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It might not seem that way now, with all of our Crackeds and JDates and forums dedicated to bodybuilding, but once upon a time the Internet used to be filled with huge nerds. Much of the earliest traffic on the Internet was in fact dedicated to these nerds' favorite pastimes, two of the most popular being "video games" and "fucking with other nerds." And when these two passions inevitably combined, a spectacular amount of disinformation was soon spread about video games around the Internet: fantastic hoaxes, artfully constructed of lies, built on a foundation of doctored screenshots.

Here are some of the most famous examples.

6
Sheng Long (Street Fighter II)

In the game Street Fighter II, after your character wins a fight, you get to deliver a short speech to your bloodied opponent in which you reflect on the causes for his failure and just generally act like a dick. In the original Japanese game, the character Ryu delivered a particularly dickish wisdom-nugget that would eventually set up this hoax: "If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Punch, you cannot win!" This is of course a reference to Ryu's Rising Dragon Punch, a really impractical-looking leaping uppercut that everyone who watches UFC is secretly hoping to actually witness one day.


Within the game, it's actually quite practical, although this is also a game where you can kick a car to shreds.

But when translating this into English, the developers decided to first translate it into Chinese, because that's evidently closer, and by the time the quote reached Western arcades, it read: "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance."

Poor Guile. First the haircut, then the ass-kicking, and now the lecture. He's having a serious case of the Mondays.

"Well then who the fuck is Sheng Long?" a chorus of 11-year-old voices shrieked, only to be answered when the SNES version of the game came out. Its instruction manual claimed that Sheng Long -- which, I cannot stress enough, at that point was a mistranslated gibberish name that came out of fucking nowhere -- was Ryu's former martial arts master.

Into this clusterfuck of miscommunication stepped Electronic Gaming Monthly, a video games magazine best known for its mastery of clusterfucked miscommunication. In their April 1992 issue, EGM printed a claim that the player could fight Sheng Long by undertaking a ridiculously difficult sequence of events, essentially using Ryu for half a day without taking any damage. It was later revealed that this was an April Fool's joke (which EGM cleverly disguised by publishing in mid-February), but that didn't stop other magazines from reprinting the trick. Without checking it, because obviously this is just video games journalism we're talking about. Before long, there wasn't a Street Fighter player in the world who wasn't convinced that you could fight Sheng Long if you only tried hard enough.

How Gullible You'd Have to Be to Buy It

Not too gullible. As mentioned, "Sheng Long" had been hinted at in both the arcade and SNES versions of the game. And there was no reason to distrust the video games magazines; in this era, to an 11-year-old, they had about the same authority as the Bible.

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And we know that in all things, the path forward shall be lit by up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.

And because the steps were so difficult to do that they could never be verified, and there was no way to definitively prove the hoax wrong, this one drove kids mad for a long, long time.

They did probably get pretty freaking good at using Ryu, though.

5
Mew (Pokemon Red/Blue)

Mew was the 151st Pokemon in the original Pokemon Red/Blue games, and was by design always going to be the hardest to get. The legal way to get Mew was to attend a real-world Nintendo event, where a Nintendo employee with a tired smile would plug your Game Boy into his and upload Mew. This was the only way to actually get Mew in the game, so for anyone with the sense to stay far, far away from other Pokemon players, the 151st Pokemon was completely inaccessible.

Telling a group of players that they can't collect something, after relentlessly badgering them about the importance of collecting everything, is one of the biggest dick moves in all of video gaming, and as you can expect, it broke many young players' brains. The Internet soon filled with rumors of how to get Mew, the most famous of which can be summarized thusly: Mew is under the truck.


No, that's to the left of the truck.

The truck in question was in a normally inaccessible area of the game, but by following a (fairly easy) series of steps, the player could get there and wander around. Most discovered that the area was inaccessible for a reason; there was basically nothing there at all. Except for a truck. A purely decorative, not remarkable in any way truck.

But because of some dink on the Internet who claimed that the secretest of all Pokemon was hidden under the truck, players would spend hours pushing, pulling and pleading with it. All for nothing.

How Gullible You'd Have to Be to Buy It

There was little shame in trying this once and failing. It wasn't too dissimilar a technique from those used for finding other Pokemon, and it was certainly easy enough to do. What made this so insidious was the relatively young age of Pokemon players and the correspondingly high levels of gullibility, which meant that once they'd tried and failed, they kept trying. Again and again and again, convinced that they'd done something wrong, ruining their Gameboys with salty tears, pleading for the 151st Pokemon to arrive, the one that would surely become their real friend.

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4
Finding the Triforce (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

The Triforce is a kind of powerful triangle thing in the Legend of Zelda games. It's never been explained very clearly what the hell it is, but getting your hands on it is usually a Pretty Big Deal. So when players completed the Ocarina of Time, the Nintendo 64 installment of the franchise, and found no Triforce at all, they got a little concerned. A Zelda game with no sign of the Triforce?

Well, almost no sign of it.

That right there is one of the inventory screens in the game, and right there in the middle is an indentation in the exact shape of the Triforce. It could just be decorative, and in fact it was completely decorative. BUT WHAT IF IT WASN'T?????

Then there was the screenshot that showed Link standing before the Triforce, getting ready to grab it or maybe grind up on it. Even in an age when Photoshopped images were becoming common, this was pretty convincing-looking. And indeed it was real, although pulled from a preview video Nintendo released before the game came to market. The Triforce was removed from the game after the video was released ...


BUT WHAT IF IT WASN'T?????

