#3. Spider-Man Fan Explains the Green Goblin/Gwen Stacy Romance, Marvel Makes It Official
Imagine finding out that your innocent, virginal girlfriend had sex with your best friend's creepy dad. Who hates you. And is a supervillain. That's pretty much how Spider-Man fans felt in 2004 when the controversial story arc "Sins Past" involved Peter Parker's lady love, Gwen Stacy, giving birth to twins fathered by Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn shortly before her death (also by Osborn's hand).
Norm raised the kids himself, showing that he really was a decent chap.
Readers had some questions, namely "Huh? When? Also, why? Also, huh?" Marvel was content to leave them puzzled, but they weren't counting on J.R. Fettinger. Known within the fandom as Madgoblin, Fettinger runs a fan site called Spidey Kicks Butt, where he writes about Spider-Man kicking butt. Over the course of a 12,000-word essay, Fettinger explains how he pinpointed exactly when and why the affair must have taken place, putting a lot more effort into making sense of this mess than the actual writers.
And he achieved it: He points out the 1967 issue when Norman Osborn, temporarily reformed and amnesiac, saves Gwen and her father from the villainous Kingpin. Add that to the fact that Gwen had banished Peter from her life at this point, believing him to be a dad-hitting scoundrel, and suddenly it's a lot easier to buy that they both succumbed to a moment of weakness in their shared vulnerability. In other words, it was just kind of a weird time in their lives.
Also, no one could resist those sexy cornrows.
He also points to comments Stacy had made, such as having mysteriously gone to see Osborn "on another matter," because holy shit, this dude is seriously invested in the sex lives of ink people.
After Marvel came across the essay, instead of immediately filing a restraining order, they approved the theory as the official explanation: It now appears on the Marvel website and in several editions of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Keep in mind that comic fans do this all the time -- there's a 10-part treatise somewhere out there about why Batman's left boot was colored yellow for one panel in 1952. Getting your idea not just acknowledged but incorporated by the company you're obsessed with is the definition of nerd heaven.
#2. Mortal Kombat Adds Characters and Fatalities Fans Made Up
Video game fans really are worse than a sewing circle, if sewing circle ladies started rumors about how you can totally see Lara Croft's boobs if you complete Tomb Raider twice with your feet. Mortal Kombat fans are possibly the biggest offenders, just inventing entire characters and fatalities by their lonesome.
One popular rumor insists that "Spine Rip" is a playable character.
One of the most notorious of these rumors is known as the Living Forest fatality. The story went that sometimes after finishing an opponent in the Living Forest stage of Mortal Kombat II they would be thrown to a gnashing death at the jaws of a demon tree. Everyone knew someone who swore they saw another player do it at Chuck E. Cheese's, but couldn't remember the exact button combination.
Sure, it's obviously bullshit, but if upon reading the description you didn't just say "that sounds metal as hell," you were raised wrong, and also you disagree with Mortal Kombat 9 lead designer John Edwards. As he put it, "The fans imagined and made rumors up of things that weren't actually there for stage fatalities. In a lot of cases, we fed off of those old-school rumors and turned them into realities this time around." That includes -- yes, children -- the Living Forest fatality. You can now totally turn your opponent into a juicy snack for a satanic sequoia:
Nom nom kom.
Another new addition was the character Skarlet, a rumored (but untrue) glitch in Mortal Kombat II that turned the female ninja character's costume red. She's now a distinct downloadable character, complete with a history matching the lore made up by fans, because writing character bios is hard, you guys. Why not let the unwashed masses do it for free?
So go call that friend from middle school and say, "See? She exists. Now you have to eat a poo."
#1. BioShock Infinite Adds a Whole New Ability Based on Fan Art
A key feature of BioShock Infinite, besides being utterly impossible to explain, is that the player can buy "plasmids" or "vigors," special concoctions that grant them supernatural abilities (yeah, suddenly we're too good to say "power-ups"). In the Burial at Sea: Episode One DLC you can find a badass plasmid called Old Man Winter, which allows the player to freeze enemies and smash them into icy chunks, among other wonderful features. As you play the game, you simply can't progress unless you obtain Old Man Winter -- it's that important.
You can't crack ice-themed puns without it.
And yet, it came from the least likely place to find useful and non-terrifying ideas: the fan art community. Yes, the refuge of frustrated comic book artists at best, full-on cartoon pornographers at worst.
The plasmid started life as a simple piece of fan art created by graphic designer by day/obsessive fanboy by night Joe Trinder. After being posted on the Irrational Games message board, the fan art found its way to Reddit, where it earned 9,000 positive votes due to its indisputable awesomeness (and 7,000 negative ones, because Reddit).
Reddit hates alliteration, ever since the 2012 incident.
The image was eventually seen by BioShock creator Ken Levine, who was so in love with it that he couldn't even discuss it without developing a spontaneous case of Tourette's: "I just saw the piece of art and I was like, 'holy shit, this is fucking great,' then talked to the legal department to see if we could use this, because we love it."
He contacted Trinder within a day to buy his design.
He broke into Trinder's home and pushed a note to him under the bathroom door.
Trinder figured it would be a case where you just see his poster in the background for a second, so even he was surprised to find out that the ability he made up became a central part of the game. Meanwhile, Levine admits he "goes on DeviantArt all the time," just looking for people to shower with his sticky, sticky money. What we're saying is, don't be ashamed of jerking off to Internet nerd porn: Your heroes are most assuredly doing the same.
Are you a fan of money, everlasting glory, but really just money? We want to give you that! (Particularly the money part.) Enter as many designs as you want into our T-shirt contest and you might just win $500.
Related Reading: Sadly, the best fan theories are seldom adopted. But we'll always consider James Bond more of a code name than a man. And the Matrix really WOULD be better if it had been revealed that Neo was a machine. Of course, sometimes creators should just stay away from their fans. The marriages never end well.