Widely Believed Video Game Hoaxes and Urban Legends 

It seems like every day someone is trying to trick someone else into believing something that simply is not true.  Whether it be the sheer sport of the experience, or a belief that one could make money from it in some way, we have been taken in by many such hoaxes.  While not as notable as a lot of photos of “Bigfoot” or “Nessie”, videogames and videogames related media have been far from oblivious to the trend.  Here are some of the more infamous videogame hoaxes & urban legends in no particular order. 

Viral “PS4” Commercials

Back in the late PlayStation 3 days, many were clamoring for even the tiniest sliver of information on the forthcoming Sony PlayStation 4 console. All of the sudden, a series of viral videos sprung up in the lead-up to E3 2010 that caused quite a stir. Sony finally stepped in and proved them to be hoaxes, but many weren’t so sure.

“The trailer shows what appear to be scientists monitoring a man as he plays a first person shooter while wearing a set of “Real D” 3-D glasses.  Suddenly the image begins to be too much for the man, as he yanks off the glasses.  A grimace on his face turns to a smile as the word “PS4” appears on the screen.  Don’t believe me?  See it for yourself:

Finally, the man responsible stepped up and revealed the whole thing to be a class project he devised to create a successful viral video and a commercial for a new product.  Being a fan of the videogames industry, the director of the video decided to go with a new videogame console, settling on the “PS4”. 

Tri-force in Ocarina of Time

We can trace this rumor back to some early work-in-progress shots of Ocarina of Time that were used to satisfy the press.  Some images leaked including one of Link standing by a treasure chest with a huge triforce rising out of it.  This of course was not actually in the final build of the game, but that did not keep folks from coming up with all manner of complicated “solutions” on how to obtain the unobtainable.    

Fake Fighting game hidden characters

One of the more popular April Fool’s joke templates you used to always see floating around seemed to be to reveal a hidden character in a fighting videogame, only to explain the unlock method as some kind of ridiculous overly complicated process that only a God amongst gamers could finish.  Aside from rumored Smash Bros. characters (such as the rumors of Sonic and Tails in Melee!), two franchises stand out as being the main purveyors of these hoaxes: 

Mortal Kombat had characters such as Blaze, Hornbuckle, and Ermac – these were characters that showed up in the backgrounds of levels and were given names by fans. As soon as this happened, there were all sorts of “codes” popping up for how to unlock these guys.  Of course none of these were real, but the legacy was so much that a few of these guys were eventually added to the franchise. 

Street Fighter had one of the most notable examples of this with a character named Sheng Long.  Due to a shoddy translation of the phrase “If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Punch, you cannot win!”  found in the actual arcade game, fans were told “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.”  Thus EGM stepped in with an article explaining how to fight the man that was assumed to be the master of both Ken and Ryu:

“…If a player using Ryu did not let the character suffer any damage during the entire game, and upon reaching the final match against M. Bison could neither hit Bison nor let him inflict any damage until the time limit expired, thus ending the round in a draw. After repeating this for ten consecutive rounds Sheng Long would then appear out of nowhere and throw Bison off of the edge screen and out of the way. The game’s on-screen timer would then stop at 99 seconds, resulting in a “fight to the death” between Ryu and Sheng Long.”

 EGM once again dusted the hoax off almost six years later when Street Fighter III was nearing release, and most fell for it again!

Bringing Aeris Back

It’s been nearly fifteen years since Final Fantasy VII came out, so if I’ve spoiled anything for you by saying “Aeris gets killed by Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII” here are some more spoilers for you:

  • Bruce Willis is dead the whole time
  • Tyler Durden does not exist
  • Rosebud was the name of his sled

So anyway, due to the emotional distress caused by this segment of the game, especially if one found themselves on the path that led to a Cloud and Aeris relationship blossoming, many felt that there had to be some way to bring her back at the end of the game.  After photos obtained by hacking the game, using a Game Shark, surfaced of her in the main party towards the end of the game, millions of theories of how exactly this could be done popped up.  This is one of those rumors that still lingers WAY after the fact, and none of it is true! Who knows, with the new Final Fantasy VII remake part 2 nearing the horizon, this may actually become a thing in the future.

Fallout 3 predicts the future

A video game hoax that seemed to spread around pretty quickly was one that involved the game Fallout 3, and more specifically a “feature” that actually never existed in the game at all.  Supposedly one could intercept morse code from a “numbers station” that spells out all sorts of bizarre things.  Obviously the method to do this is both vague and suspect, so many caught the hoax before it spread too much.  Here are some of the supposed future events:

  • “The Queen has died today. The world mourns, as on days like these we are all Brits.” 4:02 March 19, 2014
  • “Have you watched my YouTube video yet, I uploaded myself kicking bums in the nuts.” 24:16 December 24, 2012
  • “I can’t believe Britney’s actually won an Oscar!” 21:33 February 27, 2023
  • “I can’t believe they’ve actually done it. Not long left. They were warned, but they just had to keep pushing the boundaries of science. The noise. I can’t take the noise anymore. And the light, dear God! The universe is slowly unraveling around us. I’m not going to wait for death. I have a pistol in the attic.”

