Urban legends, modern counterparts of ancient myths, have accompanied mankind for years. Those who like to be scared look for dark stories with interest, which they then pass on to themselves. As they pass from mouth to mouth, these stories change, the details blur, being replaced by other details. After all, it's hard to know how true a story is or how far it is made up. But there is no shortage of researchers who spend time researching city myths, sometimes succeeding and proving that the terrifying passes that few believed did actually take place. There are also many secrets in the computer games industry, some very dark, others fascinating. Some are probably imaginary, others are confirmed by researchers as 100% true. In a series of articles, I would like to present to you the most interesting of them. In most cases, without asking how much truth and how much falsehood there is, leaving the decision of whether to believe them to each reader individually.
The popular Twisted Metal series has accompanied Sony consoles from almost the very beginning of their existence. In 2001, the first installment of the PlayStation 2 series, Twisted Metal Black, was released. The title was quite successful and decisions were made to create its continuation. The project, working under the working name of Twisted Metal Black - Harbor City, was intended to take the arena battles of deadly cars to a whole new level, offering interconnecting highways with the feeling of traveling through one complete world, instead of several unrelated maps. In addition, the game, almost like GTA3, was to allow you to get out of the cars and wash your fists with your opponents. However, the premiere of the revolutionary part of the saga did not take place. In 2005, two years after the start of work on Harbor City, six key members of the development studio were killed in a plane crash. After this tragedy, Sony decided to delete the title.
And that would have been the end of the series' second visit to PlayStation 2, if not for the letter that arrived at Sony's headquarters in March 2007:
We are disappointed with your decision
In order not to show the world the last one
From our works
... we are begging you ...
Show them what we did ...
Show the last of our earthly works
... If you doubt our existence, take a look
Down into the dark past where you will find
Proof that we are who we say we are
For in the past you will find evidence
That we know what the future holds ...
The letter was signed by six former employees of the Japanese corporation who died in the plane crash.
Seriously scared Sony employees collected the four completed Harbor City levels and added them to the Twisted Metal: Head On conversion released on PlayStation 2. The most die-hard fans who took the time to discover all the secrets of the game, in addition to being able to play a fragment of an abandoned project, also got the opportunity to see a copy of the secret letter ...
4chan is the world's largest anonymous graphic forum, whose popularity is matched only by infamy. It was there, in a place many refer to as the black hole of the Internet, the cradle of the worst what Internet users have to offer, on September 7, 2010, a young student with the nickname Jadusable published a post in which he talked about his struggle with a very strange version of the game The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for Nintendo 64 consoles. A very long post described in detail how, while searching local garage sales, he found an unsympathetic grandfather who happened to own the game he was looking for. The cartridge with the production was not very impressive - it had a standard gray color and was devoid of any imprint. Instead, it had a marker penned with "Major". The author of the post did not care and asked for the price. In response, the old man said in a strange tone that he could take the game for free, that it belonged to a boy of a similar age who does not live here anymore. Pleased, Jadusable thanked him and set off on his way back, hearing the farewell "Goodbye then" behind him.
On the way back, this farewell haunted him. He thought he had misheard, and that in fact, Grandpa had said something else. The guess turned to certainty as he fired the received game in his dorm room. It had a saved game from the previous owner named "BEN". Jadusable quickly realized that the old man was not saying Goodbye then, but Goodbye to Ben. He felt sorry for him - obvious dementia made him mistake him for his grandson. Without worrying about it, he created a new one next to the already existing one, which he traditionally called "Link".
Given the appearance of the cartridge suggesting pirate roots, or even some developer beta version, the game ran solid, with only sporadic graphic artifacts different from the store edition. Only one thing every now and then made Jadusable feel uncomfortable. NPCs sometimes referred to his character as Link, but sometimes instead used the apparent name Ben, taken from the second save. After some time, the young player was fed up with it and decided to delete someone else's save. He originally wanted to leave him out of respect for the previous owner of the game, but the behavior of the NPCs made him shudder too often. His action helped on the one hand and not on the other. NPCs stopped using the name "Ben". They stopped calling him by any name at all. Frustrated, Jadusable put down the game and turned to other things.
He came back to her at night. He quickly found out that there was definitely something wrong with the game. In unclear circumstances, the player-controlled hero has moved to the arena, where he normally fights with the final opponent. The arena was empty ... except for Skull Kid levitating nearby and constantly following the player. Jadusable, deeply concerned, ran around the arena for a while, and just as he was about to reset the console, an unexpected message appeared, taken from another part of the game, translated "You are not sure why, but you obviously have doubts ...". Trying to stay calm and convincing himself that the game was not trying to communicate with him at all, the young student ran for the next several seconds around the arena to see if he could trigger another message. He was right - the screen asked "Are you going to the temple boss's lair?" and the ability to choose an answer. It's just that the possibility was only apparent - as it turned out, the only option working was confirmation. The screen filled with white and the words "Dawn of a New Day." Moments later, the protagonist of the game was moved to a place that caused Jadusable a terror that he had never felt before in his life.
As he described his impressions, he was overcome by an unimaginable depression, so strong and poignant that he did not even realize that such a powerful impression could exist. It showed up in a weird version of a location called Clock Town, only with background music playing backward and completely deserted of any NPCs. Instead, it seemed to him that there was something else nearby, something watching him. And he was not afraid for his character in the game - he felt genuine fear for his own life. The music grew louder, giving the impression that something was about to happen. But it was getting nowhere, and the looping sound had an increasing impact on the player's mental state.
Jadusable explored the mysterious location, discovering more broken fragments of the town. Every now and then he thought he heard the voice of one of the NPCs in the background, but the place was a ghost. Instead, he found missing textures, sections where he moved through the air. The environment seemed rotten ... unrepairable rotten. A student who only wanted to remember the game of his childhood has never felt so lonely in his life as during a visit to the extinct Clock Town. He was on the verge of tears. He desperately tried to get out of this location, but the game did not allow him to do so, always taking him to the starting point. Jadusable didn't know what to do, but he knew he didn't want to enter any building. He felt he would be too exposed there to what scared him so much.
Trying various methods to get out of a terrifying trap, he decided to try to drown Link in a nearby pond. Then something happened. The protagonist grabbed his head, and the screen briefly showed Happy Mask Salesman smiling at him. Not to the character he controls. Directly to the young man. Moments later, the action returned to Clock Town. There was a statue in front of Link with his image on it. Jadusable screamed at the sight of her unsettling gaze and immediately turned his control around, trying to run away. The statue, however, followed him.
At this point, the student was about to go hysterical but didn't even think for a moment about turning off the console. He was running away from the statue while Link made strange, spasmodic gestures that he never used in the normal version of the game. Every now and then the screen flashed, showing the smiling Happy Mask Salesman, only to return to the terrifying statue a moment later. Eventually, driven into a dead end, he tried to attack the sculpture that was chasing him. Unsuccessfully. Not knowing what to do, he expected the worst. Suddenly the screen flashed once more, revealing Happy Mask Salesman. Link turned to the screen and stared at Jadusable, an expression just as disturbing as the carving that replicated him. The panicking player started to run, but this time the statue chased him much more aggressively. During the chase, the game transported him to various locations where he was still being chased. Eventually, the screen went black, showing the words "Dawn of a New Day" once more.