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Today, if you're not sure whether sticking with a video game is worth it, you can easily go on YouTube and let an 11-year-old from Bali show you all of the game's secrets. It wasn't that long ago, though, that you were forced to experience that magic and discovery all by yourself ... and it fucking sucked. Why? Because for every game that rewarded your hundreds of hours of hard work with something cool and satisfying, there were many others that pulled shenanigans like ...

6
Mortal Kombat II: Play 250 Fights, Unlock A Single Game Of Pong

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Mortal Kombat II was the first fighting game to have elaborate Easter eggs. Quickly press start while the "Toasty!" guy invades your screen, and you can face a secret fighter called "Smoke." Win 50 fights in a row, and you get to battle another one called "Noob Saibot." On its own, the fact that the developers came up with all these wildly different characters is impressive enough.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Not pictured: Skidmark, the brown ninja.

But what happens if you play not 50 but, say, 250 fights? Playground rumors abounded: You unlock another character called Hornbuckle, or Goro's dad, or you get to touch a boob in real life. Whatever it was, it was clearly worth a shot, so many a '90s teen stayed up all night trying to discover the truth ...

The "Reward":

If you play 250 fights in a row (you don't have to win them), you'll see a special message about fighting a challenge from your past. And then you start playing Pong.

Oh, you think we're kidding.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Yes, you can play the beloved 1972 ping pong simulator and friendship ruiner in Mortal Kombat II, for some reason. Disappointingly, the loser's paddle doesn't explode in a sea of blood, nor is the ball the disembodied head of one of the characters. It's just a regular game of Pong -- and we do mean "a" regular one, singular, because once someone scores seven points and wins, it's back to the fighting again. Feel like a rematch? Hope you have time for 250 more fights. Also, fun fact: Mortal Kombat II is two years older now than Pong was back then.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
(We lied. That's not fun. That's the most horrifying thing we've read.)

Even if players decided to play the saddest marathon ever and simply kick the shit out of a defenseless second player, it would still take hours to get the 250 fights. And all for ONE game of Pong. On the other hand, if you play 250 games of Pong in a row with someone, you won't get to fight them in Mortal Kombat II, but you will try to eviscerate them in real life.

5
Super Mario 64: Get 120 Stars, Meet Yoshi For About Ten Seconds

Nintendo

Super Mario 64 is everyone's favorite game that no one has finished. Oh, they saw the first ending (you win a cake!) but there are 120 power stars to be found in the game. You only need 70 to fight Bowser, rescue Princess Peach, and feel like you can throw the game into a shoe box and never see it again.

Nintendo
"No, that one gets thrown into the garbage."

Those brave (or obsessive-compulsive) enough to want to get all 120 stars will have to get used to dealing with incredibly frustrating bosses, looking everywhere for freaking gold coins, and having to replay the same stages over and over because the developers clearly ran out of ideas. But surely, there's a prize to justify all that work, right?

The "Reward":

Once you get 120 stars, a cannon will appear which can shoot you to the roof of Princess Peach's castle, where you meet Mario's trusty friend / method of transportation, Yoshi:

Nintendo
"How the hell did I get here? Last thing I remember is Zach Galifianakis giving me a pill ..."

And then Yoshi (who, again, is best known for being a character Mario can ride to make the levels more fun) reads a "thank you" note from the developers and ... jumps off the roof. You never see him again. Wait, uh, are we sure that wasn't another type of note?

Nintendo
"I'm only doing what you would have done to me anyway, you traitorous swine."

And that's it. That's Yoshi's entire participation in the game. You also get 100 lives and a better jump, and you'd likely assume that you've opened up some bonus levels in which to use those jumps, and those lives, and Yoshi. Nope! There's nothing else to do. There's no reason to plug the game into the console again -- not even to show off Yoshi to your friends and prove he exists, since he went away and all. This is like winning a contest and being presented with a fancy car, but the real prize is a $20 Home Depot gift card lying on the front seat.

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4
Final Fantasy VII: Follow A Convoluted Series Of Steps, Gain A New Ability (For A Character Who Dies)

Square Enix

Final Fantasy VII is the classic, epic story of a bunch of polygons fighting other polygons to save the polygon, by whatever means necessary. Being an RPG game, it's full of little secrets no one could have possibly guessed unless they'd slept with one of the developers. For instance, if you talk to an old man living in a cave after having fought a number of battles ending in two matching odd numbers (11, 233, 699, 6699, 69699, etc.), he'll give you an item called Mythril. Got an unwanted random encounter on your way to get the old man's man cave? Tough shit, no Mythril for you.

Square Enix
The law of RPG probabilities says that it will take you 10 minutes to find another random encounter now.

Once you have the Mythril, you have to take it to a specific house in the butthole of the universe, where another complete stranger will offer you one of two boxes in exchange for it. Chose the wrong box? Tough shit once again. Back to fighting monsters to repeat the whole process from the top!

Man, the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow of bullshit better be fucking awesome.

The "Reward":

Actually, it is. If you do everything described above and choose the correct box at the end (it's the smaller one), one of your characters learns a new ability called Great Gospel, which fully restores both health and magical reserves and literally makes you invincible for a while. It looks like the sky opening up and God winning the fight for you.

Square Enix
Somebody up there really likes you.

There's only one tiny downside. The character who gets this amazing ability? Aerith. This Aerith:

Square Enix
We're reconsidering the previous caption.

Yep, the only one who can use Great Gospel is the character whom even people who've never played Final Fantasy know as "the one who dies." Aerith gets tragically impaled by the main antagonist's overcompensating sword, traumatizing a whole generation of nerds. Seriously, the end of Final Fantasy VII's Disc 1 is the 11/22/1963 of the video game world.

