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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
 Written by John Scalzo  on April 01, 2003

Special: Exposing these hoaxes was easy, so John Edwards, you're next!

I hate April Fool's Day. Actually, let me clarify. Pulling pranks on your friends is great fun. You pull a prank, they pull one back. As long as the participants are willing a good time is had by all. But I hate it when news outlets report April Fool's Day pranks as real news. I think there is no worse crime a journalist can do than knowingly lie. And doing it to your loyal viewers/readers/listeners as a joke is terrible. Of course in true prank fashion I "get back" at these outlets by never watching, reading, or listening to their product again.

The video game world is no stranger to these deceptive news reports. Most of them actually didn't originate from April Fool's Day, they were just rumors that spread out of control. But I'm taking a cue from one of my favorite writers, Cecil Adams, and giving you the Straight Dope on these video game rumors. I'll even reveal a few that are true.

Motral Kombat II
The Rumor: By pulling off an insane button combination Mileena and Kitana would shed their clothes and perform a "Nudality."

The Truth: The search for video game boobies is a long and often fruitless one. Let's face it, putting nudity into something that until a few years ago was believed to be "just for kids" is a first class ticket to a lawsuit. Just ask Disney. But that never stopped video game fans from thinking some developers would try anyway.

In 1993 Mortal Kombat II hit arcades and it's almost a fact at this point that it's the best the Mortal Kombat series has to offer. All of the best characters, more blood, more gore, and more fatalities than ever. But John Tobias and Ed Boon were sick of hearing all the complaints that Mortal Kombat was too bloody so they also included Friendships and Babalities. Fans hated them, but they were probably the source of all the speculation about hidden fatalities. Moves that were so difficult to pull off they were truly something special. Obviously the most famous one of these was the Nudality.

The rumor went that after inputting the Nudality button combination, Kitana or Mileena would rip off their clothes and their opponents eyes would bug out, he would scream, and then explode. Much like Kabal's fatality in Mortal Kombat 3.

But I hate to break it to you, there are no Nudalities

NBA Jam and NBA Jam: T.E.
The Rumor: "The List", a giant collection of secret players these games were supposed to include.

The Truth: NBA Jam was one of those games that changes everything. When it came home to the Super NES and Genesis it single-handedly created the four player simultaneous craze that we know and love today. Sure there were other four player games before it, but none captured that feeling of competition and trash talk that NBA Jam did perfectly. And with the immortal Dick Vitale in the announcer's booth (or so we thought at the time, it was actually a soundalike) I still have a blast breaking out NBA Jam to this day.

A huge part of NBA Jam's appeal was it's gallery of secret characters and the never ending search for more. The only secret characters that are in the game are former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore quarterback Warren Moon, the godfather of funk George Clinton, and developers Mark Turmell, Jamie Rivett, Sal DiVita, Air Dog, Chow-Chow, Kabuki, Scruff and Weasel.

But almost instantly the names started popping up on lists all over the place. Santa Claus, Scorpion, John Wayne Bobbit (with login initials CUT), O.J. Simpson, Kato Kaelin, Ron Jeremy (with the obvious login initials of XXX), a Ku Klux Klansmen (with the even more obvious login initials of KKK), and the more likely, but still untrue, tandem of Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal. This is actually only a partial list as "The List" was started in the days before the Internet and things like this would travel between friends on folded over sheets of lined paper. Sadly, or obviously in the case of the Klansmen, none of these secret characters are in the game. But wouldn't seeing Scorpion rock the rim have been cool?

The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
The Rumor: You could "get the Triforce" by finding the secret room it was hiding in.

The Truth: No one really knows how The Triforce Room rumor got started. It was one of the first really big video game Internet rumors so that might have something to do with it, but the interesting thing is that to this day you will still find people that swear they've found The Triforce Room.

A screenshot made the rounds of every major gaming website after Zelda: The Ocarina of Time was released. No one knew where it came from and the stories started soon after. First it was believed to be a glitch and the story went that if you explored every itch of Gannon's Castle you would eventually stumble into The Triforce Room. Then the story changed and said that the screenshot was leaked by a Nintendo employee and it was actually part of a cut scene that was removed from the game before it's release. This was quickly batted down and the story morphed into saying that the screenshot was still from a removed cut scene but that it was left on the cartridge and that with a Game Shark you could access it. There are actually other screenshots and strange occurrences in OoT that can be accessed this way, but The Triforce Room is not one of them.

