Video Games have been around since the late ’70s, and the average gamer is over 30 years-old, so it’s no wonder there’s a lot of hidden secrets surrounding the industry and those who make games. Take a peek at these ten interesting facts about video games. How many of them do you already know?
1. The creators of Pac-Man didn’t know how the game ended.
Pac-Man was designed to be an infinitely playable game, so creator Toru Iwatani didn’t think it was possible to beat. However, video game champion Billy Mitchell proved that the game is beatable thanks to a 256th level integer overflow caused in the code.
That means the maximum Pac-Man score of 3,333,360 can only be achieved when each pellet, fruit, and enemy has been consumed on the previous 255 levels.
2. The PlayStation was developed as an SNES accessory.
At the height of the Super Nintendo’s cartridge-based success, Nintendo reached out to Sony to create a CD-based peripheral for the console. However, the two companies couldn’t agree on CD royalties, so Sony kept the prototype and developed it into the PlayStation consoles we know and love today.
3. Medical pathologists studied a plague in World of Warcraft.
In 2005, Blizzard introduced a new raid to it’s popular massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft. One of the encounters featured a de-buff that spread rapidly and could not be dispelled. The debuff was supposed to stay contained in the raid instance, but hunters and warlocks were able to introduce the debuff to the populace at large by dismissing and then recalling their infected pets.
This lack of oversight caused the Corrupted Blood debuff to spread rapidly in cities outside the raid zone to the point that hundreds of thousands of corpses began stacking up. Newer players were killed instantly by the high-level debuff, and soon players were intentionally infecting cities. Soon, Blizzard had to step in and shut down the servers to issue a patch to remove the de-buff from any players outside the intended raid zone.
The consequences of this virtual plague were so impressive that epidemiologists were able to learn more about how epidemics can spread through a population. Bet you never thought interesting facts about video games could actually be used to help people, huh?
4. Grand Theft Auto got started as a game glitch.
An interview with Grand Theft Auto developer Gary Penn has revealed the game was almost canned. Penn said the publisher wanted to can the game because it crashed all the time, but a bug in the police car AI caused them to become aggressive and ram the player off the road. That mechanic was developed further and the very first Grand Theft Auto game was conceived.
5. Deus Ex predicted the future accidentally.
The New York skyline in the 2000 game Deux Ex is missing the iconic World Trade Center, which was still standing at the time of the game’s release. Developers stated that technical limitations prevented them from including the twin towers in the skyline, so they explained their absence in the game’s story as terrorist attacks.
Less than a year after the game’s release, the World Trade Centers were the subject of a terror attack that ultimately caused both to fall.
6. GameBoy was the first game console in space.
Nintendo’s Game Boy was the first game console to be sent into space. It spent 196 days in orbit around the earthwith cosmonaut Aleksandr Serbrov, who played Tetris on the console.
7. Donkey Kong was based on the Popeye cartoon.
Shigeru Miyamoto had an idea for a video game that would feature characters from Popeye, but after Nintendo couldn’t secure the license for the cartoon, he decided to make up characters with the same archetypes. Donkey Kong was based on the brutish Bluto, Jump Man was a carpenter based on Popeye’s role, and Pauline assumed the role of Olive Oyl.
Jump Man later became Mario, and the rest is video game facts history.
8. Japan’s version of Fallout 3 is different.
In Fallout 3, one of the first towns you stumble into is Megaton, named after the gigantic un-detonated nuclear bomb that sits in a pit in the middle of the town. Players can then choose to detonate the bomb or safely disarm it for the citizens of Megaton. However, this isn’t an option available in the Japanese translation of Fallout 3.
The option to detonate the bomb is completely removed in the Japanese version and the character who encourages you to do it, Mr. Burke, has also been removed.
9. Silent Hill is creepy because of technical limitations.
Silent Hill’s reputation as a creepy horror game is thanks to technical limitations at the time. The massive game world couldn’t be displayed without significant stuttering, so the developers introduced the fog mechanic to hide these issues. This lack of visual feedback served to up the atmospheric horror, and the Silent Hill series quickly became a staple for horror game fans.
10. Nintendo doesn’t allow Shigeru Miyamoto to bike to work.
Shigeru Miyamoto is so integral to Nintendo’s success that the company has forbidden him from biking to work. He’s the creator of several popular Nintendo franchises, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Pikmin, and many more games.