Top 10 Video Game Hoaxes of All-Time

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Top 10 Video Game Hoaxes of All-Time

Top 10 Video Game Pranks

Written by Game Rant's Riley Little and Kyle Matthews.

The need to witness or unlock secret content in games has always been somewhat of a primal instinct. Be them easter eggs, secret achievements/trophies, or even golden weapons - there's an obsessive compulsive need to have every facet of a game at your disposal. It's even better when you can then show off accomplishments to friends. More often than not however, gamers learn about the existence of these things from another source, whether it be through friends, members of the esteemed press, or through hearsay on the internet. The only downside to learning of unlockable or secret content in a game is that the source in which the information derives from can be shady. As a result, some tips turn out to be duds, but that hasn't stopped the popularity of each hoax from reaching unparalleled levels of believability - Just look at the infamous cow level of Diablo. Odds are that everyone has been duped by at least one rumored video game secret at some point in their lives, and Game Rant has compiled a list of the top ten most devilish video game-focused trickery of all time. We can almost guarantee that you've been had by at least one of these myths — we certainly have.

Akuma vs. Zombies

Akuma Playable in Resident Evil 2 The Resident Evil franchise is one of the largest in gaming today, but even its audience is susceptible to a good prank. Back in 1998, Electronic Gaming Monthly allegedly printed an issue claiming that Street Fighter's Akuma could be unlocked as a playable character in Resident Evil 2. As fans soon found out, this report was yet another one of the magazine's infamous April Fool's tomfoolery. Gamers were told that they'd be able to unlock Akuma if they managed to complete Resident Evil 2 six times through (on both scenarios), and get 'A' ratings on all the missions using only a handgun and a knife. They would then have to simply start a seventh game, and type 'Akuma' into the computer screen. One of Street Fighter's finest was said to then burst out of a cryo tank, and could then be used as a playable character from there on out. The fictional character addition, Akuma, didn't need guns and instead could shoot fireballs at the evil zombie hordes. He was apparently able to open any door sans key. The issue of EGM that created this rumor is currently unknown, but that hasn't stopped people from falling for this bad joke.

Tomb Raider: Nude Edition

Laura Croft Nude Amid the technological advancements in gaming in the mid-90s, Tomb Raider swept players into an action adventure thrill ride that challenged conventions by putting a woman in the lead role - awesome! Unfortunately, adolescent man-children would come to abuse the ass-kicking femme fatale, and thus begins the tale of the "nude code." The famed Lara Croft "nude code" has been kicking around since 1996. Message board users would create elaborate stories of hidden levels and developer cheat codes, sending gullible players into a flurry of wasted hours and unsatisfied nether regions. Just when the fire would die down, another theory would pop up and players would be back to trying to unravel Tomb Raider's secrets - as well as Lara Croft's. This is one of the first cases of influencing gamers and their perception of cheat codes and hidden content in video games, and it became a gaming phenomenon.

Don't Cross the Streams

Minecraft Ghosts Minecraft has endured one of the fastest-growing gaming communities ever, with countless public servers and game modifications keeping players busy for years to come - or at least several months. With such an expansive community however, chances are good that a few people are going to want their own 15 minutes of fame. The legend of Herobrine started back in 2010 when Minecraft was still in Alpha, and a user named 'CreepyPasta' posted a disturbing screenshot and accompanying story on the Minecraft forums. The post claimed that a character would appear during gameplay, which resembled the default player model but with white eyes. One thing led to another, and it was suggested that this character was actually a ghost of Minecraft creator Notch's deceased brother, Herobrine. This has since been proven false by Mojang, though Notch claims he may add the character in a future update.

Bigfoot Invades San Andreas

Bigfoot in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas There was certainly a lot to love about Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the copious amounts of hidden easter eggs that were part of it. One of the most widely believed pieces of hidden content actually isn't real though. The urban legend that spread like wildfire was that the mythological Bigfoot could be found within the game, and even images surfaced online of the beast roaming the in-game forests. The rumor went like this: If players wandered through Mt. Chilliad or Back O Beyond at night, they'd have a small chance of running into Bigfoot. GTA players perambulated their way around the woods in hopes of crossing paths with the legendary beast, but after countless failed attempts the easter egg was written off as an elaborate hoax. Even Rockstar co-founder, Terry Donovan, debunked the prank in an interview with EGM (issue number 187), claiming that "There is no Bigfoot, just like in real life." Even though the Sasquatch doesn't exist, the gaming community did create a mod for GTA: San Andreas so that gamers could finally meet the monster.