Since none of these stories panned out the current belief is that it's just a really good Photoshop job. But the truth is that no one knows where it came from and after all these years you'd think someone would take credit for it by now. Like the Tootsie Pop, I think the world may never know.

Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
The Rumor: It's rather obvious isn't it?

The Truth: And here we have the latest addition to the pantheon of video game hoaxes and rumors. In EGM's April issue they printed a very complex code to unlock DOAXBV's Topless Mode. According to EGM:

"No freakin' way! Oh yes! We've discovered a trick that allows the DOA ladies to come out to play SANS tops for jaw-dropping, bosom-bouncing seminude action. (Yes, without the red stars or black stripes; nipples are present and accounted for!) Behold topless mode! Here's how to unlock it: Start a new save file with any girl and partner with Lisa. Travel only to island locations with no other people. As soon as you arrive, quickly exit the area. At the end of the first day, you're forced to play volleyball. As soon as possible, hit Pause and choose "Give up." From day two onward, continue going to island locations with no other people and exiting out quickly. End each day normally by sleeping. Do this for all 14 days, and you'll see the end credits roll (without your having played any volleyball!). Now, go back to your save file. Does it have a time of 0:13 or less? Then rock on, you perv! You've activated Topless mode! Continue this save file with any girl. Here's where the magic happens. Open the Item screen, go to the swimsuits, press the Y button on an already-equipped suit, and "W" (wear) will change to "T" (topless). This works only with two-piece costumes. Now, start the game, and all competitors in two-piece suits suddenly "forget" their modesty! Special thanks to Tina for bringing out two sets of big guns! At least now we know why this game got an "M" rating! Scandalous!"

I'm going to make this one short: Tomonobu Itagaki, the director of the series, has stated repeatedly that there is no topless mode in DOAXBV. That's it, that's the final word.

The Truth is Out There

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
The Rumor: E.T. for the Atari 2600 was such a terrible game that Atari had every unsold copy buried in a New Mexico landfill.

The Truth: The truth in this one is not too far from the rumor. In 1982 there was no bigger movie than E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, literally. E.T. would become the highest grossing movie of all time and held that record until Star Wars was re-released in 1997. Just like now the video game rendition of the popular movie was considered a sure thing for the Christmas season. Except for a few rather large blunders on the part of Atari.

The first mistake was that the game was truly as terrible as advertised. It was hated by nearly everyone and therefore sold few copies. Atari's second mistake was that they produced more copies of the game than the amount of Atari systems that had been sold. I believe the ratio was that there were three copies of E.T. for every two systems on the market. So even if the game had been a monstrous success there still would have been a mountain of surplus games. Others even speculate that Atari's miscalculation of E.T.'s selling power caused the great video game crash. But that took years of sub par games and E.T. was actually just the straw that broke the camel's back.

But back to the question at hand, is there a landfill in New Mexico that houses the mother lode of E.T. cartridges? Probably. Unlike the rumor, Atari did not go out of their way to bulldoze a whole pile of the cursed carts, but rather than attempt to sell them they did just throw them away. So odds if you start digging around Roswell you're much more likely to find a stockpile of E.T. games than an alien gravesite. Although technically a pile of E.T. games in a landfill is an alien gravesite.

Tomb Raider
The Rumor: By climbing to the top of the waterfall in the third level (The Lost Valley) and doing a swan dive into the pool below when you get out of the water Lara would be naked.

The Truth: We've all heard the rumor. You know you tried it... we all tried it. To see Lara Croft naked is as close to a holy grail as the video game world has come. And while this particular trick is nothing but a dirty rumor, an intrepid young hacker has created a "Nude Raider" patch was for the PC version of Tomb Raider that strips Lara down to her bare essentials.

A group calling themselves "Lara Naturally" created the patch, which allows you to play through the entire game wearing nothing but Lara's holster. It is obviously an unofficial patch as Eidos does not approve of Lara appearing naked anywhere (except in Playboy apparently).

The Final Word
That's it, the fact and the fiction, the straight dope and the stuff only a dope would believe. These obviously aren't the only rumors and hoaxes to hit the video game world, but it's a start. I hope you've been enlightened and as Cecil says: I'm doing this to fight ignorance, it's just taking longer than I thought.

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