of dread and fear.
Reality: The Killswitch legend is a creation of internet lore and creepypasta. There is no evidence that the game exists, and the stories associated with it are designed to evoke fear and uncertainty. The concept of haunted or cursed games is a common theme in gaming urban legends.
10. The Sonic.exe Curse:
Legend: Sonic.exe is a creepypasta tale involving a haunted Sonic the Hedgehog game. The story revolves around a malevolent entity taking the form of Sonic, causing bizarre and unsettling events for players.
Reality: Sonic.exe is a fictional story created for online horror storytelling. The alleged haunted game and the supernatural events described in the tale are entirely fabricated. The story plays into the horror genre popularized by creepypasta narratives.
Gaming urban legends add an intriguing layer of mystery and excitement to the world of video games. While some legends, like the E.T. burial or the Secret Cow Level, have roots in reality, many others, such as Polybius or Herobrine, are purely products of creative storytelling and internet folklore.
As the gaming community continues to evolve, new legends and myths will inevitably emerge. Whether rooted in truth or purely imaginative, these stories contribute to the rich tapestry of gaming culture, sparking curiosity, discussions, and a sense of wonder among gamers worldwide. In the end, the line between fact and fiction in gaming urban legends remains blurred, inviting players to explore and decide for themselves where the realms of reality and fantasy truly intersect.