“A lie is a lie. Just because they write it down and call it history doesn't make it the truth. We live in a world where seeing is not believing. Where only a few know what really happened.”
Truer words were never spoken. OK, it’s a quote from a trailer for Black Ops, but that doesn’t matter. The world of video games is apparently just as murky as the world of politics. A world where stuff like this happens...
Sonic the Smooth Criminal
Alongside the graphics and the storyline, it’s fair to say that many gamers consider the music and sounds of a game to be as equally important. There’s a good reason Konami paid Harry Gregson-Williams to do the music for Metal Gear Solid and Square Enix asked renowned composer Nobuo Uematsu to do the same for Final Fantasy. After all, no-one wants to open up a fresh new game and be instantly blasted by a cacophony of auditory diarrhoea and wailing.
However, there’s a problem. From the perspective of the developers, there’s no point hiring a musical genius to make music for your game unless they can use that fact in their advertising. Apart from the two guys we mentioned above, how many game-music composers do you know?
Ever heard of Michael Jackson? Yes, that Michael Jackson; we’re not going to rehash an old Simpsons joke here.
Previously, this question would have been the biggest conspiracy theory ever. After all, it’s not every day that a thirteen-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter gets involved in the making of a game; that’d be like Celine Dion or Barbara Streisand cameoing as enemy insurgents in Call of Duty. Sadly, however, despite the fact that it was confirmed by ex-Sega executives in 2005 that Jackson composed the entire musical score for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 , we’re still waiting and petitioning for the chance to carpet bomb the latter two into a virtual pâté.
The bigger mystery behind Michael’s role in the development of this game though, released on both the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis in February 1994, was why his work was apparently removed. The semi-official reason is that it was due to the molestation scandal he became embroiled in only three months before the game was due to be release, Sega- fearing that Sonic would become forever associated with paedophilia- ditched Michael’s work and hired veteran Sonic-musician Howard Drossin to completely remake everything Jackson had already done.
If this is true, it was a small miracle that the game was released on time, especially when you consider that Jackson was hired to write ALL of the music. From the opening theme, to each individual level’s background music, and to the closing theme, we mean literally everything. Taking into account Michael’s infamous reputation of being a complete and utter workaholic, this probably seemed so easy for him that we wouldn’t be surprised if he managed to accomplish all of this whilst simultaneously building luxury orphanages for kittens and brewing hot drinks for everyone in the Sega office in between recording sessions.
We need to face the cold-stone fact here: we’ll never find out what decision-making process was used to decide why the work of one of the greatest musicians ever wasn’t included in the game. Alongside the reason suggested above, some (including Brad Buxer, Jackson’s composer) have suggested that Michael just wasn’t happy with the sound quality on the Genesis console, and (moon)walked away from the project, taking the demo tapes of everything he did with him.
But one interesting fact remains. Numerous Sonic/MJ fans have noted many similarities between the music actually used within Sonic 3, and sections of songs Jackson later wrote, such as “Stranger in Moscow”, “Jam”, and “Who Is it”, suggesting that either Jackson anonymously included his music within the game after all and for some reason told everyone to say he was dropped from the production or, more probably, Howard Drossin purposely created music similar to that created for the game by Jackson, for no reason other than the fact that it was music by Michael-freaking-Jackson. At that time in his career, no-one could create better music than he did, and any attempt to by Drossin, would have simply just made himself, by comparison, look like he had the musical abilities of a drunken chimp banging on a trashcan lid.
In conclusion, like we said before, we’ll never probably know the truth about the whole affair. But that doesn’t mean we can’t listen to stuff like this and wonder.
The Legend of Zelda and the Accidental Hitler Worship
Ah, Link. If ever there was a game character that truly represented the subconscious desire of all men to return to a more simplistic age where people ran around mystical woodlands whilst shooting each other with arrows and wearing tight-fitting dresses. The first game in The Legend of Zelda series, released in 1986, sees Link battle evil clumps of oddly-shaped polygons in order to reunite the eight pieces of an ancient artefact known as the Triforce of Wisdom and rescue Princess Zelda from the clutches from an evil being known as Ganon.
At first, it’s hard to imagine a game like Zelda becoming embroiled in the centre of a conspiracy theory. The cutesy storyline and friendly graphics don’t really scream a JFK-esque plot, and we have a feeling that any die-hard Freemasons- as murderous and devious as they may be- would get laughed out of their lodge if they implanted any subversive messages inside a game that seemingly only uses a fluorescent colour scheme.
Or at least that’s what they want you to think. One of the dungeons that the player needs to explore, dungeon three, differs from the other eight dungeons in the game, owing to the fact that it isn’t shaped like an animal (such as a snake, or a lion, or an eagle) like the others are. In fact, it’s only when you see the full layout of the level that it becomes oh-so crystal clear.
Yep. That is what appears to be a Swastika. And, despite the fact that Jack Thompson hadn’t yet taken up the mantle of ‘Attacker of Video Games, Defender of the Universe’, hundreds of outraged parents soon demanded for the game to be pulled from the shelves for what they called ‘celebrating fascism and Nazi-ism’.
The level is actually shaped like a Manji, a symbol often used by Buddhists to offer good fortune to others. Within the country in which the game was developed, Japan, this is considered to be an inoffensive symbol, which to be fair, is completely accurate seeing as the Nazi party originally stole it from Buddhism. However, the efforts of the trusting and naive Nintendo at educating the un-enlightened masses failed and everyone simply carried on calling it a Swastika, despite the fact that the difference between a Swastika and a Manji is a mirror flip and a 45 degree rotation.
