Electron Dance
1Aug/1917

Discussion: Mythbusting

Welcome to the July newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Today, it is usually the open world game that generates urban legends. However, it’s difficult to know whether player reports are made in good faith or made up for clicks and likes, much like those schoolfriends who used to boast about crazy videogame happenings which never actually happened. There’s a page full of GTA: San Andreas myths from Bigfoot to UFOs.

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  1. I care not for Mr Scott’s head-canon. Mr Dick left enough knowing half-smiles for us to wonder if there are indeed any non-engineered lifeforms left on the dead Earth.

  2. Ooh, mysteries. The wonderfully awful, awfully wonderful Realms of the Haunting (1996) is a source for me. There was a British and an American version. In it, near the end, in the middle of an seemingly interminable hell-maze, there was a section where if you clicked on enough weird beating hearts in the environment you would get a psychic message from your separated companion before the final item on your shopping list (brains) would appear. That didn’t seem to make it into the American version. The hearts are there, but they do nothing, and all the brains seem to be spawned from the start. Both my wife any I (both fans) remember that scene, but I can’t find any evidence of it anywhere. There’s also lots of red herring inventory, story content that branches to nowhere and even a ward-sealed door that tantalises me to this day.

  3. Very relevant to this: People Make Game’s recent video about whether Gandhi in Civ 1 was more nuke-prone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur3SdgkW8W4

  4. Thank you! I have been trying to remember the name of Realms of the Haunting for about two years now.

  5. Mr B

    I’ve just had to look up a bit of that game. I didn’t play many PC games before 3D graphics cards took over everything, but I feel like I’ve missed out. Especially with those. Dramatic. LONG PAUSE. Cutscenes.

    On your deathbed, given the chance, would you plead for revelation? “I can tell you the secrets. Or you can die with mystery in your heart.”

    Alan

    You’re not wrong! I love that Meier makes the point that not knowing is better. To completly dismantle these games’ systems takes away the magic.

  6. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. This isn’t the only valuable thing the internet has destroyed – there’s also boredom (although smartphones are more at fault there). People just don’t get bored anymore – and I mean truly bored, like bored enough to draw images in the sand with a cigarette butt while waiting for the bus. It’s such a big part of the spectrum of human emotion, and it’s pretty much gone.

    I’m definitely pro-mystery. I don’t need to know everything, and I don’t want to know everything. It’s hard to stay wilfully in the dark these days, but I’ve trained myself well.

  7. Ah, Ketchua. It is true I’m never truly bored, I always feel I have more than enough to get on with, explore, dally with. Oh, I have children too. I don’t know why we need children in the age of the internet, I’ve got enough to be getting on with.

    I took this literally initially: “It’s hard to stay wilfully in the dark”. Like, most people have lights or music or a phone beside their bed. You keep the shutters closed and go to sleep in the dark without any electronic buzz in the room. I was cool with that too.

  8. “On your deathbed, given the chance, would you plead for revelation?”
    I can die not knowing the answer, as long as I know whether or not there is one.

  9. @MrBehemo

    I loved ROTH back in the day and played through it at least twice. I had a UK copy and what you describe – clicky hearts, reveal brains – certainly *sounds* familiar.

    Mind you, you could just be Berenstein-Bearing me…

  10. Actually while we’re talking ROTH, “The Ire” (if I recall the name correctly) was a sort of myth within the game. Oft-mentioned, dangerously threatening, never makes an appearance.

    Not the same kind of thing as the newsletter discusses, but since when did an ED comment thread stay on topic? Duck penis.

  11. I think I played through the UK version twice and I’ve through the US version somewhere around a bazillion times. We’re ROTH nerds in this house.

    So I think we did encounter the Ire. First there was the spooky voices inside the Tower. The Ire was supposedly like a mass of lost spirits? Kinda fits, if a little over-hyped. Secondly something somewhere mentions that the Dodger is a manifestation of the Ire into the realm of Heled. So the big purple Ghostbusters dog you saved Florentine’s staff for – that was the Dodger, which is also kind of the Ire. But none of this is confirmed, so it’s still a juicy mystery.

    Now, if you really want to get Berensteined, do an image search for “Realms of the Haunting box art”.

  12. Oh my. It’s an honour to meet someone who loves that game even more than me!

    Yyyeah, as I recall the Ire was supposed to be a sort of consuming supernatural mist. A mass of lost spirits sounds right. I’d forgotten about the Dodger’s provenance – probably overwritten by disappointment that, good as the game is, *that* boss fight is how it chooses to conclude.

    As to your last point: I… feel I’m missing something. Am I ruining it by still owning a physical copy of the 4-CD jewel case? :/

  13. Maybe – the predominantly available version nowadays is the US one, which looks like this:
    http://www.mobygames.com/images/covers/l/3184-realms-of-the-haunting-dos-front-cover.jpg

    The European one looked like this:
    https://www.mobygames.com/images/covers/l/381058-realms-of-the-haunting-dos-front-cover.jpg

    The opening FMV was edited to match, and it took me a couple of years to put my finger on why it felt different! :D

  14. I’m only familiar with ROTH through Ross Scott’s excellent Game Dungeon series. It looked like a great example of the sort of ’90s PC game Richard Cobbett used to cover in his Crap Shoot articles; often terrible, sometimes incredible, almost always janky and weird and a labour of love.

    Sure enough, I did a quick search and he did indeed cover it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_oS9XBxlwM
    https://www.pcgamer.com/crap-shoot-realms-of-the-haunting/

  15. Jesus, Matt, you can’t just walk in here, guns blazing, with an on-topic comment.

    (enjoyed the tweet btw)

  16. OK, fine, FINE, I will salvage my reputation by asking if you have obtained the expansion for Stephen’s Sausage Roll. It features sausages prepared for ritual sacrifice, which must be grilled on the traditional open fires, and sausages intended for ordinary consumption, which must be guided to gas grills. It’s called “The Sacred and the Propane.”

    (It has been brought to my attention, by Google, that that joke was already on The Sopranos but.)


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