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Is this the most elaborate gaming hoax of all time?

Gaming hoaxes are nasty things. People spend hours searching in the woods of San Andreas looking for Bigfoot, trying to unlock Sheng Long in Street Fighter II and looking for the blood code on the SNES version of Mortal Kombat. They simply aren't there. But that doesn't stop idiots from perpetuating the myths, adding 'evidence' to new rumours and watching the forums light up.

Want to read 8 more crazy video game hoaxes and urban legends? Click here!

The latest is a corker - Fallout 3 is predicting the future. Will the Queen die on March 19, 2014? Will Britney win an Oscar in 2023? All signs point to no. But then you hear the story...

Spooky conspiracy theory site Snopes.com pointed out a couple of forum posts that seemingly shows Fallout 3 predicting the future. Not only the exact time and date of Gary Coleman's death, but the US oil spill that's been taking over the news for the last couple of months. How? Via secret radio transmissions in the game.

In-game radio station Galaxy News Radio is hosted by a guy called Three Dog. If you kill him in the game, he is replaced on the air by his assistant, Margaret. If you then skip past the 'Galaxy News Radio' mission and then destroy Raven Rock, GNR will occasionally turn into a 'numbers station'. These allegedly exist in real life - radio transmissions which are heavily coded, most likely relaying military data or suchlike. In Fallout 3, they (again, allegedly) feature the voice actor of Three Dog (Erik Dellums) reading out numbers in a sad-sounding voice. These are then followed by a string of morse code.

Just to make the story more plausible, there are morse code transmissions in Fallout 3, most of which just sound like distress signals and usually lead you to a fallout shelter full of dead people and rare items: 

But the supposed numbers station's codes are different and can be interpreted as dates, before talking about things in our world. Look at these supposed examples of messages buried in the game...

“The Queen has died today. The world mourns, as on days like these we are all Brits.” 4:02 March 19, 2014

“Have you watched my YouTube video yet, I uploaded myself kicking bums in the nuts.” 24:16 December 24, 2012

“I can’t believe Britney’s actually won an Oscar!” 21:33 February 27, 2023

“I can’t believe they’ve actually done it. Not long left. They were warned, but they just had to keep pushing the boundaries of science. The noise. I can’t take the noise anymore. And the light, dear God! The universe is slowly unraveling around us. I’m not going to wait for death. I have a pistol in the attic.” This is actually the only message not preceded by a string of numbers.

The style is similar to the scripting in Fallout 3, so whoever started the hoax is clearly intelligent enough. The thing that made this story exciting is that two of the messages, which must have been created over a year ago, detailed events that happened since the game's release - therefore predicting the future, as recounted by the unnamed forumite:

Sounds almost believable, doesn't it? There are of course, several problems with the story. Firstly, there's no evidence of these radio stations on the internet. Secondly, the technique to unlocking them is hazy at best - even if you do fulfil the scenario requirements, there seems to be something else you have to do to hear them. And thirdly, the original forum post where all these things are said to have been discussed is nowhere to be found, supposedly deleted by its mods with bans coming for anyone who tries to talk about it again.

We contacted Bethesda for comment and were told:

So there you go - officially denied. Which begs the question - why bother going to all that trouble to create such a detailed and elaborate hoax? Is it really so fun to get people talking about it and playing the game for hours on a wild goose chase? If you can't see them doing it, surely there's no gratification? Or maybe they just wanted to get featured on GamesRadar...

Despite all that, we have to ask - have you seen actual evidence of a 'numbers station' in Fallout 3? If so, let us know in the comments below. Like 'Spooky' Mulder's poster once said, 'I WANT TO BELIEVE'.

Now back to playing Red Dead - I hear there's a secret shootout with Elvis Presley if you get your stats screen to read his exact date of death in skinned animals. Just the 1,977 owls to go...

Topics

WTF

49 comments

  • GR_JustinTowell - March 19, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    4:03 now. Nothing's happened. Guess the universe won't be unraveling some time after Britney wins an Oscar...
  • Shigeruken - February 20, 2014 1:11 a.m.

