5 Beloved Games That Have Secret Terrifying Backstories

In video games, it's common practice to hide some story in little background details. Hardcore fans can delve deep into the lore of the universe -- really coming to understand why Mario hops on mushrooms, and how it tortures him so -- while more casual gamers can continue obliviously stomping on turtles, unaware of the horrors that lurk behind the mustache. That was only sort of a joke example. There are some seemingly cute, family-friendly games out there hiding backstories so messed up that they'd be cut from a Chuck Palahniuk novel.

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5
Human Beings Used To Marry Pokemon

In Pokemons Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, players can visit a library to read books of folk tales (why they would choose to do that rather than engage in rad monster fights is anybody's guess). Folk Story 3 tells of Pokemon that were once so close to humans that they ate at the same table and were considered equals. Which seems harmless enough, until you consider that those same creatures are now used for cockfighting and slave labor. And that's pulling from the sanitized American/European version. The original Japanese version reads:

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There were once Pokemon that married people. There were once people that married Pokemon. This was a normal thing because long ago people and Pokemon were the same.

Nintendo"So really, you're the weird ones."

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It's made weirder still when you consider that Folk Story 1 is all about thanking the Pokemon you eat, and making sure to pick their bones clean. So there was a time in the Pokemon world when Pikachu and company either looked "tasty enough to eat" or, well, tasty enough to eat.

4
Wii Sports Resort Is Built Atop An Indian Burial Ground

Nintendo's simple, addictive Wii Sports collection was a phenomenon, and they knew they had to up the ante for the sequel, Wii Sports Resort. So they added fun new features like Frisbee, wakeboarding, basketball, and a secret backstory about the genocide of the native population by an invading empire.

Nintendo"Don't forget about the kayaking!"

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The game is set on Wuhu Island, a tropical resort where all the sports take place. Wuhu is inhabited by Miis -- cute, bigheaded caricatures of humans -- but exploration of the island reveals evidence of two previous societies. Players can find some rather innocuous remnants of these vanished cultures in stone monuments scattered about the place. But if you're very thorough, you'll come across the 1,000-year-old "Mysterious Ruins," whose lore suggests a massive conflict between the locals and a "more advanced civilization."

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Yes, in this cutesy sports game, you can slip behind the facade and gaze at the spears some pitiful natives used to (try) to defend themselves against a superior force, as well as the giant pit of skeletons those natives almost certainly became. Fans have also pointed out that the cruder ruins on the island look out of place, like they were destroyed by a newer culture whose buildings aged better. Nintendo felt the need to add all of this to a game for children and arthritic grandparents, when the plot of the previous game was "I'm the guy in red, you're the guy in blue, and we're playing ping pong."

NintendoWhich is secretly symbolic of the futility of war.

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But there's nothing you can do about any this. There's no minigame wherein you lead the avenging ghosts of long-dead natives on their path of righteous vengeance. You can only ignore the island's disturbing history, throw on a bathing suit, and go waterskiing -- you know, like tourists in Hawaii.

3
Crash Bandicoot Is Suffering Through The Aftermath Of A Sad And Humiliating Breakup

In the first Crash Bandicoot game, players must help Crash save his beloved Tawna from the evil Dr. Neo Cortex, a task that amounts to running down a series of long corridors in a jaunty fashion.

ActivisionAnd like most marsupials, he has two penises.

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Even though Tawna is rescued, she's inexplicably absent from the second and third games in the series. But that's because she's not the adventurous type or something, right? Their relationship is probably fine, as evidenced by her picture in Crash's house in the third game.

ActivisionThere do seem to be some lip prints on the glass ...

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Wrong. Tawna left Crash not long after being rescued, because she found him too immature. A little creepy that you're still prominently displaying her photo, buddy! But it gets even worse when you find out that she left him for this guy:

ActivisionHow could any woman prefer a man in a suit over a shirtless dude in capri jeans?

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That's Pinstripe, one of the bad guys who kidnapped Tawna and tried to have Crash killed in the first place. How do we know all this? Because of the official Crash Bandicoot manga, of course. H-have you not been reading it? Oh man, how embarrassing for you ...

