We already know how gamers can become obsessed with trying to find secret messages, codes, images and even fictitious levels hidden in games.
The growth in stories and myths driven by the internet lead to large communities of gamers discussing these topics, especially about games that we can no longer play today. Those games probably weren't preserved or they didn't exist in the first place, so they are now considered urban legends.
One of the most famous is certainly "Killswitch".
It's the spring of 1989 and a company called "Karvina Corporation" decided to release a game that became immediately popular among American students. Some websites say that less than 5000 copies were sold, others contradict and say 50,000, but still, everyone agreed that not many were released. What they didn't know, was the fact that they could play the game just once. If, or rather when you died in the game, the game would then erase itself and could not be copied.
It wasn't the first game with a permanent "game over".
"Little Computer People" - which was one of the first life-simulation game - had a character inside their house, that could behave according to your suggestions and instructions like "The Sims" or "Tamagochi". You could tell them to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom or even play the piano. The game didn't have a specific goal, but without taking proper care of your character, it could die. Forever.
Even if you tried to reload the game, the lifeless body of your character would lie on the floor, and the game would stop there.
"Killswitch" was a different game, a mix of platforming and puzzle-solving. You could choose between 2 characters: "Ghast" a ghost/demon, and "Porto", a soul of an undead worker girl. The goal of the game was to survive in a bleak soviet-like factory, where every worker had become a zombie that attacked you. For the finale, the player reached the end of a tunnel and the screen would turn white because even as you completed the game, it would then still erase itself.
Those who played it said that was very difficult, especially because "Ghast" was invisible, so you were not able to see what you were doing and because "Porto" can't attack, just run from the enemies.
In any case, whether you died or you completed it, the end would always be the same, you and the game's demise.
Those who researched more about "Killswitch" were only able to find testimonies, no concrete evidence, to retrace the story and the gameplay.
That's until 2005, when a sealed copy of the game suddenly appeared on eBay, with a shocking price of $733,000.
A rich Japanese gamer, named Ryuichi Yamato, decided to buy the copy wanting to record the gameplay footage for the first time. Instead, he posted a video where he started crying staring at the character selection screen, with no other explanation.
After a while, even this video has disappeared from the internet, just like the original game.
In the end, there are so many missing details (such as the gaming platform or info about the developer's company, Karvina Corporation), that it is probable this is just one of the many gaming urban legends out there, normally involving horror games.
If you are more curious about those, try searching "creepypasta" on the internet, and you'll find more stories to keep you awake!