Saturday, April 22, 2017

My "Mandela Effect"

Lately the Mandela Effect has been popping up in quite a few places, and after seeing one of my favorite online shows, The Angry Video Game Nerd, making videos about it, it really got me thinking. What are some things I've always remembered wrong? Or rather, what are things in GAMING that I once thought was one thing, but was actually something else? Thinking about it, there's actually quite a few things and I can't help but wonder if anyone else could share in my mistakes.

So first of all, what "is" the Mandela Effect? To put it simple, the Mandela Effect is when someone remembers an event, picture, song, or really anything at all, one way, but it's actually something else. What makes this so strange though is the fact that often a large group (possibly millions) tend to remember it the same way as the person who is wrong, while many others remember it for how it really is. I know that may be a bit confusing, but here are some common ones to use as an example:

1. The quote "Life is like a box of chocolates." You know this famous quote right? Well it's actually "Life WAS like a box of chocolates." Of course the back of the original Forrest Gump VHS tape has the quote "Life is like a box of chocolates," and many other shows, movies, etc, have referenced it this way, but the fact is the quote is wrong.

2. "It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood." That's a famous song from our friend Mr. Rogers. Many of us grew up with this show, and know the song by heart -- except, that too is wrong. "It's a wonderful day in THIS neighborhood" is the correct lyric, but no one remembers that. Why is that?

3. The Berenstein Bears! Famous children's book, that even had a cartoon version. This is actually the topic that started AVGN's videos about this, and shockingly it is actually spelled "Berenstain Bears." It's said a lot of people have just gotten confused about the spelling over the years, and there is even the chance of misprints in other forms of media, but many people still believe that it is in fact "stein" and not "stain." But it's not.

Now, while some of these events have explanations, others do not. Famous Christian Billy Graham is a prime example of "unexplained." Many people remember when he died, and even remember watching the funeral on TV. It was a very sad day for millions of people across the world, and it's something they will never forget. Except, he's alive. Yes, as of 4/21/2017 Billy Graham is in fact alive -- so what is it people are remembering? Of course there's also Mandela whom many people believed died in prison many years ago, and who this whole thing is named after. These events cannot be explained, and that has lead to some very strange theories over the past few years. World line's shifting seems to be one of the main theories here, but let's put that aside and get back to the list. The list of video games I've personally remembered wrongly.

1. Mario Lost -

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to go to the movie rental place and pick up a new game. Typically this would be on a weekend, and often I'd end up playing whatever it is I rented up until the moment I had to go to school. Rentals only lasted 3 days here (counting the day you got it), so rather than renting a single game for a long period of time, it was always multiple games spread out across the weeks. So it was only natural that I would play each of these games as much as possible during that time, and I would end up renting the same game week after week if it really caught my attention. Looking back now I'm thinking I was an idiot, but one such game I rented quite often was none other than... Mario Lost. Er, "Mario is Missing."


I don't know why, but I liked the idea of running around as Luigi exploring cities, and I always tried to find that next hidden secret. I didn't care about whatever the game was trying to teach me, but I did want to see what I could find in the world. Traveling to famous locations I had at least heard of at the time was cool, and I really liked being able to grab some guy by his shirt and dragging him around town to... Take him somewhere or something... I don't know, the game was bad, boring, and had really funky design choices. Yes it was meant to be one of those "learning" games, but whatever. I guess the game was so bad, I just never learned it's title, but for the longest time I thought it was called "Mario Lost." In fact I can remember going into the rental place, walking up to the lady up front and being all "I WANT MARIO LOST!" only to have her dig through the drawer behind her and hand it to me. Was it that she was just guessing what game I wanted? I mean, lost and missing are somewhat similar in meaning, but at the same time she could've handed me one of the many other Mario games. They let us rent out both NES and SNES games at the time, so what was keeping her from grabbing Super Mario Bros, Mario Bros 2, Mario Bros 3, Mario World, Mario All Stars (which had the "LOST Levels" in it), All Stars + Mario World, Mario Kart, Dr. Mario, Mario Paint, Mario RPG, or even one of the Yoshi games? Why did she always hand me Mario Is Missing? In fact, it wasn't just one lady who worked there, there were multiple people, and each and every single one knew what game it was.

