The Decade's Bizarre and Quirky Gaming News - ArticlePatrick Day-Childs , posted on 28 December 2019 / 3,695 Views
2020 is upon us! The past decade has had some downs, like the influx of monetisation within full games, Blizzard's community backlash and EA winning the worst company in America award twice, but also some ups, like the leaps in understanding gaming from more mainstream companies to wholesome news like gamers helping preserve a controller signed by someone’s deceased mum.
The decade has also been the highlight of some… bizarre news, and I decided collect together some of the more obscure and quirky stories to make you giggle or question what the hell happened this decade.
Let’s kick off with 2010; we had Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2 and Super Mario Galaxy 2. All games most of us look back on with a warm glow. But on the weirder side of things, Sega released some unique hardware, Ubisoft scared the crap out of people, and a judge gave up his job because he’d been gaming with someone he kept sending to prison.
SEGA Install Gaming Urinals
SEGA trialled an interesting concept called 'Toylets' in 2010. The urinals feature a pressure sensor and monitor how much you urinate while playing some games. There were four games in total - Mannekin Pis, Grattifiti Eraser, The Northern Wind The Sun and Me, and Battle! Milk From The Nose.
The Northern Wind The Sun and Me for example has the player lifting up a girl’s skirt by monitoring the user's urine stream pressure.
Armed Forces Called on Ubisoft PR Event
Splinter Cell Conviction was a superb game in my view, with top choreography, combat, and co-op. However, Ubisoft’s promotor for the game, Monaco Corporation, made a bizarre PR blunder. Over in New Zealand, they hired a man to walk around and point a fake gun at people. Folks outside a bar dived behind tables, and people inside could hear someone shouting "He’s got a gun". It obviously ended up with people calling the police.
Monaco said they were not aiming to cause controversy to raise awareness, but that begs the question - what did they hope to do?
Judge Gives Up His Seat Over Gaming
A judge in Bristol VA found himself in the midst of controversy after it became public that he had been gaming with a convicted felon. The two became pretty close, playing Halo 3 and various PlayStation 3 games.
It was probably a smart move to step aside - conflicts of interest and professionalism kind of call for it.
Ah, 2011, Skyrim launched for the first of many times, the UK had a crazy turbulent year outside of gaming, and we had some excellent game releases including Saints Row The Third, Portal 2 and Uncharted 3. It also featured a crazy attempt at burglary at a GameStop and PETA made their own game while attempting to take a swipe at Nintendo.
Someone Tunnelled Into GameStop
Over in Tennessee, someone decided to break into a shop and then tunnel into a GameStop store, making off with around $6,000 worth of goods. They were caught within days and then charged with burglary.
Piracy is much less manual than it used to be, but this guy likes to keep things old school.
PETA Make Their Own Game
PETA are always angry over something and they're not scared of adopting weird approaches to campaigns. Amongst other things they've launched a porn site and in 2011 they got mad at Nintendo’s Super Mario 3D World for the Tanooki Suit power-up.
PETA said that Nintendo was supporting the message that skinning animals is acceptable. In order to combat this, PETA made Super Tanooki Skin Game 2D. The objective is to catch a flying Mario while playing as a skinned raccoon. Wholesome stuff.
Dark Souls Was Harder
FromSoftware’s Dark Souls was originally much, much harder. If you hopped into the game ahead of its launch, you would have found that regions of the game were swarming with black phantoms, which were insanely powerful for early game areas.
The year the world was due to end and the beloved Curiosity Rover landed on Mars. Amongst other things 2012 gave us Mass Effect 3, which made me realise just how disappointed I could be by a game's ending, but also Spec Ops: The Line, one of the most underrated games of the decade.
Someone Hacked the MiiVerse by Accident
A Wii U (remember that?) user accidentally stumbled into the console’s debug menu, by holding X over the exit button. Notably, the menu showed things like Metal Gear Solid and Yoshi’s Land. Alas no Metal Gear Solid game ever launched on the Wii U and we never found out why the placeholder was there either.
Hyrule Historia Overtook Fifty Shades of Grey
Hyrule Historia outsold the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy on Amazon for a short while in 2012. The 250+ page book tells the timeline of the Zelda universe, includes plenty of game art, and a manga. To be fair it was discounted to around $20 at the time, so it kind of makes sense that it sold so well.
A French Company Gave Out Dildos for Diablo III
When Diablo III first launched it had a rocky start with error 37 pop-ups everywhere. After stabilising the game went on to become a commercial success, and knowing that the title had such a big following prompted the French sex toy company Absoloo to offer free sex toys to anyone that was worried they would be left out in favour of the game. All you had to do was post a picture of yourself with a copy of Diablo III to their social media account.
