USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Minecraft’
Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I began by simply asking, “What do you know about Herobrine?”

The informant first heard about Herobrine from a Youtube video in middle school, around the time when Minecraft was getting very popular.

 

Informant: “Uhh I know that it was, umm uh, a popular myth surrounding the game Minecraft. Uh, the idea it that it was, uh, an entity hidden in the code that would sort of on a random case-by-case basis do things to your game. Um I also know it’s not true. Uh, you can go through the codes of all, of every single version of Minecraft and see that there’s nothing. Um, but the creators had fun with people and would constantly tease about it, and all of their change logs ever since the old myth came up, they would put, like, ‘Herobrine removed,’ ‘Herobrine removed,’ like ‘he’s finally removed.’ And, um, yeah but it was really popular and it’s a common thing that people who play video games like to do. It’s the same concept as creepypastas of just writing haunted versions of games, especially because they think people are interested in exploring ghost stories as they relate to modern media and modern technology, um, as opposed to the old jaded, like, haunted house that no one’s scared of anymore because we’ve rehashed it in so many works of fiction. But something as ubiquitous as a software that can be downloaded that can be haunted is more interesting.”

Interviewer: “Do you know his origin?”

Informant: “Uhh, something about… the creator, Notch’s, brother passing away? Something like that? Which isn’t true… in the slightest. Other than that, not too well-versed.”

Interviewer: “Do you know anyone who claims to have seen Herobrine, or know someone else who claims to have seen Herobrine?”

Informant: “Umm… I knew a, I knew a lot of uhh… a lot of kids in uhh… uh middle school that would claim it. Uhh… and who no one would ever believe.”

Interviewer: “What does Herobrine supposedly do? If he appears in a game.”

Informant: “Umm, I’ve heard various accounts because, obviously, it doesn’t actually happen, so people’s stories like to vary and people like to one-up each other. Um, but it very, it can be something as just suddenly killing you, suddenly appearing and disappearing, things moving around, um, a lot of things you’ll find in a lot of other ghost story literature.”

Herobrine

This informant does not believe in Herobrine, and provides very logical explanations for why he was such a phenomenon. He is in the age group of people who would be playing Minecraft at its peak of popularity, and being interested in game design, he is well versed in gaming culture.

Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I began by simply asking, “What do you know about Herobrine?”

The informant heard about Herobrine in middle school, primarily through videos and chat rooms online, around the time when Minecraft was getting very popular.
Informant: “So the Herobrine, at least that I know of, is a character within the Minecraft game that is your player? Basically, he’s the Steve [the name of the Minecraft player character] pro-, like, character pro-protagonist but, but he doesn’t have pupils. And the game developers keep trying to delete him, but every update he finds his way kinda back into the game. And what, most players never really see him, but yet there still seem to be leaks and rumors about him kinda k-existing in the game and doing weird stuff. And that’s all I’ve got.”

Interviewer: “What kind of weird stuff does he do?”

Informant: “Like glitches and some people like, who you ask later are like, ‘Oh my goood, he came out of my computer,’ and I don’t know if that’s all that true, but people get really into it.”

Interviewer: “He what their computer?”

Informant: “Came out of their computer.”

Interviewer: “Oooh okay…”

Informant: “Yeah that’s one I read. It was, I mean — And again, a lot of this is just like in. like, online boards and stuff where people are like talking about him. So I don’t know how much of it you take as… really happening, but it’s worth noting that people seem to take him very seriously.”

Interviewer: “Do you know anyone who claims to have seen him, or know someone else who claims to have seen Herobrine?”

Informant: “Personally, no. I’ve yet to meet anybody that’s actually seen him, but I – I do see posts like online about him, and there’s like Game Theory videos and…”

Interviewer: “Do you know his origin?”

Informant: “Umm, the most I know is that it was part of the g-, like they put him in the game at one point and then they were like, ‘Nah we’re gonna scrap him.’ And they kept kinda deleting it, but every update he seemed to find his way back into the Minecraft updates and… that’s that.”

Interviewer: “So is he real?”

Informant: “Uhh, I mean… [informant looks like he is about to speak, but takes a few moments] I guess? He’s not supposed to be there, anyways. So they’re like, ‘Ah g- let’s delete him?’ I mean now I kinda wonder whether they’re leaving him in there because people are making such a big deal out of it, but… real enough.”

Interviewer: “Okay! Um, anything else to add?”

Informant: “Mmm… I like the idea that there is this kinda like… computer ghost in a way? Like the idea that people are being haunted by a computer ghost is quite funny to me, the fact that he keeps trying to get deleted, and he’s not deleted is hilarious. Like I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but I appreciate it.”

Herobrine
While the informant has not seen Herobrine, or knows anyone who has, he does believe in him. He also believes that Herobrine was put in the game purposefully, and was then deleted. Because of this, his version of Herobrine’s origins does not originate from the Internet, but rather from a story involving the game’s creator’s brother. Interestingly, he has heard that Herobrine can be separate from Minecraft, coming out of the computer and haunting people instead of just the game. While the informant is not a game designer, many of his friends are, so he is fairly knowledgeable about gamer culture.

Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I began by simply asking, “What do you know about Herobrine?”

The informant has not played Minecraft in recent years, but used to when it was first popular. He heard about Herobrine through the Internet, around middle school and early high school, when it was very popular.
Informant: “Herobrine is constantly being removed from Minecraft even though it was never there. Like I don’t know the exa- I don’t know what form Herobrine’s supposed to take, but it is some… NPC, before there were NPC’s in the game, who was supposed to appear and be spooky. And basically people used to think it was removed, and then, I think, Notch started adding in the patch notes that it was removed every time, and then it – now it’s in every single patch note; They just have a thing saying it’s removed.”

