#3. Game Boy Camera -- Disturbing Error Faces
The Game Boy Camera was a weird accessory to begin with: It allowed you to take small, grainy photos with your Game Boy, which could then be printed out into small, grainy stickers if you hooked it up to the Game Boy Printer.
It's only practical purpose was convincing your friends you were trapped inside a game.
But what made it downright bizarre was the creepy messages hidden through it. The system came loaded with several mini-games and image editing features, among which was a "Run" option. Every kid who ever owned a Game Boy Camera was terrified to accidentally select Run from the menu, because if he did, the system would freeze for a moment and show one of three vandalized faces ...
"Now this game is ready for children."
... accompanied by the phrase "WHO ARE YOU RUNNING FROM?" and this sound.
Even if you managed to steer clear of the Run option, though, you were still under permanent risk of being randomly subjected to inexplicable images like that if you happened to come across a system error (like if the game couldn't find the printer or something). So, while playing with the Game Boy Camera you always had to be extra careful if you didn't wanna run into something like this:
Here's the third error face, and there were two more that were only present in the Japanese version, which is kind of puzzling, because it means that someone at Nintendo actually sat there and said "No, no, the American market will never go for these faces, let's get different ones."
"These are Japan-creepy. We need America-creepy."
There's more: If you looked at the Game Boy Camera's credits sequence and pressed "B," the screen would be overtaken by a self-replicating dancing Japanese person (possibly Mario's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto):
The Game Boy Camera wasn't a big hit and was eventually discontinued, but its legacy of terror lives on in the nightmares of thousands of gamers and lo-res photography enthusiasts.
#2. Various Games -- All Sorts of Weird Sounds
Apparently game developers get off on hiding creepy noises in games, because Portal 2 isn't the only one. If you stand in certain spots in multiplayer maps in Call of Duty: World at War, you can hear nice, pleasant things like girls crying, a disembodied piano, Red Army rallies, people being tortured and even a speech by ghost-Hitler himself. (And if that's not weird enough, Call of Duty: Finest Hour has a blackened room filled with candles and the ghost of a young boy sitting around in a baby's crib.)
This is why grandad got quiet whenever we watched Ghost!
Half-Life 2 and its expansions also contain insane shit. For example, the zombies you frequently encounter in the game usually make some strange, howling noise that's kind of disconcerting on its own. It gets weirder if you reverse it, though, and hear a mostly unaltered human voice screaming "Oh God, oh God, God help me" over and over. So you can sleep well with that in your head.
We hate to stray off topic, but man is that one bloody crotch.
In the expansion Half-Life 2: Episode One, you also encounter City 17 police forces that have been infected and turned into zombies. They're generally unintelligible, but with a bit of sound manipulation, you can hear some kinda disturbing stuff. Essentially, these things seem to be reliving their last human moments over and over again, using words and phrases like "infestation," "parasites," "sector is not secure" and "necrotics inbound."
"Tomorrow was my retirement party."
And, you know, maybe those kinds of Easter eggs are a little understandable, being in intense, mature games like they are ... unlike the next one. In the game Jam Sessions for the Nintendo DS, of all things, you can allow the A6 guitar chord to ring out and, if you don't play any other notes afterward, it plays a whispered message that sounds a hell of a lot like "forgive us."
What's that doing there? According to one of the game's developers, it's actually a bit of the recording artist caught on tape saying "tsugi ikimasu," which is Japanese for "next," which is creepy enough in and of itself, if you think of it in a "you're next" kinda way.
This is basically the console equivalent of that VHS tape from The Ring.
But, speaking of ghostly voices ...
#1. World of Warcraft -- The Ghosts of Warcraft Past
We've talked a bit about strange things you can find in World of Warcraft before, but who are we to resist writing about what is, essentially, a haunted castle from a previous game?
How many of you know more about the history of this castle than World War I?
Before World of Warcraft there were Warcraft games, a series of non-MMORPG strategy games focusing on the war between humans and orcs. On WoW there is an area called the Ruins of Lordaeron over the undead capital, and inside the main castle-looking area, you can find an abandoned throne room. If you listen very closely (that is, crank the "ambient sound" volume slider to the max), you can hear some spooky, disembodied voices:
On top of that, if you go just outside the castle into Lordaeron's courtyard and use the "detect invisibility" spell, you can actually see the ghosts of the former townspeople wandering around.
They look like blue farts, basically.
These could just be random video game ghosts, but they're not: There's a whole back story here. Those ghostly voices we just showed you actually come from the opening and closing cinematics of the human campaign in Warcraft III. The throne belongs to an old character called King Menethil, and Lordaeron itself, before turning into ruins, was a main setting in Warcraft II and III. It turns out that the ghostly whispers are actually replaying the catastrophe that doomed the city.
The whispers about the tides of darkness and all that? That's King Menethil being warned that his son, Prince Arthas (also from the Warcraft games), is gonna fuck everything up for everyone. The rest of it is Arthas later returning home after being possessed by something called the Lich King and stabbing the shit out of his own dad. After that, the undead kinda came in and set up shop underneath the abandoned city and killed off all the remaining humans that were still there and in the surrounding area, hence all the ghosts and shit.
"Arthas, your skin is totally bloodless and your armor is covered in skulls. Are you planning to murder everyone? Be honest."
The point is that throne room is where Arthas/Lich King betrayed King Menethil and the rest of humanity and set in motion the events that caused pretty much every problem in World of Warcraft.
So if you're wondering who to blame for your sleepless nights and Cheetos-stained fingers, now you know.
Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile and likes to waste his time writing back to scammers or making stupid comics. Ashe recently wrote a short story for a charity book that you can buy here. For more of his stuff, check out Weird Shit Blog and Bad Metaphors.
For more Easter egg hunting, check out 10 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden in Famous Albums and 7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden in Movies and TV Shows.
And stop by LinkSTORM to help get over the Mondays.
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