All players love a good video game secret. In fact, a level of obsession seems to take a hold of gamers as they scour through every figurative nook and cranny to hunt down every hidden secret.
While the Internet may have diminished the return of investment on these hidden secrets, thanks Google!, certain video game secrets were never meant to be discovered. That’s because for the faint of heart, the accidental discovery of these secrets adds a level of nightmare fuel that will forever transform your experience with that video game. And perhaps even keep you up at night. The surprising thing is, many of these unsettling, hidden secrets aren’t restricted to just the horror genre. In fact, many genres hid unsettling secrets throughout their games. This includes action-adventure games, fantasy, wholesome games, and even the non story-driven genres such as racing games.
As these hidden secrets come in all shapes and sizes, unveiling them will result in a few hidden surprise frights down the line. For the brave and bold, or those with the stomach to bear on, these disturbing, mysterious, and downright creepy hidden secrets may just leave a lasting impression that just may haunt you when you least expect it. You’ve been forewarned.
20 Who Are You Running From?
Of the major consoles since the introduction of video games to the masses, Nintendo has always presented itself as a wholesome, family-friendly company. After all, Nintendo is the birthplace of kid-friendly games like Mario, Kirby, and The Legend of Zelda. With its perception of being a happy, child-like console, it may come as a surprise to many that Nintendo would make this list. Particularly for a device functionality and as a game’s easter egg.
Before the advent of smartphones and mobile cameras, Game Boy released the peripheral Pocket Camera complete with its own silly game for your photoshopping needs. But rather than drawing happy, childhood memories for this bizarre game, many kids were left with haunting nightmares when they selected the wrong options during gameplay. WHO ARE YOU RUNNING FROM and DON’T BE SO SILLY! would greet the player along with a distorted drawn on face and demonic music.
19 Ghost In The Machine
If Hitman’sAgent 47 has left any sort of legacy, it was his ability to indiscriminately kill everyone around him. Sure, Hitman was a game built on the stealth game genre, but most players played the series as straight-up action shooters. After all, nobody will notice if there’s nobody to notice, right?
Well, eventually, these murderous rampant acts will eventually come to claim their dues, and claim them they did. In Hitman: Contracts, steal the master key or pick the lock to the closed wing in the Traditions of the Trade mission to run across the ghost of Hitman’s past. Take a moment to ensure you’re looking prim and proper for your next rampage and the ethereal figure will appear right behind Agent 47. While Agent 47 may not bat an eye, we sure did!
18 The Lavender Town Syndrome
If you’ve played through Pokémon Red and Blue before the explosion of the Internet, Lavender Town’s significance would be all the ghost Pokémon available for capturing. End of story. But if you’ve heard the Internet tale, then you know Lavender Town holds a certain unsettling, hidden secret. Details vary in the telling, but essentially, the release of Pokémon Red and Blue resulted in numerous child suicides throughout Japan. Some versions of the tale are more haunting than others. Some state that programmers purposely inserted a code within a particular song played during the Lavender Town exploration that would drive the children to kill themselves.
This haunting tale was eventually proven false, but with Halloween having just turned the corner, the Lavender Town Syndrome story does make for good camping storytelling.
17 The Hex Maniac
While Pokémon generally carries itself as a fun-loving, kid-friendly game, after all, you’re a young, adolescent child left on your own to explore a world filled with rampant monsters and plenty of stranger danger, the series does have its share of dark and creepy secrets.
Pokémon Red and Blue’s secret may have proved to be false, but Pokémon X and Y hasn’t. In Lumiose City, one of the most unsettling moments happens on the 2nd floor in a nondescript building on the Northern Boulevard. When you exit the elevator, the music stops, the lighting flickers appropriately, and suddently a girl appears behind you. While that can originally be explained off as a glitch, the further you explore, the eerier it gets. Not only does she say “No, you’re not the one…” as she passes, you can find her exact doppelganger on the fourth floor in Lumoise City’s hotel. If you try to approach her to tlak to her about déjà vu, she’ll tell you to be quiet as she can’t “hear the elevator.”
