10 Most Popular Video Game Theories That Got Debunked

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Ditto Terra Raid

Video game fan communities love to theorize about the lore and stories of their favorite games, no matter how ridiculous they may seem. Whether loose ends were left untied on purpose or players picked up on an unintentionally ambiguous or incongruent detail, gamers will find an element to build hypotheses around.

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However, developers don’t always approve of fan theories. In some cases, the creators of the games make an effort to refute popular claims. Some have done this by making official statements in interviews or on social media. Others include details and information in later games that explain the true nature of the situation.



10 The Mushroom On Toad’s Head Is A Hat

Ever since Toad’s head was portrayed as a hat in the non-canon animated series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, fans of the Super Mario Bros. franchise have wondered if it was true. Throughout the years, many gamers have found evidence supporting both sides of the argument in different games featuring Toad.

In a 2018 promotional Q&A for Super Mario Odyssey, producer Yoshiaki Koizumi officially stated that the mushroom cap is Toad’s head. He did, however, state that he would leave it up to viewers to determine what that means in how it applies to Toad’s anatomy.

9 Phone Guy Is Purple Guy

The Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise is a theorist’s playground. Each game is packed with hidden lore, secret Easter eggs, and unanswered questions. One of the oldest conundrums fans faced was the identity of Phone Guy, the only voice players heard in the first few games.

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At a certain point, players believed Phone Guy might share his true identity with another mysterious figure from the Five Nights at Freddy’s series: Purple Guy. This theory was later debunked when Purple Guy was revealed to be the main antagonist, William Afton, while Phone Guy was left to his tragic fate in unnamed obscurity.

8 Squall Is Dead

One of the most popular video game theories of all time, to the point that it has its own website, is the idea that Squall Leonhart dies in his epic battle with Edea at the end of Final Fantasy VIII‘s first disk. The site then states that the rest of the game is a dream or vision in which Squall explores what could have become of his life.

Yoshinori Kitase, a longtime member of development teams at Square Enix, officially refuted this theory in an interview with Kotaku. He stated that the Final Fantasy VIII concept was an intriguing thought he might consider in the future, but ultimately untrue.

7 Lavender Town Syndrome

Lavender Town Syndrome is an interesting display of what can happen when theories grow beyond the fan community’s capacity to contain them. This creepypasta-turned-urban-legend purports that the area music for Lavender Town in Pokémon Red and Blue, called Red and Green in Japan, contained harmful tones that made children sick or caused them to harm themselves.

Though this theory has never been officially addressed by Nintendo, when Lavender Town appears in subsequent Pokémon games, its music has toned down on the dissonant notes and unsettling ambiance. Additionally, multiple journalists and amateur investigators have looked into the issue and were unable to source any legitimate evidence backing up the legend’s outlandish claims.

6 Mario Hits Yoshi

Yoshi’s first appearance in Super Mario World left fans troubled by what they thought they saw. When Mario directs Yoshi to stick his tongue out to grab food or enemies, it looks like Mario might be punching the adorable creature in the back of the head.

Nintendo graphic designer Shigefumi Hino debunked this theory in an official Nintendo interview in 2017. He stated that the idea originally was for Mario to hit Yoshi so he would stick out his tongue, but he thought players would feel bad for Yoshi, so he changed it to Mario pointing forward to show Yoshi where to reach.

5 Earthbound Fetus Theory

For years, fans of Earthbound grappled with what may have been the origin and inspiration for the infamous antagonist Giygas. Due to his shifting appearance and dark red color palette, many players believed Giygas to be a fetus and the battle with him to be some type of commentary on abortion.

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This Earthbound theory has been refuted by both the original game’s creator Shigesato Itoi in an online interview and by Marcus Lindblom, the primary writer for the English text of Earthbound, in an interview with Kotaku. In his interview, Itoi explains that Giygas was inspired by his memory of accidentally witnessing an extremely violent scene at the movies as a child.

4 The Tetraforce Theory

One theory surrounding The Legend of Zelda franchise stemmed from a graphic design choice rather than a plot point or story element. As a result of the appearance of a small gold triangle on the bottom of the Hylian Shield in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, many fans hypothesized that there was a secret fourth piece of the Triforce.

The Tetraforce theory, as the Zelda fanbase chose to call it, was rejected subtly by Nintendo through the Hylian Shield’s design going forward. After Ocarina of Time, main-series Zelda games avoided the design from Ocarina of Time and removed the fourth triangle from the shield.

3 Tom Nook Is The Villain

After the premiere of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, discussions of series regular Tom Nook and his financial practices skyrocketed. Most gamers decried Nook as a greedy landlord, using the player to do his dirty work. Many proposed that Tom Nook was the secret villain of the franchise trying to rob the player blind.

Once the hype died down somewhat, questions arose surrounding this portrayal of the otherwise-wholesome tanuki. When asked by The Washington Post, Animal Crossing: New Horizons producer Hisashi Nogami rejected the idea, stating how patient and considerate he believes Tom Nook to be.

2 Dittos Are Failed Clones

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Fans of the Pokémon franchise often hypothesize and wonder about the origins of some of their pocket monster friends. Ditto, the Normal type that can breed with and take on the appearance of any other Pokémon, has been especially vexing to many gamers.

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One of the most popular theories about Ditto is that they were failed clones of Mew, due to them sharing a variety of similar features. In an interview with GameInformer, longtime Gamefreak art director Junichi Masuda refuted this claim. Masuda explained all Pokémon are individual beings, created to be unique.

1 Mew Was Hiding Under A Truck

In Pokémon Red and Blue, many players believed that a high-value reward was hidden beneath a mysterious truck on a ledge near the S.S. Anne in Vermillion City. This was due to the player’s inability to reach the truck without clever workarounds and the fact that it otherwise didn’t visibly serve a gameplay purpose.

Some players found ways to acquire the Pokémon move Surf ahead of when the game intended, either by trading in Pokémon from other games or intentionally failing a battle. Though there was originally nothing there for them to find, Nintendo chose to play along with the joke in later Pokémon releases by placing a hidden item there.

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