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Video game mysteries that remain unsolved to this day

Just about everyone loves a good mystery, especially the ones that remain unsolved. The same rings true in the world of video games. If something seems a little off or like there's something else hidden beneath the surface, you can be sure that there will be folks dedicating their free time to puzzling it out.

These mysteries can take the form of nonsensical Easter eggs or characters who appear and disappear without much of an explanation. Sometimes these mysteries can be solved, shedding new light on the story and universe of some of our favorite franchises. Other times, they will continue to baffle players for years and years. Some mysteries simply aren't meant to be solved, but that doesn't stop us from trying. The following are examples that have had gamers scratching their heads for quite some time ... and will likely continue to do so.

Beware: there will be spoilers ahead for some of the games on this list.

Some light (underwater) reading - Super Mario Sunshine

The Super Mario franchise has some weird little oddities hiding in the fringes of its games. Considering the fact that this is a series that includes flowers that make you spit fire and recurring characters who are literally walking and talking mushrooms, that's certainly saying something. In Super Mario Sunshine, our hero takes it upon himself to rid an island paradise of graffiti, an adventure that leads him all around the island and to the bottom of the ocean.

Speaking of which, the game's biggest mystery happens to be located on the seabed in the Noki Bay area. By exploiting a glitch, players can clip through solid walls and into a small structure underwater. Inside, they can see a small book that cannot be picked up or otherwise interacted with in any way. What's it doing there?

There are a few theories, some more plausible than others. Some believe it to be part of a cruel joke on the part of Mario's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. The most commonly accepted theory, however, is that this is left over from some type of side quest that didn't make it into the game.

Beware the giant rat - Bloodrayne 2

This odd warning appears in vampire action game Bloodrayne 2. At the start of the level "Sewers: Smuggling Route," after the level's opening cutscene finishes, Rayne needs to backtrack to the sewer grate at the start of the tunnel and then tilt the camera upwards in order to see this bizarre Easter egg. A sentence will scroll through the air over Rayne's head, containing a very ominous warning: "BEWARE THE GIANT RAT." Spooky, right?

As if it weren't weird enough that words were appearing out of thin air, the next oddest thing is the fact that there simply isn't a giant rat anywhere in the game. So what gives? Was this a reference to an enemy encounter that was cut from the final game? An inside joke among the designers? Why would it appear as floating words and not as graffiti on the walls? Whatever the case, we're still keeping our eyes peeled for that giant rat. After all, we were warned.

Who, or what, is the G-Man? - Half-Life series

The fact that the Half-Life series will likely never see a true conclusion continues to sting to this day. While there are several lingering questions following the finale of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, the biggest one of all might just be, "What is the G-Man's whole deal?"

The mysterious, sharply dressed man alternates between assisting and detouring Half-Life protagonist Gordon Freeman. He demonstrates abilities that indicate that he's not a normal human man. He doesn't appear to age in the 20-year gap between the first and second games, and he appears to be able to teleport and control the flow of time at certain points. Occasionally, he will appear to Freeman but remain unseen by other people in the same room.

We still have no idea what the G-Man is, nor do we get a clear picture of who he works for. It appears that he may be some kind of middle man in the cosmic conflict of the games, occasionally seeming to play both sides. Since the franchise is likely on ice, we may never get these answers.

Mount Chiliad still confounds - Grand Theft Auto 5

In a game series full of mysteries and myths (some of which have actually turned out to be true), the symbols on Mount Chiliad may just be the most frustrating in Grand Theft Auto history. A series of paintings on San Andreas' highest mountain seem to point toward some kind of ancient conspiracy, one involving UFOs, a jetpack, the Illuminati, and what can only be described as ... um, a phallic chicken. So what do they all mean?

Part of the solution has been discovered by players who found a Gunrunning mission hidden in the game. This mission appears to be related to the alien symbols and involves stealing extraterrestrial eggs from a downed spaceship (no, really). However, this was found through hacking the game, rather than solving the actual mystery. Whether or not there is a real answer, or if these paintings were included by Rockstar simply to drive us up the wall, has never truly been revealed. They may even be part of content that was cut from the final game. That hasn't stopped many dedicated fans from hoping that the truth is out there

The true nature of the Mysterious Stranger - Fallout series

The Mysterious Stranger is a sort-of character that can be unlocked as a Perk in the Fallout series. This Stranger, dressed like he just stepped out of a Humphrey Bogart flick, will arrive at random intervals to assist you in battle, delivering critical shots to your enemies before disappearing without a trace. This was just kind of a fun bit of nonsense, a quirky piece of gameplay ... until Fallout 4, that is. 

