Nintendo’s Classic Unintentional Frights

Sometimes, horror just doesn’t make sense. Yes, the art of chilling spines is often used in a careful sense, but a lot of the time in all media, especially in video-gaming, audiences may come face to face with something that, while unintentional, may horrifically shock the viewer. Today, I’ll be shedding light on the best unintentionally scary scenes found on games by the least susceptible game developer of them all – Nintendo. This feature should be fine for most, even the squeamish ones, but be warned – those who’ve been particularly affected by anything listed here may receive terrible flashbacks. Kirby won’t be here to comfort you, either.

Gnat Attack

Animal Crossing – the animal-infested cutesy life simulator from Nintendo. It started life in Japan on the Ninty Sixty Four,  where it was a huge unquestionable hit due to how far was possible. This helped the big N to consider releasing a sequel on the GameCube, which also introduced the series to the Western World. Then came the DS version, which allowed online interaction. The Wii version came at the end of 2008 to chug along the cash train, and a 3DS edition is also due sometime next year. The series, as mentioned, has been a huge success – enough to earn it a place among Nintendo’s hall of fame. Although, despite it’s cutesy appearance,the series has always employed a single concept that backfired it’s own opportunities, by scaring people to mess with the trees of the town you lived in.

By the time it came out in the US and Europe, strong rumours were going around of a vast amount of bells (the series’ currency) being hidden in certain trees around a player’s town. Unwitting players decided to investigate this rumour. They eventually found out that while this rumour had turned out to be true, it had one major side effect. Shake the wrong tree, and you’ll find a frightful surprise.

Certain trees, unbeknownst to players, held beehives inside them. Shake a tree nesting one, and it would fall out. If you tried that in real life, you’d know what would happen next. Angry Bees would emerge, travelling at lighting speed to look for the criminal and almost murder them. Thus, if you had uncovered one, it would be a smart idea to EFFIN’ LEG IT. Players had been led astray in to a universe of fear, where the only thing on their mind was to get inside the nearest house possible, and to camp there for a few hours. It had such a huge impact, in fact, that some people acted like it was real. The accompanying tension and soundtrack wasn’t helping, either. If you were caught, your character would come out with one eye – literally. This felt so lifelike, that it ended up developing huge amounts of Melissophobia inside gamers. Probably why me and my mate Ben hate Bees and Wasps, then.

If you want to witness the drama, the video’s below. But, be warned, viewing will develop Melissophobia. No joke.

Teeth And Strings

Let’s head back to Nintendo-land for more hellish encounters. This one is up there with one of the most shocking, so screamer-prone readers may want to skip past the video below. Super Mario 64 is one of gaming’s finest hours, blending platform excellence and three dimensions like bread and butter. The levels were creative, imaginative, fun and inspiring, and almost all of them has successfully reserved a place in the hearts of retro games all over the world. One of them was Big Boo’s Mansion, a stage which was designed to be a little sinister, and nothing else. After all, it had to maintain that ‘E’ rating, right? Maybe the ratings guys missed THAT room.

Mario is pondering around the mansion, looking for enemies to quash. In one room, he comes across a big, black piano. Seems fairly normal. At this point in the game, countless people had decided to see if our hero had the X Factor in Piano-Playing. Deciding to get close, though, may have been one of the dumbest decisions they would ever make. Some were in for an overwhelming shock, clearly not remembering that this is Big Boo’s Mansion, a stage where nothing is as it seems. Getting close, all seemed fine. Right until…

..well, it came alive. With a bark. And teeth. And a desire to kill. Go on. You know you want to.

He will Devour Your Soul

Let’s keep with Mario 64 for now – or, more specifically, the DS version. Once the player had collected a number of stars, the castle’s first star door would open, leaving a long corridor and a picture of Peach at the end. Had the game ended already? Of course not, dumb-wit. Going down it, you would find that the picture would morph in to one of Bowser, and then Mario would fall down a trap-door before he reached the painting. As the original used proper painted faces for the painting slots, this wasn’t scary at all. However, as the DS version replaced these paintings with real faces, these actions ended up showing an alternative Bowser face, with a dark background and a sudden transition (contrary to the N64 version’s fading transition). Safe to say, it looks like he’s about to eat your soul.

