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The Top 7… videogame legends we never want to hear again

5. THE SHENG LONG HOAX


The story, one last time…

Dateline: 1992. The world’s schoolyards are abuzz with Street Fighter II gossip, ranging from speculation as to how best to glimpse Chun Li’s unglimpsables, all the way to conjecture regarding secret characters and stages. A mistranslation of one of Ryu’s taunts – “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance” - causes no end of peach-fuzzed chin-stroking: who could this Sheng Long be?

Into this tinderbox of teenage gullibility is thrust the blazing match of Electronic Gaming Monthly’s April issue, in which in-game pictures of Sheng are printed with instructions for how to meet the master. Of course, the pictures were just Ryu with a ponytail, and the “instructions” could better be described as “a list of things that are impossible to do.” But years later you’d think that EGM had invented the concept of the April Fool, folks are still so bonkers for Sheng freaking Long.

Above: Well, we’re fooled 

We’re sick of it because…

This was a well-turned prank that hit the right buttons. The amount of hearsay devoted to Street Fighter II Easter eggs was ridiculous – we remember being told that it was possible to pick up and throw Guile’s boom box, or even ride Dhalsim’s elephants – and EGM exploited a vexing oversight in the game’s localization to craft a clever prank.

It’s time, however, to let go. Not only are later Street Fighter games full of wry nods toward The Hoax That Won’t Die, but many of these nods take the form of game-breakingly tough characters like Akuma and Gouken. As an in-joke, Sheng Long has gone from “sly wink to the fans” to “Borat t-shirt.”

By the way – Sheng Long was never intended to refer to a person at all. It was a fighting style.

Above: WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST SAY THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE 

If someone starts telling this story, say…

“When I get that 6-button add-on CVG promised me in April ‘92, I’ll defeat Sheng Long… on my Game Boy!”


4. CUSTER’S REVENGE

 
The story, one last time…

In the heady days of the Atari 2600, quality control or licensing were unheard of. Like the then-thriving VCR (a contraption that stored DVD video on magnetic tape), all manner of rinky-dink operators tried producing and marketing content for the machine. And like the VCR, many people hit upon the idea that consumers would be less demanding of “quality product” if they were instead offered “boobies.”


Above: For younger readers, the naughty bits in this screenshot have been pixelated… further

One such offering was Custer’s Revenge. Released by Mystique under the Swedish Erotica label, the game challenged gamers to guide a nude, visibly excited gentleman through a hail of falling arrows in order to achieve forced congress with a Native American woman tied to a post.

Above: No friend of the Red Man, even General Custer looks embarrassed 

The title was the center of considerable controversy, but the Swedish Erotica line folded not long after; since then, nobody has ever tried to use misogyny or racist caricature to improve lackluster videogames.


Above: the Swedish Erotica line. We can’t believe it failed either

We’re sick of it because…

What should be a tawdry, lame dirty joke has been elevated by constant repetition into some sort of watershed moment in the annals of terrible gaming. Every time anyone talks about Lara Croft’s ridiculous figure (which we’ve also heard about enough of, thanks very bloody much) or Dead or Alive’s boob physics, it is mandated by law that the conversation must turn to the sage agreement that, “Yes, but at least they don’t make rape simulators like Custer’s Revenge anymore.”

Time for another nuanced discussion of gender politics in videogames! This (1) allows the discussion to degenerate into endless off-color rape jokes, ignoring the fact that (2) of course they do.

If someone starts telling this story, say…

“Shame on Swedish Erotica for sullying the good name of 1982’s burgeoning amateur-smut industry with such cheap exploitation.”


3. THE MEGA MAN BOX ART


The story, one last time…

In 1987, Capcom released Rockman. While the game’s titular hero quickly became iconic, it’s only in retrospect that an appreciation has developed for the spectacularly lousy box art of the US release, renamed Mega Man.


Above: By this point, we’re sick of even posting the damn thing

The cover depicts a squat figure, limbs akimbo. His grizzled face bears an asymmetrical grimace, and his ill-fitting yellow jumpsuit may be riding up. The wretch brandishes a pistol and stands in what looks to be a field of pinball bumpers; behind him crystalline cities explode, perhaps the victims of his hateful depredations. Below gleams the Nintendo Seal of Quality, seemingly inviting ridicule by its very inclusion in the loathsome tableau. The entire thing is an affront to everything Mega Man stands for.


