Video Games

5 Video Game Myths Debunked

Anytime tons of people are interested in something, there are bound to be some myths associated with it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a myth, regardless if there is any proof to back it up. Sometimes the myth is something small and inconsequential, while others could have huge ramifications if they were true.

Myths can come from anywhere. Some, like the myth that the average person will eat 8 spiders in their sleep per year, were created by a specific person, while others are leftovers of outdated science, like many health related myths, and some are just rumors that nobody could prove but wanted to believe. Many of the video game myths are this third one, especially for games popular before the internet.

Blowing on Game Cartridges

It’s the one thing every kid in the 90’s could agree on. If your Nintendo (or SNES) game wasn’t working, you would pop it out of the console, blow on the bottom slot to get dust out and snap it back in. The game would then turn on, and you could enjoy some 8-bit action.

The problem is, blowing on the cartridge didn’t fix the problem. It was literally an unnecessary step in getting the games working. Unless your game went years and years without being touched and is coated in dust top to bottom, blowing would do nothing for you.

The real solution is simply taking the game out and reinserting it into the console. The problem was simply a poor connection between the cartridge and the console, requiring the player to eject and reinsert the game in hopes of a better connection.

The blowing on game cartridges myth is a massive cause of confirmation bias. We did something, it seemed to fix the problem, we told our friends, and created a worldwide myth.

Pong Was The First Video Game

The father of all video games is the infamous Pong, right? Well, not quite. The first video game was an arcade game called Computer Space released in 1971, a whole year before Pong came out. It didn’t become popular like Pong did because it was too difficult for the fledgling gamers who tried it.

Pong’s popularity came from its simple premise, easy to use controls, and being the right amount of difficulty from the general public. The entire video game industry owes everything to Pong, but it does not hold the title of the first video game.

Millions of Games Buried in New Mexico Desert

The video game market crash of 1983 was caused by a lack of regulation and the market getting flooded with tons of terrible games. Consumers stopped buying games, stores stopped buying from publishers, who then had no income.

The pinnacle of this fall was Atari publishing the game E.T., a shameless cash grab to connect with the award-winning movie of the same game. The game sold so poorly that Atari had 10 million copies of the game that nobody was willing to buy.

So the myth goes that Atari took those 10 million copies late one night and buried them in the middle of the desert and lucky gamers could dig up a copy to this day.

This myth is grounded in a bit of truth. Yes, Atari had millions of unsellable copies of E.T, but they also had another major flop that year too, a home version of Pac-Man. These games sold so poorly that about 5 million of each were returned to the company. On the verge of financial collapse, they took the games to a landfill to dispose of them. But the games weren’t simply buried, they were crushed, buried, and then cement was poured overtop it. Don’t bother trying to dig them up, they are just plastic dust in the dirt.

Secret Character in Super Mario 64

The basic version of this myth is that if you collected all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 without dying, you would unlock Yoshi as a playable character. There were slight variations of this myth depending on who you ask, such as gaining access to Luigi instead of Yoshi, that you have to beat the game without saving and earning all of the stars in a reverse order.

The truth of the matter is that there are no extra characters in the game and 100% completing the game lets you see Yoshi and receive a congratulatory message for doing so.

Of course, the game has been redone and released on the Nintendo DS with extra playable characters, including Yoshi and Luigi. Whether this was done as a nod to the old rumors or simply a way to spice up the gameplay is unknown, but it is a case of rumor actually being made true by the developers.

Pokemon Go Was A Failure

Nintendo entering the mobile gaming world has been a strange journey so far. It started with Miitomo, which was more a social network than anything else. Then we’ve had Pokemon Go, Super Mario Run, and now Fire Emblem Heroes.

Out of all these games, Pokemon Go had the wildest ride. It had a huge first week, with 900,000 downloads on its first day, while being limited to four countries. Yet, after that first initial hype surge, the player base dropped off dramatically. Because of this drop off of daily players, many people claim that the whole game was a huge failure both for Nintendo and the developer Niantic.

In fact, Pokemon Go did exactly what it was meant to. It was never designed to be a proper replacement for a Pokemon game, nor to have a long term lifetime. It got a ton of attention, created a worldwide fad, earned a ton of money, and then let players move on.

Do you have a video game myth you remember that isn’t listed above? Got a story of spending hours upon hours trying to find the truth of one? Let us know in the comments below!

The Author

Ben Allen

Ben Allen

Champion of Hyrule, defender of space, bane of demons, savior of light, and occasional pizza eater.

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