Video Games aren’t just a pleasant distraction, they are a wonderful way to tell a story or submerge players in a fantastical world. Over time, video game series can develop complex lore and convoluted timelines. Players, for the most part, only have to play through the games in order to find out what happens. However, for some of the more analytical players, not every answer they have or plot hole they find is given a satisfactory conclusion. Thus, fan theories are born.
Fan theories can be a lot of fun. Some of the better ones seek to connect video game universes, solve timeline issues, or improve upon the story by enriching it with deeper meaning. Others add a sense of dread or introduce a creepy concept that can ruin the entire game. Many of these theories, like the death of Blue/Green’s Raticate in the first Pokémon games or the Mass Effect Indoctrination theory, are well known. Others are a little more obscure.
We previously did an article on 20 creepy fan theories. This time around, we’ll be looking at the ones that place images into your head that you can never unsee. These are the theories that turn your lovable protagonists into mass murderers or turn innocuous tales into tragic stories. Be warned, there are spoilers ahead.
15 Cloud Kills Aerith (Final Fantasy VII)
Aerith’s (aka Aeris) death in Final Fantasy VII is one of the most famous and heartbreaking moments in video game history. Sephiroth descends from above and impales her through the chest, causing her body to slump over and fall. After a quick battle, Cloud takes Aerith’s body to the center of the city and lays it to rest in a deep pool. It is a touching and beautiful moment.
This fan theory gleefully throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing by claiming that it was Cloud, not Sephiroth, who killed Aerith. Of course, not for want of trying on Sephiroth’s part. The theory states that the wound through Aerith’s torso was not enough to kill her. Sephiroth’s sword pierced too low to hit any vital organs. While it may have clipped less vital organs or even major arteries, the lack of blood in the cutscene suggests otherwise. However, the sword is in the exact position it would need to be in order to break the T7 vertebrae of the spine. An injury there would cause near full body paralysis, and the shock would knock her unconscious. So, just because she slumped over and closed her eyes, it doesn’t mean she died.
So how does Aerith die? Well, according to the theory, she drowns. Cloud’s actions, while well intentioned, caused Aerith to drown. Talk about being buried alive.
14 Town Is A Mental Ward (Animal Crossing)
There are a lot of nasty fan theories about this otherwise, completely harmless game. The Animal Crossing franchise is about owning a home in a cute little village full of animal people and being a good neighbor. However, the most popular fan theory states that the games revolve around abducting children and indoctrinating them into a cult. But there is another, equally disturbing theory.
According to this theory, the games are simply the delusions of a mentally ill child. Your neighbors are merely the stuffed animals that the child plays with and speaks too. They are the child’s only friends. The various personalities of your neighbors are just extensions of the child’s emotions. Even the letters received from your mother come to the child in the insanity ward as a way for her to keep in touch. That is why the backstory doesn’t need to be explained. Animal Crossing isn’t just a happy little game, it’s an escape from reality.
13 One Long Escort Mission (Call Of Duty)
Escort missions suck. They require you to protect an NPC from harm so that they can get from one place to another in one piece. Babysitting NPCs is obnoxious. They get in the way or set off enemy hoards. Give them a gun and half of the bullets end up in you. It’s a miracle if you can finish the mission without shooting your charge first.
This fan theory states that all the games in the Call of Duty franchise are just one long escort mission. The person being escorted? Why, that would be you of course. Yep, you are the unwanted charge in Call of Duty. Other characters are always telling you where to go and what to do. They need you to fill in one plot device or another. The other characters always need to rescue you. When you die, you respawn next to them. They are the real hero. You’re just that useless tagalong that no one cares about.
Call of Duty is supposed to be a power fantasy. Instead, you are just acting as the Robin to someone else’s Batman.
12 GLaDOS Is A Gagged Human (Portal)
Portal is another one of those games with a bunch of theories flying around; everything from the identity of Chell’s parents to how the weighted companion cubes are filled dead bodies. This particular theory is enough to give you chills.
