Monday, 8 July 2013

The Creepiest Games You Know

Welcome to the dark side, where up is down, time is no time at all, and jelly babies are now jelly teenagers and won't come out of their rooms for a family meal.  That's right, you've reached the Twilight Zone of the Internet, and once you've changed your underwear after that frightening first sentence, we're going to explore the scariest business that the electronic format can provide.  Namely, creepy video games. 

Anyway, while there are plenty of frightening games out there, sometimes developers will throw a curveball into an otherwise happy, child friendly game.  I want to discuss those video game moments that are either unintentionally upsetting, or just outright jarring.  Below is a small selection of utterly horrifying gaming moments that quite simply shouldn’t be.

The Gameboy Camera Faces

Back in the late 90’s, Nintendo released a camera peripheral for their wildly popular Gameboy.  The idea was that you could take photos, edit them, and print them out for your friends.  The last thing that Gameboy camera owners expected to see was this:



The image is actually an error handler.  Rather than displaying an error message if something goes wrong, Ninty thought it would be a lot more child friendly to display disfigured faces with the rather menacing phrase “WHO ARE YOU RUNNING FROM?”.  Considering that one of the main causes of this error was by selecting the Run command, which hadn’t actually been programmed, this often seen error screen caused many childhood nightmares.

Most developers would have either just removed the Run command or displayed a generic error message, but Nintendo decided to opt for this frankly baffling picture.  Perhaps they thought it was a joke, but either way, it was poorly judged on their part.

Sonic CD

Oh what fun!  Here’s a game where you leap around as a little blue hedgehog and free tiny animals from robots!  This game will be completely suitable for my children and guaranteed not to scar them for life:





Oh.

This was a sound test easter egg put in by a development team who had spent the first half of eternity in hell.  Of course, an eyeless freaky Sonic is a perfect image to show the kiddywinks!  They’re going to enjoy seeing their cutesy hero wearing a threatening mask while he leers at you through those soulless sockets.  What makes this even worse is the music associated with it.  Seriously, watch this on YouTube for the full effect:



Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy was one of the biggest hits on one of the most ubiquitous console of recent years, The Wii.  If you’ve ever played the game, did you ever get the eerie sense that you were being watched?  Well you should have done, largely down to these little folks:



Yes, there are mysterious shadow figure overseeing the events of Super Mario Galaxy.  Who are these secretive beings?  Can they feel love?  Who on the art team thought to include them?  Chances are, with this being a tiny speck of the background that has been magnified, one of the artists included this as a joke.  What’s more surprising is that someone even noticed this in the first place.

Fallout 3

There are many horrors that an irradiated wasteland can offer up, but none quite compare to the skinless floating muscle people that occasionally pop up in Fallout 3.


During the game you can quite easily blow enemies to pieces, quite literally, spreading their organs and guts across the ruins of DC.  But occasionally, a bug in the game causes those pieces to reform into a character.  Sometimes they'll mysteriously float around aimlessly, others can be interacted with, but all are freaky as all hell.

Half Life 2

Okay, Half Life 2 is intentionally creepy in a lot of places, but this one is a particularly freaky easter egg that everyone will have come across without knowing it.  Specifically, the zombie headcrab noise:


Yes, those people are screaming "OH GOD HELP ME", which is a nice unsettling touch added by the developers there.

Anyway, that's all I have to share with you today.  I figured that the blazing sunlight and longer daytime hours of July would make an ideal backdrop to discuss scary stuff, rather than waiting until Halloween like a walking cliché.  Regardless, do you have any unintentionally creepy gaming moments to share?

25 comments:

  1. I knew a lot of these and I absolutely love them. Those little creepy touches. In Grand Theft Auto San Andreas there's an empty wheelchair on the edge of a pier. The implication is that a cripple killed themselves.

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    1. Yeah I've heard that one, it's an awesome little touch. I believe in Vice City there is also an abandoned pushchair on the beach somewhere. It's probably a reference to something, but I don't know what.

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  2. Yeah, I knew about all these except for the Half-Life 2 one which is pretty damn disturbing. The only one I've successfully pulled off is the Sonic CD one.

    Anyway, on a funny note, here's a pretty funny video about game glitches: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q2P4LjuVA8

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    1. Nice video, really well made actually.

