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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.
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...