Activision

Tawna was removed because the publisher pressured the developer for a less sexualized female character in their fuzzy jogging game for children. Rather than go through the hassle of redesigning her, they simply got rid of her, because it turns out that there wasn't much to her personality beyond giant bandicoot boobs.

ActivisionThis is what happens when you see Jessica Rabbit but don't get the joke.

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And yet through his hasty backstory added to justify a rating change, Tawna wound up with more agency than most damsels in distress in any medium. She was eventually replaced with Coco Bandicoot, Crash's smarter sister, who was carefully designed to not awaken strange and conflicted feelings in 12-year-olds.

2
Final Fantasy X's Official Novel Sequel Blew Off The Main Character's Head With A Cartoon-Style Bomb

Tidus is the main character of Final Fantasy X. His story is complicated, but the gist is that he rids the world of a gigantic whale that's about to annihilate civilization, but in doing so is erased from existence himself. In FFX-2, the sequel to this sequel (not to be mistaken for an actual sequel), the developers had to find the most convoluted way possible to bring Tidus back to life in order to placate their heartbroken hardcore fans. Yay, he's back!

SquaresoftHooray for this guy, we're pretty sure!

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Not so fast. Skip forward more than a decade to the HD re-release of both games (again, not to be confused with actual sequels, as these are remasters of sequels to sequels), and the game whose second conclusion was already more than its intended conclusion got yet another conclusion. Are you following all of this? No? Good. That's probably the right response.

ffthalusJust go read this and then come back.

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The third official ending to the remaster of the sequel's sequel wasn't even a game, because words have long since ceased to have meanings. It was a short novel, and it was so insane that when translations leaked online, they were written off as weak attempts at trolling. Western fans still aren't entirely sure which details are real, and which were misinformation spread by jealous Dragon Quest fans, but there is one plot point that everyone agrees was both true and even-for-Final-Fantasy absurd.

You see, Tidus is more than a hero -- he's also an elite Blitzball player (think magical water polo). So when he winds up stranded on an island and a mysterious Blitzball rolls toward him, he does the only natural thing and runs up to kick it. It is in fact a bomb, which immediately explodes and kills him. Never mind the 20,000 nuclear laser dragon explosions that Tidus survived in the video game; one Wile E. Coyote cartoon bomb later, and he's dead. For real this time. But don't worry, because he's magically resurrected again later.

All of which is handled with the utmost tact and sensitivity.

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Aren't you glad you read all of this?

1
Splatoon Takes Place After The Apocalypse

Splatoon is Nintendo's take on first-person shooters, which means the guns use paint instead of bullets, and instead of merely trying to survive in the grimmest war mankind will ever see, all you want to do is settle the old "Mayo or ketchup?" Debate. You fight in colorful, good-natured battles between teams of hip little squid-people called Inklings, and the whole experience from top to bottom is very cool, fun, and heartwarming.

NintendoMostly because you're not the one who has to clean up afterwards.

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And if you collect the Sunken Scrolls hidden across the single-player campaign, you'll slowly piece together that Inkling civilization is built on the all-but-forgotten remains of humanity.

The first big reveal is that Splatoon takes place 12,000 years in the future, after rising sea levels have killed off all terrestrial life. The Inklings have found at least one human skeleton, but all they know is that it's "a creature." They assume it was primitive and unintelligent, and hey, if we let climate change kill us, maybe they're right.

Nintendo"This is a hoax. I can see a Wii U. Nobody owned that crap."

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Oh, and don't go thinking this new civilization is perfect either. In the absence of humanity, squid and other marine life evolved into more intelligent species that took over what little land remained. A century before Splatoon takes place, the Inklings fought the Octarians in the Great Turf Wars. The Inklings won, and the Octarians were forced to live in Octo Valley, an underground ghetto. That's why the game's main multiplayer mode is called Turf Wars -- you're implicitly celebrating a war that forced an entire species onto brutal reservations.

So basically every Nintendo game is in truth about genocide. Yes, even Animal Crossing. Especially Animal Crossing.

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Abraham is your friendly neighborhood Mexican writer, living in Mexico and a fan of chocolate atole. You can say hi to him on Twitter here, visit his DeviantArt here, or read him on Quora here.

We know you're smart already and just having the best time building and crafting, but guides for Animal Crossing Pocket Camp are available for the best iteration of that game.

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