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  3. Sadly or maybe not depending on who you are, what you like to do, and where you are, and various other options I could but will not mention, I spend my spare time drawing little pictures on bits of scrap paper or decent paper sometimes. I therefore have never played any of these games and know nothing about them in fact I know nothing.......

    Ooooooo nice picture of a RAT by the way . . . . HAH HAHHAH HAH HA HH HAH HAH AH HAHAHH HA HH HAHAHHAH . . . . . I wonder if anyone has created a game where you are attacked by hungry rats that will eat you if you dont bash them to death with a large club, it sounds brutal but kids will love it.......

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    1. Don't worry Rob. Filling your time with creative, outdoor pursuits is probably much better than sitting in a darkened room trying to intentionally make an error message appear on your gameboy camera.

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    2. Well I hope the nice man from the police was convinced by your story of a dark room and a gameboy.

      I think they really sort of did not think the name through that well

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  4. I knew about most of these, but I haven't actually seen a lot of them. That Sonic sound test is absolutely horrific. Like, if we ever film a horror movie, I want to use that sound playing in the background as the murderer massacres his victim.

    My personal favorite is the Call of Duty dead guy. It's a particular corpse laying on the ground that sometimes looks like it's alive and talking to itself. And if you shoot it, it sometimes seems as if to perform its own exorcism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvHWimaRmOM

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    1. That Call Of Duty one is pretty freaky. If I'm correct, I think this event can happen in any Call Of Duty game since they all run on the same engine and the problem has never been fixed.

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  5. I don't have time to read this right now as I am busy sweating like an idiot. but I have put a new link on my last post. If you would like to vote for Noah I would be very grateful... (you owe me one anyway!) hahaha

    i will be back to read your doings later on.

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    1. Oh great stuff, I'll test it out in a minute.

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  6. I have honestly never seen any of these, but feel happy in the knowledge that I will not being going to sleep tonight because these are HORRIBLE.

    And awesome.

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    1. Yes, these aren't really condusive to a regular sleeping pattern.

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  7. Yoinks. That Sonic one was both creepy and bad-trippy.

    The most horrifying thing about the games I play is the amount of time I spend playing them. Mainly flash games. And then I spite myself by clearing all my browsing data just before I complete the frickin things, just to underscore how pointlessly I'm spending my life. Yay!

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    1. That's the online equivalent of self harm. Should I be concerned? Stay right there, I'm calling a doctor.

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  8. Oh god, help me. No, that's not a reference to the last one. That's me knowing I'm going to have nightmares. I can't blink now without that first image seared into my brain. Why would they put "Who are you running from?" These games are made by serial killers. Check the basements of each of these game developers.

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    1. That reminds me of something I forgot to include in the article. That "Who are you running from?" image isn't the only one, the devs put in several other error pictures. Some are probably more disturbing. Just Google "Gameboy camera faces" and say goodbye to sleep.

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  9. I want that "oh god help me!" as a ring tone... or better still an alarm. Nothing wakes you up better than a manic cry for help knowing that your guts are being torn apart by the rotting teeth of flesh eating zombies... that or the dog needing a wee at 5am... either one works fine.

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    1. That would be a great ringtone to go off while in the cinema, especially if you're watching a scary movie.

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  10. The Half Life one is creepy as fuck :O

    I didn't know about any of these, mainly because I'm not a huge gamer. I enjoy some games, and I love horror games, but I guess they don't count as unintentionally creepy.

    I do love game glitches though. But most of them seem to be the player's head going through a wall.

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    1. I like glitches too. In fact, I like anything outside the main narrative from Easter Eggs to glitches to hidden content. I just like things that feel as though they shouldn't really be there.

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  11. There's also the one from the Atari 2600 game Adventure where you make your 16 pixel by 16 pixel square get the gray square and then move it through a line to reveal the developers name in a blocky font. Spooky!

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    1. Now I need to change my trousers. Frightening stuff!

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  12. when i saw the title I thought it was going to be about non-video games - hide and seek always scared me, still does, and knock down ginger could go so wrong, and of course chicken (my sister got knocked down three times!) and so many more! lol

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    1. Hide and seek was so tense and scary, especially if everyone dressed as murderous clowns.

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