If you have the DS version, you know what I mean.

BETA Wires

Luigi’s Mansion. A marmite-ridden (fan-seperating) launch title for the GameCube, and Nintendo’s effort of producing a light survival horror. The chills included within weren’t meant to be that shocking (it was rated 7+), but the original BETA trailer, while meant to represent that ‘light fear’ feeling from the start, accidentally revealed the game on a much darker note.

Below, lies a video of the original trailer. The music was much more chilling, the ideas were constructed more effectively, and it did leave you with a little shudder, unlike most of the final game. The worst part? The ending. That DAMN ENDING. It’s like The Wire from Doctor Who escaped in to Japan.

Goes without saying, that I advise you to watch this to the very end. Lights out and sound up, please.

Thanks to Silverfang797 for this video.

The Penal Zone

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a landmark chapter in Nintendo’s long-running adventure series, for a number of solid reasons. Well, it was the first Zelda game to launch alongside a console, on the 8th December 2006. It was the first Zelda title to be some sort of ‘true’ follow up to Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask (regardless of the screwed-up Zelda timeline, which you can expect a feature about soon). Oh, and it was the first Zelda title to be rated ‘T for Teen’ in the ‘mericas. Why? Because, despite not aiming to, the game was unusually dark.

Quite close to the game’s beginning, Link is forcefully taken in to an area of Hyrule that has been engulfed by the Twilight realm. Once you explore the realm, you realise that it is completely sinister, despite how a planned scary moment* was scheduled to come up later in the game. Players come to the conclusions that the realm turned Hyrule in to a bleak, sorrow wasteland, where most thought that impending doom would be lurking around every corner. Of course, there was none, but this place feels like living hell when you accompany it with the soundtrack. Even if it is part of the storyline, it felt so sinister that it made someone I know cry. Yes, cry. Dear life.

Maybe you’d want to read a tad more about it?

*That moment? Coming up…now.

And the Rest…

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…
Why it doesn’t fit in:
This one’s actually frightful. I just HAD to fit it in.
Oh dear. Twilight Princess surely is a house of horrors, isn’t it? As if the Twilight realm wasn’t already unsettling enough. Yeah, thanks Nintendo, for freaking us out even more with the Snowpeak Ruins temple.

For those who don’t know about what happens here, let me explain. Snowpeak Ruins (I think) is the fifth temple in the game, set in a large house belonging to a Yeti and his wife. How a house could be classed as a temple, I refuse to understand. Anyway, reaching the end, the wife accompanies you in to the central room, holding an uncovered shard of the cursed Mirror of Twilight. She explains the mirror’s details to you, explaining that you can indeed add it to your collection. However, after accidentally staring at the mirror for a little too long…

…well, I’ll leave this one to you to find out. It’s found in the first part of the video below, but be careful – it’s by far the scariest thing in this entire article.

Thanks to NextGenWalkthroughs for this video.

Buzz of the Chainsaw
Why it doesn’t fit in:
While detailing a scene in a Nintendo Wii exclusive, the related game is made by Disney. DISNEY.
Here’s a bloody sinister one for you lot. Disney, as you’d obviously know, are a world-famous family-friendly entertainment company, who has a mascot of which is as recognizable as even Mario. This character is Mickey Mouse, a world famous iconic global super-superstar (sentence over-hype FTW) that has captured the hearts of billions over the globe. This Christmas, he’s getting his own game, Epic Mickey. From the looks of it, and from trusty Warren Spector’s words, it’s shaping up to be an epic** affair, which we can’t wait to play. The game has been given a rating of 7+ by PEGI, suggesting that it, in theory, should be an adventure suitable for all the family. Well, after peeking at the game’s opening scene (specifically, the second part), we’re having doubts.