    All this time and nobody thought to ask them? Well played Mr Towell.
  • daega-dean - September 8, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    Let me break this down so everyone can figure out it is a hoax once and for all. First off you will need of course the pc version of fallout 3, VLC media player, Fallout Mod Manager and Audacity. Open your fallout folder and locate the files sound.bsa voice.bsa and menuvoices.bsa. Extract the files Using Fallout Mod Manager to any file of your choice to have access to every sound file in fallout 3. The only files of interest are the morse code files I found after scrounging every other file for the mysterious numbers files. To be fair I have yet to locate the files of three dog talking about the player on the radio so they may still be there somewhere but I highly doubt it after decoding the morse code. locate ui_radio_beacon_01_lp the files with it in the folder are the morse code. To decode load up the sound file in audacity. Go to effects, change speed, and move the slider to -50.000. You can now see the morse code. The thick line is a line(-) and the thin line is a dot(.). The code is -.-. --.- -.-. --.- Now we take it to a site such as onlineconversion.com/morse_code and decode it. The message says:.............? CQ CQ You will find that all the morse code messages are similar gibberish, sorry but hope I helped
  • xdind - March 18, 2014 9:52 p.m.

    Of course, if I were a sadistic game developer, I'd put the creepy easter egg sounds in a different folder as a different file type so that when people look for them in the normal places, they'll never find them, but every now and then, someone will hear one and have no clue what is going on, and nobody will believe them.
  • Ragy - March 27, 2014 3:45 a.m.

    YAY! now i dont need to worry with the future anymore! Thanks!
  • kurkosdr - July 11, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    "Just last aweek Kotaku posted something on a Pokemon glitch where you could choose a Ghost as a starter (the sprite was the uncloaked ghosts from Lavender Town) and it would actually kill Pokemon. It's a great story, but a lie." tinycartridge[dot]com/post/866743831/super-creepy-pokemon-hack They say it's a bootleg version. As regards the Fallout 3 thing, I think it's worth to look at the sound files.
  • Cosmis - August 6, 2010 4:22 a.m.

    Even though it's a hoax, I think whomever created it deserves a job writing something. That last faked message was creepy enough to warrant that sort of a position.
  • philipshaw - August 5, 2010 10:18 a.m.

    Never heard of this until now, sounds like a load of crap to me
  • BlackElement17 - August 5, 2010 3:25 a.m.

    Interesting. We should start a hoax that Red Dead has a Chupacabra hidden somewhere.
  • OneToBoner - August 5, 2010 2:42 a.m.

    They could have easily just opened up GECK and looked all the sound files and scripts to see if it was true.
  • brickman409 - August 5, 2010 2:12 a.m.

    why don't you guys actually try translating the Morse code to prove or disprove it?
  • Kingofthewoodlandrealm - August 5, 2010 12:39 a.m.

    I hope you e-mailed back: Dear Bethesda, 'Hey' is for horses not people. That is all. :)
  • Greed - August 4, 2010 11:23 p.m.

    What's funny is that everyone always believes this but a simple google search reveals that the only indication that this even exists is that story. It's ridiculous, though, people are incapable of critical thinking.
  • BroGamer - August 4, 2010 10:41 p.m.

    This has happened before, where someone finds a phrase or a "code" and links it to past events. But, like a prophecy, it is different to other people. Just look at Nostradomas' predictions and what people think they mean.
  • EngieIndeed - August 4, 2010 9:27 p.m.

    The fallout wikia has a translation of the morse code: CQ (seek you) CQ CQ DE (from) K (over) Cant completely trust a wiki-based site but its seems reasonable.
  • lovinmyps3 - August 4, 2010 8:39 p.m.

    That's hilarious! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a shootout with Elvis...
  • CandiedJester - August 4, 2010 8:37 p.m.

    Would be cool if it was true. Really cool. Sad that it isn't, though. ): I WANT TO BELIEVEEEE. >< haha
  • CrashmanX - August 4, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    @Millikin Actually there is a way to get Mew in Red/Blue/Green without having to go to a Nintendo event. I've done it, its just rather obnoxious since you pretty much need to start a new game to do it.
  • ventanger - August 4, 2010 5:56 p.m.

    @JoseofMotley: How hard is it to get the tear stains off your PS3?
  • oryandymackie - August 4, 2010 5:21 p.m.

    You'll see. You'll all see.

Showing 1-20 of 49 comments

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