In the days before forums and Twitter, kids waged a game-centric information war solely by word of mouth. Everyone wanted to be in the know, so little ears were always eager to hear the latest gaming gossip. Secret tips, upcoming releases, cut content, and more. there was at least one child in every school who had deet.
Naturally, I played a part in this information war in my youth, even though for some reason many of the rumors that crossed my ears sounded… well, exceptionally stupid. I couldn’t tell you if it was the result of bad rumors or kids lying just to get attention, but either way some of the things I heard were downright confusing, that’s the less we can say.
8 “You can unlock Sonic in melee!”
At the start of the Gamecube run, everyone had two games: Super Smash Bros. Melee and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, and when you have so many similarities between the two games on your plate, it’s only natural to want a little crossover between them. Now, of course, everyone everywhere has heard the rumor about Sonic being unlocked as a playable character in Melee. However, I have heard a different version of this.
I knew a kid who, and to this day I have no idea how he got this into his head, absolutely swore you could unlock Sonic in Melee by opening up the Gamecube, putting in your Melee disc, then putting your Sonic Adventure 2 disc on it. Somehow, while that’s not how optical drives work, it would magically transmit Sonic into your copy of Melee, like the old Sonic and Knuckles lock cartridge.
seven “Wario is Mario’s uncle!”
The funny thing about playground rumors is that sometimes a kid tries to make a fuss out of literally nothing. They just wanted to be right, to be the guy who knew everything. For example, I knew a kid who vehemently believed that not only were Mario and Wario related by blood, but that Wario was, in fact, Mario’s uncle.
How did he get this information? Why, his uncle at Nintendo told him. Because of course there is always an uncle at Nintendo. Even if it were true, which it isn’t, I didn’t really know what this kid was expecting from me, in terms of a reaction. He acted like it was a major reveal, but all it would really mean is that Wario is a jerk to his family in addition to random people. Frankly, it’s more in Wario’s character.
6 “There’s a secret Yu-Gi-Oh card!”
This one is courtesy of my own older sister, in a rather sloppy attempt at the classic “older brother gaslighting their younger brother”. When I was in the middle of my Yu-Gi-Oh phase, I enjoyed playing Yu-Gi-Oh: Forbidden Memories on my PS1. Once, while I was playing in the living room, my sister and a friend of hers told me that the game had a secret card that could beat anything.
What was this secret card called? The “Green Sage with Blue Eyes”. I assumed she was trying to mess with the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, but even I wasn’t stupid enough to fall in love with that one. Strangely, however, she insisted on it, even showing me an image from Google of a random green-haired anime character as proof. I still didn’t believe her, but she just laughed at me, and we left it at that.
5 “Hold the buttons to catch Pokémon!”
Another classic staple of early game rumors, everyone (and I mean everyone) believed that in the original Pokemon games you could increase your chances of landing a successful capture with a particular sequence of buttons. In my neighborhood, the sequence of choice was to hold A, B, and Down on the D-Pad right after the Pokemon entered the ball.
Obviously, it was full bunko, but what’s interesting is that this rumor is apparently regional. I’ve talked to people who grew up elsewhere in the United States, and everyone had their own version of it. For some it was A, B and Up, for others it was tapping A and B to the beat of the PokeBall’s jolts. This is one of the few examples I can think of of a rumor spreading far and wide, yet being completely different wherever it went.
4 “They’re going to put Gex in Super Smash Bros.!”
I was, to my memory, the only child I knew growing up who liked Gex’s games (and still do, thank you very much). No other kids liked him, either as a show or a mascot, but as is often the case with kids, when someone likes something different from you, it’s a way of making fun of you. of them.
I mentioned Gex in a conversation once, and the other kid told me that Nintendo was going to add him to Super Smash Bros. original on the N64. Now I loved Gex, but even I knew he never had the chance to do such a thing. I told them that and asked how Nintendo was even going to add it. They said Nintendo could just magically add characters to every copy of their games when interest struck. Once again, the magic character logic of Smash Bros. come back.
3 “There’s a Digimon without -Mon in its name!”
A popular Digimon theory is that their names all end in “mon” because that’s their file extension. They are digital monsters, after all, so their names all have the same file extension. Of course when I was a kid I couldn’t even spell “file extension”, let alone know what it was, so when someone said they found a Digimon without “my” in its name in Digimon World, I needed to know Suite.
Unfortunately, this was just another example of kids making up stuff to look savvy. I peppered this other child with questions, but he had no answers. “What is the Digimon’s name?” He did not know. “What does it look like?” He did not know. “Is it evolving into something?” He did not know. All he “knew” was that she existed and that her name didn’t end in “my.”
2 “You can play as Mario in Luigi’s mansion!”
Back when Luigi’s Mansion first came out, everyone I knew was weirdly…disgusted? I guess it was the consensus at the time that Luigi being a creepy cat with a vacuum cleaner made the game bad, and it would automatically be better if it was Mario’s Mansion instead. How lucky that a child knew how to play as Mario instead of Luigi.
According to them, when you find Mario trapped in King Boo’s painting at the bottom of the well, you can break into the room. King Boo would get mad at you for cheating and trap Luigi in the painting, letting Mario go. The title of the game would then change to “Mario’s Mansion” and you would just jump on stuff instead of using the Poltergust. Fun.
1 “Wizpig is playable in Diddy Kong Racing!”
Diddy Kong Racing hasn’t had nearly as much play in my neighborhood as Mario Kart 64 has, but me and a small group of friends have had some good fun once in a while. The big mystery, however, was the game’s main antagonist, Wizpig. We were all too bad at the game to beat him, so we never found out what his deal was.
A kid swore his cousin beat the game with perfect times on every track and unlocked a playable Wizpig for his problem. This, of course, was a lie, and even if it wasn’t, I certainly wasn’t going to care. Although, funnily enough, in the DS remake of Diddy Kong Racing they made Wizpig playable!
NEXT: Wild Grand Theft Auto Easter Eggs & Myths You Need To See