Preventing a Death in Final Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy 7 Aeris Death In 1997, Squaresoft's foray into 3D graphics with Final Fantasy VII pushed the boundaries of computer hardware and storytelling. Its use of full motion video also helped cement its place in video gaming history, as for many players it was the first time a video game had made them feel something deeply emotional. To this day, very few cutscenes have affected players the way Aeris' death did. According to many internet rumors circulating in the late '90s, it was possible to keep her alive, through a series of convoluted and mundane actions in the game -- anything from finding hidden items to doing quests for characters that don't exist. Unfortunately, all of them are bogus, but that hasn't stopped some internet personas from making their claim to fame by suggesting they have the answer. The fact is, Aeris needs to die in order for the rest of FF7's story to make sense, and any claim that she's able to be saved is simply false.

A Smashing Good Rumor

Sonic and Tails in Super Smash Bros Melee Back when the GameCube was still a young system, the follow-up to the N64 hit, Super Smash Bros. had fans frothing at the mouths. The sequel gave players more characters, stages, and unlockables for their favorite fighting game franchise, but one thing many long-time fans are aware of is an infamous rumor that accompanied the title. The prank foretold of a method in which both Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails could be unlocked. This rumor originated from an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, where the magazine posted the piece as an April Fool's joke. The only problem with the joke was that it fooled many readers, and people went on believing it for several months after the initial publication was released. The myth claimed that if a player was able to defeat 20 enemies in 'Cruel Melee' mode the duo would be unlocked, but those who completed the task never received their prize. The prank did get a group of people demanding that the SEGA's mascot get in on the fray, and the character was eventually added to the Super Smash Bros. Brawl roster as a result.

Mew-ve that Truck

Mew Under Truck Legitimately obtaining the legendary Pokemon Mew was one of the hardest tasks of the original Pokemon Red and Blue. The only way to add the creature to a Pokedex, without the use of a GameShark or glitch, was to attend an event where Nintendo gave the Pokemon away. Still, that didn't stop a rumor from going around and tricking innocent gamers into believing they could nab to Pokemon in-game fair and square. As the rumor goes, Mew was hiding underneath a truck next to the S.S. Anne in Vermillion City. To confront and capture the coveted number 151, gamers needed Pokemon with the moves Surf, Cut, and Strength. The claim was that if the player Surfed over to the vehicle, Cut the tires on it, and then proceeded to move it out of the way using Strength, then the legendary Mew would emerge and challenge them to a battle. The only problem with this alleged strategy was that slashing the tires and pushing the car were both impossible — instantly debunking the myth. Gamers eagerly trying to catch 'em all, were caught off guard by this hoax.

Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Unlock Luigi in Super Mario 64 Super Mario 64, Mario's first true foray into 3D gaming, proved to be a terrific one, and many consider the Nintendo 64 classic to be the best game in the series to-date. With all the hidden stars, secret coins, and even a cameo from Yoshi, many were baffled at the lack of the Italian plumber's brother, Luigi. You can't have the Super Mario Bros. without both brothers, and a few hooligans decided that if Nintendo wasn't going to put Luigi in Super Mario 64 then they would. The hoax was based around a plaque on a star statue in one of the castle's courtyards. The plaque has a cryptic message engraved on it, stating "L is real 2041." This is where the rumor began, and it was said that the often overlooked sibling could be obtained by gathering every single coin in Super Mario 64 — of which there was allegedly 2041. After gathering this massive heap of coins that exceeded the value on the plaque, players were instructed to return to the statue where Luigi was said to then emerge as a playable character. Gathering every single gold coin in 64 and returning to the statue doesn't do anything, but some gamers to this day are convinced Luigi rests somewhere within the game's code.

