We gamers certainly retain a fondness for the video games we played as kids. As time ticks on, the nostalgic feeling that comes with playing a game now that we played as youngsters is all too appealing to pass up. That’s why we see remasters of classic games springing out much more now that we used to, with spruced up graphics, refined gameplay, and added extras all there as incentive to give that old title another run around the block.
However, what you may not know is that some of the classic games we played as kids have a hidden backstory–some light-hearted, some dark, and some just straight up tragic. You’d be surprised by some of the gobsmacking facts surrounding classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, Tetris, Final Fantasy, and more, because they all mask secrets that our inner child doesn’t want to know about.
We don’t want to ruin your childhood innocence, but we’re going to do it anyway. These are 25 Ridiculous Facts About Your Favorite Games That Will Ruin Your Childhood–some of which are so shocking, you’ll never be able to look at them the same way again.
25 A Rather Bad Theme Song
Everybody remembers the classic song that graced Tetris–you know, that bouncy little electronic number. Well, it may sound innocent enough on the outset, but there lies a more mature story at the heart of it.
That’s because it’s actually based on a centuries-old Russian folk song–one which is about a girl trying to purchase some goods from a nearby peddler. The only thing is the ‘goods’ she’s wanting to buy is only given to her in exchange for her ‘services.’ The track–entitled “Korobeiniki”–is filled with metaphors, but it didn’t stop Nintendo using it for their ‘80s arcade gem.
Tetris is an all-time classic and will be played for decades to come. However, just remember the next time you play it, that iconic theme song you hear is in fact littered with innuendo. Yikes!
24 Halo 2’s Delay Was The Butt Of Jokes
There’s nothing quite as annoying for a gamer as a highly anticipated title being delayed. However, their annoyance level went through the roof when they found out just why the first-person shooter Halo 2 was delayed.
For the Windows Vista version, Halo 2 wasn’t just set back in terms of release date, but also had to come with special stickers for those copies that went out before the anomaly was found. What was it I hear you ask? Sadly, it was a picture of one of the developer’s butts buried deep in the code. Oh dear…
The delay was certainly irksome, but let’s face it, what’s worse? An arduous wait to get blasting stuff in outer space, or a picture of one of the developer’s mooning us? Sorry, Halo’s great, but we’d rather just a wait a little longer than be exposed to the latter…
23 Tekken 3’s Scrapped Character Would’ve Flopped, Quite Literally
Tekken 3 remains of the best games of the beat-em up genre, but it did have some very peculiar characters in its eclectic mix (looking at you Roger and Alex). However, nothing could’ve prepared us for what we almost got in the final product–a fish.
Bizarrely, developers Namco had plans to have a salmon in the game called Sake, with its big trademark move being that it flops around a lot. Yay… Luckily, they came to their senses after they presumably realized just what a terrible idea it was.
Worst part is no matter whether you punched or kicked, the damn thing would still just flop around! If Sake had have been included in Tekken 3, it’s fair to surmise that the only thing that would’ve flopped would have been this ludicrously silly fighter.
22 Two Wholesome Characters Drank Bad Stuff
Super Mario Kart is fun for all the family with its wacky characters, colourful graphics, and competitive gameplay. However, Japanese audiences got a rather more grown-up copy of the title–one which depicts two of the game’s main characters getting drunk!
During the ceremony sequence that follows the cup’s conclusion, Princess Peach and Bowser can be seen swigging from a bottle of champagne, and looking pretty sloshed in the process, I might add. This had to be changed for the U.S. and European release, where they just throw the bottle instead of sinking it.
There’s nothing that will ruin your childhood more than two beloved kids' icons getting legless. We thought you were classier than that, Princess Peach! As for Bowser, well, not so much.
21 Final Fantasy Was To Be Square’s Final Game
Ever wondered where Square Enix (formerly Square) got the name Final Fantasy from? Well, it was derived from the studio’s own personal problems. After some failed gaming endeavours, they gave their next title the name of Final Fantasy because they thought it was to be their last ever game.
Following gaming flops like Rad Racer and King’s Knight, Square were on their last legs before Final Fantasy. However, upon release, it was met with above average sales and started the RPG franchise that we have all come to know and love.
It’s rather sad to think that the developers were getting ready to close their doors, especially considering the heights they’ve reached since then. Next time you boot up the first game in the franchise, try not to think about the depressing origins of the game’s existence.
