In his short but fascinating exploration of the legends of haunted games which, from the beginning, have circulated among fans of the video game thing, Ars Technica, associated with the Financial Times, delivers a worthy article that begins with that of Lavanville, the one of the mythical places of the good old Pokémon Red on Gameboy.
So the story goes, the site explains. The “Lavanville Theme”, music played by the game upon arrival in the sanctuary, would have very particular properties linked to frequencies that only young people can perceive.
A “Lavanville syndrome” (“Lavender Town Syndrome” in English) could alter brain chemistry and, in the most extreme cases, trigger fits of psychosis. It is said that nearly 200 Japanese children would have let go of their small portable consoles to throw themselves out the window, carried away by this programmed madness.
“He tells himself”: these are of course canards, an urban legend that gamers in search of hair-straightening sensations like to tell. Author of the article, Tom Faber notes that these stories have evolved with the advent of the internet.
“Haunted” software, or more exactly in which their developers, sometimes very far from industrial canons, have stashed some easter eggs as a secret signature, have been around since software has existed.
A software as boring a priori as Excel 95 did not understand the strange Hall of Tortured Souls, vaguely horrific proto-game opening with a series of exotic controls and in which its developers take the stage?
But the emergence of forums has given a new form and a new substance to these stories, which this time often only rest on the mad imagination of their creators, then on the distorting and amplifying power of virtual word of mouth.
These are the famous “Creepypastas”, these horrific legends whose form and manner were born on 4chan in the 2000s, which are copied and pasted from one medium to another, embellishing with the strength of each other’s imagination. new ideas, new theories, new episodes, new rumors.
“The“ creepypastas ”are popular because they reintroduce the unknown in a world where everything is explained on Wikipedia”, Tom Faber aptly writes. Who also notes that video games, by their software nature, are breeding grounds for such haunted stories – viruses, bugs that seem significant, places and secrets hidden by developers, they contain their own endless possibilities of ghostly sub-worlds.
Among these stories to give you the scares in the evening by the virtual fire, Ars Technica quotes that of Herobrine, mysterious and evil character of Minecraft that some players might have seen, white-eyed and threatening, between the game’s pixel clusters.
The site also looks back at the original legend of Polybius, an experimental arcade game that the CIA would have created in the 1980s to provoke various dramas in the brains of gamers, from suicidal urges to horrific nightmares to episodes of amnesia.
One of these “Creepypastas” the most elaborate and famous remains that known under the name of “Ben Drowned“. It tells the story of a young man, Jadusable, to whom an old man would have sold, in a garage sale, a haunted cartridge of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
A convoluted and nightmarish story followed and, above all, dozens of multimedia developments that made Ben drowned one of the densest collective works in modern folklore and 2.0.