As we've shown before, video game designers are not above screwing with players' minds. But that article was about developers punishing pirates in bizarre, elaborate ways that would make Dante proud. It takes a truly mad game designer to bring that Jigsaw-Killer deviousness to bear on their most die-hard, legitimate fans. Here are a few of those brilliant psychopaths:
5 Metal Gear Solid 2 Secretly Replaces The Main Character
MGS2 starts out like any standard sequel. The main character, Solid Snake, infiltrates a tanker staffed by guards. You get like 45 minutes of legit play time -- or approximately five hours of tranquilizing guards and putting their unconscious hands on each other's butts -- then the boat suddenly sinks, Snake is declared MIA, and players are introduced to their new hero, Raiden. Raiden wasn't in any of the ads, was never mentioned in previews, and isn't even on the game's cover.
"Stop kidding around. Snake? SNAAAAAAAKE!" -everyone that spent money on this.
Which wouldn't be so bad, if Raiden wasn't the complete opposite of good ol' badass Solid Snake. Raiden was sulky, unlikeable, and stupid-looking -- it was like if you got 15 minutes into Escape From New York and the director suddenly switched out Kurt Russell for Corey Feldman. And gamers weren't caught by surprise here just because they weren't paying attention: Kojima went out of his way to hide Raiden's existence. Preview footage even inserted Snake into sequences that, in the game, were actually played by Raiden.
If you have time to read essays on what video games are really about (congratulations, newly unemployed person and/or Cracked employee!), you'll learn that Kojima was making a statement about information control and the Internet. Specifically, he wanted to point out how easy it is to manipulate the willing by controlling the information they can access -- Raiden is manipulated by the villains of the game in the same way that fans were manipulated into thinking they were going to play a game they liked.
Now you know. And knowing is half the boredom.
There's much, much more to the whole thing, but to explain it all we'd need a 15-part analysis, a better grounding in postmodernism than Internet comedy has given us, and several bottles of grain alcohol. Long story short: Most fans missed the meta-commentary and were simply infuriated by the bait-and-switch, along with the confusing, fourth-wall breaking, and generally bonkers plot. Our hats are off to you: Truly, Kojima, you were the greatest gaming troll ever ... until Eve Online came out.
4 Ghosts 'N Goblins Is All About Soul-Crushing Repetition
Ghosts 'N Goblins was apparently designed by somebody with a deep and personal hatred of controllers, judging by all the shattered components it has left in its wake. Even by the standards of old-school games, Ghosts is harder than The Thing's erection. But players who were tenacious enough to reach the final boss would find that, unless they were inexplicably still using the game's weakest weapon for the big fight, they couldn't harm the boss at all.
"Sorry, but the weapon is in another castle where you thoughtlessly dropped it
and probably don't even remember where."
You don't get to just retry it, either: Upon losing, Sir Arthur is kicked back to the start of the fifth level to find the proper weapon and finish the final two stages all over again -- because there is a God, and he is all-knowing and all-powerful, but he really, truly hates you.
After once again fighting their way through the hardest part of the game, determined players at last subdued the leader of the legions of hell by bludgeoning him to death with a metal board. At which point they were greeted with an orgy of Engrish that essentially told them to take a flying fuck at the moon.
"The time you're wasting is also an illusion, for was it ever really yours?"
Then you're dumped all the way back to the beginning of the game, but this time, it's even harder. If you're some kind of saint and did not immediately smash your controller and devour the pieces in an impotent rage, you can beat the game again to get this ending screen:
The only "happy end" is to the pain.