16 Man’s Best Friend
As Skyrim’s open world sandbox encourages exploration, players may have stumbled across a scruffy-looking dog named Meeko. If you have yet to find him, Meeko can be found in Hjaalmarch. If you decide to interact with the dog, you’ll find an unsettling secret hidden in the game.
Meeko won’t leave Hjaalmarch until you reach his home, “Meeko’s Shack” and discover the truth behind such loyalty. Inside the epoynymous shack lies a dead Nord who, after reading his journal, has died of the Rockjoint disease. If you’re experience a hint of déjà vu, perhaps its because this is reminiscent of Hachikō or Futurama’s Seymour. Either way, be ready to experience all the feels. You can recruit Meeko afterwards and he’ll follow you around until your untimely death, which by then, Meeko won’t leave your side either.
15 Lord Of The Pies
Dragon Age is a series that’s predominantly known for its flirtatious tendencies more than actually killing dragons. But promiscuity aside, Dragon Age: Inquisition has a deep, dark secret that no one was ever meant to find.
In the Skyhold area of the game, there’s a particular part where players can fall through the floor. While this may immediately appear as a glitch, a level designer for the game has confirmed that this isn’t a glitch, but rather a secret intentionally hidden within the game. It’s hard to explain the monster in question as designer Graham Kelly calls this hideous bunny-owl monstrosity wearing a top hat the “Lord of the Pies.” Kelly has even alluded to the fact that the rest of Pie Lord’s flock is hidden around “the rest of Skyhold” though no one has been able to confirm this enigmatic clue.
14 Help, I’m Alive
The Half-Life series often makes the unsettling, hidden secrets rounds due in part to its immersive gameplay experience and Ravenholm. But, we don’t go to Ravenholm, ever. So this entry isn’t about that.
Rather, it’s about the headcrab zombies that lumber towards you with its gutteral, indistinct grunts. Appearing mindless zombie hordes at first, you may have gleeful shot them in their crab-like faces until their bodies stopped twitching. But, if you do ever decide to stop and smell the roses, or rather, listen to what the headcrab zombies are trying to tell you, you’ll realize there are some fates worse than death. Turns out, those meaty groans aren’t mere nonsensical noise you’re hearing, but rather, horrifying pleas for help. Nightmare fuel aside, you killing them is probably a merciful death.
13 Shawshank Luigi
The Pocket Camera isn’t Nintendo’s only source of nightmare fuel. If we want to discuss nightmare fuel, then look no further than The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. But subtly that game is not. Luigi’s Mansion on the other hand, is. And exceptionally well so.
While Luigi’s Mansion has its fair share of creepy moments, they’re slight hair-raising moments. Enter the Hanging Luigi secret. During a blackout and following a certain procedure to prompt this hidden secret, players get to witness Mario’s lesser well-known brother hanging by the neck, utterly lifeless. If the procedure isn’t followed, then the story ends and “you wake up in your bed and believe what you want to believe.” But for those who takes the red pill, this hidden secret appears intentional enough to freak out any adolescent child. Perhaps Mario doesn’t enjoy sharing the limelight.
12 Doppelgangers Galore
Silent Hill 2 is straight-up horrifying. There’s no hidden secret there. After all, what isn’t horrifying about Silent Hill 2? But while most can swallow the jump scares and creep factor populated throughout the game’s various scenes and scenarios, there are certain things that are harder to accept.
If you venture through the game, you’ll eventually stumble across creepy dead bodies. And there’s no shortage of them either, it’s like weeds growing out of the ground, seriously. But, and many wouldn’t have done this to notice, if you take a second to examine the dead bodies, you’ll realize that most of them sport the protagonist’s James Sunderland’s appearance. It’s little hints here and there, but they’re definitely there. Some sport his character model and many imitate James’ fashion sense. This terrifying fog-scape of a game has been hiding this unsettling secret under our very noses.
11 20,000 Tentacles Under the Sea
Perhaps its the vibrant, colourful gameplay of Splatoon that many have chosen to feigned ignorance over the game’s very evident unsettling, hidden-in-plain-view secret. Whatever the case, beneath the layers of paint lies a terrifying act of genocide on a mass-extinction level.
