We all love the classics, and this past weekend the internet paid homage to one of the great pillars of JRPG history: Arc Symphony for the Playstation.
If you don’t remember it, you’re in good company, since only a handful of people do. The nostalgia-fest started with a tweet from Damian Sommer, a member of the design group Gloam Collective: “Was just reorganizing my game library when I came across this gem. Anyone remember this game?”
Was just reorganizing my games library when I found this gem. Anyone else remember this game? pic.twitter.com/h2MVOY7SdG
— Damian Sommer (@DamianSommer) May 14, 2017
The tweet contained a photo of what looked like an old Playstation 1 game from the early 1990’s that mimicked the cover style of Final Fantasy. Some commenters praised the game as an underappreciated influence on the JRPG genre, but there were many who didn’t recognize it as a game at all.
Reddit users began scouring the web for screenshots and fan sites, but it quickly became clear that Arc Symphony was either the most elusive game ever released, or a large group of people were remembering something that didn’t exist.
The latter is true.
Arc Symphony never existed, despite what game designers and fans of the game suggested on social media. Its game developer, Aether Interactive, isn’t online. There are only the Twitter mentions and a single fan site for the game, which suspiciously resembles the terribly ancient internet sites of long ago.
Here’s what the Arc Symphony fan site has to say:
One of the most important games of the last generation, Arc Symphony was first released on a 24 megabit cartridge to massive acclaim. Ever since, you can find it on CD, on newsstands, and (I hear) there’s even a movie in the works.
If you’ve ever played it, you’d know why Arc Symphony is so important. It’s one of the most engaging stories to come out of Japan: on the Arc Symphony, a great airship protecting its denizens from the Great Flood below, Satoshi Davis, a young member of the King’s Guard has his world turned upside down.
With his best friend Dallas Flamestrike and an actual, true ensemble cast, Satoshi’s tale has captured the attention of anyone who plays it. It’s truly a hidden gem provided by the good folks at Aether Interactive.
Reddit’s very own clan of mystery solvers, the Game Detectives, concluded that all the buildup and talk on social media had to be a part of an amazingly well-planned marketing ploy for an upcoming game.
Once the game was outed to be a fake, it became clear that the signs were there all along. Arc Symphony was supposedly sold at this weekend’s Toronto Comics and Art Festival, and the majority of those praising the non-existent game are members of the Toronto indie developer community. In fact, all of the links on the fan site lead straight to the itch.io pages of Canadian developers who were tweeting about the game to begin with. Talk about hiding in plain sight.
A timer on the Arc Symphony fan site was set to go off earlier today at noon EST, and it revealed that Arc Symphony is now a real game that can make real memories with fans. It turns out that the game isn’t a JRPG at all, but instead an entertaining Twine game on developer Sophia Park’s itch.io page.