Spooky Campfire Stories about Pokemon, Saints Row, and Dragon Age


I hope you had a great day reading bright and sunny articles at Polygon Summer Camp, and that you are all excited. Now is the time to gather around the glimmering campfire, with the hot dogs and s’mores long eaten, and tell spooky stories about the games. You may be thinking of something like the giant baby of Resident Evil Village right now, but a scarier example would be a famous effect of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiemwhere a character suffering from the effects of cosmic madness would hallucinate that the game’s save files had been corrupted and deleted.

It’s an effective joke for the game because, well, horror stories like this happen in games all the time. So get closer to the fire, while I hold this spooky flashlight to my face, for three of the scariest gaming stories I’ve experienced in years.

I caught them all

I started out on Pokémon young, but continued to pick up the main games in the series as I grew into my tweens. While my groping little kid hands and drown brain weren’t able to reach the ethos of the show and really catch ’em all in the age of Pokemon BlueI finally got there Pokemon Black.

After years of effort and five generations of Pokémon, I had succeeded – I had filled out my Pokédex and caught them all in one game. Satisfied with my achievement, I no longer clutched my Nintendo DS jealously at all times. During a big family celebration, I passed my DS to a younger relative. “Take a look,” I said. “Be careful.” But my warning would have gone unheeded. After recovering the DS, I checked my game… only to find that my save was gone! It had been deleted, and my ‘mons were now lost in the ether still.

Image: Will/Deep Silver

midnight launch

In 2011, I was living with my husband, my best friend, and my best friend’s wife. My three roommates were completely in love with Saints Row games, and Saints Row: The Third was on us. I’d never been on the show, so I could only watch with mild bewilderment as my housemates book time off to enjoy the launch, set up the apartment so the three of them can play without accidentally spoiling each other, and speculate looking forward to the plot.

There was an electric energy when the game launched and they returned home after midnight with their brand new copies, finally settling down to play. But to my horror, something happened. The vibe in the apartment went from excited and anticipatory to grim and dreadful: they didn’t like the game. Saints Row: The third instantly kills series veteran and fan-favorite Johnny Gat, then embarks on a wacky, outlandish open-world adventure. For my friends, who loved the more grounded elements of Saints Row 2it was a disappointment.

And so, the very night they bought the game, my apartment was haunted as all three of them started walking away from their consoles, wandering around the apartment in despair. Over the next few days they would return to the game to give it another chance, but inevitably they would only find despair. I heard their moans of agony as they gathered to list their grievances against the game. Their carefree vacation had been ruined and the hype train was truly derailed. To this day, the three of them frown when Saints Row 3 comes back into the conversation.

Dragon Age Origins: Alistair and the Gray Wardens battle a monstrous Darkspawn.

Image: BioWare/Electronic Arts

The final act

I devoured Dragon Age: Origins at launch in 2009, researching all side quests and digging into each character’s backstory. I played a heroic mage Gray Warden, always trying to do the right thing in this dangerous and politically complicated world. While the ultimate goal of the game is to destroy the Archdemon at the heart of the Scourge, the Shadow Wardens are betrayed early on, leaving the heroes understaffed. Over the course of a hundred hours, I fought the Darkspawn, built a team, cleared my name, and developed strong bonds with all of my companions – especially the only other surviving Gray Warden, Alistair, and Witch of the Wilds. , Morgan.

As I approached the endgame, I was faced with one final dilemma. Alistair and I fell deeply in love, but the archdemon had to be killed by a gray guardian – and it would damn the soul of the guardian who delivered the killing blow. Morrigan, my once reluctant ally turned closest friend, came to us, offering a way out of this horrible choice with a magical pact – she could sleep with Alistair, bear his child, and when the Guardian killed the Archdemon , his defilement would be transferred to the unborn child. As clumsy and unethical as this deal was, we agreed.

It should have been the culmination of dozens of hours of investment, player picking, and drama. But, at the last moment, it was marred by two shocking moments.

The first was that throughout the course, I played undisturbed in my room. But when Alistair and my manager decided to consummate their relationship, I heard the door open behind me in real life, and my mom walked in and saw the whole sex scene. We haven’t talked about it since.

The other factor was that, before the eve of the final battle, Morrigan thanked me for my patience with her and admitted that I was very dear to her. I saw a conversation option where the manager asked him, Hey, if you want more friends, have you tried to be less mean to everyone all the time? I chuckled, saved my game, then talked to Morrigan and chose that option. She was, understandably, very angry, and choosing that option upsets your relationship ranking. Then I went back to my save file and found it was gone. Was it a bug? Did I somehow mistype the backup? I had no explanation, but I couldn’t get out of this one; I had just been horribly rude to my best friend before the eve of the battle to stop a great evil.

As such, I worked my way through the final stage of the game, apologizing all the way. Sorry. Oh shit, sorry. It turned a triumphant victory lap around a game I loved into something much more awkward.

All right, campers, I hope these stories didn’t scare you too much. Maybe you have a similar scary story you can save for the next time you find yourself huddled by a campfire, swapping tall tales – or just in the comments, so I can feel one. little less alone with my own haunting memories.

Previous Unfinished projects, missing management and arachnid
Next Kingston and St. Andrew: the "touristy" spots