The world of gaming is full of all kinds of curious secrets and little known facts. For instance, did you know that Shigeru Miyamoto is actually the distant cousin of Barack Obama? Okay, so that one isn’t exactly true… But these ones definitely are! Scouts honour.
See anything strange about this famous piece of artwork for Grand Theft Auto IV? If you count the fingers holding the lollipop, the girl (called Lola) actually seems to have five, plus her thumb! Oddly, exactly the same mistake was made for promotional art for zombie slaying game Left 4 Dead.
Nintendo as a company is almost 120 years old. It was founded in 1889 to make a type of Japanese playing card called Hanafuda. In the 1960s, before moving into toys and then video games, the company experimented with a taxi company, a chain of “love hotels” (exactly what you think they are) and a range of instant rice.
In the early 2000s, before in-game advertising took off, Sega paid other companies to advertise their products in their games. Timex watches in Shenmue and KFC restaurants in Crazy Taxi may have looked like product placement, but they were there to add a costly air of authenticity. How very topsy-turvy!
Final Fight bad girl Poison is actually a boy. And why? Because Capcom was worried that Americans would object to a game where you punch ladies. Even so, Nintendo insisted she be taken out entirely, which is odd because Yoshi’s pseudo-love interest Birdo is actually male – despite the bow on his head.
Resident Evil 4 went through no less than three completely different versions before the finished product. The first became Devil May Cry and the other two were scrapped completely. The signature "gun juggling" from Devil May Cry resulted from a glitch found during the making of the first Onimusha.
The PlayStation actually started life as a CD add-on for the SNES – for which Ken “The father of PlayStation” Kutaragi designed the sound chip. Nintendo backed out of the deal at the last minute and instead partnered with Philips for the disastrous CD-i, forcing Sony to go it alone. Bad move for Nintendo, brilliant move for Sony!
Final Fantasy got its name because Square was running out of money and only had enough resources to make one last game. It was also to be creator Hironobu Sakaguchi’s last game before retiring – which he never did because it was such as huge success.
Halo was originally designed as a real-time strategy game for the Mac and PC. By the time it was first seen in public it was a hybrid strategy/shoot ‘em-up with a third person view. Eventually Microsoft decided to buy developer Bungie and Halo finally evolved into the game it is today. Curiously, Halo did become a RTS later on, in Halo Wars.
Cowboy game Red Dead Revolver originally started life as a 3D remake of Capcom’s Gun.Smoke arcade game, with Street Fighter character designer Akiman as lead artist. After Capcom canned the game, Rockstar picked it up and bought developer Angel Studios, now Rockstar San Diego.
Classic scrolling beat ‘em-up Golden Axe features a number of samples from famous ‘80s movies of the time. The scene where Mitch gets caught in a trap in Rambo: First Blood and the moment Thorgrim is killed in Conan the Barbarian are both sampled and used as random death screams.
SNES race game Uniracers (an early title from the makers of Grand Theft Auto) refused to let you enter Sega or any of their prominent characters as a player name, displaying the message “Not cool enough”. It would let you type in Sonic, but if you did the game played out in slow motion. Now that’s clever!
The infamous Konami Code is the most persistently used cheat in video games. It was first used in the 1986 NES version of Gradius (aka Nemesis) and is still being used in games today – often to give you full weapons or health. The code is: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A.
Video gaming icon Pac-Man was originally called Puck Man, after the Japanese phrase paku-paku – describing the noise made when opening and closing your mouth. Namco changed it at the last minute as they were worried that wags would change the first letter to something rather ruder. (Buck Man?)
Ever wondered why Super Mario Bros. 2 is so different from the others? It’s because it’s not a Mario game at all, but a rebranded version of Japanese-only game Doki Doki Panic. The real Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan was just a re-jigged version of the first and deemed too hard for the West! Presumably we’re simply not as hardcore as the Japanese…
To play as Street Fighter’s Akuma in Resident Evil you have to play through both scenarios six times using only the knife and handgun and get an A ranking each time. Apart from being incredibly difficult, the cheat is also completely untrue: it’s an old April’s Fool from an American games mag. There was also one about making Lara Croft nude that involved performing a Spice Girls dance. Ah, we were so gullible back then!
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