#2. Final Fantasy X-2 Secretly Makes You the Bad Guy of Final Fantasy VII
Remember when you could pick up any Final Fantasy game and experience the magic of getting stuck on the first dungeon without having to play any of the previous entries in the franchise? They all had completely unrelated characters and plotlines, but now it's not that simple -- not only are they making confusingly numbered sequels, but some small clues left in Final Fantasy X-2 (pronounced "ten two," which isn't the same as "twelve") revealed that two of the most popular games in the series are actually connected. Basically, if you played X-2, then you're responsible for everything bad that happens in Final Fantasy VII.
THIS IS ON YOU.
How does that work? Well, in FFX there's a guy called Rin who owns a shop. In FFX-2, a precocious kid called Shinra talks to Rin about his idea of harvesting the "life force that flows through our planet" and turning it into energy. This isn't a major plot point, and it's only in a small footnote that you discover that Rin eventually says "Aw, what the heck" and bankrolls the kid's project. All of the money you've been giving Rin to buy potions and whatnot has helped him fund this venture for Shinra. But what's the harm? You've helped develop a possible new source of clean energy and made a little boy happy in the process.
Oh, and you're also responsible for the horrors of a tyrannical regime. Remember this logo from Final Fantasy VII?
Because even in the magical sci-fi future-past, you have to work to keep the power bill paid, apparently.
That belongs to the Shinra Electric Company, aka the bastards who ruin everything for everyone in Final Fantasy VII. They're ruled by President Shinra, a global autocrat with a private army who essentially owns the metropolis Midgar and controls every aspect of the citizens' lives. The Shinra Electric Company is also behind some pretty horrific genetic engineering that causes trouble for everyone involved. And how do they get their energy? Why, by harvesting the life force of the planet -- the same process little Shinra from FFX-2 invented, although he probably didn't foresee that it would turn the mined areas into desolate wastelands.
That, or that kid was a total dick.
So, yes, President Shinra is little Shinra's descendant. In other words, by giving a nice man some money in a game set 1,000 years earlier, you helped fund an evil, world-destroying corporation. Nice one, jackass.
#1. The Ghosts You Fight in Super Mario World Are Enemies You Killed in the Previous Game
Some game franchises weave complex narratives spanning across their multiple installments, thus elevating the video game medium to something more than just idle diversions. Super Mario Bros. isn't one of those franchises. Mario has about as much character development as a cereal mascot: He does the same things over and over in vaguely different settings, never showing any type of growth (besides the one that comes from ingesting mushrooms).
However, there is a hidden continuity to these games, and it's as easy to miss as it is disturbing. Remember the sunken ship level from Super Mario World? At first glance, it looks like every other haunted house you visit in the game, only, you know, underwater.
We considered bringing scuba gear instead of a cape, but couldn't resist the siren song of slowfall.
But did you ever wonder where that ship (and those spirits haunting it) came from? The answer was in front of you all along: In Super Mario Bros. 3, the game that came right before this one, Bowser and his Koopalings stir up trouble in airships. Airships that you, as Mario, have to go through, killing everything in your path in the process, and presumably making at least one of them crash down into the ocean. Obviously Bowser and his kids made it out, because they appear again in Mario World, but as for the other crew members? Let's just say those underwater ghosts have a reason to haunt you.
Are we reading too much into it? Probably not, because the manual seems to agree with us:
"Or if he wanted to serve you a court citation for destroying his property."
But the most disturbing part is the fact that the sunken ship level ends when you collect a question mark bubble, the only one of its kind in Mario World. In Super Mario Bros. 3, these were dropped every time you defeated one of the Koopa kids. Maybe one of the Koopalings didn't make it out alive after all ... or maybe none did. Lately, Mario's creator has been pretending that the Koopalings aren't Bowser's children, despite the fact that the manual says otherwise. Perhaps that's his way of saying that Mario murdered all of them, and the ones in the current games are just clones Bowser created to try to fill the emptiness in his heart.
"Another soul to add to the collection. Wa-hoo!"
Related Reading: Speaking of games that put insane amounts of detail into tiny things, Halo 3 has your name engraved on every bullet. And while we're at it, a little robot in Portal 2 gives away the whole plot. Prefer your art less digital and more "fine"? Check out Check out the mind-blowing details you missed in these masterpieces.