6 Video Game Cons That Shouldn't Have Fooled Anyone
Video game marketing often has to be taken with a grain of salt. Trailers are mostly animated, E3 demos are being run on quantum computers, and "coming next year" means "maybe in five years, possibly never." But sometimes the lies are so outrageous that they're straight up criminal. Like when ...
The Coleco Chameleon Was Cobbled Together From SNES Parts, Cardboard, And Lies
In 2015, a team of visionaries decided to crowdfund a device that would be able to play all of the classic video games from the '80s and '90s without the hassle of buying various different consoles (or getting sued by Nintendo). The Retro VGS promised to make retro gaming simple and affordable again, provided they got the measly $2 million they were asking for. Also, each console would cost $300. Why so expensive? Perhaps because the circuit board itself was pretty revolutionary, in the sense that it was the first one to be made from actual cardboard.
Their first try didn't go well, so they decided to ask Coleco (an Atari rival back in the '80s) if they could slap their name on the product. This probably wasn't a very good idea, since we just had to tell you what "Coleco" even was. Still, they showed off their brand-new Coleco Chameleon prototype at the New York Toy Fair to prove it was real. It even played Super Nintendo games! And used Super Nintendo controllers, and a Super Nintendo power supply, and a Super Nintendo video cable ...
Wait, was their "prototype" a Super Nintendo duct-taped inside an Atari Jaguar case? No, of course not. They used electrical tape.
To silence the haters and doubters, the team then posted a photo of their prototype with a real (non-cardboard, non-SNES) circuit board visible inside. It took the enterprising nerds at Atari Age only three days to prove that this board was definitely an old DVR capture card. Minutes after they pointed this out, the photo mysteriously vanished.
The Coleco brand then ended up disavowing the project, effectively killing it. In hindsight, it's gutsy to name an obvious scam after the animal kingdom's master of disguise.
Famous Counter-Strike YouTubers "Recommend" A Gambling Site They Secretly Own
"Skin gambling" sounds like one of the most depressing pastimes possible, until you learn that it's about video game skins. Then it becomes the most depressing. Players log into a website, deposit the decorative skins they've accumulated on games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and use them to compete in casino-like games. Sometimes they win big, like the time YouTuber TmarTn won $13,000 in skins on a site called CS:GO Lotto. Might wanna lower your speakers if you watch the video below:
Look how excited he is! He could probably start his own website with that many skins! Wait, he already had one. It was called CS:GO Lotto.
TmarTn and Prosyndicate, another YouTuber who also posted breathless videos recommending CS:GO Lotto to an audience of impressionable 14-year-olds, were the site's president and vice president, respectively. They didn't bother disclosing that in their gambling videos, making it look like this was some random website they'd happened to come across and happened to win big money on. (They still maintain the second part is true.)
Shortly after they were exposed, TmarTn released an apology video which could be summed up as "I'm sorry I got caught lol." He soon deleted it. But don't worry, when the FTC heard about this, they slapped the two with ... a reminder that they should disclose any such future business endeavors. Yes, their punishment was being forced to comply with the law, like the rest of us mortals.
The First Record Holder In Gaming Turned Out The Be A Giant Fraud
For over 30 years, Todd Rogers held the oldest world record in video game history, and presumably reaped all the sexual benefits that entails. The game was Dragster, an Atari 2600 classic about race cars ... or things vaguely resembling race cars.
Dragster is about finishing a drag race as fast as possible. In 1982, Rogers did it in 5.51 seconds, and no one has even come close to that time since then. Yes, even today, when finishing games as fast as possible is practically a sport, the fastest time anyone can get is 5.57. So in 2017, another Dragster fan got a little suspicious and carried out an investigation. He looked into the game's code and determined that finishing a race in 5.51 seconds is literally impossible without hacking. Unless you can Tron yourself into the game and replace that crappy car with something faster, 5.57 is the best possible time.
Rogers supposedly proved his score back in the day by taking a Polaroid photo, but that photo doesn't seem to exist anymore. This whole thing also got people to take a closer look at his other records, like the one that had three more figures than the next-highest score, the one that would have taken 350 hours to achieve, or the one that ends in 8, despite the game only advancing in increments of 5.