The last time I played Mario Is Missing was actually on Christmas eve when my cousins were over at my grand parent's house. They actually understood that it was a learning game and was able to advance through it much faster than I ever had, and when we finished playing and I took it back after Christmas I never saw it again. I'm not sure if the store sold it (which they would do from time to time, and how I got games like Star Fox 64) or what, but after me asking for "Mario Lost" always had the lady up front reply with a "we don't have that game" before asking me to pick another. Many years later I would go on to search the game online to see if I could find it again, and of course the searches didn't turn up any game by that title. Instead I came across "Mario Is Missing" and was forced to accept that my childhood was a lie.

2. Cool Spot 2? Goes to Hollywood? -

I don't know what it was that drew me to this game, but Cool Spot was another one of my favorite games to rent, and about a little spot character that sadly a no one remembers anymore. He was the 7up mascot, and his game was all about him going around to different locations to save the other "spots" by throwing ice cubes at enemies and platforming his way to the end of each stage. The first time I ever saw him, he instantly became one of my "most favorite things ever," and I even started asking my parents for anything that had him on it. Heck, I still have my good old Cool Spot ice pack that I used to take with me to school, and I still use it from time to time when I take food to work! Putting that aside though, the game actually wasn't anything too special, and was just another marketing tool to try to get kids to buy more 7up. Even so, I loved the game as a kid, and I was left hoping there would be more games in the future... And there was!

In reality, Cool Spot wasn't the first game to be released, but the game before it was a puzzle game and nothing like it. It was also a game I didn't realize existed until -- eh, I'll save that for another time (look forward to it!) Anyway, Cool Spot was the only game in the series I was able to play, but when the PlayStation 1 came out I remember seeing the sequel at KB Toys. "Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood" was the name of it, and from what I could tell it was a brand new 3D adventure, and I couldn't wait till I could play it myself! Sadly, that never happened, and the game faded out of existence. By the time I got a PS1 the game could no longer be founded, and my dreams of ever owning it were crushed.

Once again jumping ahead many years, the internet has become a thing! Young adult me is sitting there thinking about days gone by, and that's when I remembered the game. "Oh yeah, wonder what Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood was like?" Maybe not my exact thoughts, but it was something similar as I took to YouTube to finally see what I had missed out on all those years ago... Or not. Strangely, my searches turned up nothing, and I was left sitting there confused. "Maybe I remembered the name wrong?" "Was there a sequel to Cool Spot?" I wasn't sure what was going on, but I decided to type in "Cool Spot 2" to see. Now, that was a hit. When I clicked on the videos for Cool Spot 2 I was greeted by a 2D platforming game with levels I had never seen before (despite actually purchasing the original game not long before and beating it). I had no reason to doubt that what I was seeing was in fact Cool Spot 2, and it left me disappointed because I was expecting it to be in 3D -- like that game box showed in KB Toys. So, soon after I forgot the game even existed, and went on my way. Until a few months ago...


Because of a dream I had about it, once again I decided to look up Cool Spot and it's sequel Cool Spot 2. Except this time, rather than videos titled "Cool Spot 2," I come across "Spot Goes to Hollywood." This stopped me in my tracks... If the game I had always thought existed DID exist, then did that mean there really was a 3rd Cool Spot game? Well, yes, Spot on the NES, Cool Spot on the SNES (and other platforms), and Spot Goes to Hollywood on the PS1 (and others)... No Cool Spot 2, and no videos online of 2D stages I didn't already know. Instead what I found was an isometric pseudo-3D game, with different locations based off of Hollywood movies.

So, what happened? This is the one that stumps me the most out of the two on this list, and I can't quite come up with any answers that I can prove. Were the videos of "Cool Spot 2" just CP1 labeled wrong? But then why didn't I know the stages? Could that all have been some sort of modded version of the game? Then if so why can't I find it now? Are there 2D stages in Spot Goes to Hollywood? Apparently no. Whatever it is I saw all those years ago seemingly doesn't exist, and for some reason my mind has created such a strong false memory of it that I still believe it was a thing. But even if it doesn't exist, why couldn't I find Spot Goes to Hollywood? Was me adding "Cool Spot" to the start throwing off the searches? Were people just not uploading videos of it online at the time? That's something I'll never know for sure either -- but at least I do know the game is real.


Although both of these games do have explanations on why I remember them wrong (for Mario I'm sure it was just because I wasn't the best reader as a young kid, and Cool Spot was most likely just a lack of videos online at the time and me remembering the original game stages wrong),  I still find it strange that I was able to go so long without learning the truth about either. Now, what about you? Do you have any memories you later learned were false? If you take the time to think about it, I'm sure what you'll find will shock you.

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