6 Video Game Urban Legends That Are Actually Hoaxes

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.

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.

#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 ...


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.

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Chris Bucholz

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