The Sunken Scrolls players can acquire through several single-player missions evidently point to the grim demise of humanity. Humanity it seems, was wiped out due to rising sea levels. This gave way to the bizarre squid-kid hybrids you play as in Splatoon. What’s even more terrifying is that Judd, the judge of each match is the universe’s only land mammal, an anthropomorphic fat cat at that. How did such a morbidly obese cat surviving the extinction event that wiped out all of humanity? As it turns out, the Sunken Scrolls provide the answer–Judd, the fat cat, is in fact an immortal deity. It’s a cat’s world after all.
10 Destiny Calls
Without this hidden, unsettling secret, Just Cause 2 is simply another run-of-the-mill third-person action game. Sure, the protagonist is equipped with a neat grappling hook and shoot-em-up attitude, but beyond that, it’s your basic, vanilla-flavour, open-world action game.
That is, until you decide to venture beyond your allotted mission parameters and fly over a particular island hidden within the game’s map. If you do decide to explore to this particular island, it’s at this point that your plane with spontaneously burst into flames spending it and yourself hurtling down towards the island. If that sounds a little familiar, that’s because the game’s developers purposely built a game code that hid the infamous Lost island within the game. And yes, that comes complete with the show’s magnetic plane-crashing premise. The level of detail on the island is on the brink of frightening, especially considering how the show ends. (Spoiler alert: terribly.)
9 There Are No More Heroes
Nintendo may be known for its family-friendly affairs, but sometimes it tries to break the mold and step out of its comfort zone. Case in point, No More Heroes. It’s a stylish, mature Wii action title with strong notions of violence and moments of tongue-in-cheek humour.
But it’s the dramatic final boss scene that will leave a foul taste in players’ mouths. The final boss it turns out is Jeane, Travis’ half-sister. While the cutscene is purposely sped up while she explains her motivations for participating, fans of the game have gone through the trouble of slowing down this sequence. They were so busy wondering if they could do it that they never stopped to ask if they should. When slowed down, Jeane’s story is one of horrifying monstrosities. Mentions of familial non-consensual relationships, human trafficking, and more are all prevalent in her story. Perhaps a family affair isn’t what’s called for here...
8 The Fast And The Furiously Terrifying
In attempts to discover unsettling, hidden secrets, many certain central themes or genres tend to crop up often. The survival-horror genre, Nintendo, kid-centric games, open sandbox games, Nintendo, and even first-person shooters will make an appearance. Did we mention Nintendo?
Racing games however, rarely make the front page news of hidden, unsettling secrets. That’s probably has to do with the fact that many racing games, particularly classic racing games, have little-to-no plots to examine. Well, California Speed wants to break that mold. As you whip through one particular course, a hidden billboard reads like an unpublished Son of Sam letter. Slow down at your own peril as you may instantly regret doing so. But for the adventerous, if you do find this hidden billboard, it states the following poetic nightmare: Sometimes... God takes mommies and puppies away... And sometimes... Just sometimes... I do.
7 In Defense Of Teddy Bears
There’s just something unnaturally terrifying about the whole childhood toy possessed by a demon trope. Sure, the prominence of Chucky may have popularized the possessed childhood toy trope but video games’ innate interactive medium pushes it to the next level.
Video games have carried on the legacy of this trope, creating a terrifyingly sheer volume of evil teddy bears hidden throughout many video games. Call of Duty is infamous for these evil creatures coming to life. Lost Planet 3 even plays it’s part. But perhaps the most terrifying of all is when you stumble across two of these little guys in Fallout 3. Not only are they tied to railroad tracks awaiting certain death, they somehow managed to scrawl “Help Us” on a little sign. Luckily, these pleas of help don’t go unignored as the Capital Wasteland’s trains have stopped running long ago.