Microsoft and Sony ushered in a new generation of gaming, with the launches of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Oh, and the OUYA also launched. I actually own a personalised one, but it's been sat in a carrier bag at the back of a cupboard since 2013.
Giant Xbox One Unleashed a Zombie Horde
Microsoft were supersizing everything around this time; a giant surface tablet in London, a giant windows phone in Manhattan, and Vancouver got a giant Xbox One. Apparently, if enough people “pledged” to it (put in their Gamertags), then a secret would unlock.
The secret turned out to be a zombie horde, the idea being to promote the console exclusive Dead Rising 3.
Via The Verge
North Korea Made Video Games to Hack South Korea
Those crazy guys in North Korea made a number of video game programs and in 2013 South Korean police had to warn gamers to be extra careful, because people were downloading them.
The idea was that North Korea could then install malware onto computers, steal key information, and then launch cyberattacks.
Esports Player's Disappearance Leaves Players Out of Pocket
Quantic Gaming (not to be confused with developer Quantic Dream) is a now-dead eSports team. But the way in which the team died is a bit of a tragic mystery. The team started off somewhat promisingly, but suddenly their top man flat out disappeared.
There were several rumours at the time - some stated that he had taken seriously ill, others that he was partying, and others that he'd done a runner, but whatever the reason he left his fellow teammates without pay that they were promised. One of his teammates was owed $23,000.
Dot Esports ran an in-depth article on this strange disappearance.
Ubisoft in particular had a turbulent year in 2014, releasing top games like Far Cry 4 and Watch Dogs, but then also the incredibly broken Assassin’s Creed Unity and the entirely forgettable The Crew.
People Shoved Their Heads Into...
Tamesoft and D3 showcased Onechanbara Z2 at the Tokyo Game Show. If you're unfamiliar with the series then it basically consists of players charging around slaying zombies dressed as a bikini samurai. So what better way to showcase the game then having players literally shove their heads into a character's breasts?
Neca Made Master Chief Motorbike Helmets
Neca, crafters of awesome action figures and replicas, turned their eyes to more practical equipment in 2014, releasing a Master Chief motorbike helmet.
It was modelled after the Mjolnir Mark VI and you can still buy them on eBay for around £400.
Nintendo Launches White PS4
The Los Angeles Times attempted to cover some gaming news in 2014, and as is often the case when mainstream press covers gaming they didn't exactly cover themselves in glory. They wrote about Nintendo launching a white PlayStation 4, which was part of a special Destiny bundle.
Perhaps not as crazy as some of the other stuff in this article, but still slightly amusing.
Via Push Square
Life is Strange, Super Mario Maker, and The Witcher III. 2015 was a good year. Microsoft took an odd approach to Hong Kong, the press had to give up their shoes for a preview event, and swatting was suddenly a thing.
Xbox One Hamburgers
China is still a relatively new battleground for western gaming companies and in 2015 Microsoft took a strange approach to the market. They teamed up with Triple-O to sell hamburgers in Hong Kong. The pop-up restaurant was full of hideously bright green Xbox branding.
Slashgear described the burger as tasting “entirely normal”. Quite the praise.
Journalists Gave up Shoes for a Press Event
Sadly, I’m not usually important enough to get invited to major press events, but that might have been a good thing in this particular case. Journalists invited to try out Life is Strange had to ditch their shoes to try the game.
Why? Because Square Enix used an AirBnB to host the event, and the owner of the property really wanted to enforce the rule.
Destructoid's Steven Hansen managed to turn choosing his socks into a whole article.
Swatting Became a Thing
Swatting is now pretty well known, but prior to 2015 it was virtually unheard of. Over in Wichita, a town council meeting suddenly went from the dull usual droning to terrified parents discussing their concerns over swatting after becoming victims to it.
If you're not familiar with the term, then swatting is a “prank” where people (typically rivals in an online game) call the police on you and say you're being or could be incredibly violent. In America, this results in the swat swarming in and terrifying the shit out of you and your family.
Time to lighten things up! 2016 was the year of Pokemon Go, meaning there are hundreds of bizarre stories to choose from. I tried to scout out some of the more unheard of and unique stories for this piece.
Multiple People Lied About Being First!
A UK Pokemon Go player claimed to have finished the Pokedex before anyone else in the world in a video he uploaded to YouTube. But viewers quickly noticed something - he had a regional exclusive Pokemon. This was before special events had taken place, roughly one month into the official launch. He claimed he had hatched the regional from an egg.
Eventually, a game developer confirmed to Serbii that you can’t hatch regional Pokemon from eggs and instead have to travel to the region to catch one. Despite this, the user popped up on UK regional news. What makes this story particularly bizarre is that it happened more than once.