During the commentary in Portal, one of the developers talks about how they chose the design for GLaDOS. One of the early concepts was to model her after Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. She would have looked like an upside down version of Venus. Of course, the design was slightly altered in the final game. This theory states that GLaDOS is actually an upside down woman who has been forcefully bound and gagged. GLaDOS’s real intention was to have Chell put her out of her misery. In order to obtain this goal, GLaDOS kept reviving Chell clones until one of them was finally able to free her.
This theory was created before Portal 2 was released. However, if anything, the reveal that GLaDOS is really Caroline only makes this theory that much more plausible. Steve Bowler, the creator of the theory, even drew a reference picture on his blog.
11 Make-A-Wish (Punch Out!!)
Punch Out!! is one of Nintendo’s older video game series. You play as a small boxer named Little Mac and try to best your opponents in the ring in order to become the champion of the World Video Boxing Association. Little Mac earns his name due to his short stature, but his uppercut is supposedly legendary. Well, not according to this theory.
Little Mac is not some would-be boxing champion. Instead, he is a scrawny kid on death’s door. The boxing matches in the games are all an elaborate set up by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. All of Little Mac’s opponents are asked to use slow punches and easily predictable patterns. They are also instructed to take a dramatic dive at the end of the fight. Even Mike Tyson shows up to make this kid happy. Little Mac is chaotically 17, but the Make-A-Wish foundation serves any child under the age of 18. So Little Mac is at the right age to receive his life-changing wish.
10 You Are The Villain (Limbo)
Limbo is an indie, adventure game with lots of puzzles and even more atmosphere. You play as a young boy trying to traverse the dangerous world towards some unknown goal. Traps, giant spiders, and even other kids all stand in your way. Each one does their best to bring about your end. Once you complete the game, you fall through a pane of glass onto a grassy hill. When you walk up the hill, you find a little girl (who is confirmed to be your sister) sitting in the light and playing with something on the ground. She sits up, and the game returns to the title screen.
There are many theories surrounding Limbo. Everyone universally agrees that the main character is dead. Many believe the sister is also dead. One theory suggests that the little girl is not dead at all. She is sitting in the light, something that is very rare in Limbo, and does not ever look at the boy. Your goal in the game is to find your sister so you can drag her into Limbo with you. That is why the other children attack you on sight. That is why even the environment does everything in its power to prevent you from getting to her.
A second, more depressing theory, says that Limbo never ends. Not for the main character at least. He merely starts back at the beginning and is forced to continually move through the traumas and fears of his past for all eternity.
9 It’s Just a Dream (Five Nights at Freddy’s)
There are few indie games that are so widely known as the Five Nights at Freddy’s series. Scott Cawthon released the first Five Nights at Freddy’s game in 2014 for the PC. The game features a lone security guard, trapped in his night shift at a Chuck E Cheese-esque pizza parlor; complete with homicidal animatronics that house the souls of murdered children. Because giant animal animatronics just weren’t scary enough. Since then, the series has received multiple sequels, two spin-off titles, and a book.
While we are all aware that the 4th game in the Five Nights at Freddy’s takes place in the nightmares of a dying child, MatPatt from the Game Theorists proposes that the first game also takes place in a nightmare. He draws parallels from a real world murder spree in a Chuck E Cheese to the murders of five children in the first game. The theory proposes that you play as the murderer who is haunted by his actions. You can’t quit your job because it isn’t a job at all, and the reason why everything ends at 6 am on the dot is because that is when you wake up.
8 Mass Murder (Pokémon Go)
Pokémon Go was practically an overnight success. Players from around the world were scrambling to get their hands on the game. It was revolutionary in that it merged real life with the world of Pokémon. Players would use the cameras on their phones and wander around, searching for Pokémon in the real world. Once found, they could capture the pocket monsters for themselves.
