The 6 Creepiest Glitches in Famous Video Games (Part 2)
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.
Bethesda 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?!
Minecraft -- 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?
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening -- The Doghouse Glitch
In 1993, Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for the original Game Boy. Aside from having both a spoiler and a falsehood in its title (Zelda isn't even in the game, you guys), it also stands out for being kind of weird, even for a Nintendo game. Most of the creatures, areas and people you meet have a dreamlike quality.
"It's dangerous to go sober. Take this peyote."
But the doghouse glitch takes all of that to a whole new level. At any point in the game, as long as you've killed at least one monster, you can go back to the house next door to the one you start in (the one with the Chain Chomp tied up outside) and use a simple maneuver to trick the game into letting you walk through the side of a doghouse instead of the front, which for some reason thrusts you into a mixed-up LSD-influenced nightmare dungeon.
The dungeon will be different every time you go in, but in this version, the first thing you see is the image of an empty room with a two-headed dog standing in the center, which lasts only about a second. During that second, Link only appears as a flashing icon on the upper left wall.
He's recreating that scene from Altered States.
As you explore the rest of the dungeon, phasing through walls and falling into holes that don't exist, you come across things like the disembodied heads of little girls holding swords ...
... and a room with a man who appears to be drowning over and over.
Those are either his bones, or the bones of the gypsy who cursed him.
If you explore enough, you can even find items that you shouldn't be able to get until later in the game (and some that aren't obtainable in the game at all), mashed up versions of enemies, garbled sprites, doors and chests that won't open, and quite possibly the horrifying secret that the universe itself was created to hide.
Furthermore, the dungeon actually changes itself based on how many creatures you've killed since your last continue, like a House of Leaves-style labyrinth or a personal hell tailored to the amount of sins you committed while you were alive.
"This is the room where we store all of the families you cut in half."
Creepiest of all is that you can't choose when to leave, so if you want to go back to the normal game, you have to reset the console or die in there, the latter of which we don't recommend if you value your sanity.
GTA and Modern Warfare -- Walking Decapitations
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas introduced a higher level of character customization than the previous GTA games, allowing you to decide which clothes would be stained by the blood of the innocent pedestrians you beat to death for no reason. So, for example, you could make the character wear a hoodie, or a trucker hat ... or, if you run into this glitch, no head at all.
Granted, that may not be the most baffling wardrobe decision here.
Yep, sometimes you can go around like a decapitation victim, and the best/worst part is that your exposed neck is continuously gushing blood into the street as you walk, so it's not like your head became invisible or something. You can drive vehicles without a head ...
Wait a minute, CJ, we're pretty sure that's illegal.
... make out with people ...
Don't worry, homophobes, there are no actual lips touching here.
... and, of course, beat up innocent pedestrians for no reason.
"This is what karma looks like, fool!"
This glitch usually happens when you're in two-player mode and the second player decapitates you with a katana. When your character respawns, the head will still be missing, but the rest of his body will keep going, like a zombie. Sometimes, however, this happens to random characters from the game, like this cop calmly walking his beat without a head:
"Officer ... uh, officer, you dropped something there ..."
GTA isn't the only game where this happens: In the capture the flag mode of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, if someone else kills you while they're holding the flag, sometimes you come back like this:
Which is almost exactly what happens in real flag-stealing missions in an actual war.
Although there's no gushing blood here, this one beats GTA because being headless gives you special powers -- if any other players see you while you're decapitated, they'll be instantly kicked out of the game, as if their brains were unable to comprehend the horror they had witnessed and forced them out of reality.
It's like Back to the Future, only way more fucked up.
Mario Kart Wii -- The Endless Hidden Track
Hidden tracks are an essential part of Mario Kart Wii and the Mario Kart games in general: Just when you're getting bored of running on freakin' Coconut Mall for the 200th time, new and more difficult tracks show up, introducing new and more frustrating ways for you to fall off the borders every 10 seconds.
However, Mario Kart Wii came out in 2008, and it's the best-selling racing game of all time, so you'd think there'd be nothing new to discover there by now. The good news is that there is one extra track you don't know about -- the bad news is that it looks like the entire Mushroom Kingdom burned down and you're running in its ashes:
Don't go into the castle, Luigi! That's where hell stores racism!
That's not a hack or something like that -- it's a hidden course that's always been included in the game. It's just that there's no way to access it, as if the programmers had been trying to trap some ancient evil within the game's code. Unfortunately for the human race, they weren't counting on the Internet figuring out how to enter the track anyway, as shown in this video:
The secret track can manifest itself in many forms, depending on how you stumble upon it (which usually requires using cheat codes). The above version looks like the Matrix is unraveling around you, while in this other one, you'll find yourself racing in a mostly empty void surrounded by strange shapes, like the shadows of an adjacent reality.
This is where your soul goes when the Blue Shell hits you.
The track has the layout of one of the regular courses (Mario Circuit) and the music of another (Moo Moo Farm), but there are no enemies, obstacles or items. Also, it doesn't register when you complete a lap and there's no known time limit, so if you end up there, you're doomed to go around in circles forever until you die.
Various Nintendo 64 Games -- Cartridge Tilting
Back in the cartridge era of video gaming, every single instruction book told you to never pull out the game while it was playing, because it could damage both the console and the game itself. What they didn't mention was that it could also irreparably damage your soul. Watch carefully what happens to James Bond about 10 seconds into this GoldenEye 007 video:
You see, if you gently pull a game out of the cartridge slot while it's running, you can sometimes get interesting, possibly disturbing results out of it. It works with any cartridge-based console, but you seem to get the best results with the Nintendo 64.
"Where's the 'commit hara kiri' option?!"
Or this one, where the simple, childlike innocence of Mario Party becomes a live Nine Inch Nails show coupled with Cthulhu-speak.
It translates to "The invasion may now begin."
Meanwhile, watch as this wrestling match in an old WCW game quickly turns into a struggle for survival between obscene, unspeakable deities.
"Ooh, and Hulk Hogan jumps in and unmakes his opponent from the cloth of reality!"
But the creepiest effect of all happens when you try to do this in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, perhaps hoping for a glitch that will make Princess Zelda's dress disappear or something. If you mess with the cartridge too much, the game starts talking to you:
At this point, the soundtrack turns into sobbing.
First, Link appears to sink into the ground, and you get a message with the words "Oh! MY GOD!!" as if the game itself were as freaked out as you are. Then the panic turns to tenderness as the game proclaims its love for you, its master:
We ... we've been waiting for this moment since 1998, Zelda 64.
And just in case you think the guy who shot that video faked that, here's another video where the exact same thing happens:
Oh, so you say that to everyone? You slut.
For some reason, the programmers included phrases like "Oh! MY GOD!" and "I LOVE YOU" between the usually invisible lines of code in the game, which become visible when you tilt the cartridge and the world begins to unravel. But at least these guys triggered it intentionally -- imagine you're playing the game alone, late at night, and this happens for no reason. Tells us you wouldn't talk back. Tell us.
For more from Ashe, check out Weird Shit Blog and The Ashe Can. Chris Rio has a blog at Laffington.com, where he discusses how creepy Disney World is. You can also follow him or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile, and you can bother him on Twitter.
For more ways video games would literally rot your brain, check out The 8 Creepiest Glitches Hidden in Popular Video Games and 8 Creepy Video Game Urban Legends (That Happen to Be True).