An excerpt from

Fact Hunt: Fascinating, Fun & Downright Bizarre Facts About Video Games

Larry Bundy Jr

GAME CHARACTERS BASED ON REAL LIFE PEOPLE

We all know that a lot of video game characters are “inspired” by celebrities, Heck, I could make an entire book about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone inspirations alone. But what about the average peep on the street? Were they ever a muse for pixelated protagonists? Why, yes indeedy!

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Just because you’re “inspired” by someone, it doesn’t exactly mean you have to like them. As is the case of the 1988 home computer game, Chubby Gristle.

The protagonist of the same name was based on a rather obnoxious, overweight car park attendant, who would often yell at the game’s developers Teque Software for parking in wrong spaces. So as revenge for his rather totalitarian ways, Teque secretly made him the main character of a platform game they were developing for multiple systems. Chubby’s real life catchphrases: “Ya can’t park ‘ere” and “ 'Ave a word with the administrator” were even digitised and put into the Commodore Amiga version.

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Many gaming magazines at the time claimed that Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame was based on the creator, Toby Gard’s rock climbing sister, Frances. However, in an interview with the Gard several years later, Toby stated his main influences for Lara were in fact Indiana Jones and Jamie Hewlett’s Tank Girl.

Quite obvious really, but, then again, I don’t think anyone would openly admit they created a major ‘90s sex symbol based on their own sister now would they?

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For a man whose supposed career involves him sticking his hand down a toilet, Nintendo’s plumber Mario spends an awful lot of his time rescuing Princesses doesn’t he? Got to wonder what his call out charge for that is!

But surprisingly, the rumour that he was based on Nintendo’s arcade warehouse landlord, Mario Segale is only half-true. Mario as a character existed a few years beforehand when he starred in Donkey Kong, when he was simply known as “Jump Man”. He only received the name Mario when Nintendo wanted to establish him as a bigger character, So in truth, Mario was merely named after Mario Segale, rather than being inspired, after Mario’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto became good friends with him.

Segale definitely dodged a bullet there. Being the inspiration for a man who stamps on countless tortoises and sentient walking chestnuts probably wouldn’t have looked too impressive on his resume!

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IDIOTIC PROGRAMMING MISTAKES THAT GAMERS TOTALLY TOOK ADVANTAGE OF

There’s nothing worse in life than buying a terrible game, well, unless you’re in to that sort of thing (the Japanese call the practice “Kusoge” did ye know?) But as the old saying goes: “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” and that’s exactly what gamers did when they discovered these bugs and glitches that would have normally have ruined a game outright, but they took total advantage of instead!

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Rugby may be a rather obscure sport to emulate in the world of video games, but that didn’t stop Domark from having a stab at it… then failing miserably, with their 1993 Commodore Amiga title, International Rugby Challenge.

Not only was it the lowest ever scoring title in UK gaming magazines, scoring a whopping 2%, but whenever you paused the game, the in-game clock still ran, so all you had to do to win a match was: score just one try, pause the game, then go make yourself a nice cup of tea. When you came back and unpaused, you’d have won the match. 

Aah, games that play themselves, welcome to the future!

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TecMagik’s 1992 Master System soccer game, Champions of Europe was a highly rated top down football game, that coincided with the EUFA European Cup. However, if EUFA had played by the games rather nonsensical new rules, they probably would have disbanded soon after.

You see, the main purpose of soccer is to simply score more goals than your opponent, however, the genius who programmed Champions of Europe seemed to be completely oblivious about this simple concept and let you win by scoring in either goal! Yup, own goals in this game were added to YOUR score and not your opponents.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, if you finish a match with a nil-nil score draw in the game’s tournament mode, it automatically boots you into the tournament’s grand final!

They don’t make ‘em like they used to, do they?

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Ubisoft’s 2003 first-person shooter, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield on the original Xbox, probably had THE most broken and overpowered weapon in gaming history… The M82A1 SR .50cal Sniper Rifle.

While sniper rifles are usually stereotypically overpowered with one shot kills in multiplayer games, Ubisoft threw all reasoning completely out of the window when programming theirs, as players could simply use it like a normal gun, negating the scope (“No Scoping” as the younglings like to call it) altogether and hammering on the trigger at almost machine gun like speeds. Worst of all, you could still kill people in one hit, even by shooting them in the toe! 

Needless to say, they did actually patch this one… by slowing down the firing rate to the speed of a rifle. Which ironically made the gun even more accurate. Thanks Ubisoft!

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