Pokémon Go differed a lot from the main series titles. For one, players weren’t limited to just six Pokémon. Instead, they were given 250 slots that could be expanded to a maximum of 1,000. Additionally, in order to evolve a Pokémon, players would have to collect a certain number of candies specific to the Pokémon’s evolutionary line. What this meant was that you had to continue capturing the same kind of Pokémon over and over again in order to evolve it. Each capture would yield a player three candies. If they transferred the Pokémon to Professor Willow, which was a permanent way to get rid of a Pokémon, players would receive an additional candy.
So why does Professor Willow need 1,000 Pidgeys? The theory says that Pokémon candies are made out of Pokémon. Every time you transfer your Pokémon to the good Professor, you are sending them to the slaughterhouse. This also means that you are feeding your Pokémon the ground remains of Pokémon each time you give them a candy. I knew the world of Pokémon could be dark, but cannibalism is where I draw the line.
7 Wasted Effort (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Metal Gear Solid is one of Konami’s long-running franchises. It isn’t hard to see why. You get to play as the formerly retired spy, Solid Snake, who was summoned to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. The game has a heavy emphasis on stealth, sometimes to comical effects. Metal Gear Solid has gained a reputation for having its main character sneak around enemy bases under a cardboard box to save the world.
There is nothing worse than wasted effort. According to this theory, that is exactly what Metal Gear Solid 3 is; a complete waste of time. The Twinfinite Staff, who created the theory, propose that Metal Gear Solid 3 is simply a virtual simulation. While the events of the game did take place, the version you play in the game itself is simply a virtual recreation of the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater. So rather than playing as Naked Snake, you are actually in the shoes of Solid Snake who is playing as Naked Snake. Add in an unhealthy dose of time paradoxes, and it’s enough to make my brain hurt.
6 Playtime For Sakurai (Super Smash Bros)
Super Smash Bros. is a dream come true for Nintendo fans. The game lets you pit your favorite characters in an all out brawl. While Super Smash Bros. is more focused on the multiplayer aspect of the game, it isn’t devoid of single player campaigns. The first game has you fight through a series of challenges ranging from defeating a giant Donkey Kong to smashing a team of 18 Yoshi. The final stage pits you against Master Hand. Experienced Players can also encounter Crazy Hand in Super Smash Bros. Melee if they can clear Classic Mode fast enough.
The role Master Hand and Crazy Hand play is somewhat unclear in the Smash Bros. universe. One theory, which was confirmed to be true, states that the characters in the Smash Bros. games are simply toys. Every fight is a scenario created by an imaginative kid during playtime. However, a second theory continues this idea.
The second theory wraps all of the games into a singular timeline. It follows the life of a boy as he grows up. But this isn’t just any boy, but the series creator Masahiro Sakurai. The series represents Sakurai as he creates the games, but becomes tired and trapped in an endless cycle as he is forced to create sequels. Master Core, the final boss in Smash Bros. 4, is Sakurai himself as he comes to terms with his inability to escape the franchise.
5 The Souls Of The Dead (Super Mario World)
There are a lot of rather twisted theories about Mario. Some say he’s a communist, others say he is a murderous psychopath, and even more claim that he aids Princess Peach and her parasitic fungus minions, the toads, in their quest to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. One theory follows the path of Mario being a mass murder and takes it a step further by claiming that the coins in Super Mario World are the souls of his victims.
Coins are everywhere in the Super Mario Bros. franchise. You collect them as you run through the various levels. For every 100 coins you find, you get an extra life. In Super Mario World, if you destroy an enemy with a fire flower you get a coin. According to the theory, these coins are the souls of your victims. The only reason why they appear when the fire flower is used is because the fire disintegrates the body and leaves only the soul behind. Mario isn’t just a murderer, he collects souls in order to increase his own lifespan.
This wouldn’t be the first time Mario has murdered. The game instruction manual for the original Super Mario Bros states that every hovering block is actually a polymorphed resident of the Mushroom Kingdom. Every brick you break is one more soul to add to Mario’s ever increasing body count.