In Fallout 4, the Mysterious Stranger is actually acknowledged as something of a sinister entity by one of your companions, Nick Valentine. Nick is an android and private detective who appears to have an extensive case file on the Stranger. If the Stranger appears while Nick is with you, he'll react with shock, as though he's been hoping to catch a glimpse of the Stranger for quite some time. 

Once this acknowledgement is made, you'll likely begin to wonder if you should be so excited when the Stranger decides to lend a hand. Hopefully, he doesn't expect something in return.

The mysterious figures of Hell Valley - Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a fun, whimsical game that sees Mario searching multiple galaxies for Power Stars that will allow him to reach Bowser and rescue the chronically kidnapped Princess Peach. While the Galaxy series has a decidedly more cosmic aesthetic than your average Mario adventures, players don't exactly expect to encounter cosmic horror among the stars.

That's why the mysterious figures in the distance in some of the game's levels are so creepy. They appear to be following Mario and Luigi throughout the game's Shiverburn and Grandmaster Galaxies. When curious players went digging in the game's internal code, they discovered that the texture for these little guys is named "HellValleySkyTree."

Um, what? That's not exactly the most innocuous name for a group of beings that were already giving players the heebie-jeebies. It's worth noting that the (also creepy) internal name for the Shiverburn Galaxy level is "BeyondHellValley," which seems to indicate that these figures may be leftovers from a planned area of Shiverburn Galaxy that didn't make it into the final game. Whatever the case, they're the eeriest things to appear in a Mario game since that evil piano in Super Mario 64.

NPC in green - Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 players have discovered a rather unusual NPC hiding out near the end of the game's story. As explained by Kotaku, "Just after the death of Mike during chapter 5-4, if you zoom in with the rifle scope on some of the background structures, the outline of what looks like a person is barely visible." This person appears to be wearing a puffy green jacket, and they have their arms up, as though they're afraid of being shot.

This sighting raises several questions: who is this person? What are they doing way out here in a town overrun with science experiments gone horribly wrong? Maybe the most upsetting (but most pressing) question of all, at least if we're thinking in terms of the game's story, is: did Leon leave this poor soul to die?

No one has been able to figure out what the deal is with this mystery person. It may be the image of someone who worked on the game, inserted as a joke. Whatever the case, it's definitely a weird sight when you're more used to seeing chainsaw-wielding monsters instead.

The sinister strange man - Red Dead Redemption

The Strange Man continues to be a point of fascination within the Red Dead Redemption series. For a franchise so gritty and down to earth in its presentation of life in the Old West, the supernatural nature of this character is one of its biggest mysteries.

In Red Dead Redemption, the mysterious man sends protagonist John Marston on two different missions, both of which concern moral dilemmas, like donating money to a nun or convincing a man not to cheat on his wife. During John's final meeting with the Strange Man, he opens fire on the stranger, but the bullets seems to run straight through him. The Strange Man refers to their meeting place as "a fine spot," and that spot later serves as John's gravesite.

While we still don't have a confirmation as to the Strange Man's identity or the scope of his abilities, Red Dead Redemption 2 gives us a few hints. One NPC believes the Strange Man to be the grim reaper, blaming him for the cholera epidemic. The Strange Man can even be briefly seen watching over John yet again, this time from the other side of a mirror.

The real answer to the Black Monolith - Fez

As explained by Kotaku, completing indie puzzler Fez "unlocks a New Game + that ... grants players the ability to view the world in first-person." This allows players to solve a few more puzzles, which eventually led the discovery of a hovering Black Monolith. Since then, the Monolith has baffled gamers. Its existence is likely a reference to the Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but its relation to the world of Fez is unclear. Moreover, once the Black Monolith was discovered, no one could quite figure out what to do with the thing, speculating that it may be related in some way to a poem discovered in another area of the game.

