You can only play through the main story of a game so many times, and with each replay, the experience becomes less and less enjoyable. From warp whistles to programming glitches, game secrets can refresh a stale gaming experience. Here's a tribute to our favorite ways to cheat in videogames.
In Hyrule, the good stuff was hard to get. REALLY hard to get. Even after braving all the temples, Link's Master Sword was only second second fiddle to the Biggoron Sword. To get it, Link had to facilitate the Hyrulian black market between all of the shadiest characters, deal in Odd Mushrooms and Pocket Eggs, wait three days, dodge rolling boulders, and cross the country several times; all for a sword he wasn't even man enough to hold with one hand.
This was a secret that many attempted, but few carried out to the end. After sailing around on your Lapras for a few hours (in those days, gamers still had attention spans of steel), a jumble of tiny pictures named Missigno would try to fight you. Even better, if you ran away, Missigno rewarded your cowardice by duplicating one of the items in your backpack. If only the mutant fish in the polluted river near my house did the same.
Diablo was a kind of haven of glitchery, and looking back it's not surprising that there were a million ways to duplicate items. The game was like a crack-addled old man when it came to keeping track of numbers. Put a pile of gold down on the floor then pick it back up and suddenly the game was all turned around: "Oh, sorry, how much do I owe you? Two? Three? Twenty? We'll call it seventeen."
In Super Mario 3, a simple toot on a Warp Whistle could instantly whisk you away to a better place. But the magical transporting whistle was terribly selective about where you could actually go, depending on where you came from; unless you had two whistles, and warped from the Warp Zone. Then you hit the big time World 8, and it was nothing but champagne wishes, caviar dreams, and airships with way too many moving parts. And Bowser. Mario has a weird concept of "movin' on up."
For both Diablos, there was lot of to-do about cow levels. Was there a cow level? Was there not a cow level? What items would a cow drop, anyway, hypothetically? Turns out there was a cow level, if you beat the game, started a new one and opened a portal by transmuting a couple of objects. And the level had mean damned cows wielding battle axes. Diablo 2 came out in 2000, and cow PR is still trying to recover from that fiasco. Little known fact: That's why cows contracted with California to advertise dairy products. Littler known fact: Cows are actually evil extortionists, and that's why California is currently broke.