We love video games! And I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you do, too. I mean, there must be some reason you’re spending your free time looking up video game facts and clicking to read this article.
Well, let me tell you—you won’t regret doing so.
Whether you’re a hardcore or casual gamer, we’ve got 19 video game facts that will make you sound like an expert.
Video game facts & trivia
21. Just another Mortal Monday....
Mortal Kombat is one of the most successful fighting games of all time (but you probably knew as much!).
Did you know, though, that it was developed in ten months by a team of four people? And that for the first six months, the game didn’t even have a name?
A year after its debut in the arcades, Mortal Kombat was released on Mortal Monday, September 13, 1993, to the Nintendo’s Super NES and Game Boy, and Sega Enterprises’ Sega Genesis and Game Gear. The Nintendo versions completely omitted the blood the game was known for.
20. Arcade processing power
The classic coin-op Space Invaders was originally developed so that all the enemies moved at the same speed. However, as players destroyed the alien invaders the computer had fewer objects to draw, so it could render the objects faster. The result? As you destroy critters, the remaining ones “march” toward Earth faster.
19. That looks infected
Player reaction to a simulated disease in World of Warcraft so closely resembled historical records about real plagues that epidemiologists are currently using the data from WoW to evaluate how people would respond to a potential future virus outbreak.
18. Sonic the rabbit, no, armadillo, no, Hedgehog!
Programmer Yuji Naka started with a simple concept—players would control a character inside a ball that rolled through levels in long tubes. Eventually the character evolved to be a rabbit—and like Mario, he could stop and pick things up.
However when it was determined his rabbit ears would be too difficult to animate and stopping to pick up items would slow the pace of the game, developers looked to animals that would roll up like balls to retain the style of game and fast action they were going for.
A hedgehog (proposed by designer Naoto Ohshima) was eventually chosen—over an armadillo—and he was first called Mr. Needlemouse.
17. The original tech startup
Remember the PlayStation 2 startup screen? Well, the seemingly random blocks and towers represent game progress—the more you play and save your games, the more blocks and towers appear. The towers represent the game, and the longer you play the taller they get. The blocks represent saved data.
The PlayStation 2 remains the best selling video game console of all time, having sold 155 million units to date.
You should also know that the design of the PS2 was modeled after the Atari Falcon Microbox. Sony bought the rights when Atari went bankrupt.
16. Run, Mario, run!
You might have already known Super Mario Bros. was the first video game to be made into a movie. But did you know that an up-and-coming actor named Tom Hanks campaigned for the role of Mario? At the time, Nintendo execs worried he wouldn’t have enough box office clout to carry the film.
Nintendo has continually innovated in the video game space and revolutionized an industry:
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the first video game controller to feature a directional pad, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was the first controller to feature right- and left-shoulder buttons, and the Nintendo 64 (N64) popularized the analog thumbstick.
The company that developed the Wii motion technology offered it to Microsoft and Sony first (who both turned down the technology), and Nintendo ultimately introduced motion control to the masses!
14. There’s a game for that....
Video games have evolved to offer players almost any type of experience. Currently, there are over 30 different types of video games, including programming games like CodinGame, where players must use programming languages like Java and C++ to advance through the levels. Such titles with an educational spin make for some of the top video games for children.
13. If you build it...
Do you have a copy of Tetris for your NES? If so, you might want to dig it out and check which version you have stashed away.
The Tengen copy (Tengen being Atari's publishing arm) is thought to be in limited quantity—with only around 100,000 copies still in existence.
I'll let you read about the circumstances here, but in short, the Tengen version preceded Nintendo's own version of Tetris, but was pulled off the shelves.
Oh, what's that? You have the Sega version? Then you might be holding one of the only ten copies said to be in existence.
12. Video game cereal
Chex Quest, which was based on the Doom game engine, is a non-violent first-person shooter released in 1996 as a Chex cereal promotion. It's the first video game ever included as a cereal box prize. The very first video game (and video game character) ever to get its own cereal? Donkey Kong. The Cap’n Crunch-like cereal was “barrels of fun for breakfast,” and not surprisingly the cereal itself was shaped like tiny barrels.
11. That huge, industry-defining moment that almost didn’t happen
As is so often the case in video games, last-minute additions can define a legacy.
For Goldeneye 007 for N64, the dev team (without the approval of developer Rare’s studio directors) created the multiplayer component in the last few weeks of development. This massively popular feature was literally an afterthought.
The game went on to help define and establish the first-person shooter genre on consoles, signaling a transition from Doom-like games to more realistic ones.
10. Games do a body—and mind—good
Playing action video games trains people to make right decisions faster. How? Players develop a heightened sense of their surroundings and that helps them multitask. And surgeons that regularly play video games make 37% fewer errors and perform their tasks 27% faster than peers.
9. Thanks for the memories
The Sega Saturn was the first gaming console to ship with internal memory. Players could save about 5–6 games on the system’s RAM... all 32 kilobytes of it.
8. Super Snake Bros.
Are you a fan of Super Smash Bros.? Of course you are. So, then, did you ever wonder about the inclusion of Solid Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as being a little random? Yoshi, Pikachu, Kirby...Solid Snake?
Apparently, such thinking is warranted! The character addition stemmed from a close friendship between Hideo Kojima, director of Metal Gear Solid, and Masahiro Sakurai, who of course, created Smash. Kojima "practically begged" Sakurai to include Solid Snake given Kojima's son's fandom.
7. Online first, now, and forever!
Considered one of the greatest games of all time, Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash classic known for its groundbreaking online play.
Using Battle.net, an online service, players joined forces over the internet to play Diablo. Modern MMOs like World of Warcraft are direct descendants of Diablo.
And 20 years after its debut, you can still play Diablo online. It's the longest supported online game, ever.
6. Respect your elders
Madden NFL, as a franchise, is older than half the players currently playing in the NFL. “It’s in the game!” and on your system of choice—Madden NFL has appeared on 33 different video game platforms and consoles, including Windows, iOS, the Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn, Nintendo SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, and Wii U, Turbo Duo, 3DO; PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
5. The PlayStation is born
Sony and Nintendo entered into a development partnership to create a new console—a video game machine that would be one of the first to play CDs. Sony would provide the electronics, CD player, and other parts, but Nintendo killed the project. Sony decided to continue to develop the technology and launch it as a game system, now known to the world as the original PlayStation.
4. Get moving
The Nintendo Entertainment Systems Power Pad, which was released in 1988 along with the game World Class Track Meet, launched the exergame genre.
A decade later in 1998, Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution became the most successful exergame ever (though it’s now considered a rhythm game).
Resident Evil is one of the most successful video game franchises in history, having spawned dozens of sequels, movies, toys, books, and board games. The original Resident Evil PlayStation game holds the record for worst video game dialogue, according to Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition.
2. Put a mustache on it!
Video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto gave Mario his iconic mustache so players could see his nose. Because of limited graphics capabilities, Miyamoto made other design shortcuts too, giving the plumber a hat because hair was too hard to draw and animate, and having him wear overalls so players could see his arms move.
1. Girl power
Street Fighter II introduced one of video gaming’s first playable female characters, Chun-Li. (The very first playable female video game character was found in the 1985 Taito arcade game Typhoon Gali.)
And just like that, you’re 19 video game facts smarter. You thought you knew, but really, you had no idea!
With video games, anything is possible. Beyond that, even a mistake or misstep can turn into something incredible in the end.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make your mark in the world of video games. It all starts with an idea (and reading through these facts has probably sparked a few).
Learn more about the video game camp courses you can take to go from game player to game creator.