4 Squall Dies In Disk 1 (Final Fantasy VIII)
At the end of the Final Fantasy VIII’s first disk, Squall is impaled with an ice shard and falls off a platform. However, once you wake up, the wound is neither present nor mentioned by any of the characters for the rest of the game. As you go through the game, things start becoming more and more ridiculous until the ending leaves you feeling like you’ve just come off a bad acid trip.
One theory states that Squall did not survive his encounter with the business end of an ice shard. He died when he fell, and the rest of the game are the final, hallucinated moments of his life. They only take place over a few short seconds, but appear to last much longer to Squall. He is unaware of his fate as he goes through the dream. It is similar to your life flashing before your eyes just before you die.
3 Triforce Of Courage (The Legend Of Zelda)
The Triforce is a powerful artifact. It contains the power of the three goddesses Din, Farore, and Nayru. The Triforce is capable of granting a wish to any worthy person who touches it. However, if the person is not worthy, it breaks into three pieces; the Triforce of Wisdom, the Triforce of Power, and the Triforce of courage. The Triforce of Power grants a person a massive amount of magical power. The Triforce of Wisdom offers its bearer the ability to communicate telepathically and see into the future. However, it isn’t clear what the Triforce of Courage does.
This theory states that the Triforce of Courage grants its user immortality. Or rather, a version of immorality. If Link should die, the Triforce of Courage simply moves him into a reality where he didn’t die. For example, if he were to accidentally fall off a cliff, the Triforce of Courage would move him into a reality where he never fell. This allows Link to learn from his mistakes so that he doesn’t repeat them.
The Legend of Zelda franchise has three canonical timelines. Under this theory, it has an infinite number of realities, as you bounce from one failed reality into the next until you finally defeat Ganon and save the day. But that doesn’t mean those other realities don’t exist. For every victory, there are a countless number of worlds where the hero dies and evil triumphs.
2 Living On A Dead Sun (Minecraft)
What could possibly be sinister about Minecraft? Other than the very meta and horribly confusing ending of course. The game allows players to freely explore and shape procedurally generated worlds to their heart’s delight. It has made its way into classrooms and onto more platforms than you can shake a stick at.
However, one YouTuber by the name of Spumwack has made a rather chilling observation. He looked at the orbits of the sun and moon in relation to the movements of the stars and noticed something odd. The sun and the moon are always opposite of one another, and the stars move at the same speed as the moon. He came to the conclusion that Minecraft does not take place on Earth, but rather on the sun after it has died. The denizens of Minecraft left their homeworld and detonated it in order to create a new sun after their old one died. They transplanted rock, dirt, and various lifeforms onto the dead star. Thus, every time you look up at the sun, you are seeing the sacrificed Earth as it burns.
1 The True Villains (Destiny)
It isn’t a secret that Destiny’s story and lore was gutted before its initial launch. Most of the lore was placed onto grimoire cards that had to be viewed on the Bungie website. What is left is fairly barebones. According to the lore, humanity entered a golden age after the Traveler came to Mars. It shared complex technology with humanity that allowed them to enter into an age of prosperity and unparalleled growth. After a few hundred years the Darkness arrived and caused everything to collapse. Humanity sheltered under the Traveler, protected by its Light until it too, died. However, it used the last of its Light to create ghosts; tiny sentient robots, that could revive dead warriors to fight the Darkness.Most just assume that the Traveler is a force for good. But one theory says otherwise. The Darkness is, in fact, a bringer of life. The Black Garden, where this god resides, is described in the grimoire cards as a place of life. Conversely, the Light and the Traveler are harbingers of death. The Traveler’s champions' (The Guardians) only purpose is to kill. The Traveler was the reason for Humanity’s downfall and they weren’t the first race to suffer. The Fallen, one of the main enemies in the game, were previous victims of the Traveler.