If you ask gamers what the scariest video game ever is, they'll probably say something like Silent Hill or Amnesia or Pac-Man (seriously, try to imagine it in first-person view). But most of those games are intentionally trying to be scary. The true horror happens when a completely normal game that wanted nothing but to entertain you accidentally becomes corrupted, offering us a glimpse of what hell would look like if it were rendered in video game graphics.
Once again, let's look at what happens when video game glitches stop being annoying and start being terrifying.
6Bethesda Games and Battlefield 3 -- Characters Glitching into Contorted Nightmares
Video games today look better than they've ever looked ... but at what cost? The RPGs created by Bethesda Softworks, for example, use complex physics engines that can simulate real-world physics to near perfection. When it works, it makes your games look all fancy and realistic -- but when it doesn't, it's indistinguishable from a demonic possession. For instance, Fallout: New Vegas throws fresh horror at you right in the introductory cutscene. If you get a certain glitch, your character wakes up, and the first thing he sees is a man who instantly starts channeling the girl from The Exorcist:
How many people thought this was part of the normal game and immediately threw the disc into a fire?
This happens before you are even allowed to move. You're stuck there, forced to watch him do that in front of you. In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (another Bethesda game), you get glitches like this terrifying video of an adorable little kid who starts spinning around like a human Ferris wheel. While staring at you.
"Can you help me find my teddy bear, mister?"
"I think I left it over here ..."
"Or maybe ... over here ..."
That sort of shit can happen in the middle of the game, with no warning or explanation. Some enemies will inexplicably melt into a pile of liquidy goo after you hit them, and they'll just stay there looking like a piece of human gum stuck on the carpet unless you resurrect them with a spell.
See, normally, we have to write mods in order to make that happen.
You can even play with your melted enemy's body parts, but we wouldn't recommend watching the results on a full stomach. Then there's this video of a player in Oblivion walking into a room, only to find a sentient bed eat-fucking a guy to death, groaning with pleasure the entire time.
"And that's how baby demons are made, son. Any other questio- why are you crying?"
Warning: Close the video before 0:56, because at that point the bed starts limping toward you, and the intern we forced to watch that part still hasn't come out of his coma.
Not that Bethesda has the monopoly on unholy software bugs -- at any moment, you could pop in your favorite shooting game and see this:
"Hello, fellow human soldier. Can I take a look at your spinal fluid, just for a moment?"
That's a particularly disturbing glitch from the public beta release of Battlefield 3, in which players crawling on the ground would sometimes mutate into human slugs, or maybe contort themselves into grotesque, twisted horrors from The Thing:
HOW IS HE NOT SHOOTING THAT THING WITH EVERY GUN HE HAS?!
5Minecraft -- The Far Lands
One of the coolest things about Minecraft (other than the fact that you can build almost anything) is that the world the game generates is nearly infinite. If you don't like the spot you're in, you can pick a direction, keep walking, and find another spot to set up as your home. Of course, due to the limitations of technology, it isn't really infinite. Like all things, Minecraft's world does have an end ... and that's where stuff gets bizarre.
Now we know why the game credits M.C. Escher as conceptual artist.
In older versions of the game, it was possible to walk all the way to the literal end of the world (estimated to take approximately 34 days of real-world time) and see what players referred to as "The Far Lands" -- the farther away you walked, the buggier the game got, so at that point the world simply stopped making sense. You could also cheat and warp there, which of course ruins the point a little.
As well as ruining the feeling of reward from discovering this miracle on your own.
In this Notch-forsaken place, huge ridges of jagged rock would spring vertically out of the ground with endless holes carved into them. The game could also, in certain spots, accidentally render extra layers of "ground" and sky that would stack on top of each other and fill the sky above you, like a pixelated version of the future from The Matrix.
Sorry, but if you want to impress us, build the human battery farm.
Weirder still, the game had a strange issue with rendering movement animations in the Far Lands, making it look like you were standing still and this demon world was rotating under you. Plants, animals and even the terrain itself appeared to be coming ever closer to you, while you were unable to move and presumably screaming inside.
Finally, if you spent too long in the Far Lands, the game would most likely crash, as though the madness had warped your computer and sent it into a gibbering fit of shrieking and cursing in dark, forgotten languages.
"May the Dark Lords forgive us all."
In the most recent versions of the game, the geography bugs are fixed, but the weird physics bugs and crashes remain. That leaves only one question: What's still out there that the game doesn't want us to see?