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Your favourite obscure video game facts

Your favourite obscure video game facts

Did you know… gaming?

There are countless obscure facts about our favourite video games that have never - and probably will never - come to light, that only the most hardcore of fans would appreciate. However, there are also plenty of cool facts out there for us to appreciate. Whether it’s something that happened during the development stages of an all-time classic, a hidden mechanic or feature that the average player won’t find unless they know where to look, something to do with the deep, novel-spanning lore, or something else entirely.
So we want to create a definitive guide to the most interesting - and obscure - facts about video games, and these are the ones you’ve all submitted so far.

No Man's Sky - Black Hole Suns

True OG No Man’s Sky players, who stuck with the game despite its famously rocky launch, may remember the Black Hole Suns project. @tyrannosaur has nominated this as his obscure fact, but it needs some context.
"Initially it was very difficult to find and interact with other players in No Man’s Sky. Getting from where you were to where someone else was could require hundreds of hyperdrive jumps to navigate across the galaxy.
 
“Though portals were introduced, there was a feature called Portal Interference that prevented players from leaving the star system they portalled to except by returning back through the portal you entered through. Portal Interference also prevented players from building bases on planets they visited. They had to arrive there manually for that privilege.”
Enter the Black Hole Suns project. Players discovered that black holes in No Man’s Sky always warp to the same destination each time, so players would submit the locations of black holes they encountered and where they warped to. This created a network of black holes throughout the universe, into which players could enter their starting point and destination, and then receive directions on how to complete their journey via the most efficient path through black holes, saving many dozens of hyperdrive jumps.
Portal Interference is no longer a thing, so the Black Hole Suns project has been made redundant, but as our very own @alp puts it, this is a “brilliant bit of video game history”.

Ratchet & Clank - Unusual Missiles

Cutting corners in older video games is nothing new. Due to a lack of processing power, retro consoles (yes, the PS2 is unfortunately classed as retro now!) often wouldn’t have the memory capacity for everything the developer wanted to include - just see the Silent Hill entry in our list of the best horror games for another example.
@LetitiaTHELemon has an incredible example of this that’s so niche only true Ratchet & Clank aficionados will already know about it. Seriously: even searching for various phrases didn’t turn up any mention of this on Google. Essentially, in the original Ratchet & Clank from 2002, there’s a giant anti-air turret that fires missiles into the sky. Only the missiles aren’t quite what you’d expect… here’s Letitia:
“Instead of shooting radiant missiles into the sky, it shoots T-posing enemies from the same level. To cut corners, they used T-posing robots instead. I was replaying this game on stream recently and this one was one that only hardcore fans know about - it’s tough to notice so it’s no surprise casual players don’t spot it. Ever since I found out about it, my eyeballs can never unsee it.”
Check out this Twitch clip to see Letitia showing it off in-game.

Final Fantasy XIV - Bard's Long Lost Ability

It’s normal for multiplayer games to undergo updates and balance patches as the developers look to ensure no particular class or weapon could be considered overpowered. In the case of Final Fantasy XIV, this was taken to the extreme - the first version of the game was so busted at launch that the devs deleted it entirely and re-released it with the new subtitle: A Realm Reborn.
One of the many (many) problems plaguing the first version of Final Fantasy XIV, as our resident Final Fantasy expert @lanah_tyra recalls, was the Bard class. Active FFXIV players will know the Healer’s Limit Break ability resurrects all downed players when the three bars in the special gauge are charged up. However, Lanah explains that the “Bard used to have the same Limit Break as Healers, with the resurrection mechanic. Now they have the ranged physical DPS Limit Break which deals area-of-effect (AoE) damage in a line.”
You can see it in action above, thanks to a nine-year old video from I Am Orry on YouTube (also, some serious nostalgia with that Machinima logo!).

Dishonored - Carrie Fisher

If a Hollywood A-lister appears in a video game, it’s typical to know about it. They usually play a significant role, often the protagonist or antagonist, and their involvement is usually plastered everywhere in the run-up to launch. Not so in the case of Dishonored. As submitted by @Nerdazoid, the late, great Carrie Fisher plays a very minor role, and you can only encounter her if you kill an unnamed, easily missable NPC.
To find and kill the Propaganda Officer, you must climb to the top of the broadcast station in Dunwall Tower, during the mission Return to the Tower. This is the chap who will provide you with the non-lethal solution of dealing with the Lord Regent, but if you’re not doing an entirely non-lethal playthrough, you may never speak with him at all. If you kill him, when you finish the mission, Carrie Fisher will replace him as the voice of the propaganda out of the loudspeakers throughout Dunwall.
Check out the clip above from YouTuber newtrion to hear Carrie Fisher in action.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert - Chronosphere vortex

This absolute classic of the RTS genre concealed a nasty surprise for players who were excited to get their hands on a late-game weapon called the Chronosphere. In game lore, this was a time machine invented by Albert Einstein to go back in time and kill Hitler. He succeeds, but inadvertently paves the way for Josef Stalin to start an alternate World War in which the Soviet Union is resisted by the Allied Forces, this time featuring a democratic Germany.
In the actual game, the Chronosphere let you (temporarily) teleport a single unit anywhere on the map, with a 20% chance, as @Schadsquatch recalls, of spawning a terrifying time vortex that travels randomly across the map spitting lightning and destroying everything it encounters. Our community content lead Rich, gleefully dropping cruisers in the sea behind the Soviet base in the final mission of the Allied campaign, remembers the shock and confusion of his teenaged self. You can see it in action in the video below.
There’s also a 20% chance of a time quake happening instead of a chrono vortex, which isn’t quite as deadly, just causing a loud explosion and the game to shake. These side effects were meant to represent the instability of the technology.

Minecraft - A Pig Mistake

Minecraft is barely recognisable now compared to its Alpha launch back in 2010(!), but one of the OG animals that is still around today is the pig. Another is the Creeper, the green, hissing enemies that explode if you get too close and which have become a Minecraft icon. But did you know that Creepers only exist in their current form because the original developer was trying to make a pig, but got the axes the wrong way round?
That’s the fact submitted by @DaSamCheck, and it’s a true classic when it comes to Minecraft folklore. He threw a couple more in for good measure too:
All excellent facts, and as we’ve just mentioned Fallout 3, here’s one more in closing. The metro train in the Broken Steel expansion isn't actually a fully functioning train - it’s an item that replaces the right hand of the character wearing it, and the train then appears on their head. They then run at an incredibly high speed to simulate the train. Video games, eh?
Do you have any more fun video game facts? Keep them in your back pocket for when we run this bounty again in future!
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