The Internet and video game communities coming together has resulted in a marriage that has been hilariously entertaining, at times, and also downright brutal in other instances. Part of the joy that has come from this figurative union has been the spread of so-called video game conspiracy theories that have grown and grown over the years. Video game conspiracy theories existed well before the Internet was available to us via our phones, sure, but the fact that we can log onto websites such as Twitter and onto forums in an instant makes reading and posting about these myths as easy as turning on your PlayStation.
Some of the well-known video game conspiracy theories out there have stemmed from basic misunderstandings resulting from frustrated gamers who did not understand what it was that they were seeing on television or arcade screens. Others, however, have become part of popular culture because of real-life events that impacted more than just video games. There is a good reason that National Football League fans cringe whenever they hear about the opening stages of the voting process for an upcoming version of a Madden video game. Truth be told, there are probably even NFL players who have millions of dollars on the line and who would rather not be associated with that game, all because of a popular conspiracy theory.
Other supposed video game conspiracy theories are just plain weird. The one that tops the list involves what is, according to legend, an old arcade game that severely impacted the minds of players who dared step up to it. Even the theories regarding this game have not always matched up, as they have included everything from gamers experiencing headaches after playing to the arcade game leading to people actually committing suicide. Was this game a tool of the government, perhaps a weapon that would be used in the future? Did it ever even exist? You’ll have to read on to learn more.
10. Can’t Beat Sonic 2 With Knuckles
The video game conspiracy theory here is that developers purposely made Sonic 2 incredibly easy to beat while using the Knuckles character; that is, until you get to the final boss, where Knuckles cannot jump high enough to finish Robotnik off once and for all. This would make sense for frustrated gamers who lost life after life after life at the end of the game. It is also a story that is completely false. You can, in fact, defeat Sonic 2 using Knuckles once you learn how to get the timing right. It will probably take a few failed attempts before you get things right, but this is a theory that has no legs to stand on.
9. Mass Atari Graves in the Dessert
This one checks in on the list to serve as a reminder that some conspiracy theories are, in fact, true. The urban legend was that there was a mass grave of Atari 2600 games that were buried decades ago, possibly somewhere in the western United States. As ridiculous as this may sound on the surface, there is some truth to those rumors. Hundreds of titles were located in a landfill located in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and it turned out that gamers wanted to get their hands on these real-life legends. The city owned the landfill and thus also had the rights to the games, and Alamogordo cashed in on around $37,000 in initial sales. Not bad money if you can get it.
8. Nude Raider
Sex sells, and that proved to be true when video game aficionados got their first looks at the Lara Croft character of the Tomb Raider series. The conspiracy theory is that the developers of the original Tomb Raider included a code that would allow gamers to see Croft in all of her glory if the code was entered at the right time. This myth was tackled by the “Pop Fiction” show found on the Game Trailers website, and it was learned once and for all that no such code exists. In fact, Tomb Raider developers have gone to court in attempts to eliminate patches that allowed gamers to see a nude Croft.
7. Final Fantasy VIII: Squall is Dead
It is a video game conspiracy theory that has launched Internet debates and even essays over time. The idea is that Squall, the main protagonist of the Final Fantasy VIII story, is killed at the end of disc one when he is impaled by a gigantic shard of ice, and that the rest of the game is merely a dream that the character is having as he is in the final moments of his life. There is far more to the myth, and there is even a website that has been dedicated to the conspiracy theory. Is that not enough for you? Perhaps you would be interested in checking out a rebuttal.
6. Haunted Majora’s Mask
The first of the two video game conspiracy theories that come from The Legend of Zelda series stems from the Majora’s Mask title, and it plays out like a ghost story more so than a myth. A 4Chan user famously wrote about receiving a blank cartridge with “Majora’s Mask” written on it, and he found a file named “Ben” upon starting the game. This is only the beginning of the conspiracy theory, one that includes the main character being “followed” by a statue and also a “drowned” file showing up upon restarting the game. You have to watch the accompanying video to truly appreciate what has become a legend of its own.
5. Zelda Swastika
No, the makers of the original The Legend of Zelda did not purposely give a shout out to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis by having the third dungeon appear to be a Swastika that was facing left instead of right. The shape of the Manji, as it is known, was a sacred symbol of religions long before it was seen as something associated with one of the most evil men in the history of the world. That is fine and all, but it has been pointed out by gamers and in website posts that the idea of adding the particular symbol to a video game probably should have been reconsidered before the title was released.
4. Saddam Hussein To Conquer The World…With the PlayStation 2?
Were you one of the consumers who could not get your hands on a PlayStation 2 during the 2000 holiday season? You may have the deceased Saddam Hussein to blame for this. The conspiracy theory claimed at the time that the Iraqi dictator desired to have thousands of versions of the console to create a weapon, perhaps an “unmanned aerial attack vehicle.” It has been 15 years after the fact, and the world has yet to see the PlayStation 2 weapon capable of sinking opposition military forces. Maybe Saddam just wanted to make sure that everyone he cared about had a happy Christmas that year.
3. Madden Curse
It is the video game conspiracy theory that has been covered by sports magazines and in television segments. A star NFL player who is featured on a yearly editions of the Madden video game franchise is doomed to suffer a setback, perhaps an injury or a personal matter that keeps him off of the field, during the subsequent season. There is, of course, no such thing as a curse. Just ask running back Peyton Hillis, or quarterback Vince Young, or running back Shaun Alexander, or quarterback Donovan McNabb. Oh, wait. Those are all examples of the curse striking. Insert your favorite scary music here.
2. Monkey Kong
It turns out that you are not the only person confused by the name of the beloved video game character Donkey Kong. There are two different conspiracy theories that have been used to explain why the video game was not called Monkey Kong. One is that there was a mix-up in the original translation of the game, while the other is that a smudged line on a fax resulted in the title being forever changed. Video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto has debunked this theory himself in the past, explaining that “donkey” was used because it was “equivalent to the Japanese word for stupid or goofy.” Nothing to see here.
Polybius would serve as the king of video game conspiracy theories if such a monarch were to exist. Portland, Oregon was the home of this game that caused some unusual and worrisome effects for gamers. Everything from amnesia to nightmares to suicidal tendencies were linked with this game from the early 1980s, and it was suggested that Polybius may have been used by the CIA or some branch of the military as a test weapon. It is a cool storyline for a movie, but everything about it is untrue. There was never even a Polybius game; or at least that is what the government wants you to believe.