Wonder and imagination. I mean, like and subscribe.
I love Halloween. I love it because it embodies some of the greatest parts of humanity. Specifically, the concepts of wonder and imagination. The focus on the paranormal – wonder and imagination. Little shits roaming the streets in Chris Brown outfits – wonder and imagination. Women dressing like this [revealing costume], to normal people, wonder and imagination. To twelve year old me… confusion… made me question a LOT of things. “But what does this have to do with video game myths, dickhead?”, you may be asking. Well…
The year is 2010. This little shit has just arrived home from a hard day of unironically posting this on Facebook [the edgy photo], fucking hell, and he’s decided to play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. However, he’s already beaten the game five times and needs something new to do in it. He can’t go to the library to write down cheat codes from the Internet, he’s already done that five HUNDRED times. He can’t ask dad to buy a new game, he’s out buying cigarettes. Indefinitely. But then, while browsing that fad of a website YouTube, he stumbles on a rabbit hole bigger than… than a rabbit hole. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas… myths.
Hundreds of videos. All made in Windows Movie Maker, all with the X Files theme song dubbed over the gameplay, all showing secrets scattered throughout San Andreas’ world. Some actually existed – the ghost car, the ghost vortex, the ghost graffiti… I think Rockstar have a kink. And some that didn’t exist – Bigfoot, Jason, CJ’s Mom’s ghost, surprisingly. Except that, to this little shit, it WAS real.
For the next few weeks, I spent hours searching for these. Journeying through Back O’ Beyond and its plethora of cabins. Venturing across the desert while getting PTSD about the flight school missions. Losing my shit when I’d find an NPC killing themselves due to a programming error, because it WASN’T a programming error, it was a spooky myth, the Internet said so.
These experiences are why I love those myth videos so much. They embody wonder and imagination. They made me find and appreciate obscure corners of the open world I would have never thought twice about before. They made these eerie forests and barren wastelands even more intriguing to me. They added even more depth to a game I thought had nothing left to experience. They made me realise “hey, the X Files theme song fucking slaps”
I love pieces of art, including video games, because they can mean completely different things to completely different people. One man can look at a banana and think “hey, what a great source of potassium”, and another can think “hey, that kind of looks like a di-“. I also love video essays, because I get to hear other people’s interpretations of art and, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for so many things because of them. These myth videos, in many ways, are the original video essays. Videos that make you see your favourite game in a completely new light and, even though that light is often nonsense playing on twelve year old me’s stupidity, it’s a light that made the world slightly brighter for me and, that’s pretty great.