I don't think I've owned a hard copy of the Guinness Book of World Records since I was a kid, but the new Gamer's Edition is just too much to pass up. It's full of things that even I had never heard, and I spend all day talking about weird video game trivia. Here's a few of the choicest tidbits.
10. The most expensive virtual car in the gaming world is the Jaguar XJ13 from Gran Turismo 6. You can unlock it through regular play, or shell out $196 to earn it straight away. In real life the car is pretty much priceless, as only one has ever been produced.
9. The character Mo van Barr in Red Dead Redemption had his likeness, specifically his distinctive and epic mustache, decided through a charity mustache contest held by Rockstar Games. The winner was Canadian Charles Leece. The contest was part of Movember, an annual men's health awareness campaign that raises money for prostate cancer research and other men's health issues.
8. The longest running single video game in the world is The Oregon Trail. First released in 1971 as an educational game, it continues to be remade today. The most recent editions were a mobile version made by Gameloft in 2008, and a Facebook version that was released in 2011.
7. When I was growing up Japan made video games and they sent us whatever we could beg them to, but now there are tons of American studios sending titles the other way. What was the first American console game to break out and sell 1 million units in the Land of the Rising Sun? It was Crash Bandicoot of all things.
6. Big grudge matches in professional wrestling draw huge viewing numbers on Pay Per View, but a YouTube user named Marcus Garick actually created an online blockbuster match that dwarfed the real thing. In WWE 2K14 he created wrestles for Marvel comic characters Hulk and Red Hulk, then let them fight under control of the AI. The video has been viewed more than 6 million times, making it the most popular video game wrestling match of all time. By comparison, Wrestlemania XXX itself drew less than 700,000 viewers.
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5. If you play Team Fortress 2 then you are probably aware that, much like many religions, status is determined by hats. These purely cosmetic items have grown into a full-blown online economy, which considering that they already exist inside an expensive machine designed to entertain you makes me wonder if the ghost in the machine is Patrick Bateman. The most expensive hat in the game is currently the Burning Flames Killer Exclusive, a classic reporter's hat complete with press pass. It was sold for 300 Earbuds, approximately $10,820 worth of real world money. (Editor's Note: We have removed the "ethics in video game journalism" joke Jef left in this spot and beaten him with a yardstick for several minutes. Thank you for reading!)
4. The first video game movie was based on Super Mario Bros. Everyone knows that, but the thing most people don't know is that it was not the live action monstrosity starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper. No, it was a Japanese anime called Sûpâ Mario burazâzu: Pîchi-hime kyushutsu dai sakusen! (Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach). The 60-minute, 1986 film directed by Masami Hata has never been released outside of Japan.
3. The first full-blown pandemic in a virtual world happened in 2005 in World of Warcraft. A deadly status effect that was supposed to only affect people near the corpse of Hakkar in the Zul'Gurub dungeon became a viral infection that spread across the in-game world after several infected players teleported out of the dungeons and began infecting other players, pets, and even NPCs. The Corrupted Blood Plague is actually studied by scientists today as a means of combating real world pandemics.
2. There have been professional video game teams for decades now, but Germany's SK Gaming took things a few steps further in 2005 when they became the first gaming clan to legally sign players to a binding contract. They are still active in the eSports community.
1. And finally, I am happy to announce that Houston made it into the book, but in an appropriate way for the weirdest city in Texas (Yeah, I said it!). What's our piece of history? The first hospitalization to result from a Legend of Zelda injury. In March of this year cosplayer Eugene Thompson found himself in an altercation with his girlfriend's ex-husband. The two men came to blows in Thompson's home, with the ex-husband ending up stabbed with Thompson's replica of Link's Master Sword in the leg and chest, while Thompson himself was injured when the husband smashed a pot over his head. Both men were sent to Memorial Hermann. And that, friends and neighbors, is why Houston is in the book and Austin isn't.
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