This article was originally published on October 30, 2015.
Nintendo is well known for its family friendly games, and these are often the last places that you would expect to find moments that chill you to the bone. Despite this reputation, it is surprising just how many of these there are in some of Nintendo’s biggest franchises. With Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d dig through our subconscious and uncover some of those moments that kept us up at night.
We’ve deliberately left out any actual horror games, and instead chosen to focus on some of those moments that you couldn’t quite shake from your mind, days after putting down the controller. So, without further ado, feast your eyes on our favorite creepy Nintendo moments.
10) The Hand in the Toilet (Legend of Zelda series)
We were first introduced to “???” in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, where he (?) would appear at midnight in the first floor toilet of the Inn in East Clock Town. ??? will moan for all of eternity until someone finally offers him “relief” by giving him toilet paper. That task, naturally, falls to Link.
??? also appears in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, while in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the spectral hand of a girl called Phoeni resides in the toilet of the the Knight Academy. Even more disturbingly, Phoeni may even resort to stroking one of Link’s fellow students as he sleeps. Do all of these hands belong to Phoeni? Does Eiji Aonuma just want us to be afraid of going to the toilet? We may never know.
9) The Faces (Face Raiders)
One of the several pieces of pre-loaded software on 3DS, Face Raiders is an augmented first-person shooter that lets you take down flying enemies based off of pictures stored on the handheld. What it didn’t prepare gamers for was the freakish distortions of your friends and family that would burst out through the background. Seeing their gaping mouths, which would either laugh mockingly or let out a yell, was a surprise that many of us did not expect.
Maybe that was the plan, though, as it made us more than happy to shoot them down– even if just to try and get them off of our screens!
8) The Piano (Super Mario 64)
Boos have become a staple in Mario games, as have the Haunted House levels that are normally filled with them. In Super Mario 64, though, one of the biggest scares in Big Boo’s Haunt came from a room without any Boos, or seemingly anything else other than a single grand piano.
Get close, however, and the piano becomes possessed, biting and chasing you around the room until you run out the door. There was simply no way to get rid of it. So why was there an evil piano in that room? For seemingly no reason other than to scare players all the way back to Prince Peach’s Castle. It doesn’t help either that the music was just plain creepy…
7) Dream Eater (Pokémon series)
The exact nature of Ghost Pokémon remains a mystery (they could be either a type of Pokémon or just the dead) but there has always been one ghost move that was just… sinister: Dream Eater. By using it, Ghost Pokémon (with the help of Hypnosis) can literally put you to sleep, enter your subconscious, and eat your dreams in order to sustain itself by stealing your life force.
Such powers are traditionally associated with a certain striped jumper wearing fellow who likes to hang out around Elm Street. Perhaps the teenagers of Kanto should actually be staying away from these things?
6) Gyroid Face (Animal Crossing)
The seemingly charming world of Animal Crossing hides many dark secrets. From Tom Nook’s child labor, Mr. Ressetti’s torrent of abuse, and the ever-smiling Villager, things are certainly not what they seem.
But Mr. Ressetti’s rant wasn’t the worse consequence that players faced from not saving. In the GameCube Animal Crossing, if you turned off the console without saving while visiting a friend’s town, a far scarier fate awaited you. The Gyroid face seems to have been inspired (naturally) by the many Gyroids that litter the world, but it is easy to see how, for many players, it more closely resembled that of a zombie.
In any case, it certainly reinforced Mr. Ressetti’s message: always save your game!
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