20 Sonic’s Rear-End Was Inspiration For Crash Bandicoot
I don’t know about you but I really would prefer not to think about Sonic the Hedgehog’s butt when I’m playing a game, but sadly, the original Crash Bandicoot won’t let me. Yes, that’s because that’s what it was originally known as.
Before Crash Bandicoot became Crash Bandicoot, it was simply referred to as ‘Sonic’s [redacted] Game.’ Why? Well because it came at a time when 2D platformers were on their way out, replaced instead with a camera that would follow closely behind the character. It was an innovative technique in gaming–one that would become a staple for years to come.
So the reason for that sly little initial title came from Sonic’s rear-end. Now if that doesn’t ruin your gaming childhood, I don’t know what will.
19 Midnight Club: Los Angeles Had A Shameless Plug
Doesn’t it just irritate you when you see blatant product placement in movies and games? Yeah, it annoys me too. And despite what an overlooked gem Midnight Club: Los Angeles was, we can’t forgot about the shameless plug integrated into the game’s system.
The 2008 racing game took a revolutionary step forward, being the very first title to feature branded trophies and achievements. Sadly, they took one step backwards again by having one of them be flagrantly endorsed by T-Mobile.
This game was so good that it could almost be forgiven for such an inclusion. However, it should be called out for this cheap move–one which is luckily not reflective of the game’s quality.
18 Sounds And Visuals Seem Familiar?
Streets of Rage is one of those games that has effortlessly stood the test of time. With slick gameplay, beautiful sprite visuals, and co-op functionality–the game is a classic through and through. So, with the praise out of the way, let’s move on to why it’s also blatantly copied in some aspects of its design.
The Mega Drive fighting side-scroller has visuals and sounds that may remind you of another game: Revenge of Shinobi. That’s because they are the same visuals and sounds from Revenge of Shinobi. Yes, not only did the developers directly life many of the sounds from the title, but they also inserted in some of the same text as well.
We’ve heard of ‘taking inspiration’ from a game before, but this just takes the p**s.
17 No Bike For Poor Ryo
Seriously, I adore Shenmue for the Dreamcast, but even I can’t pretend to be happy about the lack of ways to get around the map. It’s basically walk, run, and... that’s it! However, things could have turned out much differently in the original design of the game.
That’s because there was initially a bicycle which protagonist Ryo Hazuki could use to get around. Incredibly, the feature was planned for both Shenmue titles, but was scrapped when developers felt it didn’t add much, as Ryo could get around quicker by just running.
There’s simple solution to that though–don’t program him to run as fast. Then again, who am I to critique such a great game for this omission… but it would save a lot of hassle, right?
16 The Lavender Town Conundrum
Pokémon is just harmless fun, full of cute monsters, colourful visuals, and innocent themes, right? WRONG! Well, according to some people with huge imaginations that is. They assert that the game is practically cursed, and has been programmed to make people go insane.
The main focal point of the argument lies in Lavender Town, featured in Pokémon Red & Green. The song that plays in the town is said to have made players in Japan off themselves after playing it, leading to this odd but very persistent myth surrounding the game.
Okay, it is a pretty spooky song, but it’s a stretch to say that it made someone take their own life. Welcome to the world of creepypasta... you’ll never leave…
15 Put An End To The End By Waiting Until The End
Arguably, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater had the best boss fights to ever grace the stealth franchise. However, one of them was painstakingly long and frustrating. Oh course, we’re talking about elite sniper The End.
It remains one of the most ingenious head-to-heads in video game history, but there was a way of defeating him without even pulling the trigger. Yes, if the player saves the game midway through the battle, and loads it back up again a week later, the old veteran will have died of old age.
The battle with Psycho Mantis from the first title is still the best thought out boss fight in Metal Gear history, but this endurance test against The End isn’t far behind. But at least you know this little trick the next time you want to bypass the wily sharpshooter instead.
14 Real-life Inspiration For The Mushrooms
Those mushrooms sure are addictive in Super Mario Bros. They grant the player the ability to overcome super human feats. Well, it is based on a real hallucinogenic mushroom after all.
