10 Video Game Urban Legends That Were Actually True
PocketEpiphany Published 10/15/2020 in wow
Gamers have been swapping weird video game urban legends for years. These tall tales range from the downright silly—like Minecraft's nonexistent Herobrine—to the embarrassingly horny Tomb Raider codes. However, some of these weird urban legends eventually became reality. Whether they were true from the beginning or they became true thanks to game developers, miracles were made. So here's some bizarre but totally real stories from video game history.
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Polybius may be the most dangerous game ever made...that is, if it was ever made.
This arcade game was supposedly created by the government to test psychoactive warfare tools like hallucinations and night terrors, before being recalled.
We may never know if there was a government-created Polybius, but fans created their own PC version in 2007 and Llamasoft later made one for the PS4, complete with PSVR support.
2. Sasquatch in GTA
Part of the fun of Grand Theft Auto is the way it imitates real life. That swings both ways, with real-life urban legends extending into the game.
The original rumors ended up being a complete hoax. However, fans loved it, so Rockstar added an update to GTA 5 that let players eat peyote plants and transform into Bigfoot.
3. Sheng Long
On a victory screen in Street Fighter, Ryu says “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance,” making players think there was a character with that name.
But it was a mistranslation. The name should have said 'Shoryuken.'
As a joke, Electronic Gaming Monthly said that Sheng Long could be unlocked in Street Fighter II. This wasn’t true, but it led to the creation of Gouken, a playable character (and master to Ryu and Ken) in Street Fighter IV.
4. Blowing Cartridges
Old school gamers remember how to deal with NES games that didn’t work. All you had to do was take the game out, blow into it, and then put it back.
However, blowing air didn’t actually do anything. And if you happened to blow some spit into your cartridge, you could cause some serious problems. So, why did this process work?
The reason your game didn’t start the first time was that the cartridge had not fully connected to the system. Taking it out and putting it back in was all you needed to do—no air required.
In the first Mortal Kombat, players would occasionally see a mysterious word on the game’s audit screen: ERMACS.
The word meant “error macros," but players were convinced Ermac was a hidden playable character, and this legend grew thanks to a fake photo published by Electronic Gaming Monthly showing a mysterious character wearing a red mask.
Due to intense fan demand, Ermac was added as a playable character in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, sporting the same red ninja look from the fake photo.
6. Sonic Test Screen
Sonic the Hedgehog has spawned weird creepypastas like Sonic.exe, but this all started with a haunting screen from Sonic CD.
At the time, players claimed that a demonic Sonic was hidden within the game. And they were right...sort of.
By entering the right key combination on the game’s sound test, players could access a screen filled with freaky Sonic/human hybrids and Dr. Robotnik laughing in slow motion. A message on the screen was signed by ”demon.”
The story of Reptile in the original Mortal Kombat is fairly insane. Some players saw him giving cryptic messages about looking to the moon, and others never saw him at all. And a few players claimed you could fight Reptile if you played on the The Pit and saw a shadow in front of the moon.
As it turns out, this crazy scenario is completely true, but only on console versions and certain arcade versions. And because he was another palette-swapped ninja, many fans assumed he could be unlocked as a playable character. He couldn’t, but that would change with Mortal Kombat II.
8. Michael Jackson in Sonic
Fans have spent the better part of two decades noticing that the music in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 sounds like Michael Jackson’s music. But his name doesn’t appear in the credits, fueling speculation that either Sega wanted to downplay Jackson’s involvement due to sexual abuse allegations or that Jackson had legal disputes with Sega.
Sega confirmed they hired Jackson to compose music back in 2005, then in 2013 changed their mind to say any similarities to Jackson’s music were a coincidence.
For many gamers, the “smoking gun” is that Sega basically stopped releasing digital copies of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 after Jackson’s death, possibly because of disputes with his estate.
9. NES Games in Animal Crossing
The original Animal Crossing on Gamecube spawned an urban legend that there were hidden NES games to unlock and play within the game.
This one turned out to be true, but the process wasn’t exactly user-friendly. Players had to connect their GameBoy Advance to the Gamecube, get the games from the island, or scan special cards into a specific e-reader device. Considering how few people had the cables, e-readers, and scannable cards, most players never experienced any of this.
10. Aerith Lives
In the original Final Fantasy 7, the defining moment involves the death of Aerith. Yet countless players swapped stories about special methods or cheat codes to let Aerith live.
After 23 years, these players may be getting their wish. The first installment of the Final Fantasy 7 remake established that future events may play out very differently than the original game. And we’ve already seen characters that originally died manage to survive.
While it’s only speculation, fans believe the end of the first installment laid the groundwork for Aerith to live. After nearly a quarter of a century, we’re ready to see what happens.
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