After weighing the concrete evidence on both sides (i.e. a ton of hard data vs. nothing at all), Rogers' records were removed from the Twin Galaxies leader board, and the Guinness Book of World Records stripped away his "longest standing video game high-score" title. On the other hand, if they ever add a "holding the most obvious fake records for decades" record, they should totally keep him in mind.
Limbo Of The Lost Was Frankensteined From Like A Dozen Other Games
Limbo Of The Lost is a project that's almost as old as gaming. It started as a text adventure for the Atari ST, evolved into a point-and-click game for '90s Amiga consoles, and finally came out as a PC game in 2008. Normally we'd be impressed by old-school developers learning how to adapt to the times, but in this case, "adapt to the times" meant "straight-up stealing from other developers."
We may never know how many games were ripped off by this monstrosity, but some of the main ones include Oblivion ...
... Return To Castle Wolfenstein ...
... and, appropriately, Thief 3:
Players also found elements from Crysis, Bioshock, Baldur's Gate, Rune, and a little-known game called World Of Warcraft, among others. They also found material from movies as random as Beetlejuice, the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, and Spawn, suggesting that the developers used the $1 DVD bin at Blockbuster as their main source of inspiration. In case you're wondering what the game looks like when using only assets made by its own devs, it's something like this:
Once word began to spread, the publishers pulled Limbo Of The Lost from stores, and developers distanced themselves from the game, saying they had no idea how all those stolen assets (meaning most of the assets) ended up there. Based on their normal pace of work, we calculate they'll get around to finding the plagiarists by 2036.
A Company Ripped Off A Mobile Game, Then Got Apple To Delete The Original
Clicker Heroes was a successful mobile game for the iPhone until Apple removed it out of nowhere. Why? The makers of a suspiciously similar game on the Chinese App Store filed a DMCA claim against it, so Apple swiftly acted to protect their intellectual property. The only problem: Clicker Heroes debuted in 2014, and the "original" came out in 2015.
Now, to be fair, that game isn't a complete copy of Clicker Heroes -- it also contains stuff lifted from other games. The problem was the name. Even though Clicker Heroes' developers at Playsaurus had been using the name in China since 2014, the Chinese company trademarked it there first. They didn't hold the trademark for other countries, but that didn't stop Apple from banishing the game from the entire world, even after Playsaurus provided evidence detailing why this was BS.
It took a Reddit thread and some media coverage to motivate Apple to get off their butts and restore the game everywhere ... except in China. We talked to the developers, and they estimate that they lost "maybe $2,000 or so" during the three days the game was down everywhere, and they're continuing to lose about $3,500 per year thanks to getting bullied out of China. That's chump change for Tim Apple, but to quote Playsaurus, "for a small privately owned independent studio like ourselves, it sucks." Unsurprisingly, getting in touch with the company behind the newer game proved unfruitful.
There's An Entire Illegal World Of Warcraft Theme Park In China
China has a reputation for not being especially concerned with intellectual property, resulting in bootleg action figures, bootleg games, and ... bootleg places? That appears to be the case with Joyland, a World Of Warcraft theme park built without any sort of authorization or probably even knowledge from the people who own World Of Warcraft.
Despite putting a lot of effort into making the buildings and statues look like something you'd see in the game, the people behind Joyland stopped short of stealing all of the names, so visitors are left with hilariously generic areas like "World of Legend," "Fairy Lake," and "Terrain of Magic." We're almost disappointed that there's an attraction called "Path to Warcraft." They should have gone with "Road to Battle Expertise" or something.
The park seems to have picked up steam over the past couple of years, but reports state that it used to be mostly empty for a very long time, populated by more workers than patrons. Sadly, Blizzard missed the opportunity to shoot the Warcraft movie there and save millions on CGI.
When contacted by The Hollywood Reporter and asked to explain themselves, the owners of the park said it isn't based on WOW at all. No, it's "based on animals." The only animals are the bootleg Garfield plush toys and a bizarre statue of a panda wearing a panda-shaped armor. Maybe "based on animals" sounds a lot like "mind your own damn business" in Chinese?
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