Yes, the fungus found in the hit platformer is fashioned after Amanita muscaria mushrooms, which are known to make users hallucinate. They are officially classed as poisonous, but can be consumed under the right conditions. The mushroom’s red and white exterior is exactly the same as the one seen in the Nintendo title.
Not very PG then, having one of the main items in the game inspired by magic mushrooms. Just remember that the next time you’re picking one up in the game, or pretend you never read this at all to protect your childhood innocence.
13 Unflattering Stereotyping
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out has recently got people talking for its insanely well-hidden Easter eggs, but we’re flagging it up for a different reason here–its initial stereotyping of one of its fighters.
His name was originally Vodka Drunkenski, but fans of the game know him better as Soda Popinski. And yes, he’s from Moscow, which is why the first name he was given was so offensive. Clearly, the developers stereotyped him as being a Russian drunk, with the name Vodka being in reference to the country’s alcoholic beverage.
Despite having the unflattering moniker in Super Punch-Out, it was wisely altered for Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. Seriously, what were they thinking!? Try getting away with that one in the politically correct modern era.
12 NBA Scam
NBA Jam was a fantastic video game, but one deliberate handicap may put you off it in a big way–especially if you’re a Chicago Bulls fan. This is such an infuriating fact that even Detroit Piston fans would probably bemoan it–even though they’re the beneficiaries of it.
Lead designer on the game Mark Turmell was such a huge Pistons fan, that he fixed their last seconds of any game with the Bulls so that the latter would miss. Now, that’s just hateful. In an interview with ESPN Magazine, he said: “If there was a close game and anyone on the Bulls took a last second shot, we wrote special code in the game so that they would average out to be bricks.”
One thing I hate in any sports game is unfair scripting of matches, but to come out and flagrantly admit it is even more insulting. Still… great game!
11 Disturbing Voice-Over Talent
Here’s an interesting (yet very disturbing) fact to get you pondering. Did you know that allegedly, the entire cast of SEGA’s Golden Axe was voiced by prisoners on death row? Sadly, it’s supposedly true.
Released in 1990, the iconic hack and slash title is beloved around the world, but this legendary myth is enough to have you quaking in your boots. Could it all be an elaborate hoax, or could it be that employing was much more cost efficient than having to pay actors? Either way, it’s horrifying.
To date, there’s been no concrete evidence to support it, but many sources cite it as pretty gospel. Next time you hear the shrieks and cries in the game, try not to think about the real source of their pain…
10 Cut And Paste
Good old Mario’s at it again, this time for Super Mario Bros. and its cut and paste visuals. Yes, have you noticed that the clouds and bushes depicted in the game are the exact same shape?
That’s because they’re the exact same design as each other. Yes, they differ in color, but that’s the only notable difference between the two. Look closely and you’ll see that they share the same outline, the same shadow effects, and the same detail–they’re the same!
Come on guys–at least give us something a little different to tell them apart! Thank goodness they’re not shaped like the hallucinogenic mushrooms, or we’d really have something to kick off about!
9 The Street Fighter Franchise Had A Choppy Start
Street Fighter is just one of those game franchise’s that’s always been good… said no real fan ever. Because while it has come a long way in all of its beat-em up splendour, the very first Street Fighter was just downright bad.
If you played this as a kid, you may look at it through rose-tinted glasses, but go back and play it now and you’ll see what we mean. Ugly visuals, overly complicated controls, and unsatisfying gameplay are just a few of the things wrong with this unfocused attempt.
Of course, when the second installment dropped, everyone forgot about the turgid predecessor–and the developers were surely glad they did.
8 Too Offensive For The West
The words ‘Mega Man’ mean a lot to many gamers in the west, but the words ‘Rock Man?’ Not so much. That’s because that was in fact the original title of the game, before concerns started to be raised over its controversial title…
Yes, ‘rock’ is slang for an illegal substance in America, prompting the developers to change the name to Mega Man. Rock Man was still the name given to the Japanese version, as there are no negative connotations of the word in the Land of the Rising Sun.
You’d have to be pretty darn sensitive to have a problem with the original title, but better to be safe than sorry was probably Capcom’s mentality on this one. Plus, Mega Man is so much catchier!
7 Lara Croft Released Her Very Own Album
We know Tomb Raider was a game changer, but did we really need Lara Croft to invade every part of our life? Unfortunately, one of those parts was music–with the success of the first title in the franchise leading to a full-length album by the British bombshell.
