Videogames: May 2009 Archives


PS3 fake virus warning, originally uploaded by Paperghost.

Today I had a guest column published over at TechRadar. The subject? Fake virus warnings on the Playstation 3 console. A very bizarre example of how PC related shenanigans can easily cross over into areas that really have no business being deluged with fake virus warnings...
Not so long ago, I wrote about XBox Live Chain Letter Spam, and how it suddenly seemed to be the cool thing to do. Well, here's an interesting example of how unfounded rumours + pretty pictures = hours of wasted fun for all the family.

Halo 3 is one of the biggest titles on the XBox console - if you've never heard of the game, click here while the rest of us wait for you.

All done? Good.

One of the most intriguing features of the game is the ability to save screenshots & videofiles to allocated storage space provided by the game maker, then share those files with other gamers. It didn't take long before people started to abuse this system through a combination of believing anything they were told and the desperation produced by wanting something (almost) nobody else has.

The rare item in question here would be Halo 3's mythical "Recon Armor" - an insanely rare item given only to Bungee employees and people who perform near miraculous (or just stupidly impressive) feats ingame. To give you an idea of how coveted this ingame item is, here's a 583 page thread (!) dedicated to finding out how to get your hands on it.

Anyway.

It didn't take long before some jokers decided to make this armor the "feature" of endless chain letter spam taking advantage of the file sharing functionality.

Your XBox Live account can send and receive messages to other users, much like the PM system of a forum. Quite a lot of people - those who play Halo 3 all the time and those who have never touched it in their lives - will have been sent a message like this over the past couple of months, entirely out of the blue:

halrec1.png

...enigmatic, right? It becomes even more curious when after trying to read this message, you see the following:

halrec2.png

It's a good job I have Halo 3, or this would be a rather short writeup.

After digging out the disc, inserting it into the console and firing the game up I eventually worked out how the file share system works. Here's the body of the message I was sent (excuse the quality of the next few images, they're photographs of my TV screen):

halrec3, originally uploaded by Paperghost.

Note at the bottom it says "Check out this film clip". If you hit the "Go to" link, you'd sit through thirty seconds of pointlessness and wonder why you'd bothered, or (if the link was for an image) you'd be left with a pretty (but pointless) picture.

What were the film clips? Well, I can't show you those but I *can* show you the image spam, and once you see them this will all make sense:

halrec4, originally uploaded by Paperghost.

"If you recommend this to 50 people, you get Recon Armor".

As you probably already guessed, spamming these images to 50 people does NOT get you recon armor. It does, however, make you remarkably unpopular. There are a lot of variations on these image spam messages, here's another one:

halrec5, originally uploaded by Paperghost.

"Recommend this to 100 people to get Crystal Armor".

Well....as long as it's crystal.....

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Videogames category from May 2009.

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