Saddam Hussein, the PS2 Fanboy
Dateline: December 2000. The world, which had up until this point been a relatively peaceful place, became engulfed in violence and destruction. Worldwide supplies of the then recently-released Playstation 2 had dwindled to such meagre levels that, as parents scrambled to grab the hotly-awaited gift in time for Christmas, full-scale riots and customer brawls were becoming a common sight within stores across the globe. The only thing that could quench the bloodshed? A carefully-worded press release from Sony explaining the situation. Or, we could all just blame Saddam Hussein, the apparent Pink Panther to the UN’s Inspector Clouseau.
According to a secret dossier compiled by both the FBI and the US Customs Service the shortage of PS2’s was the result of the Iraqi government importing over 4000 of the consoles to Iraq, specifically for use in military weapons. The computing power provided by combining twelve to fifteen of the machines, which are classed as ‘toys’ and were therefore able to bypass a UN sanction prohibiting the sale of computer technologies to the country, would have been- according to the dossier-powerful enough to control a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) capable of releasing chemical weapons such as sarin, anthrax, and mustard gas.
Other usages suggested by the report include the idea that the combined PS2’s could be used to either analyse data for the targeting systems of long-range missiles, create 3D models of military designs, or more ominously, calculate the power (yield) of manufactured nuclear bombs.
Sorry, domestic terrorists, but unbelievably, you haven’t been sitting around and playing Grand Theft Auto on a potential doomsday device all this time. The reason for this is easy to understand; the PS2 simply isn’t powerful enough. The CPU of the PS3 (that’s the bit that ‘creates’ the computing power) is nearly 1100% more powerful than that of the PS2, explaining why it’s only been recently that console-powered supercomputers have become more popular (see Folding@home. Sure, the US National Center for Supercomputing Applications completed a PS2-powered supercomputer in 2003, but when you consider that it took these guys, whose sole job it is to create supercomputers, over two years to perform such a feat, the idea that a team of scientists in Iraq- a country not particularly renowned for its scientific research- could achieve the same feat is a bit laughable.
Fallout 3 Predicts the Future
There’s a good chance most of you already know what Fallout 3 is, but for the benefit of those folks who don’t conform to our site demographic of hip 18-35 year olds, here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know. Fallout 3 naturally, is the third game in the classic Fallout series, and sees you explore the nuclear wastelands that are future-Washington D.C, in the hope of finding your missing father. Along the way, aside from fighting hoards of disfigured mutants using nothing more a dog and a collection of water filters, you also have the option of completing a number of side-missions, such as detonating a buried unexploded nuclear bomb, assassinating a variety of individuals, including a radio station host (but there’s more on him later), and rescuing an antique violin.
Aside from your faithful doggy companion and portable nuclear-grenade launcher, your character also carries a radio with them, primarily because vital pieces of information about the in-game world and missions often get played on it, but also because, hey, what’s a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland without a bit of Bon Jovi?
But, remember that radio DJ we told you about earlier? Numerous players have reported that after his unfortunate but it-was-totally-his-own-fault-because-he-was-a-massive-douchebag demise, the station can occasionally be heard transmitting a strange mixture of numbers (spoken by the aforementioned dead-DJ) and morse code. The creepy thing? This actually happens in real-life. The creepier thing? The numbers spoken by the DJ state what appear to be times and dates, whilst the translated morse code messages spell out some pretty cryptic sentences which don’t make much sense until you combine them with the apparent date and time that precedes them.
For instance, one complete message reads “one-two-five-five-two-eight-two-zero-one-zero. What you talking about? You’ll be missed”. Hmmm, that catchphrase sound familiar?
But it gets worse. One message seemingly correctly predicted the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico at 9.45 on April 20th 2010 with “nine-four-five [9.45] four-two-zero [April 20th] two-zero-one-zero . Accident in the gulf, several dead. Oil spill apparently averted”. If you’re making faces and offensive hand gestures at your monitor now shouting “Hahaha, but there was an oil leak; you suck, future!”, we’re sorry, but it’s still a correct prediction; immediately after the explosion (which appears to be the time at when this message was apparently ‘sent’), both BP and the US Coastguard said that an oil spill was unlikely to ever occur at the Deepwater site.
So far, these are the only two messages out of the four that have come true. However, if these are anything to go by, Queen Elizabeth II is due to die at 4.02 on 19th March 2014 (“four-zero-two-one-nine-two-zero-one-four. The Queen has died today. The world mourns as on days like these we are all Brits”), and the world has become so tediously boring by 2023 that the most important message they could think to send back was “two-one-three-three-two-seven-two-two-zero-two-three. I can’t believe Britney’s won an Oscar!”
Despite the massive importance of such a thing actually happening anywhere, the fact that the scores of people who reported this all conveniently forgot to record or even document the transmissions is pretty damning. The number codes aren’t simple sequences, they’re purely random digits, and considering the shortest message has ten digits in, it’s simply outside of the capabilities of our short-term memory to remember such a thing. The fact of the matter is that no-one knows how to even purposely get these messages to play- even the people who have heard them- so why would they have wrote them down either? To the layman, these radio transmissions would have just looked like a normal routine transmission, with the significance of the messages within them only being realised after the entire message has been played (and immediately lost).
Bethesda (the makers of the game) eventually got tired of everybody presumably calling their offices and asking when they were going to die, and released a statement flat-out denying such a thing existed in the game. This statement would have been the final nail in the coffin of this (admittedly cool) myth, if the moderators over at FalloutWiki hadn’t then begun implementing ideas from ‘Denying a Conspiracy 101’ by shutting and locking all discussions of this, banning all members who wrote on or even SAW the discussions, and then installing a hefty filter to prevent this from ever being talked about again. Subtle, guys; that’ll stop people talking about a cover-up for sure.
When Adam isn’t [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION], he writes for Alert Level Stork!