There are several often-repeated stories surrounding the development of certain highly popular computer and video games. These stories are apocryphal, but have been retold so often that they have made their way into various publications as fact. Here are some I can find off-hand :

'Donkey Kong' was meant to be 'Monkey Kong' - This would seem plausible, but Nintendo's take on the situation is that they were looking for a synonym for "foolish" and liked the sound of Donkey.

Pong was the first game. There were games before Pong. Spacewar ... and oscilloscope tennis before that. And these are just ones I have documentation of at hand.

The Playstation was more powerful than the Saturn. Not true, as anyone who played the later in-house games for the Saturn will attest. It was, however, significantly harder to coax the power from the Saturn's bizarro dual processor architecture.

Tomb Raider has a large fanbase among hardcore gamers Among fuckwits perhaps.

Myst was the best selling game of all time I don't know where they got this figure, because the number of PCs and Macs with CD-ROM drives during the initial sales peak of Myst must have been less than the installed user base of most other formats. Logically, therefore, a lot of copies must have ended up as drinks coasters (which is wholly appropriate considering the quality of the game). I have read that Super Mario Bros. 3 was (is?) the biggest-selling game ever (18 million units). Comparitively, one of the biggest ever PC games, Doom 2, only sold 2 million, which further erode's Myst's case.

Donkey Kong Country was the first 32-bit cartridge Actually, Donkey Kong Country was a 32-megabit cartridge. Probably the first of those though. Except if you include the Neo Geo in your figures.

The ZX Spectrum was badly made / unsuccessful / underpowered The casual observer's opinion of this revolutionary home computer has been unfairly tarnished by the memory of Clive Sinclair's later failures (such as the C5). The Spectrum was the cheapest and most versatile 8-bit micro for most of its active life, and did more than any other single product to foster an impressively skilled and ingenious generation of games coders in the UK.

2D fighting games are inferior to 3D fighting games In terms of graphics this may be the case, but in terms of gameplay, it certainly isn't, although the gap is closing with more recent 3D fighters making better use of a 3D environment and more dynamic animation that the medium allows.

Continental Circus was meant to be Continental Circuit This myth doesn't really make much sense, as the Grand Prix season is often referred to as the "Circus". People see bad translation where there isn't any.

Computer Mag April Fools Jokes : There are too many to list here, but games mags have a long tradition of printing articles in their April issues that are entirely made up and play on the desperation of gamers. A favourite of mine was a "cheat" printed in Mean Machines (I think) claiming that cheats could be activated in a certain game by sellotaping a coin to the back of the cartridge.

A good rule of thumb: When anyone, especially a mainstream newspaper / TV show, says that game 'X' or platform 'Y' is "the best selling game/platform of all time", they generally mean "the best selling game/platform in the last year or so", or more often "we've just been given a big sack of freebies by the manufacturer/publisher".

The most popular video game consoles are the most powerful. Usually false. The NES, Game Boy, PlayStation and PlayStation 2 were moderately to vastly less powerful than their contemporaries, yet sold better because they were better marketed, and often less expensive. Even the Super NES, more popular worldwide than the Sega Genesis and sporting a better graphics chip, sound chip and memory size, had a weaker CPU.

The best example is Game Boy vs Sega Nomad. Nomad had 14 times as much CPU power, 34 times as much RAM, 3 times the resolution, 16 times as many colors onscreen, sprites 16 times as large and twice as numerous, better sound and better games. Yet sold only a small fraction as many units as Game Boy because it was bulky, expensive, and was marketed as yet another Genesis than a whole new console, the way Nintendo would later market Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance.

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