The Monolith was eventually solved and opened, though not in the way that its creator intended. Instead, it was 'solved' by simply trying different combinations of button inputs, what's known as a brute force approach. In other words, we know how the Monolith can be opened, but we will likely never know why that combination works, or how we were supposed to learn it.

Messages in static - Far Cry 5

While driving around in one specific section of Far Cry 5, players can hear garbled screams of pain and cries for help over the in-game radio. This is creepy enough on its own, but no one can seem to figure out if this is just the game attempting to creep people out, or if it is meant to be part of a larger side mission. 

While some people have theorized that the mysterious static could just be a case of ambient noise that players are taking way too seriously, Kotaku's Ethan Gach appears to disagree. After searching around the map for the interference himself, he concluded, "The hyper-localized nature of the static ... made it hard to simply chalk the phenomenon up as simply a random collision of the game's complicated emergent storytelling systems." In other words, it felt too specific to one spot. What happened here? Could it really just be another layer of immersion, courtesy of the game's developers? Or is there another mystery here that we are meant to unravel?

A questionable Easter egg - Perfect Dark

First-person shooter Perfect Dark already has more than a few eccentricities, including an alien named Elvis and a conspiracy involving a clone of the president of the United States. One of the weirdest bits of the game doesn't have anything to do with the plot, however. Instead, it takes the form of a hidden item that appears to have no purpose. 

In the game's Warehouse level, players can see what appears to be an ammo box with a question mark over it. This box is on the other side of a grate on the ceiling, and it appears to be impossible to reach. Even weirder, the game's official strategy guide points the box out, saying, "You might also look up at the ammo box behind the question mark grate — pretty suspicious, eh?"

Why is it there? Some fans have speculated that the developers only put it there to screw with players and give them something to talk about endlessly. If that's the case, then mission accomplished 

Corel Prison's weird pit - Final Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy 7 is a beloved classic that gamers continue to find enjoyment in. With a highly anticipated remake on the way, maybe we can finally get a few answers regarding the oddest little corner of Gaia. In the area known as Corel Prison, there is a hole in the ground that leads to a creepy little basement, in which there are scattered bones and what appears to be a treasure chest. However, the chest is always empty, and there doesn't appear to be anything else in this basement with which players can interact. Weird, right?

What's even weirder is that players digging around in the game's files have removed a layer of the background texture and found an odd little red man. This guy doesn't appear anywhere else in the game, so his presence and design are a goofy little mystery. Furthermore, when playing the original Japanese release of the game, entering this basement may trigger a battle with unfinished test enemies, likely left over from the game's development phase. This battle has been removed from later releases. That's a lot of weirdness for one little room.

The mass grave - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The mass grave in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas may just be one of the darkest Easter eggs in the franchise, which is saying a lot. On the outskirts of Bone County, players can find this large hole in the ground that is chockfull of body bags. This may be a sight left over from a mission from the beta version of the game. However, fans of the game have other ideas (of course).

Some have theorized that the nearby military base, Area 69, may have something to do with these corpses, having disposed of people who attempted to sneak into the base. Another theory involves this area being a dumping ground for one of the crime families of the GTA universe. Some believe this to be the work of a peculiar NPC nicknamed Mr. Trenchcoat, who may live somewhere around the area. Whatever the case, this little mystery shows that there are more literal skeletons in San Andreas' closet than even the player is privy to.

How did this get coded? - Entombed

In an interesting twist, the biggest mystery of Entombed for the Atari 2600 isn't something found within the game, but rather the game itself. More specifically, the mystery of how it was coded has been baffling programming experts for quite some time. 

Entombed tasks you with navigating an archaeological team out of a series of catacombs infested with zombies. The mazes in the game are procedurally generated, so the game never plays quite the same way twice. This is a fairly common practice these days, particularly in roguelike adventure games, but it's something of an advanced oddity for the time period in which Entombed was released. Also, no one can figure out how it was coded in the first place. As explained by BBC.com, "Whatever the programmer did, it was a stroke of mild genius ... Every time the game is played, a reliably navigable maze is pumped out ...  It just seems impossible to explain." 

Even one of the people involved in the production of Entombed couldn't figure out how the maze's algorithm worked. It appears that this deceptively simple trick may have been lost to time.