Eight Gaming Moments That Completely WTF’d with Our Minds


Fly Me to the Moon – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

The entirety of Majora’s Mask was dark, atmospheric, and brooding. Even though Zelda games have always been about the supernatural, moments in Majora felt eerier than most of the entire franchise.

Going beyond the already-established creepiness, the ending of the game truly throws you for a loop. Once you have gone through the trouble of beating all of the dungeons and the Majora skull kid – what you thought was the final boss – he suddenly starts levitating like a limp ragdoll.

The Majora mask starts talking and tells you the skull kid has been used up like a puppet. Majora then goes Predator and decides to self-destruct the world rather than face defeat. The creepy moon face starts sucking up the entire world. Link gets inhaled and finds himself… in a quaint field? With soothing blue and green colors?

A giant tree looms on the horizon and children dance around it wearing the masks that you gained from the bosses. Walking around reveals that the entire scene is encased in a Truman Show-like dome with you trapped inside. This has to be by far the most surreal final level setting in a video game.


Use the Middle Stick – Arkham Asylum

Scarecrow stole the show in Arkham Asylum, hands down. Even though Mark Hamill’s Joker was in top form, the crazy, reality-bending sequences where Batman starts hallucinating were always the highlight of the game. The hide-and-go-seek levels that followed were kind of mediocre, but the presentation made it all worth it.

Of all Scarecrow’s moments, his best comes when Batman gets a hefty dose of fear toxin back at the Intensive Treatment area of the game. The audio sputters and the screen hitches as if your console’s GPU has finally had a meltdown. With some patience (and knowledge that games sometimes pull this crap) you are treated to a fun repeat of the intro cutscene, only with the roles of Batman and the Joker reversed.

You get to enjoy all of the batshit craziness and fun irony that ensues …until the game suddenly unleashes a quick time event and you get shot in the head. I really thought I had screwed up the first time I played. When the game offers you advice on the death screen to “use the middle stick to dodge” I seriously looked down at my controller and wondered what the hell was going on for a second. You got me good, Rocksteady.


Guy Savage – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The entire Metal Gear Solid series has been Kojima pranking us endlessly. In the first game, we have Psycho Mantis reading our memory cards. In the second, we have Colonel Campbell going off the rails and saying crazy babble, not to mention the part where the game says “Fission Mailed.”

However, nothing can compare to what happens if you happen to save Metal Gear Solid 3 about three quarters of the way through while lingering in a jail cell, . I had been playing a marathon session to get through the Groznyj Grad section. When I got to all the cutscenes, I had to see what happened next so that I could save. When I finally reached the prison cell, I saved and shut off the console to go to sleep.

When I fired up the console the next day, I wondered what the hell was going on. Instead of MGS3, I had a weird gothic, ultra-violent game where I tore people to shreds and sometimes transformed into a beast. You were stuck in one room, the enemies did barely any damage, and they just kept coming. On top of that, the whole scene was cast in a distorted magenta filter and all of the blood and gore was hyper-exaggerated.

I played around for several minutes before Snake finally woke up from his “nightmare” and I got to continue the game. To this day, I think this sequence expresses what it feels like to be in a fever dream better than any film or book.


Delete All Saved Games? – Eternal Darkness

Eternal Darkness was a fun little experiment who’s sole purpose felt like it was to mess with our heads. Despite the effort they put in, most of the “Sanity Meter” effects became more expected and entertaining than spooky after a while… except one.

While a moment when the game pretends to change the input screen ranks up high in screwing with us, nothing can compare to the effect that randomly happens if you pause the game when your sanity meter is low. On rare occasions, anything you select will make the game say:

“Delete All Saved Games?
Are you sure you want to delete
all of your saved games?

(Note: All of your progress so far will be lost!)”

No matter how carefully you try to navigate away from this screen, the next thing the game says is “DELETING DATA” with a hastily moving progress bar.

I played Eternal Darkness for the first time my senior year of college. I was a grown ass man. Despite this, I fully admit I jumped across the room to try to turn off the console. Luckily, the game flashed out of the screen with its “This can’t be happening!” routine and I realized I had been had. Silicon Knights, if I have a heart condition later in life I’m blaming you.


Honorable Mention – Braid

The last level has you thinking you were playing it in normal time, rescuing the princess.  Only at the end does it reveal that everything was happening in reverse and you were playing as some pervy peeping tom and aspiring kidnapper. That made us feel pretty bad.

What moments in games had you thrown for a loop? Let us know in the comments!

Jarrod Lipshy is a UGA English alumnus and a freelance content writer. He collects and plays old video games, but sometimes they play with him.

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  1. the world before the final in braid was the trippiest (least what happened after), the gimmick is that when you move forward you travel in normal time BUT backwards it causes everything to rewind. after some trial and error beating that part in one sitting, strangely i when i moved back i can see everything happening in reverse (like my dog walking backwards up the stars) when i moved back >.< for a short time.

  2. Wait, the SERIOUS mind melt in Braid is the fact that you can play the game again and the story changes… And you realize that it’s entirely a metaphor about relativity and the creation of the atomic bomb. That’s not actually a woman you are ogling.

  3. One that always got me with Eternal Darkness: In the last level, you climb down a ladder and find yourself in a room swarming with monsters, and a pop-up appears saying “controller disconnected”.

    There were plenty of those moments in American McGee’s Alice and Madness Returns, too… actually, pretty much the whole game was a string of WTF moments.

  4. What about the end of Diablo (remember that?) where you destroy everything and retrieve the soulstone only to jam it into your forehead? That messed me up!

  5. How about X-Men for Sega Genesis? The whole game, you’re stuck in series of Danger Room programs and eventually you get to the part where Xavier tells you to reset the computer, but then there’s nothing to do there. I don’t even how many times I played the game up to that point before I realized that he LITERALLY meant reset the computer, the actual Genesis console.

    Quick side note: The game’s little twist made it impossible to play it with the Game Genie. You’d hit reset and it would just go back to the Genie menu instead of progressing to the next level.

  6. Mine was playing Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented and going into Hour 4….only to realize you are no longer in the Manor of Sleep, but you are heading back into the Hirumo Mansion from the first game. The first time I played it, I dropped the control and screamed, “F-This, I’m out! I already did this once before!”

    As awesome as it was to play as Miku again and explore the mansion one more time, it was like a kick to the spooky genes.

  7. Lol.
    “However, thanks to Bethesda’s mind-of-its-own programming,”
    That’s how we are calling poor programming and even more horrible testing, now?

    Get . The. F. Out. Now.

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