Above: Although, cold hard fact time: they nailed the stance. Mega Man’s posture is terrible

We’re sick of it because…

Ugly box art? On a vintage videogame? Call the freakin’ cops! People ragging on the Mega Man box art tend to overlook a simple fact: in the Olden Days, pretty much every part of a game except the code itself tended to be made up on the spot. In plenty of classic games, the script was a ridiculous afterthought, the manual would go out of its way to insult your intelligence and, once completed, you were lucky to get a “CONGRATURATION!!!” for your troubles.


Above: The famed GamesRadar Gallery of Congraturation

So Mega Man looked like a burnt-out 1970s TV detective lost on the set of Logan’s Run? Thank your lucky stars he had no ambitions as to the ownership of any, much less all, of your base.

If someone starts telling this story, say…

“Yes, but Capcom USA learned its lesson about rushing box art out the door, right? Right?”

“Oh.”

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47 comments

  • noofer7 - July 30, 2009 12:30 p.m.

    Ugh!
  • Madserj - June 17, 2009 10:53 a.m.

    On Super Mario World (SNES), there was a wrecked ship that came out of the water and the rumour was that if you got to the end (where you fall for ages then into the water)and dropped through a glitch at the bottom of the screen, there was a secret level. There wasn't. It was a lie. :(
  • GR_JustinTowell - June 17, 2009 8:26 a.m.

    Haha - I actually saw that Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 3 'Congraturations' myself, back in the day. It's never left me :)
  • TheyrePacmanGhostsUsonofaBitch - June 17, 2009 3:09 a.m.

    Can't wait to hear about these, again, on the T-DAR!!! :)
  • NanoElite666 - June 17, 2009 12:41 a.m.

    Ha ha, pixelating something that's already pixelated... :P
  • FinalGamer - June 16, 2009 6:29 p.m.

    I actually did watch the BBC documentary on Tetris, hell it was the first thing they ever showed on their newest channel BBC Four, which was more pretentious and artsy. So when a documentary on Tetris came on I watched it all the way through. Damn fascinating so yeah nobody can tell me any better on the story of Tetris.
  • hud4567 - June 16, 2009 5:27 p.m.

    I actually have an original copy of the E.T game on 2600 , probably rotting in my basement of eternal torture. Thank the heavens I didn't play it.
  • Unoriginal - June 16, 2009 5:24 p.m.

    @Picachu2000 Look who's calling who whiners. I bet that in a few years Duke Nukem Forever will become one of these legends. Fun list.
  • evilguy69 - June 16, 2009 5 p.m.

    I didn't like any...except congraturations Instead of "Congratulations", it's "Congraturations" Haha! Cus they put an "r" instead of an "l"! Hah!
  • Vagrant - June 16, 2009 7:20 a.m.

    I hadn't heard of entries 7 and 6. And I still find the Mega Man box art hilarious. Also, I've pretty much forgotten the deal with ET, other than it's considered worse than Superman 64. Now there's a video game legend I'm SURE you'll want to hear...
  • gatornation1254 - June 16, 2009 2:08 a.m.

    Great article. ReCAPTCHA: CENTER crown
  • VyseTheTetrisdork - June 16, 2009 1:21 a.m.

    I remember that image of Duke cupping Lara's breasts! It was featured in an issue of NextGen and was supposed to be the cover for it before the censor police came round. Here's the first result of a Google Image Search for "next gen magazine lara croft duke" http://anthonylarme.tripod.com/gc/magnextgen.jpg
  • curly_jefferson - June 16, 2009 12:26 a.m.

    wait wait wait, your telling me the Playstation began life as a cd attachment for the SNES. quick to the editing room i got a front page.
  • Sabtos - June 15, 2009 11:25 p.m.

    Excellent article.
  • Ravenbom - June 15, 2009 11:21 p.m.

    lol, nice Top 7
  • Hobojedi - June 15, 2009 10:45 p.m.

    I hate how people keep bringing up ET.. just let it die already, jeez.
  • yoreAtowel - June 15, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    Is the legends true? That the new mexican deseret holds thousands ifnot millions of copies of games from yester-year, just waiting to be dig up and played. Also i heard the alien design for the xbox 1080 and ps6 is their as well?
  • may.be.vital - June 15, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    Nintendo was an ass until they had a little humility shoved down their throats but so was Sony. I guess the games companies can't handle power....
  • Yar - June 15, 2009 9:40 p.m.

    I don't know about you guys, but I'm sick and tired of hearing about the SMB2/Doki Doki Panic controversy. I don't care any more!
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - June 15, 2009 9:25 p.m.

    Also! Don't forget Shane's: http://www.gamesradar.com/f/top-10-entries-on-top-10-lists/a-200808019524710002

Showing 1-20 of 47 comments

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