Once you see the material flashed up at the beginning of the adventure, thoughts of Freddy Krueger come flooding in to your mind. Hell, you surely wouldn’t want to be in that same position that Mickey is being held captive in, with the mouse of marvel coming seriously close to an 18-cert bloodshed. The story of the video goes like this – after disappearing through his famous magical mirror, Mickey Mouse ends up finding himself in the epicentre of a scrape, after accidentally creating The Phantom Blot (the stuff of nightmares) to be pulled in to a fantasy world called The Wasteland. The wasteland was once a happy place before Mickey unintentionally wreaked havoc, so when he is absorbed in to the area, an old wretch known as The Mad Doctor straps Mickey to a table and plans to bring his doom.

His doom. With knives. And drills. And plungers. And…chainsaws. I’m scared.

Thanks to IGN for this video.

The PlayStation 2’s Red Hole
Why it doesn’t fit in: It’s witnessed on a PlayStation console.
Right, I’d figure it would be best to start by proving that technical errors don’t just weep geeks. Sony’s PlayStation 2 has been stamped in history as the most successful commercially-released console to date, and unless you’ve inserted Resident Evil in to it’s disc drive, this consoles legacy ensures that there’s nothing to fear when you hit the power button…

…well, I lie. There’s ONE thing to watch out for. Y’see, among the sea of classic 128-bit titles found around the era, the diddy, seemingly innocent PS2 unit that’s hiding in the corner of the living room is fuelled with a dark secret. PS2s were only designed to play PS2 games (surprise, surprise), PS1 games, CDs and DVDs by the nature of the built-in OS. Some clever cloggers around the world thought they would act their label, and see if the beast would be able to play Sonny Jim’s Halo: Combat Evolved without a fault. They inserted a non-compatible disc in to the drive and hit the power button. Within seconds, they entered hell.

Okay, maybe I’m over-exaggerating a bit, but having to stare at it for minutes on end, with the sound turned up and the lights gone out, will turn your Heart cold. By ‘it’, I reference to the PS2’s own Red Screen of Death, or rather ‘Red Portal to Hell’. Once you witness it, you fear it popping up again every time you turn on the console in your life. That applies to myself, when I witnessed it at the age of four. Yet, it wasn’t supposed to be this scary.

The worst part? It also comes up if it fails to read a disc, so if your disc is stamped on by Jackdog over there, or the system’s laser has gone kaput, you WILL stroll on the doomed path. But, how can you tell? Ladies and Gentlemen, the black box behind you has now become a Zombie Cougar.

If you WANT TO squeal it (my advice – don’t), then put your nearest Xbox/Wii/PS3 disc in to your PS2 and fire it up. There is NO WAY I’m doing it again.

Rip It Up
Why it doesn’t fit in: It’s witnessed on a PlayStation console.
Now, back to the PlayStation. You remember Crash Team Racing, right? Ranking alongside Bizarre Creations’ hit Blur, it is one hell of a rare beast – an arcade racer that is as classic, if not BETTER, than the Mario Kart franchise. The last Crash Bandicoot game to be developed by Uncharted-famed developers Naughty Dog, the amount of fun and pleasure to be had in the game was exceptional of any other racer available at the time, excluding a little game with a Moustached Plumber. If you don’t believe me, download it for your PS3 from the PSN store. Trust me, you’ll ADORE the four-player mode.

At the very start of the Racing Adventure mode, after completing the first four races, you’re greeted by the first boss racer in your TV’s face. And this boss, when seen up-close, is equivalent to Satan on Marijuana. He’s THAT freaky. A video of the encounter can be seen below, but take note – he’s HYSTERICAL. And nothing else.

Thanks to OkamiOfFunny for this video.

Just Remember…

…that nothing has to be what it seems to be.
Happy Halloween, from MintagedVortex of TGD!


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