The Case of the Perpetually Unobtainable Triforce

Triforce in Ocarina of Time The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is arguably one of the best video games of all time. As such, many websites sprouted up even before its 1998 release, often documenting secrets, bugs and hacks within the game. The ultimate irony however, is that for a game centered around the mythical Triforce -- an object that possesses tremendous power in the Zelda universe -- it was virtually unobtainable in this game. But that didn't stop players from trying to find it -- for several years. In what has to be the biggest wild goose chase in video game history, the search for the Triforce in Ocarina of Time was a long and arduous one, full of clever hoaxes and doctored screenshots. Those unfortunate enough to fall for some of the more outlandish claims spent hours trying to throw bombs into the center of the lava pit below Ganon's Castle and attempting to beat Ganon with zero deaths without the Biggoron's Sword. While every claim would be justified by the phrase, "I know a tester/coder at Nintendo," every claim was proven false, and we had to accept that the Triforce is simply unacquirable in Ocarina of Time, but not for lack of trying!

Polybius: The Game That Never Was... Or Was It?

Polybius Myth Possibly one of the oldest video game hoaxes to exist, the tale of Polybius is a long and convoluted one. Back in 1981, when '1984' was still a relevent topic, rumors and shady images of a government-developed arcade game had surfaced from Portland, Oregon. Players of this game had sworn that it caused headaches, amnesia, even the ability to never feel sadness again. It wasn't long before everyone wanted a piece of the action, and people often fought over it. In rare cases it caused nightmares and even suicide, but did it ever really exist? Wannabe internet trolls, take a seat -- this is how you make 'creepypasta.' The whole story about the alleged game has never fully come out. Over time the legend of Polybius has resurfaced, like a bad chain mail letter being adapted for email and Facebook status spam. There are people who still claim to have ROMs of this title, government mind control intact, but refuse to show it to anyone. Sadly, a lack of physical evidence of any kind has banished this once relevent title into the realm of myth and urban legend, and it remains as a powerful part of gaming history. To this day, there exist many websites that have documented the history of the hoax and offer their own opinions, like Polybius Theory.


Top 10 Video Game Pranks Each and every one of these hoaxes deserves a spot on this list, because of the impact they've had on the industry and community as a whole. A few of the previously mentioned pranks have forced a few of us into surrendering time that we can't get back, but at the very least we learned a valuable lesson afterwards. Rumors do make the industry a lot more fun, but remember what your parent/guardian told you, "You can't always believe what's on the Internet." There are hundreds of infamous video game hoaxes that have duped countless innocents throughout the years, and there are more than likely a number of them that didn't make the list. Be sure to let us know what you thought of our choices, and some other pranks or video game myths that have fooled you. Follow Riley Little and Kyle Matthews on Twitter @TheRileyLittle and @SuperKyol, respectively.

TAGS: Final Fantasy 7, Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, Pokemon, Resident Evil, Super Mario, Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider

  • Brian

    Well, you theoretically have a piece of the TriForce within you and beating ganon without the biggorons sword was a piece of cake with the hookshot.

    • Oni-Link

      Pffft! Hookshot? I always just used the spin attack with the Master Sword. No sweat. Granted the timing is a little odd at times.
      And… Just to clarify, as far as Ocarina of Time was concerned, there was a definitive difference between Ganondorf and Ganon.

  • Mattwo

    And yet there are constant fake patch notes claiming they REMOVED herobrine.

  • RuffioLostBoy

    I have actually done the Aeris trick. It’s done through either a series of choices involving Aeris and Tifa. Every time you can make a choice between doing something with/for Aeris or Tifa, choose Tifa. Take Tifa on the date, don’t buy the flower etc. Missing one option means her death. Following this method will cause Tifa to die in place of Aeris. The other way is the much simpler way: debug mode on the Game Shark. You can re add her to your party, but either way, the story will progress as though Aeris was still dead.

  • lukas

    I also remember hearing you could go to the moon in pokemon ruby/sapphire by talking to the guy at the space station.
    Or being able to unlock the thwomp as a character in Mario Kart 64

  • Mordenkainen

    There’s actually a glitch/cheat that you can do in Pokémon Red/Blue that allows you to capture a Mew, as well as obtain all 151 Pokémon without needing to trade with another player. The trick involves using teleport/fly and opening the in-game menu at just the right moment that you interrupt the animation where an NPC trader approaches you.