It goes without saying that it’s utterly atrocious, but it’s also rather risqué. She’s largely looked up to by a female fan base, and I’m sure there weren’t too many females thrilled with the rather blunt first single “Getting N*ked.”
Another large demographic for the game was children, which makes this sleazy track all the more abhorrent. Thankfully, Croft today is back doing what she does best–kicking butt and taking names later.
6 Sonic The (Cheating) Hedgehog
Here’s one which will totally crush your childhood imagination, and best of all, it was right under your nose all along. For those of you who perused the manual upon purchasing Sonic the Hedgehog, you may have spotted a rather mind-blowing revelation regarding Sonic’s sneakers.
It turns out that he’s not special at all, but rather, he’s got some nifty sneakers that make him go fast. Bummer! It kind of destroys the aura surrounding the spiky fellow, and certainly one which would’ve crushed your poor little feelings as a kid.
Is it wrong to feel cheated by a fictional character? If so, we definitely feel cheated by this one. Go stick your fancy ‘power sneakers’ where the sun don’t shine, Sonic! (Just kidding).
5 Taking Things Way Too Far
On a more serious note, this disturbing fact surrounding the online first-person shooter Counter-Strike is one which simply defies logic. After a heated knife fight online, the loser of the bout took it far too personal–going to extreme measures to exact his revenge.
Furious about his loss, the crazed player decided to make things personal by tracking down his online opponent for six straight months, and stabbing him. He missed the man’s heart by mere inches, before being arrested and locked up for two years.
The judge presiding over the case told the offender: “You are a menace to society. I am frankly terrified of the disproportionate reaction you could have if someone looked at you the wrong way in the street.”
4 Cursed Arcade Game?
Released in 1981, Berzerk became an arcade gem for many gamers. However, there remains some fear about playing the title after two players died following their stint with the allegedly cursed game.
Jeff Dailey was the first to succumb to deadly clutches of the game’s supposed curse, dropping dead of a heart attack. Just one year later in 1982, a young man by the name of Peter Burkowski suffered a similar fate after playing. He put in his name after hitting a high score, and dropped dead 15 minutes later.
This certainly is a bizarre turn of events, but it might be a bit of a jump to assume that it’s because the game emits some form of bad luck… Or is it?
3 "Is This The Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy?"
Squall didn’t die in Final Fantasy VIII you’re probably saying, but first, let’s look at why some people think he did–and why they think it happened as early as the first disc. The iconic protagonist gets impaled by a shard of ice at the end of the first act, but inexplicably wakes up at the beginning of disc two with little to no evidence that it ever happened.
What’s more, the rest of the game is filled with all sorts of unrealistic moments, which lends some credence to the theory that he’s dreaming the rest of the game as he’s dying. Once again, the ending depicts him as a faceless character, which could be in reference to his death. Mind well and truly blown.
Even for Square, this is one incredible plot twist that we may never know is true or not.
2 Ultra Creepy Legend About The Legend Of Zelda
You’ve probably heard of ‘Ben,’ and if you haven’t, we’re going to fill you in on it because it truly is the stuff of nightmares. It started when an anonymous user posted on the website 4chan that he had obtained a twisted version of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask–one which played the music backwards and featured a creepy ghost of the main character following the player in the game.
The user says that all of the NPCs referred to him as Ben, and that every time he tried to delete the ‘Ben’ save file, the game would become even more bizarre. It even brought up another save file called ‘drowned.’ How did this guy sleep at night?!
To put the icing on this creepy cake, the player couldn’t play after a certain point–instead all he got were messages saying things like “You shouldn’t have done that,” and “YOU’RE NEXT.” Seriously, what is going on here!
1 A Tragic Ending
This horrific true story will undoubtedly make you think twice the next time you boot up Tetris, and it won’t be good thoughts either. Widely cited as the co-founder of the game, Vladimir Pokhilko was on a downward spiral as far as career circumstances ago.
His software company AnimaTek was floundering, and the pressure got the better of the Tetris co-inventor. He committed a crime of an unspeakable nature, killing his wife, his son, and finally himself. This tragic tale was made all the more sinister by a disturbing note released to the public for the first time in 1999.
It simply read: “I've been eaten alive. Vladimir. Just remember that I am exist. The davil.” Now that’s the stuff of nightmares.