Interviewer: “Do you know his origin?”

Informant: “I don’t know the origin. I assume it started somewhere on the forums, but…”

Interviewer: “Do you know what he does in the game?”

Informant: “I don’t know what he does. I was playing the Alpha of Minecraft, a friend of mine gave me the Alpha when it had just come out, so I played it for years, but I’ve sort of forgotten.”

Interviewer: “Do you know anyone who claims to have seen Herobrine?”

Informant: “I don’t. I didn’t have any friends who were like, ‘If you look under the truck in Pokemon, in, in Pokemon Red, then you can get a hundred master balls.”

Herobrine
The informant does not believe Herobrine ever existed, and was created by fans. Although he has played Minecraft, he is not very immersed in gaming culture, and does not know much about Herobrine.

Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected in a college apartment while the informant was preparing to cook lunch.

The informant played Minecraft in middle school, and, being a game designer, is well-versed in gamer culture. She, unlike many others, first heard about Herobrine from a friend rather than from the Internet.
Informant: “To my understanding – Sorry, I’m going to be a little noisy. [informant rustles plastic wrapping, preparing to cook] Okay. Herobrine, from my understanding, is, yeah, it’s like the Minecraft uhh… the Minecraft ghost? He’s got, like, white eyes and people claim that… I don’t know, that he behaves kind of similarly to Slenderman? Like he’ll just kinda show up. Um, I don’t remember if he does anything bad to you? I don’t think he does? But, there’s just like screenshots that are, like, very obviously edited [laughs]. Um, but those got a lot of traction, and then mods came out that had an actual Herobrine, but I’m pretty sure that it was just, like, another mod skinned to be looking like Herobrine… But I remember being kinda freaked out about it, like every time I’d play at night I’d be like, ‘Oh my god, what if I wake up in the middle of the night [in Minecraft] and instead of, like, a zombie… being over my bed in Minecraft it’s Herobrine’ and I’d be like, ‘OH SHIT, IT LOOKS JUST LIKE ME! [laughs] Except it has white eyes!’ And that was about the extent of, like, how deep the lore was for me [laughs]. And I kinda loved it, I don’t know.”

Interviewer: “When do you remember hearing about Herobrine, and through what?”

Informant: “Oh god, [chuckles] that was, like, middle school? One of my friends was like, ‘… [In a mocking, purposefully deep voice] Have you heard of Herobrine?’ And I was like, ‘ [In a mocking, purposefully high, airy voice] NO?! What’s Herobrine?!’ And he was telling me all about it, but it was like total fucking bullshit, like he told me the same thing three times, except each time was a little bit different about, like, the first time he’d seen it. So I was like, ‘Ian, you’re a jackass [laughs] .’ But… yeah then I, then I started digging into it on my own… because it was way more fun than listening to fucking [in a mocking voice] Ian talk about it. And then I told my other friends… and they all looked into it, except I was a much better storyteller than Ian was [laughs]. Do you have any other Herobrine questions?”

Interviewer: “Do you know what he does? So he appears in the game, right?”

Informant: “Theoretically.”

Interviewer: “Do you know what he does?”

Informant: “I don’t remember off the top of my head, no. Does he steal your shit? What does he do?”

Interviewer: “I don’t know, that’s for you to tell me.”

Informant: “[Laughs] I’m pretty – From my memory, he just was, like, jumpscare-man. Like he would just pop up, like all of the screenshots he wasn’t doing anything; He literally was just there. Uhh… like when people turn around they were like, ‘[In a mocking voice] And then Herobrine was right there!’ Or they’d be in, like, the desert, where you have a lot of visibility, and they’d see in the distance, like, the shape of, of Minecraft, you know, the Minecraft avatar, um, except they would have, like, glowing white eyes and they’d be, like, ‘[In a mocking voice] That’s not me.’ Uhh [laughs] yes. And that is my understanding of what Herobrine does.”

Interviewer: “Do you know Herobrine’s origin?”

Informant: “Umm, I’m pretty sure someone just, like… I feel like I, I saw, like, a 4chan screenshot? There was, it was literally just, like, the, the, the base avatar from Minecraft except with, like, Photoshopped white eyes. Umm, and then someone was telling this story about, like, their creepy interaction with Herobrine and how, like, Herobrine watched them. That’s, like, my most distinctive, and it feels like the most original [laughs].”

Herobrine
The informant is clearly amused by the notion of Herobrine, and by what, to her, is the sheer silliness of the character and her memories from middle school. She does not believe in Herobrine. Interestingly, while most others associate Herobrine with the statement, “Removed Herobrine” in every patch note, the informant had not heard of this ever being done.

Game

Staying Close Through Minecraft

Informant:

Dina is a college freshman from Northern California, she comes from a large yet close knit Italian family.

Piece:

My brothers and I love to play all types of games. Like board games and video games and just all types of games. I mostly like board games, but those are way too hard for us to play since we are all at college and away from each other for so long each year. So to make up for that we play video games with each other online. They like to play league of legends, but I don’t like that game at all. But we all play Minecraft together and built this house together on Minecraft and it’s super cute. And we built it to be the same layout as our house so that even when we are in all different places we can be at home together.

Collector’s thoughts:

This is a great example of how the internet has allowed people to stay close to each other despite long distances. The informant’s ability to stay close with her family is completely dependent on the internet which links them up via a game.

 

 

[geolocation]