Pokémon Hoaxes

With a game like Pokémon, and it’s ludicrous amount of monsters held within, there have been hoaxers out there since its very inception trying to mess with folks.  Many folks were caught off-guard when a few unused Pokémon were found on the original Blue and Red cartridges.  These were promptly given names and crazy solutions to their capture as soon as folks saw images of them either online or in magazines. 

One of the more popular ones out there involved using “strength” on an unsuspecting parked truck outside of Vermillion City.  This would move the truck and reveal a brand new Mew hidden underneath.  Another popular hoax involved one catching all 150 Pokémon then going to the shuttle in the pewter city museum.  Somehow you could fly into space and catch SPACE POKEMON!

I’d hate to hear about how many wasted hours went into that endeavor.     

Secret Base in Goldeneye 007

Most video games have bits of deleted or abandoned code, remnants of assets planned to be in the game but taken out for various reasons.  As with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or Castlevania Symphony of the Night, new areas or minigames were discovered by way of cheating devices such as the Pro Action Replay or GameShark.  One of the more notorious areas like this was found in the classic Nintendo 64 game, Goldeneye 007

Many fans speculated that the dam level held a “secret base” as one could see such an area off in the distance with no discernable way to get there.  With the advent of the internet, rumors of new villains, golden gun caches, and boss battles flooded message boards; sadly none of it true.  The emulation scene was the first to really find out was up with the “secret base” via wall walking cheats only to find unfinished empty rooms. 

Tomb raider nude code

Ever since women were made into main characters for video games, I bet it took as little as ten seconds for a guy to speculate what she looks like naked.  Hell I bet Ms. Pac Man was the talk of the town back in the good old days.  The frontrunner for this infatuation is the 32-bit eras very own Lara Croft, from a little series known as Tomb Raider.  Rumors circulated wildly that there was some sort of “nude code” or nude Gameshark hack that would enable prepubescent eyes to see digitized boobs whenever they wanted.  The developers even poked fun at this by alluding to a possible shower scene in Tomb Raider 2, only to stop right as it got good.  Now one can simply go online and download patches for these games that make Lara looks as nude as the day she was born.    

Karvina Corporation

This hoax seems to have popped up literally out of nowhere as a blog called Invisible Games started running articles based on weird video games, most of which were seemingly imbued with either super-natural powers or some form of advanced copy protection that would not allow one to play the game more than once.  These articles started popping up on paranormal websites like CreepyPasta, which specializes in such paranormal tales.  Invisible Games is no longer being updated as far as I can tell, but its two most popular articles still pop up on websites like Snopes and other such sites all the time.  These two articles seem to both be about the same failed Czech video game company Karvina Corporation. 

This company was seemingly built from a town with a failed mining company that tried to have one last ditch effort to stay afloat.  The folks behind the games decided to get way to “artsy” with these games, however, resulting in failure and a lack of evidence of such a game or companies existence.  This is convenient, as anyone who falls for the hoax and goes online trying to either find these games, screenshots and the like are faced with a bunch of other people asking the same question, creating a sense of reality.  An excerpt from invisible games, show exactly why one of the games is supposedly so hard to find:

“Killswitch, by design, deletes itself upon player completion of the game. It is not recoverable by any means, all trace of it is removed from the user’s computer. The game cannot be copied. For all intents and purposes it exists only for those playing it, and then ceases to be entirely. One cannot replay it, unlocking further secrets or narrative pathways, one cannot allow another to play it, and perhaps most importantly, it is impossible to experience the game all the way to the end as both Porto and Ghast.” 

While a pretty interesting read, and a great idea for a blog, sadly no truth is here.     

Polybius

Much like the games of Karvina Corporation, fictitious games are fairly commonplace on the internet, but none as infamous as Polybius.  Supposedly Polybius was an experimental arcade game that, among other things, caused stress and suicidal tendencies.  The game was supposedly so intense that it was pulled from the market and utterly removed from the public eye.  Just like Killswitch, Polybius had a fantastical back-story that seemed far too detailed to be true.  Legend states that the game popped up in select arcades in the Portland, Oregon area in or around 1981.  Despite the long lines and fanatical nature of fans the game was guarded by men wearing black suits that only allowed players to play the game at select times. The back-story got so convoluted and silly that many slagged it off as an internet joke until one man stepped forward stating that he had actually worked on the game, but was sworn to secrecy. 

Steven Roach, the man in question gave interviews in which he described the game in detail and talked of the dirty dealing he had to put up with during the creation of the game.  Many have found inconsistencies in his testimony, and declared it to be false information.  From time to time a ROM or other copy of the game pops up online, but all of these are jokes, fakes, and other hoaxes of themselves.   

There you have it! Have you ever fallen for a gaming hoax?  Which one?

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