Now that Operation Moonfall is in progress all across ZU, I would like to take a minute to look back on one of the most popular ARGs in internet history. Ever hear of Ben? More importantly, ever hear of BEN? BEN was the gamer who haunted one copy of Majora’s Mask and confounded the entire Internet.
On June 14, 2009, a young new user by the name of Jadusable had joined the millions of nameless channels on the website known as YouTube. The same day he joined the faceless waves of the Internet and uploaded an odd video. The video itself wasn’t odd, but the fact that it was even uploaded at all was a mystery to everyone; but more likely than not it was simply discarded or even ignored.
Simply put, the video was standard fare video game footage for anybody to have on YouTube. It was a video game released in 2003 and it was titled “Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines.” The character that Jadusable talks to is Rosa, an unimportant character in no way crucial to the game’s plot. Why was this video put up then? Why was it so important to see a section of random dialogue from a character that was clearly so unimportant? Nobody really cared then. However, many people following the ARG would have finally come to terms with why.
The description of the video was cryptic in itself, revealing what would become a huge key in the lock in terms of advancing the main ARG plotline:
“No one has put this up yet so I figured I’d take the liberty and do it. This is what happens when you encounter Rosa in the beginning of Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines in Santa Monica, and shortly after talking to her you end up being drowned in dialogue. What follows is a rather creepy and cryptic conversation about the player and his future. Several of the things she alludes to are kind of vague, though, like the lone wolf, but her sporadic facial expressions coupled with her fourth wall breakage definitely spooked the hell out of me when I first played the game at night stoned.”
The words I have bolded were crucial to the ARG in the second arc (which I will be covering in my next article). You could just see the players face-palming when they actually realized this. It was a clever set-up on Jadusable’s part. It was a video that everyone overlooked and didn’t actually care about, until clues started to rear their ugly heads in between the lines in both the video and the Jadusable’s abstract video description.
On September 7, 2010, a story was posted on Creepy + Pasta with the title simply being “Majora.” As fans of Creepy Pasta shorts may know, many a story had kept them awake at night. Whether it be a story (or video) regarding cursed video games, rituals, hauntings, demons, etc. One Creepy Pasta had left its mark mentally on you at one point in your life.
“Majora” was a story that blended in with all the other Creepy Pasta stories. The readers read it, liked it, were scared of it, and moved on. It wasn’t really anything special in the realms of the Creepy Pasta fictions.
It told the tale of a nameless sophomore who bought a Majora’s Mask cartridge from a crooked old man at an eccentric garage sale (an ink blot oddly shaped like Majora’s Mask was also there). The guy bought the game (for free), went home, plugged into his Nintendo 64 — which he had only just recently gotten from a friend — and played. When he booted it up, he noticed a save file already created, almost had the game beaten nonetheless. The file’s name was “BEN”…
Which the sophomore remembered that the old man had mentioned a younger boy that didn’t live in that particular neighborhood anymore. Unfortunately for the student this would be the beginning of something beyond even his own mortal comprehension.
After playing the old game for a while, he realized that the NPCs throughout the game would call him either “BEN” or “Link”. He thought this might have something to do with the programming in the cartridge, causing the NPCs to switch the two files about.
Frustrated with this unnerving dilemma, the sophomore reset the game and deleted the “BEN” file. It worked, but yet, it didn’t. Now the NPCs refused to call him anything. Where his name should have been there resided a blank space (i.e. Hello , how are you today?). This was even more disturbing, so the player put down the game for a day.
The following day, the student decided to try his hand at the game again. He tried the infamous “4th Day glitch” in order to beat the Snowhead Temple (you can find the glitch here). It worked, as the countdown in the HUD disappeared. However, when he tried to escape the telescope, instead of being greeted by the astronomer, he was instead in the Majora’s Mask boss room at the end of the game! Except instead of fighting Majora’s Mask (as per usual), he was faced with the Skull Kid hovering above him — as he does on the top of the Clock Tower. The college student thought that maybe the whole scene was, in fact, a bug of some sort — however he clearly states he doubted it.
After spending a while in the inexplicably creepy room, he was given an option:
“Go to the lair of the temple’s boss? Yes/No”
After painfully realizing pressing “no” was impossible, he clicked “yes”.
