4 Gamers Who Physically Damaged Games To Get Better Performance

4 Gamers Who Physically Damaged Games To Get Better Performance

We previously used the term “destroyed” when talking about speedrunners who absolutely humiliated all the challenges that video game developers pointlessly threw at them. This is not about that. This is about gamers who go full college-bro mode and damage their own hardware – and inexplicably found great victory by doing so.

Damaged Gamecube controllers rule the Super Smash Bros. competitive scene

The Damaging Strategy: Ok, so we're aware that physically destroying the opponent's controller will probably grant any wrongdoer an easy win, so we gotta make it clear that we're talking about people who found the way to victory by damaging their controllers. Yes, being a master of the competitive scene in the ever-popular Super Smash Brothers Melee for the GameCube requires not just the regular set of skills one would regularly need to become a champion, they also need controllers that malfunction in a specific manner.

Microsoft's SideWinder, one of the company's best attempts at unusable peripherals.


“yeah, that's the exact controller I need to win, but only if it's also busted”

The Result:  Fully-destroyed controllers are as useful as any other paperweight when it comes to winning in Smash Bros, but rare controllers suffering from very specific hardware problems will actually allow players to perform better. Yeah, SSMB: Melee has a glitch that naturally renders all players worse by preventing them from performing some of the game's most rad combos. We can only bypass the glitch via using a faulty controller in what we assume must be a very simple double negative kind of scenario. It might look like a joke, but this is (hilariously) serious business as even top SSMB competitors have dropped out of tournaments over the lack of a controller that – get ready to wrap your mind about yet another impossible concept – wasn't malfunctioning properly.

Getting literally dirty to go faster

The Damaging Strategy: When one talks about getting dirty to win, they usually refer to someone taking a morally crappy stance to achieve a better result in some activity, not to Arnold Schwartzenegger at the end of the original Predator film – but that's what we're referring to. Ok, players aren't literally covering themselves in mud, but they are covering their Spongebob Squarepants CDs in Ketchup (efficacy of other gooey matter still pending review). 

The Result: Yes, it turns out that drenching your SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom CD drenched in Ketchup isn't simply effective at turning regular players into pros – it's effective at turning pros into the top speedrunners in the world. In short, smudging the CD's readable surface with goo will naturally make it harder for the console to read, which in turn leads to inconsistencies in the game. The console will have trouble switching from the menus to the game and won't know if many of the walls are supposed to be there, or how walls work at all, thus just letting players go through a lot of them.

The video above is ultra interesting and totally worth watching, but anyone who doesn't have the time for fun stuff should bear the author's takeaway in mind: when it works, this technique is great, but it's not as reliable as one would think (assuming anyone would find this reliable) and it's unsurprisingly dangerous for the Xbox, a console one famously shouldn't take many chances with.

Unleashing the true potential of Sonic 3D by punching the hardware

The Damaging Strategy: Upon its release, Sonic 3D Blast disappointed everyone because its looks weren't actual 3D but rather an isometric trick that made it look like kind-of 3D for a while and because its gameplay wasn't even fast. 100% of what was advertised in the box was a lie.

The creepy cover art of Sonic 3D blast


Yes, even the “blast” part, considering that the Sega Genesis' famed "blast processing was also bullcrap.

This is the kind of game many owners would like to physically abuse, and they should – provided that they own the superior version of the game, the Sega Genesis one.

The Result:

The only good thing that'll come out of punching the Sega Saturn port of Sonic 3D Blast is one less copy of Sonic 3D Blast, but punching the Genesis port when it's running will actually grant players access to the game's secret levels. Why does it happen? For many years, this fact remained a mystery to many players who we assume felt too embarrassed to admit they'd lost it at a dumb Sonic game. It was only in 2017 that the game's designer revealed this had to do with passing Sega's quality control – yes, that's a thing that one day existed in games. Back in the day, a game that crashed was a no-go since patching wasn't a thing, so he wrote the code in a way that any game-crashing bug would instead lead players to a “special level menu”. That led the quality assurance people to believe everything was working as intended the entire time, but it also created an unintentional reward for anyone college bro punching the game.

Becoming the King Of Kong by literally bending Donkey Kong to his will

The Damaging Strategy: Alongside Athene, Billy Mitchel was for a while one of the most respected gamers in the world – whose careers took a nosedive into dark territory. Mitchell held world records in classic games such as Pac-Man and the original Donkey Kong. He was held on such a high pedestal that, for a very long time, even the Guinness book of records accepted the high scores he submitted even though nobody ever saw the guy playing the games. That all came crashing down when he finally submitted proof of his records.

The Result: The once “King Of Kong” showed a video that specialists claim he accidentally proves he'd tampered with the game's actual hardware to get all of those sweet high scores. Twin Galaxies, the organization that keeps track of this kind of stuff scrapped all of Mitchell's records.

Billy Mitchell in a completely normal day.


Nice try, but by taking all those titles away you're awarding me the title of king of cheats. - definitely not something Mitchell said

If the evidence provided by Mitchell against Mitchell is true, then he's a cheater, yeah, and not the “King Of Kong” – he's the God Of Kong – at least the god of that version of Donkey Kong that he allegedly changed to suit his whim.

The Further Result: We never know what's true or not when it comes to this guy, but September of 2022 was graced by news of Mitchell claiming that his doctor refuses to see him because even he considers Mitchell a cheat. Hell yeah, we love to see the dawn of the age of doctors taking games seriously.

Top Image: Nintendo

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