Ghosts and Gasses at the Holocaust Museum
Koffing, the gas-spewing poison Pokemon, and several ghost type Pokemon spawned in Pokemon Go at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. The museum representatives were forced to ask attendees not to play Pokemon Go there out of respect. Niantic would later go on to remove the museum as a hot spot for spawns and remove features from the location.
Westboro Pokemon Protest
Westboro Baptist Church, best known for being arseholes who protest at family funerals, was targeted by Pokemon Go players. The church became a gym and so players naturally took it over. Naturally, they used exclusively pink Pokemon named Love is Love as a mild form of counter protest.
The first year of President Trump, but also the year we started to see familiar IPs coming back, like Prey, Halo Wars, Metroid, and Nier.
There Was a Witcher Musical
The Witcher musical featured 51 performers and ran for over three hours. While it sounds pretty unexpected and quirky on paper, The Witcher musical was an entirely serious affair.
There’s a promo video you can watch below.
KFC Make VR Chicken
KFC are no strangers to releasing weird software - just this year alone we got a KFC dating sim, called I Love You, Colonel Sanders. But this VR game takes things to a whole other level. In it, employees are shown how to create the company's famous chicken in a VR world and users are unable to escape the room until they can correctly prepare it.
Don’t worry, though, employees are guided through the steps by a surround sound Colonel Sanders.
US Navy Saves Around $40K by Using Xbox Pads
The US Navy ditched their Lockhead Martin joysticks, which cost around $38,000, in favour of Xbox 360 controllers in 2017. Here’s an excellent quote from Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub:
"That [Lockhead Martin] joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only designed to fit on a Virginia-class submarine. I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement."
The year of overly hyped games, including A Way Out, We Happy Few, Fallout 76, Sea of Thieves, and Agony, all of which failed to reach expectations.
Snoop Dog Gets Game Delivery by Dragon
Snoop Dog was excited for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy and obviously for Activision that provided a good opportunity for some marketing. So what did they do? They used a Spyro drone that breaths fire to drop a copy of the game on his lawn, obviously. And Snoop being a good dog posted it onto Twitter for all to enjoy.
Yooo @SpyroTheDragon flew across country to drop off the first copy of the new game !! About to pop this in. Who wanna play? #Spyro_Partner #SpyroToSnoop #SpyroReignitedTrilogy pic.twitter.com/Wnu7EO6AoM— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) November 12, 2018
The World Health Organisation recognised gaming disorder by adding it to their list of diseases. What is gaming disorder? It basically means you play games too much.
To be diagnosed with gaming disorder, the patient has to have prioritised gaming over important things like socialising and working for at least 12 months. So think back to your teen years when you would just play Diablo II, RuneScape, or World of Warcraft non stop. Ahhh, the good times.
Luigi’s Penis Size
In March Nintendo released a render of Luigi for Mario Tennis Aces. In it, he had a notable bulge. So, obviously, the internet being the internet ended up divided over whether it was inappropriate or just amusing.
Tumblr also did some detective work and somehow calculated that Luigi’s flaccid penis is roughly four inches long. Good to know.
And here we are! 2019, closing the decade up. Bungie pulled away from Activision, people argued about whether Death Stranding was the best or worst thing since sliced bread, and both Kaz Hirai and Reggie Fils-Aime retired from their respective companies.
36 Isabelle Amiibos
One person bought his wife 36 Isabelle Amiibos for Christmas. Why? Because she hates Isabelle. Also, they were only $1 each and he topped each one with a festive hat and gave them a post-it note with a letter wishing her a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
His wife, Vera, hates Isabelle because she’s a “useless receptionist” and therefore her least favourite Animal Crossing character.
Fallout First Used as Protest
Fallout 76 came under a lot of fire throughout its launch and beyond. What did Bethesda do to quell this anger? They announced an optional paid subscription service called Fallout First. Players who subscribed could use private servers, special icons, exclusive emotes and more.
Unfortunately for Bethesda they forgot to grab the Fallout First domain name and so an angry fan snapped it up first in protest, although said fan didn't retain control of it for long.
Russia Thought Metal Gear was to Blame
Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister had this to say about the Metal Gear series, which is probably the strangest quote you’ll ever read about the Japanese games:
"On the Internet, projects of the American special services, such as… Metal Gear and RuNet Echo, are being implemented, aimed at direct manipulation of public consciousness and especially young people.”
He also said that the series was aimed at encouraging youth protest movements and dissatisfaction with Russia.
That’s just a highlight of the decade’s more unique stories - there are plenty more where they came from but I didn't want the article to overstay its welcome. No one knows what the next decade will bring, but I think it's safe to say it won't lack bizarre gaming news stories.