After Aerith bites it, there's no way to get the ability again or give it to a character who isn't marked for death. So to recap: The developers made you jump through a ridiculous series of hoops to make a character invincible ... and then killed her anyway only a third of the way into the story. How is there not a law against this? How?

3
Ocarina Of Time: Kill Every Single Gold Skulltula, Get "Infinite" Money (Which You Won't Use)

Nintendo

In The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, you play as Link (or "BigDong69," if you played it at age 14), a legendary time-traveling hero who moonlights as a bug exterminator. At one point, a cursed man asks you to hunt and kill 100 Gold Skulltulas -- big-ass spiders which are way harder to find than you'd think, since they're scattered across both time and space. One of the most infamous ones requires you to plant a seed as a child, return as an adult, use the now-grown plant to reach the top of a platform, and find the Skulltula there ... as long as you did all of this at night, of course.

Nintendo
Another is hidden in Link's beach towel.

Unless you had a strategy guide (or an uber-nerd friend who could use the Internet), you ended up having to go back through the whole game again to check and recheck if there were any goddamn Gold Skulltulas you missed. Sure, the map does tell you when an area is spider-free ... but that doesn't cover temples, dungeons, and such, leading some players to lose their minds trying to figure out why they're still missing Skulltulas when the map says all the areas are clear. You know when there's a mosquito in your room but you can't find the bastard to kill it? It's exactly like that, only instead of "your room" it's "all of Hyrule."

The "Reward":

Once you kill all the Skulltulas, you get infinite money. Awesome, right? Sure, if you see money as a status symbol in itself, because there's not much to spend it on in this game. Most items you need are lying around in dungeons, and stuff like arrows and bombs apparently grow out of shrubs (as does money itself). As long as you don't get addicted to the minigames, you'll rarely be short on cash.

Nintendo
Face it, you only keep going there to flirt with the attendant.

And that's the other thing: We say "infinite," but what you truly get is 200 rupees anytime you visit the formerly-cursed man ... when the most you can hold in your wallet is 1,000. Your biggest money-related problem might be figuring out how to spend the money you already had so you can collect your reward and not leave the guy hanging.

Nintendo
"That's OK. Use it buy some new wallpaper."

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2
Silent Hill 2: Beat The Game Flawlessly, Get A Weapon That Kills Everything (Including You)

Konami

Much like with romantic partners, one of the cruelest things a video game can do is grade your performance at the end. You beat the final boss, you sit back to watch the credits feeling great about yourself and trying to decide which game you'll conquer next, but then comes the dreaded "You could have done better" screen. Ugh, back to the beginning.

Silent Hill 2's ranking screen is particularly hardcore. In order to get a perfect 10-star ranking, you need to ... OK, we'll just screenshot a walkthrough, because it's a whole laundry list of things:

Xboxachievements.com
They considered forcing people to watch the Silent Hill movie, but that was TOO cruel.

To add to that horrifyingly demanding set of requirements, to get the perfect rating, you must have seen each and every one of the possible endings in the game. All six of them. Including the one with a UFO and "the dog ending" (whatever you're imagining, it's much crazier than that).

The "Reward":

Fulfill all of the requirements above, and you'll get the single most powerful weapon in the game: a can of spray. Yep.

Konami
From the unproduced Banksy Vs. The Zombies Of Capitalism (2012).

The Green Hyper Spray is able to quickly kill anything that's not a boss while making you look like a stylish urban artist. The problem? That "anything" includes you. Using the spray drains your health, presumably because your character is allergic to the color green. Or to potent insta-murder viruses, we guess.

Konami
The big wuss.

There's also the fact that the spray doesn't use ammo, as is usually the case with these things. This may seem like a plus at first, but you have to shake the spray to "load" it, leaving you open to attack. It's a clumsy weapon that not only shatters the horror atmosphere of the game, but ironically prevents you from getting 10 stars ever again.

1
We Love Katamari: Collect One Million Roses, Get A New Loading Screen

Namco

We Love Katamari is a PlayStation 2 game in which you roll a magnetic ball to collect things like thumbtacks, cats, buildings, entire cities, etc., and then throw the resulting ball of junk into space to make a new planet. It was very much made in Japan. Right when you think you've finished all the levels, though, the game tells you it's "not over yet" because you have one final mission: collecting one million roses in a new secret stage.

Namco
One of those fancy outdoors motels.

Completing the mission can take over 70 hours in total, since there are only about 2,000 roses in the level. You have to go around the stage getting them all, then wait for them to reappear and do the same thing again, over and over. This wacky, imaginative game effectively turns into a gardening simulator. The task is so tedious that some players had to invent ways to make the game play by itself; one method involved a chair, some tape, a PS2 controller with wires tied around the joysticks, and an oscillating fan.

IGN
They got the idea from a book of auto-erotic asphyxiation techniques.

The "Reward":

However, all that effort is worth it, because you get a brand new menu screen. No fooling. Here's what that screen usually looks like:

Namco
Hideously mundane.

And here's the transformed version only those in the gaming elite have access to:

Namco
Sublime. Simply sublime.

That's right, there are now a few roses on the ground! In case this somehow isn't enough for you, you'll also see a rose spinning on the corner of your screen when the game is loading (which is like half the time, because this is a PS2 title). That's your reward: a fancy screensaver. Please watch this video of a player slowly realizing that's fucking it after spending a year collecting the million roses.

Namco
Even the game itself is like "You did it? Seriously? Wh... Why?"

Unfortunately, few people get to enjoy these lovingly adorned screens, because everyone usually throws the game out the window when they get to this point.

Special thanks to Toonstriker.

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For more reasons wasting too much time is totally unrewarding, check out The 6 Most Mind-Blowing (And Pointless) Gaming Achievements and The 5 Hardest, Most Pointless World Of Warcraft Achievements.

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