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Horror games are a hell of a lot of work. You can spend thousands of man-hours carefully exploiting human psychology and weakness in order to inspire that elusive but all-important fear response ... or you could slap some shitty code in there and call it a day. As we've told you three times before, sometimes the scariest game is one that's just not working very well. Join us for another excursion into the unintentional, hilarious terror of video game glitches ...

6
DayZ's Soulless Husks

Bohemia Interactive

DayZ is an open-world, multiplayer game where you control one of the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Though the undead are a hurdle, the biggest threat in the game, as always, is 14-year-olds who use their special "unlimited free time" ability to murder you and teabag your corpse. Like most online games, when a player disconnects, their character simply vanishes from the world. But sometimes the husks of characters are accidentally left behind. They just stand there without a care in the world, doing whatever it was they were doing before the player controlling them disconnected.

Bohemia Interactive
"Squirrel!"

In this case it's endlessly bleeding while giving you occasional side-eyes, like you're the weirdo. Since the game doesn't register these husk people as "alive," they can't be killed. Attacking them is like trying to fight one of those wacky inflatable tube men inside the Matrix.

Bohemia Interactive
"You cannot defeat me. I shall claim your soul for Frank's Discount Tires and Brakes."

These "soulless players" are encountered in all sorts of unusual situations that make you wonder what could have possibly been happening before they disconnected. In the above example you can probably come up with some sort of combat scenario, or maybe a ritualistic murder/suicide gone wrong. But what was this guy doing standing in a field with no pants and a fire extinguisher?

Bohemia Interactive
The answer to that could be the scariest thing of all.

5
Skyrim's Air Swimmers

Bethesda Softworks

There are few horrors that lurk in the deep places where man has not yet trod that can rival what happens when you play a game made by Bethesda. We've begun to suspect that either their developers are adding these nightmares intentionally or their office is haunted by the ghost of a shitty programmer. So it should come as no great surprise that characters in Skyrim will occasionally swim through the air.

Bethesda Softworks
"Sometimes I forget I can't just pee like I'm in a pool. That's why I'm no longer allowed at church."

It looks odd, but the characters otherwise act the same. You can still talk to them, get quests from them, or bash their head in with a giant ax and steal their shoes. But under the right circumstances it goes from a silly, trivial little glitch to skin-crawling horror. And here those circumstances are!

A creepy woman glowing with a ghostly light swims through the air toward you in the dead of night, stops, swivels, and somberly intones, "The Gods know what you've done." She then continues her air-swim to a house where she disappears at the door, drawing absolutely no reaction from the man nearby. If that was your first time seeing something like that in the game, would your first thought be, "Weird glitch," or, "No, I- I destroyed all the evidence! They can't possibly know about that summer in Louisiana ... can they?!"

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4
FIFA 12's Goalie Becomes Death, Destroyer of Worlds

Electronic Arts

A sports game is the last place you'd expect to discover the dreams of the damned. But sometimes hellspawn find their way into even the most boring places, and by that we mean a soccer match. In FIFA 12, (FIFA stands for "Football, Idiotic Fucking Americans") a glitch sometimes inflates the practice goalie to Godzilla-like proportions. You logged in to a soccer game and found yourself in Shadow of the Colossus: Confused Brazilian Guy Edition.

Electronic Arts
"Purchase DLC sling? Y/N"

At first, the keeper's surreal proportions are genuinely terrifying ...

Electronic Arts
"Red card to Johnson, who eats the referee in response! Oh, he'll be looking at a two-match suspension for that protest!"

But the game soon turns from horror to nightmarish farce, as the gigantic keepers are clearly ill-equipped to deal with this mortal game. It's like asking regular humans to play soccer with a marble. Attempting to score on the Goalie of the Underworld may cause him to trip over his own shoelaces and flop around like a beached dolphin.

Electronic Arts
"It's clearly a dive. Call him on it, ref. We'll, uh ... wait back here."

Newer versions of the game fixed the glitch, and by "fixed" we mean "perfected its ability to cause night terrors in innocent gamers who just wanted to virtually nudge a ball about." FIFA 15 will now occasionally spawn a colossal goalie with no head or arms. Watch as the un-goalie makes a diving save with its torso, then scuttles after the ball on feet that look like a crab mated with a human and created a child with the strengths of neither.

Electronic Arts
"If we end up in an Alive scenario, we know whose ass gets eaten first."

3
Surgeon Simulator 2013's Patients Shed Tears of Blood

Bossa Studios

Surgeon Simulator is a sordid mix between QWOP and Operation. Because of the intentionally awkward controls, pretty much every procedure you attempt is bound for catastrophic failure, but that's the whole point. Your ridiculous methods and the subsequent parade of errant organs are psychotically hilarious.

