30,000 Elder Tale Players Missing For Months, Nobody Notices


Empty Akiba streets in recent months could be connected to the mass disappearance

Empty Akiba streets in recent months could be connected to the mass disappearance

TOKYO – 30,000 Japanese gamers who installed the 12th expansion pack for the popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game Elder Tale have collectively gone missing, a new investigation has revealed.

“The only thread connecting all these disappearances seems to be the installation of the Novasphere Pioneers expansion pack of the MMORPG Elder Tale,” said Takanori Endo, the newly-appointed head of a special missing persons task force established to investigate the mass disappearance. “Unfortunately the trail has grown quite cold,” Endo confessed, “but it took months before anyone even noticed. These players had no friends, no jobs, and did not attend school; their families were accustomed to long periods of no contact, and the people most likely to have reported them missing – their fellow players – have also gone missing themselves!”

Elder Tale launched nearly 20 years ago and has amassed a dedicated following and active online community, so it was the creators of the game that first alerted authorities to the possibility that something was amiss. “Suddenly the flame wars stopped,” said John Sato, a systems administrator for Elder Tale‘s Japanese server. “One day it just hit me that no one had called me a fucking asshole or demanded a software patch in like three months. Made some calls to other sysadmins and it was the same for them. That’s when I called the cops.”

“We will leave no stone unturned; we have to find them!” said Endo, who in the course of his investigation has become an Elder Tale player himself. “There’s only like 30 of us on the entire server and it’s getting really boring.”

The mass disappearance has left some families baffled. “I don’t understand how Yoshi could just vanish from his apartment,” said Chiho Saito, 47, whose son is among the missing. “He is a hikikomori that weighs 650 lbs and was physically unable to fit through the door.” Mrs. Saito remembers the last time she spoke to her son. “It was on the day he installed that expansion pack,” she told reporters. “I remember because that was all he spoke about. He was very excited to try the new quests with the beloved character he has been using in the game for years – a ninja named Akatsuki.”

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Based in a one man space station in geosynchronous orbit over Japan, Neontaster is a graduate of Hard Knocks Gakuen with a masters degree in Moeology. He usually has no idea what the hell he is talking about, but is marginally competent at faking it. You can pelt him with rotten digital vegetables on twitter @neontaster