    The actual Pokemon that you get is determined by the trainers that you interact with. You’re essentially putting in a “gameshark” code without having an actual gameshark because it flips the value in a hex code between 0 and 151. So when you step on the appropriate spot on the gold nugget bridge after properly setting the trick up, you can grab yourself a Mew, Mewtwo, or just about any other. They all start at level 7 via this trick.

    The glitch is referred to as either the “Mew Glitch” or “Trainer Fly”, and there are lists of the various trainers and who you need to manipulate to unlock the various Pokemon you can acquire. Using this method I got a level 7 Mew, which I immediately used to KO all of Misty’s Pokémon, because his stat scaling is outrageously high.

    • Mattwo

      I already linked the bulbapedia page…

  • anonymous

    Nude Tomb Raider was very real. There are patches for the PC and Mac versions that render Lara in all of her triangular, polygonal glory.

  • Mike

    When the MMO Guild Wars 2 was in development and periodically releasing information on their classes for April Fools they released a video of the Commando class. You’d be surprised how many people fell for it.

  • mattboy115

    At a point in the game’s development there was a point where you could get the triforce in Ocarina of Time. Not ever screenshot you see is doctored. A lot of people don’t realize just how much of that game was removed before production. It was supposed to release on the N64 Disk Drive but since that attachment was such a flop, they had to stick with what they could do with the cartridge. The game used to be so much bigger.

  • mattboy115

    I actually found a real way to get Luigi in Mario 64 and this actually works!

    First you gotta plug the controller into the hidden controller port on the back of the system. This only works on later systems that have this feature. They made the game this way on purpose knowing they would make N64s like this later on. Then you get all 120 stars, shoot yourself out of the cannon and fly under the stone bridge 6464 times before the wing cap runs out and if you successfully pull this off, go inside the castle and punch the mirror twice and now you should be able to catch Lakitu and kill him. After Lakitu is dead, Luigi will come out of the door in the back of the room on the other side of the mirror but he’s stuck on the other side. Leave the room and do a hundred and twenty circles around the tree outside the castle that’s farthest from the castle. You’ll know when you see it because if you did all that other stuff right, it will be purple. Then go to the boo area and punch the star statue after killing all the boos in the courtyard. Now the whole top tower of the castle will rotate around automatically revealing a giant glowing crack in the back wall. Shoot yourself out of the canon into the crack blowing up the wall. There will be a pipe inside the wall. Go down that pipe taking you to a whole new world previously undiscovered filled with goombas. Take out all the goombas and a giant rocket ship will come out of the ground. Get on the ship and it will take you to the Comet Observatory from Mario Galaxy. Once there, talk to Rosalina and she will fire up the Observatory laser, blowing up the castle from space. Once the castle is destroyed, you should be able to return to earth. Search through the rubble you find at the castle site but Luigi isn’t there but don’t lose hope. You’re not done yet. At this point you have to turn off the console. Now go to your computer and get a copy of Project 64 and download hacked Mario 64 rom with Luigi in it and quit whining about Luigi not being in Mario 64.

    • Mattwo

      No one believes you!

    • Oni-Link

      Lol! Dude! You are such a Freaking TROLL! XD

  • Joseph

    Polybius was cooked up by anti-game advocates to prove that games were dangerous. Just like games make you violent, lazy, stupid, and psychotic.

  • akemi

    sorry to burst your bubble but Polybius did exit. there are photographs of the cabinet and project MK Ultra.

    • Mattwo

      1. That’s the REVERSE of what “bursting your bubble” means.
      2. No proof=no credibility.

  • A victim

    WTF these are nonsence about Polybius.I personaly tried it and it has indeed too many bad or maybe deadly side effects.And the best of all it is a digital drug!

  • Oni-Link

    Honestly, the one that I REALLY wanted to see was the “Untold Legend of the Fierce Deity.”
    I LOVED the idea of the game people were advertising. I sincerely wish Nintendo would actually make that game.

  • What

    Got to be crazy then, seeing that I found and catched mew in both the blue and red edition.