Gaming Myths and Truths

Gaming Myths and Truths
 
 

The Myth: The First Videogame Ever Made Was Pong

The Truth: Pong was released in 1972 as an arcade game, and was definitely one of the first videogames to have any sort of commercial success. Even now it’s a household name, though many people haven't played it. Beating it by a year however was the arcade game Computer Space, which released in 1971 to moderate success. Computer Space is considered the first arcade game, though it is worth noting that Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabne – the creators – did go on to found Atari, the company behind Pong.

Even Computer Space wasn’t the first videogame though, just the first popular one. Computer Space was based off Spacewar, a 1962 project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was programmed by Steve Russell and several others, but would continuously be improved on later by students and university employees. It wasn’t easy to get your hands on though, and if you didn’t have connections to a handful of different universities, you wouldn’t have a chance to play it. Hence why Computer Space and Pong are much more well known.

Earlier than even 1962 is Tennis for Two. Playable in 1958 at the Brookhaven Library, there is no doubt that Tennis for Two was a game, but questions arise as to if it counts as a videogame. It was played through an oscilloscope, powered by analogue computers. These fed an image to the oscilloscope of a bouncing ball. Add a net and two controllers, and you’re looking at a brand new experience that proved very popular at Brookhaven Library. Legally, to be counted as a videogame however, there must be some sort of video signal manipulation, of which Tennis for Two lacked.

Videogame or not, it’s easy to see where the idea for Pong came from.

The Myth: You Could Jump over the Flag in Super Mario Bros

The Truth: Reaching the flag indicated the end of a Super Mario Bros level, yet some players obviously wanted more. Rumour floated around for years that if you jumped in just the right way, at just the right time, you could manoeuver Mario over the flagpole. Supposedly, you could do this on every level.

It just isn’t true. The levels weren’t designed to allow you that sweet flag-avoiding glory. Except, where there’s a will there’s a way, and while you weren’t designed to leap the flagpole, you technically can in two levels. When playing World 1-1 on a wide screen, you can take advantage of the horizontal and vertical looping techniques to make the jump.

World 3-3 however is the only world you can leap a flagpole in. By using a platform on a string you can gain the extra height to pass over the pole. Then you get to spend the next however-long running around doing nothing until timer runs out and Mario dies, making you play the level again.

Hey – you win some, you lose some.

The Myth: Windows 95 Hid a Secret Program That Proved Bill Gates Was a Devil Worshipper

The Truth: The rumour here is that Bill Gates hid a secret program in Windows 95 that took you through a sort of mini-game of horrors. Bloody halls, weird messages, and unsettling music.

Bill Gates is many things, but I think we all know that he’s not a devil worshipper. Or if he is, he has the sense to not bring that into his business. Of course there was no secret program hidden in Windows 95.

It was in Excel 95. Here’s how you accessed it.

  1. Open up Excel 95
  2. Make your way down to row 95
  3. Select the whole row
  4. Select cell B
  5. Go to Help/About Microsoft Excel
  6. Hold CTRL, ALT, and shift, then click on the tech support button
  7. A window should open, and you can play a mini-game

The program was called the Hall of Tortured Souls and featured several disturbing rooms, narrow bridges, and – worst of all – images of the programmers that worked on Excel 95.

While the Hall of Tortured Souls does exist, it doesn’t have any of the aforementioned bloody halls, weird messages, or unsettling music. This easter egg was left by the programmers because – let’s face it – no one ever reads who created any of the Microsoft Office programs.

The Myth: Polybius Was Secret CIA Brainwashing (No, Seriously This Time)

The Truth: Polybius was supposedly an arcade game from 1981. It has never been proven to actually exist, and is generally believed to be an urban legend. But what a legend it is.

It goes that Polybius suddenly appeared in several Portland arcades. It was addictively good, and had queues to play it. Despite being popular, it disappeared a month later with no trace of it to ever surface again. The game was meant to have caused severe psychoactive effects, such as insomnia, hallucinations and amnesia. Men in black suits were also said to have visited the arcade cabinets regularly, to collect unknown information.

Men in black suits means only one thing of course; the government was experimenting on people via videogames. The experiments ranged from subliminal messaging to brainwashing. It’s worth noting that Polybius shares a name with a Greek historian, who was known for firmly believing that nothing should be recorded as history until there was sufficient proof via interviews and witnesses. Something which this urban legend lacks.

American author Brian Dunning looked into Polybius in 2013 and raises several alternative ideas surrounding it. While he firmly believes that Polybius didn’t exist, it does have a few things in common with events that happened around the same time. Another game called Tempest released in the same year as Polybius, and supposedly had issues with vertigo, and photosensitive epilepsy.

Dunning believed that the Polybius rumours started with exaggerated reports of the effects of Tempest. This was combined with a couple of gamers falling ill in arcades in Portland; one with a migraine, another with stomach pains after trying to beat a world record for playing Asteroids.

Shortly after these illnesses was another incident. Apparently several arcades were raided by FBI during an investigation of gambling. In preparation of the raid, several FBI agents were said to have checked arcade cabinets for tampering, and recorded several high score tables.

It all mixes together rather well, and with no actual proof that Polybius existed (such as a patent), it’s pretty safe to say that this myth is just that.

But who knows, stranger things have happened.





 

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Comments Comments (23)

 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 11:56 AM
-6
Lara croft was never naked, until someone modded her to be,
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 12:41 PM
6
Ahhh, the hours upon hours I spent trying various tasks to resurrect Aeris.
 
 
 
Posted by Syn-Ryn
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 1:03 PM
5
6 October 2017, 11:56 AM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
Lara croft was never naked, until someone modded her to be,
PC GAMING WINS AGAIN BOYS
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 1:11 PM
-
6 October 2017, 01:03 PM Reply to Syn-Ryn
PC GAMING WINS AGAIN BOYS
LONG LIVE LORD GABEN.
 