Naturally, a slew of Internet trolls claimed that yes, there was a way to get the Triforce, and for people who really liked triangle things, that was all they needed.

How Gullible You'd Have to Be to Buy It

A little gullible, but not overly so. By the time this one came around, the concept of video game hoaxes had been pretty well-established -- the Sheng Long incident being the most famous. So anyone who proposed a solution that involved completing dozens of awkward, time-consuming steps should have been looked at pretty skeptically.

Still, that sure looked like a place for a Triforce to hang out in your inventory, didn't it? And it's not like hanging around in Hyrule wasn't fun. This game was freaking rad. Playing through that a dozen times looking for something that wasn't there was hardly punishment.

Just keep saying that; the only one you have to convince is yourself.

3
Naked Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Tomb Raider's heroine, Lara Croft, is an acrobatic, duel-wielding, tomb-raiding ass kicker. She also happens to be comically hot, with breasts so large that they look like they'd interfere with some pretty basic activities.


She'd have serious trouble tying her own shoes, driving and walking through doors sideways. Water slides would also be pretty touch and go.

If you're familiar with video game players or the Internet in general, you should not be surprised that it took about five seconds after this game was released before rumors spread of a "nude code" that could remove Lara's clothes. Even though the in-game graphics engine limited her to looking like this ...

... that was still something people needed to see naked.

How Gullible You'd Have to Be to Buy It

Pretty fucking gullible. By this time, people were getting used to the idea that the Internet was a cesspool of treachery. And when you consider the legal hell a publisher would catch for publishing pornography in a children's game, it becomes even less plausible. Finally, the fact that it plays so blatantly on a horny kid's deep need to see titties should have been another clue that it was gullibility bait.

Interestingly enough, some impossibly lonely hacker did eventually create a "nude patch" for the game, replacing the textures used to display Lara with naked textures. For the boob-hungry reader willing to download sketchy binaries from sketchy websites, their dream of seeing pointy, pixelated boobs was finally at hand:

Ricardo Liberato via Wikimedia Commons
Artistic interpretation.

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2
Clothed Luigi (Super Mario 64)

As you'd expect from its name, Super Mario 64 was a game that featured a character called Mario who was pretty goddamned super, and was the 64th entry in the Mario franchise. Nowhere in the name does it contain the word "Bros." or "And Friends" or, critically, "Luigi." Luigi is not in this game (not the Nintendo 64 version, anyways).

Do you think that stopped people from hunting for him until their thumbs bled? Have you been reading this article?

Wikimedia Commons
Also, the N64 controller making thumbs bleed isn't playful exaggeration.

Many people were convinced that Luigi existed within the game, and with absolutely no evidence to support that, they were forced to make up some of their own. One of the key points in the "Luigi exists" theory was a particular statue in the castle, which, as you can see, had a blurry inscription:

Now, if you're not having this website read to you by your great-grandchild, you'll probably figure out pretty quickly what's happened here. The artists decided that the statue they were making would look better with an inscription plate, even though the game's engine wouldn't be able to render a texture that printed anything legible. So they put in a gibberish texture. This decision, which probably took about 10 seconds to make, managed to waste countless days of countless idiots' lives. You see, for people who've suffered the unlikely but unfortunate fate of being brained by falling space debris, this illegible nonsense clearly read:

"L is real 2401"

Which was proof enough that Luigi could be found within the game, and that "2401" was an important number. They'd later decide that that was the number of coins in the game, because that sounded pretty smart, and that you needed to collect all of them to unlock Luigi, because that sounded like a kind of stupid thing to do.

How Gullible You'd Have to Be to Buy It

Almost impossibly gullible. That was complete gibberish, interpreted by madmen, advocating spending dozens more hours in a game you'd probably already beaten several times over from a company that has never been so dickish toward its players. When Nintendo wants you to drive the lanky Italian, they've always put him front and center.


Even when they probably shouldn't have.

1
Aeris Lives (Final Fantasy VII)

Aeris was a major character in Final Fantasy VII, and one of the romantic interests for the disinterested, spiky-haired protagonist. About halfway through the game, during a confrontation with the main villain, she's killed (spoilers), a legitimately surprising turn of events for most players, and a shock to our spiky-haired protagonist, ultimately making him marginally less disinterested.


Fuck you, Cloud.

But it turns out that a game that involves butchering thousands of monsters isn't a very fun place to think about death, and players around the world freaked out, convinced that there was some way to save Aeris. Over the next few months and years, message boards and forums filled with ridiculously lengthy and complicated methods of getting Aeris back.

How Gullible You'd Have to Be to Buy It

All the way gullible. Keep in mind that we are talking about trying to restore a character whose death is completely central to every remaining plot point and character development in the game. (And Final Fantasy VII is a very linear game.) Aeris is as fundamentally and completely dead as the narrative can make her.


"I SHOULD NOT BE."

And when you consider the sheer effort required to investigate any of the 11 possible techniques cited here, almost all of which require either a dedicated playthrough to reach the halfway point of the game (20+ hours) or some ridiculous hunt for ultra rare items after the fact, you realize that we're dealing with epic levels of gullibility. Anyone who tried to do all of these things must have a pretty big gap on their resume. Explaining "Played Final Fantasy for Nine Months Because the Internet Tricked Me" to a potential employer isn't going to make you look very employable, and if you happen to find yourself in that circumstance, I'd suggest coming up with an alternate explanation.

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"I ... was ... doing ... needle drugs? Yes. That's it. I was on the shit."



Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and friend to animals. Join him on Facebook or Twitter and win big cash prizes.

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