8 Spooky Video Game Urban Legends

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By Caitlin Donovan | More Articles
October 05, 2016  08:31 PM

Video games have a lot of spooky urban legends associated with them. Some are true, some are not. This is the month of Halloween, so there’s no better time to look at these bone-chilling stories. The ones for Pokemon alone filled up an entire other list. Do you have any legends that didn’t make the list? Say so in the comments!

1The Legend of Polybius

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In 1981, game a called Polybius supposedly showed up in only a few arcades around Portland, Oregon. It just appeared mysteriously and no one knew where it came from.  What kind of game it actually was is unclear. It was either a Pac-Man-like 3D puzzle coupled with logic puzzles or a game where you had to get dodge objects while flying through a tunnel and also get through a spinning maze, all while dealing with flashing lights. The game was produced by Sinneslöschen which is butchered German for “loss of senses”.

And the game did indeed mess with people’s senses. Reported symptoms that resulted from the game include memory loss, nausea, night terrors and stress. People who played the game suddenly came to hate video games or even turned into anti-gaming activists. More severe symptoms are rumored too, like players committing suicide or being unable to feel sadness.

The game was supposedly very addictive. There were always long lines of people waiting to play it and fights would even break out over who got to play. Men in black were seen collecting data from the machine, meaning the whole thing was some government experiment. One month later, the games just vanished from all arcades.

Of course, there’s no evidence the game even existed. Or is that just what the government WANTS you to think?

Then again, the name of the game sort of makes the nature of this legend clear. Polybius was a Greek historian who said that historians should never report things they cannot verify through witnesses. And you probably shouldn’t believe myths that can’t be verified either. Especially if you don’t want to be caught in a web of horrible government experimentation yourself.

2The Legend of Herobrine the 'Minecraft' Ghost

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People playing Minecraft have reported seeing a horrifying eyeless doppelganger of the player character wandering around the game. The character is said to be the game developer Notch’s dead brother. One player claims after they saw the character and tried to talk about it on a forum, they received a message from a user called Herobrine that said “Stop”. The player connected 'Herobrine' to Notch’s brother and asked Notch about it. Notch confirmed his brother was Herobrine and also that he was dead.

Supposedly, one player saw the apparition in the middle of a lava field while playing and his game crashed. He was redirected to an article on Herobrine, which read:

"It has been reported that some victims of torture, during the act, would retreat into a fantasy world from which they could not WAKE UP. In this catatonic state, the victim lived in a world just like their normal one, except they weren't being tortured. The only way that they realized they needed to WAKE UP was a note they found in their fantasy world. It would tell them about their condition, and tell them to WAKE UP. Even then, it would often take months until they were ready to discard their fantasy world and PLEASE WAKE UP.”

In reality, Herobrine is a prank made up by some livestreamers who used a retextured painting to make the being. One livestreamer was even overheard telling his wife he was “trolling”. Notch does not actually have a brother. 

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Caitlin Donovan is a long-time nerd with a passion for superheroes and epic fantasy. She lives in North Carolina with her cat and wrestles with writing novels and doing editorial work when she's not ranting about pop culture online. She runs a blog at ladyloveandjustice.tumblr.com
@Caitlin Donovan | caitlin@epicstream.com