Dawn of a New Day
“The only way I can describe the way I felt here is having this feeling of inexplicable depression on a profound scale. I am normally not a depressed person, but the way I felt here was a feeling that I didn’t even knew existed – it was such a twisted, powerful presence that seemed to wash over me.”
Those were the written words of the boy as he was transported to his own personal hell. He was at the beginning of the game once again, leaving the Clock Tower, except this time it was much different. He found himself in South Clock Town, except with all the inhabitants and NPCs missing from the scene. The only thing that remained was the infamous “Reversed Song of Healing” as the selected music and the intense feeling of dread when you feel as though someone is following you. He also remarked that he could hear the laugh of the Happy Mask Salesman; as well as this, most of the textures in the area were either gone or broken.
Of course, you can see for yourself what the video has in store for you. The equally (if not more) infamous Elegy Statue starts to follow
Link eventually corners him. After this episode, Link appears at the top of the Clock Tower and is killed 3 times by horrifically bursting into flames. After dying, the file’s name gets changed to “YOURTURN”, which obviously signifies that the college student will meet the same fate as the in-game avatar of Link. when he tries to boot the file back up, only a dead Link stares up directly at him, shattering the final bit of his sanity. BEN’s file appears back on to his repertoire of files, oddly enough.
At this point it seemed as though the mysterious “BEN” was toying with the victimized sophomore. The Elegy Statue, the Skull Kid, and the laundry pool (in-game) all seem to point to a paranormal experience unlike no other. A terrifying one, at that. What did the old man have to hide?
“BEN, DROWNED, jadusable”
All 3 of the subsequent videos (along wth day four.wmv) were uploaded to Jadusable’s YouTube channel. They all depict cryptic indulgences with the unkown as the sophomore — Jadusable — delves into a, frightening, unknown world, a world in which he is playing with his actual life and no continues. Also, with the title of this section of the article (BEN DROWNED jadusable, the order in which the videos were uploaded), it also shows that Jadusable unfortunately lost that fight.
In the last segment of the story — written and published September 12, 2010 — we read that Jadusable has gone back to his house for the semester. What’s odd about this particular post is a section of sentence that stands out:
“He told me that he’s getting away from here, that it lured him to play it again instead of trying to change things and that he shouldn’t of done that, and to upload the footage and inform people what happened.”
This simple phrase “you shouldn’t have done that”, would turn out to be one of the most important phrases in the entire ARG. What was promised for the fans was this:
“he handed me a flash drive and gave me specific instructions. he told me that he needs me to do one last favor for him – he finally explained to me what has been going on, gave me the account info to his Youtube account, and he gave me instructions on how to post with his Name code on specifically this board, apparently he said you guys had been helping him along the way and you deserved to see the end of it.”
The contents of the flash drive was released to the general public, as well as the new video entitled “jadusable.wmv”. The lone document, TheTruth.rtf was uncharacteristically odd. Picked apart by fans, a few things stand out blatantly:
- A letter is randomly capitalized in some instances of the word “believe”:
11:00pm – Can’t beLieve what happened…
5:00pm – Dont think a lot of people would belIeve me if I told them about…
Lastly, thank you for taking the time to open this and open yourselves up to me by hearing my story, despite maybe not beliEving me.
The capitalized letters spell out the word “LIE”, discrediting the “roommate” that wrote the 4th entry.
- This character (̶̵͎͚̗̙̬ͮ͒͌̕a̯̙̦͙͖̩͉ͨ͒̂̀) also sparks some interest. It has been speculated that this lone character means corruption. Which also concludes the fact that “BEN” now has control.
Exactly 108 minutes later, a new video was uploaded to Jadusable’s YouTube account:
This signaled BEN had been released into millions of computers worldwide who have been following the story. Jadusable changed his Youtube profile picture and added the quote, “Now I am everywhere” to his profile. The people that had opened the document had seemingly recieved BEN as a virus. Of course, this wasn’t true, as it was purely fictional.
After the first arc of Jadusable’s stunning ARG, many were left to wonder, “what’s next?” Well, after this, ciphers appeared on Jadusable’s YouTube page, ultimately leading to a website of travesty and horror. The Moon Children/ Ryukaki Arc was the second Arc, and by far the longest.
I’m glad you read this artic-;;;..///;’BREAK;///////////;.