In the past, people spread scary video game urban legends by word of mouth. Today, however, the internet has increased this ten-fold. With just a few clicks, we can spread information all across the world, making the internet a virtual campfire for all kinds of spooky stories.
If you grew up in a time before the net, or at least in a time where we only had dial up, you may remember swapping stories of game exploits or secrets no one could prove existed. Some were pretty innocent. I still want to believe there’s a way to play as the Master Hand in the original “Super Smash Bros.” However, some legends had a dark undertone. The internet propelled, expanded, and created these myths like the world’s most terrifying game of telephone. It’s never smart to believe everything you read, but with this many myths, a few are bound to be true. So if you like gaming, and don’t want to sleep tonight, enjoy these 25 scary video game urban legends.
Death be Berzerk
Berzerk is an arcade game that had players navigate a near endless amount of mazes shooting yellow alien antagonists. Legends claim a number of healthy players who achieved a high score dropped dead directly after walking away from the machine. Although it can be hard to validate urban legends, at least one of these deaths is confirmed to be true. According to the Chicago Tribune, a teenager named Peter Bukowski died of a heart attack inside his local arcade.
Ben's Majora's Mask
A 4chan user claimed to have purchased what he thought was a brand new copy of the N64 classic “Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.” Upon playing the game, he discovered it already had a save file called “Ben.”
The user continued to upload videos of other strange things happening in the game. Distorted music, creepy new dialogue, and empty towns all eventually led to the conclusion that the game was once owned by a boy named Ben who had drowned in a local lake. The person who started posting the story eventually stopped, but presumably the haunted cartridge still exists somewhere.
Spoiler alert for anyone still working through the 1999 classic “Final Fantasy 8.” The original game was broken up over two disks. The cut scene at the end of the first disk showed the main character, Squall, being impaled with icicles. However, once players put the second disk in Squall remarks, “no wounds” and the game continues, although the surreal aspects are considerably ramped up. Players concluded that the second half of the game takes place in the afterlife. The developers haven’t confirmed anything, but the final shot of the game shown above, certainly supports the conclusion that something freaky is happening.
The Madden Curse
One of the most well known gaming urban legends claims that the NFL player who appears on the cover of the annual entry in the Madden franchise will get injured or under perform in their next season of play. EA, the developers, even felt the need to publicly refute the curse, although it’s hard to deny the startling amount of players who have had problems. Plus, we could always use more reasons to hate EA.
Lavender Town Music
The late ’90s were dominated by Pokémon. At least they were for me. According to this myth, there was something sinister behind the otherwise light hearted Red and Blue entries in the franchise. The music that played in Lavender Town, the in game location that housed ghost Pokémon, apparently caused Japanese kids to commit suicide. Although none of the stories have been validated, Nintendo did alter the music for the American release of the games.