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Hidden Rants Inside Video Game Code

Could a nasty message be hidden inside the game you're playing now?

Midway's jab at Namco's president in Ms. Pac-Man.

First off, credit where credit is due. This article could not be possible, or inspired, without the videos of "Guru Larry" Bundy Jr. His "Fact Hunt" series chronicled a lot of things in video games you'd never suspect. This trilogy of hidden programmer rants has more information on the subject than I can put in, and I'm choosing my absolute favorites that have become legend. 

Check out his videos on the subject about British games https://youtu.be/2ndNSRy04YI, American games https://youtu.be/ckQw50MTeTY, and Japanese games https://youtu.be/bfbbS3LTCZY. Check out his channel, as he's got a lot of content, he's really funny, and he comes off as a nice guy.

Yes, this article is about hidden rants buried in the code of video games that data miners have found over the years. I opened this article with one that I stumbled across online in Ms.Pac-Man. General Computers, the developers of Crazy Otto, which later became Ms. Pac-Man, snuck a jab at Masaya Nakamura, founder and then president of Namco, the creators of the Pac-Man series. It simply read:

 GENERAL COMPUTERS COMPANY: Hello, Nakamura.

Midway had the license to distribute Pac-Man games in the States, but they were getting increasingly frustrated waiting for Namco to develop the next game, that they stumbled across a game called Crazy Otto, bought it, and converted it to Ms. Pac-Man. As you can guess, Namco didn't approve, but kept it because it was a huge improvement over its predecessor. The later games in the series that Midway made weren't so lucky. Probably why we never got Pac & Pal till much later.

Moving on!

'Arch Rivals'

A basketbrawl?! Okaaaay then!

Arch Rivals stands as a precursor to Midway's more popular NBA Jam series. It wasn't very popular then, or very good, and my only experience with that game is Midway Arcade Origins. I remember seeing it at Aladdin's Castle back in the day, but I never bothered with it, because I'd rather shoot aliens, beat up thugs, and play some mean pinball. But buried in the code of Arch Rivals was this message:

"Copyright 1989 Midway Mfg. Co. Manufacturers of Bally Amusement Games. All rights reserved...so f**k off."

I wonder if that made it into the home conversions, courtesy of Acclaim?

The New 'Tetris'

But...it's Tetris! Well, the game did start out in controversy.

Back when Nintendo still had the rights to do Tetris games, they contracted H2O Entertainment to develop it. The lead programmer, David Pridie, decided to write a lengthy message in the code that was discovered just days after the game shipped.

"I must, say this was a fun time coming down to San Francisco to do the New Tetris. Although there were a few problems. First of all, our producer, D*N. My god... is this guy useless or what? I don't hate you D*N, but you SUCK, and I mean SUCK as a producer. You should go back to testing video games, but I doubt you could do that right. I feel sorry for you. All you did during this project is sit around and play video games. Don't try to deny it."

This rant goes on and on. It was David's last game, so what did he care? Well, Nintendo certainly did, and when the rant was discovered, it was recalled, and re-released without the offensive message.

'Pachicom'

Hey, Nevada! I'm good with slot machines, but how about some pachinko machines, too? Just a thought.

For the uninformed, pachinko is the union of pinball with slots, and to this day, it's still highly popular in Japan. In fact, Konami is high on the pachinko craze with their Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill pachinko games. The game, Pachicom, was released on all leading Japanese game consoles in the 80s, like the Family Computer and Famicom Disk System. One of the developers had taken the time to record ball sounds, but the publisher, Toshiba, decided to go with generic game sounds instead, angering one programmer:

"I'M SAYING WHAT I WANT FROM NOW ON!! Mr. GOUHARA from JPM planning does absolutely nothing but give me all sorts of crap anyway! SHUT UP, YOU IDIOT! You're a sound company! Do you want people to not hear the ball sounds?"

He then mentions that he left the previous sounds in the code, and then explains how to implement them. The re-release actually used said sounds.

'Ganso Saiyūki: Super Monkey Daibōken'

Just go with it.

Ganso Saiyuki: Super Monkey Daiboken is a Japan only game on the Famicom that was based on the novel, Journey To The West. The game seems pretty difficult, even just watching video of it. But if you thought the gameplay was hard, the image designer was kind of a perv. He gives his name, age, and address, and follows with:

"I want to lick some p****y! I want a perverted woman!"

Funnier still, the same designer is still in the business, as his most recent work was on the Wii U and 3DS versions of Super Smash Bros. I wonder if he hid any creepy messages on Mario's overalls.

And now... the rant to end all rants...

'Erika To Satoru no Yume Boken'

Also known as Erika and Satoru's Dream Adventure.

The queen mother of all hidden rants isn't necessarily hidden in the code. Rather, it can be accessed by a button combination at the end of the game. The programmer made it difficult to access, but it can be found.

"Hmm, that's a nostalgic song playing. Those were good times. Meanwhile, who the hell are these people with this project? I'm so glad it's over! You think it's all happy memories? Hell no! I'll use this space to give some thanks!"

He then then rattles off a list of people involved with the project, and things they did to anger him, like one staff member running off in the middle of the project, a debugger from Namco which published the game (the game was developed by Atlus), and a few others. No wonder he made it so difficult to find.

This is but a small sampling of the ones I was able to find. If this cracked you up, shoot me a tweet at @NFalkner77 on Twitter.

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