 
 
Posted by vanke499
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 1:14 PM
1
I spent countless hours trying to get Mew under that truck! guess I was one of the gullible idiots. I remember the Missingno glitch could replicate your items if you had it in the right slot, hello infinite masterballs!
 
 
 
Posted by NZBuc
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 1:37 PM
2
enjoyed this - would have been nice to have a few more verified myths too :)
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 1:41 PM
-2
6 October 2017, 01:11 PM Reply to Bank
LONG LIVE LORD GABEN.
Well Gabe did make Pc gaming the monster it is today. at least in most of the world.
 
 
 
Posted by Syn-Ryn
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 1:57 PM
7
6 October 2017, 01:41 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
Well Gabe did make Pc gaming the monster it is today. at least in most of the world.
shouts 2 the monopolization of PC game distribution, pioneering microtransactions, and the birth of video game DRM
 
 
 
Posted by cortez72
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 2:03 PM
1
Awesome list. I definitely heard these gems and more. "Sheng Long" anyone (although, technically it's a viral April fools but achieved myth status in an age before the internet).
 
 
 
Posted by drunk_monk
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 2:19 PM
2
GREAT read Bronwyn. Very entertaining list. Some I knew about and some were total news to me :)

My early gaming days are limited in scope too but I did play the sh*t out of Duck Hunt and spent many hours trying to shoot the dog.

The TR one was infamous even for me who never liked the original games.

And SO many hours lost trying to get mew around the SS Anne.

Thanks for the entertaining read.
 
 
 
Posted by drunk_monk
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 2:21 PM
5
6 October 2017, 11:56 AM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
Lara croft was never naked, until someone modded her to be,
UMMMMM did you read the article? Or even the part you decided to comment on? your entire comment was included in it but with more detail.
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 2:56 PM
3
Fun read.
I definitely remember jumping Mario over the flagpole :D
 
 
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 4:04 PM
3
6 October 2017, 01:57 PM Reply to Syn-Ryn
shouts 2 the monopolization of PC game distribution, pioneering microtransactions, and the birth of video game DRM
Syn-Ryn dropping hit after hit, I love it.
 
 
 
Posted by Wozza
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 4:11 PM
2
Biggest one I remember was jumping the car into the helicopter on Sega Rally would give you a free round.
 
 
 
Posted by ChieftaiNZ
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 5:19 PM
3
6 October 2017, 01:57 PM Reply to Syn-Ryn
shouts 2 the monopolization of PC game distribution, pioneering microtransactions, and the birth of video game DRM
Special shoutout to the number 2 in the post, as it seems to be where GabeN stops counting!
 
 
 
Posted by ChieftaiNZ
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 5:21 PM
1
The god damn Golden Warthog of Headlong in Halo 2....
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 6:06 PM
-4
6 October 2017, 01:57 PM Reply to Syn-Ryn
shouts 2 the monopolization of PC game distribution, pioneering microtransactions, and the birth of video game DRM
Monopolizing or birthing, different people see different things, but hey at least they don't charge membership fees, and you can always choose to use another service,


oh and how are those refunds and name changing features on ps4 going? better to have the choice to choose another service on your platform or choice.
 
 
 
Posted by ChieftaiNZ
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 8:08 PM
7
6 October 2017, 06:06 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
Monopolizing or birthing, different people see different things, but hey at least they don't charge membership fees, and you can always choose to use another service,


oh and how are those refunds and name changing features on ps4 going? better to have the choice to choose another service on your platform or choice.
You make PC gamers look like a***oles.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 9:14 PM
-4
6 October 2017, 08:08 PM Reply to ChieftaiNZ
You make PC gamers look like a***oles.
Hey hey hey, i don't represent anybody except myself, and if you think i do, you're an idiot,
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 6 Oct 2017 9:22 PM
-4
6 October 2017, 08:08 PM Reply to ChieftaiNZ
You make PC gamers look like a***oles.
but if stating facts make me sound like an a***ole, them im an a***ole who states facts.
 
 
 
Posted by CoffeeAddict
On Saturday 7 Oct 2017 10:04 PM
2
Remember the 'All Bond' unlock for Goldeneye on the N64. Where you could play as any of the previous bonds in multiplayer. Apparently its in the code......
 
 
 
Posted by vanke499
On Tuesday 10 Oct 2017 10:15 AM
2
I remember there was a myth that you could fly a plane in GTA 3, of course there was the hilarious Dodo which was a plane but couldn't fly because it didn't have wings (What!). I am sure there are many of us that tried our best to get it to fly but you could never stay in the air for more than 20-30 seconds until you crashed. Flying was a welcome addition in San Andreas, finally the dream was realised!
 
 
 
Posted by MadDudeHorse
On Tuesday 10 Oct 2017 10:35 AM
1
10 October 2017, 10:15 AM Reply to vanke499
I remember there was a myth that you could fly a plane in GTA 3, of course there was the hilarious Dodo which was a plane but couldn't fly because it didn't have wings (What!). I am sure there are many of us that tried our best to get it to fly but you could never stay in the air for more than 20-30 seconds until you crashed. Flying was a welcome addition in San Andreas, finally the dream was realised!
The Dodo was able to be flown, albeit very poorly. The trick was to dip the nose every few seconds to prevent stalling, spend a good chunk of time perfecting that.
Speaking of the old GTA games, there was a cheat code that made cars fly in Vice City once they reached a certain speed, however the cars had no propulsion once airborne. The best part about it is that it did not only apply to the car you were driving but to all cars. I would get police wanted levels then park on a bridge, as the cops rushed over their cars would lift off and I could steer them off the bridge and into the water.