Bossa Studios
"We warned you about Obamacare."

But as the developers learned when making the iPad version, there's a fine line between comedic patient-mangling and hellish gore carnivals. Put the wrong variable in and suddenly Surgeon Simulator becomes less like a Mr. Bean hospital sketch and more like interactive torture porn.

Bossa Studios

Bossa Studios
Instead of a surgeon's mask, you wear a hockey mask.

The poor patient takes a scalpel to the eye, starts firing blood, and then teaches that girl from The Exorcist to bring her A-game next time. We're not developers ourselves, but we're pretty sure the Necronomicon is not a programming codex. And just when you think you can't take anymore, the patient's eyes pop completely out of his head, continuing to bleed and silently accuse you the whole time, of course.

Bossa Studios
"I see what you did there. And over there."

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2
Mafia II on a MacBook Summons Demons

2K Games

The Mafia series is basically a cross between Grand Theft Auto and The Godfather. You explore a city in the 1940s, drive old-timey cars, and whack any goons that need a good whack-job. We're pretty sure that's accurate slang. Why, in true Goodfellas tradition, you even make time for your sweet ol' ma.

2K Games

Gamers who own a MacBook can also get in on the action. Mafia II remains exactly the same ... except for the part where your beloved mother transforms into a terrifying demon mannequin.

2K Games
"Fool. I am the reckoning that comes from not reading the Apple user agreement."

That's either a texture glitch or some serious foreshadowing for the big twist in the game where the main character finds out his mom is a living shadow wearing a human skin-suit. The hero is wise not to mention this sudden transformation -- if you just act normal, maybe she won't rend your flesh and use your blood to season the manicotti.

2K Games
"Have you been drinking that wine and eating all that garlic like I asked?"

Did you catch that? For a split second sweet ol' ma was back, but the evil spirit immediately reclaimed dominion over its host. It's like your mother's trying to fight the demon from the inside, but she can manage only to flicker in and out of existence, banging in vain on the door of her own soul.

2K Games
"Buy the console version ... it's not too late for you ..."

Our best guess as to what happened here is that the mother's face was accidentally swapped with the texture for your own leather jacket, which means at some point you may be strolling around town wearing your own mother's disembodied face stretched across your back.

1
Grand Theft Auto Creates Clones, Air Sharks, and Mass Suicides

Rockstar Games

Play as Franklin in Grand Theft Auto V, then walk in and out of the same door repeatedly. You will spawn a new Aunt Denise every time. Abuse your makeshift transmographier enough and you'll flood the streets with dozens of Denises, drastically devaluing aunts everywhere and overrunning the world with sass.

Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games
"Every child on Earth will hush!"

Though instant cloning has some troubling moral and ethical implications, it's nothing compared to what's swimming through the skies.

Rockstar Games
"Oh, don't mind me. I just had to get a better look at that Spanish tile."

The sharks of GTA V have been known to swim out of the water and into the air, where they will absolutely make a meal out of your ass.

Rockstar Games
"Tastes like Chicken of the Sea."

Their prehistoric brains either can't comprehend or simply don't give a shit about the laws of physics they're breaking, so most of them just keep swimming forever. For the sorry few that momentarily realize the gravity of their situation, death comes swiftly and tragically.

Rockstar Games
"Candy ... gram ..."

In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas you can find a photographer near a river. She'll take a picture or two, then casually stroll into the water and drown.

Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games
"Don't cry. I'm with my boyfriend now."

If you leave and come back, a new photographer will have taken the old one's place. Character after character goes to the waterfront, takes their last photo, then plunges into the abyss. You can't stop them -- impeding their death march only delays the inevitable.

Rockstar Games
"What am I supposed to tell my wife and hoes?"

The games feature more random suicides than The Happening. Usually they occur when you're traveling really fast and the game attempts to populate the world as you go, resulting in innocent people spawning on top of a bridge or a building, with no recourse but to walk right off.

Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games
"Too much splash. 6.5."

While it's caused by simple glitches, there's perhaps something oddly appropriate about suicide rates being so much higher in a world where cloning is rampant, life means little, and motherfucking sharks patrol the skies.


For more from Ashe, check out Weird Shit Blog and The Book of Word Records. Find more funny stuff at Laffington.com or follow Chris on Twitter. Tristan is also on Twitter but has nothing else in his life.

And check out 7 Creepy Video Game Easter Eggs You'll Wish Were Never Found and The 6 Creepiest Easter Eggs Hidden in Video Games (Part 2).

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