Creepypastas made real by the power of blast processing.
I admit it, I’m a sucker for internet creepypastas.
Sure, spooky internet urban legends aren’t always good. Heck, most of them are honestly kind of bad. But whether it’s a story about a haunted video game or a twisted Russian experiment, a good creepypasta is all about that momentary suspension of disbelief. It’s the idea that an informally written scary story could be just as true as all the other content we ingest on the internet, even if it’s all a farce. And as it turns out, a lot of talented people in high places hold this same fascination for amateur internet horror.
We’ve seen video games that are clearly inspired by creepypastas. But what about official video games, sold for real money, that were directly inspired by creepypastas? Well, let’s just say internet folklore may have influenced some of your favorite titles. Here are three particular examples.
Slender: The Arrival
This is the most obvious pick of the list, but that’s only a testament to this game’s influence. Slender is based on the infamous Slender Man creepypasta from the early 2010s, particularly as seen in web series like Marble Hornets. We actually covered Slender Man’s history in depth last year, which you can read by clicking here.
Slender originally started life as a free-to-play concept piece, now known as Slender: The Eight Pages. Slender: The Arrival beefed up the scope of the original game for release on major modern consoles. Even a Nintendo Switch port was released in June, 2019.
Control is one of 2019’s biggest critical surprises. This supernatural third-person shooter isn’t like anything else on the market, even compared to the previous games by Remedy Studios. As it turns out, a community of online horror fiction writers are to thank for that!
Control was confirmed by its director to be heavily inspired by the SCP Foundation, an online wiki of horror stories connected by a loosely shared universe (or, in this case, a foundation). Many free indie games have been made about the SCP Foundation, but Control is the only game that the Foundation’s community organizer calls “[a project] that we could not do in a thousand years.”
Here’s the big one, folks. Steins;Gate, the multimedia time-traveling franchise that has topped charts in Japan, is just as critically praised in the West as it is in the East. With over a decade of games, manga, and TV shows under its belt, it’s incredible to think this series may have never happened if it wasn’t for a guy who claimed to be a time traveler on the internet back in the early 2000s.
Yes, the legend of John Titor is one of the internet’s longest standing urban legends. And while not a “creepypasta” in the traditional sense, John’s apocalyptic predictions of crisis and world wars veered into decidedly dark territory. It turns out that John Titor had such a profound inspiration on the creation of Steins;Gate that a character named after him is in the game! This isn’t the only parallel between the John Titor legend and Steins;Gate, but when you have the character literally show up in the story, you really don’t need more evidence to cite the inspiration.
We don’t know who the “real” John Titor is to this day, but it’s amazing that a creative storyteller on the internet could inspire something as beloved as Steins;Gate. It makes you wonder how even the comments we write on message boards could influence budding writers and artists on the other side of the world. It’s a farfetched concept, but if these examples have taught us anything, it’s that inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places.