6 Let Me In
If we don’t go to Ravenholm, we definitely don’t go to Tumbleweed. Located in Gaptooth Ridge, Tumbleweed is Red Dead Redemption's figurative and literal ghost town. It’s a lonely, godforsaken place that’s haunted by things that go bump in the night. Forget the bandits that has overrun this now-abandoned town, they’re far from scary. What’s really unsettling about this forgotten, desolate place is the presence of a rather ominous hell hound. While this ghoulish hound never makes a literal appearance, it’s near constant howling lends itself to the town’s ethereal mystery. The only physical clue of this ghost dog is the note scrawled on the pulpit hidden in the abandoned nearby church. The note in question states “The devil has got into that beast.” Perhaps this one particular dog is not man’s best friend.
5 Jolene, Jolene
With so much to see and do in Grand Theft Auto 5, it’s easy for players to miss this little nugget of an unsettling secret. After all, you have a criminal empire to run, who has time to run around the countryside hunting for ghosts.
While the Internet has made this little gem famous, before it became so, many players simply stumbled upon this hidden secret by being at the wrong place at the right time. If you’ve blown all your cash in the gentlemen clubs and want to break from the hustle and bustle of Los Santos, then head up Mount Gordo at a certain time to find the ethereal figure of Jolene Cranley-Evans. Legend has it that her husband Jock Cranley pushed her off the cliff face so he could pursue his dream of becoming a stuntman. To borrow from a popular phrase, “Damn Nature, You Scary!”
4 Not The Hero We Deserve
Minecraft is as harmless as they come, provided you play in the daylight and shut your eyes in the nighttime. But this isn’t about the things that go bump in the night. Rather, this is something far more sinister hidden within the game.
As players have explored their unspoiled large, open world kingdom, some have laid claim on seeing mysterious structures appearing seemingly out of nowhere. Further examination of the supernatural event reveals the source of these mysterious structures; Herobrine, a white-eyed doppleganger of Steve. Players have tried to get close to this white-eyed Steve but to no avail. While the game’s creator has denied the existence of Herobrine, the Minecraft Beta 1.6.6 update revealed that the recent patches included a note that stated “-removed Herobrine.” The plot thickens in this seemingly harmless world.
3 I Predict That You Will Shortly See...
In Fallout 3, there are morse code transmissions and then there are morse code transmissions. The former leads to dead people and rare items hidden within the game and the latter somehow predicts the future. To access the latter, in-game “numbers station,” certain steps must be followed to transform Galaxy News Radio into this infamous “numbers station.” Among the many transmissions are two peculiar ones: “1-2-5-5-2-8-2-0-1-0, what you talkin’ bout? You will be missed.” And “9-4-5-4-2-0-2-0-1-0. Accident in Gulf, several dead. Oil spill apparently averted.” Both transmissions corresponds to real-life events, the first to the exact time and date of late-actor Gary Coleman’s untimely death (12:05 MDT on May 28, 2010), and the second, the erroneous events of the BP explosion in the Gulf of Mexico (April 20, 2010). As Fallout 3 was released in 2008, it’s anyone’s guess how it’s predicted these two events.
2 Imma Let You Finish...
Few games are as bizarre as the Kanye Quest 3030 video game. First of all, it’s a fan-made JRPG and secondly, it hid a disturbing secret until its discovery 2 years(!) after the game’s original release.
Throughout your Kanye quest, if you talk to a particular NPC and type a particular phrase (the phrase is “ASCEND”), not only are you transported to a room that greets you with a specific text, but you do so as a transformed butterfly. If you select YES after being prompted with the text, you get to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes. And it goes significantly deep, cult-level deep. It appears that Kanye’s quest is merely a front for a New Age cult called the Ascension Cult. Only a Kanye West game would make you try to join a real-life cult.
There’s a certain level of absurdity and terror that seems to come with every Animal Crossing game. While Animal Crossing games tend to sell themselves as wholesome, kid-centric games, Animal Crossing: New Leaf actually falls on several levels of terrifying.
It’s docile nature hides an ominous dark secret, and it hides it so well that players will only encounter it at a certain time. Every night at 3:33 a.m., the TV in your home becomes a foreboding trick. Because if it’s turned on at 3:33 a.m., an extraterrestrial message appears and plays for a short time. Without fail, the extraterrestrial message plays any day of the weekend. While you can’t exactly make out what’s being said, the town’s insomniacs obviously have something else to fear lurking in the dark and dreary night.