5 gaming curses that will make you a believer

Get ready to shake some salt over your right shoulder, make sure you avoid those black cats and for the love of all that is holy, walk around that ladder – because things are about to get creepy as we look into 5 gaming curses that have plagued the industry.

Cue “OOOoooOOOOoOOoo” sound effects.


"MUAHAHAHAAHA!" ~ John Madden

The Madden curse

The Madden curse is probably the most well-known curse associated with gaming. Before 1999, EA’s Madden NFL franchise proudly featured the series’ namesake, John Madden on the cover.

In the year of 1999, EA decided to be a little bit different and put Garrison Hearst on the front cover – and then he broke his ankle and had to sit out for two whole seasons.


Well, perhaps – except that every single player that has featured on Madden NFL’s box art has been swamped with bad luck, injury and general decline in the game.

Even Madden NFL 12’s cover-boy, Peyton Hillis found himself missing 5 games of the 2011 NFL season due to injury, a decline in stats, another hamstring injury, and a whole slew of negative management ordeals that have him leaving his team at the end of this season.

EA have dismissed the whole “curse” business as superstition, saying that they feature players at the top of their game, coming off a strong year. So basically downhill from there, right?

A flock (?) of dragons is considered bad luck. For death reasons.

Lair’s doomed development

Another gaming curse that is widely reported on is that of the evils beset upon the development team of the ill-received PS3-exclusive, Lair.

Lair’s developer, Factor 5, felt the game was cursed right from the start – kicking off with the game’s initial reveal on the PS3 showreel coming off as very “dark”. That’s dark as in difficult to see. It was too dark to be shown publicly, and as such, got bumped off the reel.

What followed was a whole bunch of weird, with deaths in the development team’s families, surgeries for key members and stumbling blocks at every stage of the game’s development. It was so bizarre, that the game’s director, Julian Eggebrecht, went on record laying out the cursed game development timeline.

“Every single time there was a crucial delivery, something bizarre went wrong — all the way to power outages when writing the master disks,” he was reported saying.

“I am not a believer in ghosts, but this one was haunted.”

Apparently he was right, Lair was the last game they made, as Factor 5’s US operations went defunct in 2009.

Will Prey 2 see light of day? Or is it doooooooooomed?

Prey’s failure to launch

Recently, rumours started popping up that Bethesda and Human Head Studios’ Prey sequel was going to be canned – and to date, there has been no word confirming or denying these reports.

The reports were born out of “insiders” stating that the game had been cancelled, which was followed by a no-show of the game at the 2012 Game Developer Conference. Then of course, there’s the fact that Bethesda have not outright denied the cancellation as they have with every report on the same fate for Doom 4.

So why is this a curse?

You may not be aware of it, but the original Prey had anything but smooth sailing during its development process. In fact, the 2006 first-person shooter actually started development over a decade prior – in 1995.

The first incarnation of the game was envisioned by 3D Realms – the infamous team behind the gaming meme of the century, Duke Nukem Forever. The game went through almost a decade of false starts, rethinks and reboots before Human Head Studios were commissioned to work on the title.

From there, the game was officially announced in 2005, and released a year later – but the rocky road of getting out the door seems to have made its way to the sequel.

If you throw salt over your shoulder, hope it lands on one of these. Presumably it'll shrivel up and die? Give it a try.

Gearbox’s revival curse

Speaking of 3D Realms – it may be a bit too obvious to think of the company as “cursed”, considering the abysmal mess it made with Duke Nukem Forever.

What is creepy, though, is where Duke Nukem Forever went – straight into the hands of Gearbox Software.

While Gearbox can’t be entirely blamed for the Duke Nukem Forever legacy, what came of the whole debacle was generic at best, and soul-crushing at worst. And then Sega announced that Gearbox would be handling another vapourware title – Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Originally announced for PS2 in 2001, Aliens: Colonial Marines never saw the light of day, being cancelled before release, after many years of empty promises and no-shows.

In 2006, Sega acquired the rights to the game, and officially announced a different game under the same title in 2008, set for release in 2010.

It’s 2012, and we’re still waiting.

Duke Nukem Forever spent 15 years in development, and Aliens: Colonial Marines is closing in on 11 years – what kind of voodoo is afoot at Gearbox to land them two games that have spent over a decade in gaming limbo?

Superman may be invincible - but those around him definitely aren't

The Superman Curse

There’s a little legend in Hollywood revolving around what is called “The Superman curse”. The superstitious few in tinsel town believe that anyone who assumes the role of the man of steel will be cursed and will meet with horrible luck or an untimely doom.

George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Bud Collyer and other actors who played Superman in movies all struggled to find work outside of their roles, and all met an end that was considered dubious or generally unlucky.

The curse seems to have made its way into gaming as well.

Titus Software, developers of Superman 64 – widely considered to be one of the worst games ever made – didn’t fare any better with the Superman curse, finding itself dissolved and defunct after a slew of unsuccessful titles released afterwards.

Of course, that wasn’t before acquiring a majority share in Interplay, which was subsequently dragged down with the ailing company as well.

Things get even more bizarre from there: guess who made the game adaptation of Superman Returns – a movie which Lois Lane actress, Kate Bosworth, said cursed her relationship with Orlando Bloom resulting in their breakup (*Gasp*)?

EA Tiburon. Guess what other games they make? Yup, that’s right – Madden NFL.

But wait, there’s more!

Care to take a guess at which game Lair’s developer, Factor 5, was working on just before they went defunct? Why, Superman, of course.

Consider your mind blown.

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5 gaming curses that will make you a believer

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