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1. Killing the Baby Penguin
Super Mario 64 was the first game that brought the famous plumber into the world of 3D. While the game holds up remarkably well, one of the more annoying design decisions involved making many stages on floating “islands” in the air.
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to fall over the edge or accidentally jump to your doom. But in one memorable level, Mario can take a little baby Penguin and chuck it over the edge instead of reuniting it with its parent.
We all know what you did, Mario. And after Luigi kills you in your sleep, you’re going to find yourself about as far from the sky as possible when you’re rotting in hell for killing that little baby!
2. Landing a Threesome
While gamers don’t have the same level of nostalgia for this game as they do for KOTOR, Jade Empire was another unforgettable Bioware title. And like most Bioware RPGs, it offered multiple romantic choices for you to make as you progressed throughout the game.
This eventually culminates in a moment where you are forced to choose between two women: Silk Fox and Dawn Star. While this is meant to be a binary choice, players with enough points in charm, intimidation, or intuition can use this as an opportunity to initiate a threesome!
3. Resetting the System
Remember the original X-Men game on the Sega Genesis? While it wasn’t as cool as the sequel, it did have a moment towards the end of the game that players will never forget.
After destroying a computer screen, you are given a simple instruction: “reset the computer.” There is just one problem...there is no computer in the level for you to reset! As it turns out, the game expects you to hit the reset button on the system itself, and the simple ability to do this without completely screwing up your game felt revolutionary at the time.
4. Turning Spider-Man Into a Killer
There have been many great Spider-Man games, including Insomniac’s masterpiece for the PS4. But most of them follow a formula where Spider-Man must stop robberies and other simple crimes in addition to fighting big baddies and moving the plot along.
In Ultimate Spider-Man, some of these generic battles take place on rooftops. And it didn’t take long for players to determine they could web enemies up and simply toss them off the building, seemingly violating Spidey’s vow to never kill.
You can still do this in the Insomniac game. But if you look closely, you’ll see that magic webs come out of nowhere to catch most of the bad guys you toss before they hit the ground.
5. Killing The End In Different Ways
To this day, many consider Metal Gear Solid 3 to be the high point of the franchise. Part of the reason why is that this game is built around unforgettable boss battles with characters like The End, an elderly sniper who still knows how to kick your ass.
The intended way to fight The End is through a prolonged sniper battle. However, it’s possible for players to snipe him and kill him when they first see the character, bypassing the fight entirely. It’s also possible to save your game mid-fight and wait at least 8 days, causing this elderly combatant to die of old age!
6. Talk Saren Into Suicide
In Mass Effect, part of what makes the villainous Reapers so scary is that they can control the minds of others. And you eventually find out that the big bad you are fighting, a rogue Spectre named Saren, is really just a puppet of the Reapers.
Nonetheless, you have to confront him in a two-stage fight at the end of the game. But if you have the right stats, you can also convince Saren that he still has a way to stop the Reapers from controlling him: by killing himself. This doesn’t get you out of the second fight, but it offers a really dark way to get out of the first.
7. Blowing Up Megaton
In literature, there is a rule known as Chekhov’s gun. Named after Anton Chekhov, this is a storytelling rule that claims that if we see a gun in the first act of a play, we are expecting to see it fire by the third act.
Video games typically ignore this rule in favor of weird set pieces and dramatic moments. But in Fallout 3, you soon roll into Megaton, a major town build around an atomic bomb. While you can play the wandering cowboy hero for the people of this town, you can also rig the bomb to explode and watch everyone die a horrific death (from a safe vantage point, of course).
8. Sending Wheatley To the Moon
Both Portal and Portal 2 were pretty mind-blowing, but there was always a paradox in place as you played. After all, for a series that encouraged you to think outside the box, these games were pretty much tiny box puzzles you had to solve one after the other.
Until you get to the end of Portal 2. In your fight against Wheatley, the ultimate solution involves opening a new portal on the freaking moon and sending the villain into space. After cooping you inside the facility for the entire game, the chance to do this brought an amazing sense of freedom to the game.
9. Committing Genocide
The success of the Mass Effect series comes down to the hard moral choices these games offer the player. And things start to get pretty brutal in Mass Effect 3 when you have an opportunity to commit genocide!
Eventually, you face a choice that involves either letting the Quarians die or letting the Geth (the robotic race created by the Quarians) die. If you made the right choices across multiple games and have the right stats, you can save both races. Otherwise, you are forced to pick which race should be condemned to galactic annihilation!
10. Throwing the Boss Off the Building
Remember playing Double Dragon on the NES? The second level culminates with what is meant to be a long, dramatic fight after you have climbed near the top of the building.
And sure, this can be a prolonged battle across multiple levels. But if you’ve already learned the move, you can quickly grab the boss by his hair and throw him off the building, instantly ending this major fight.
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