ByLaurie Mazerolle, writer at
My name is Laurie. I run a blog called "The Man Who Plays Games" I enjoy reviewing games and making top 10 lists.
Laurie Mazerolle

Video games are made to be played in a certain way, and for some people that can get boring after the first playthrough. However, the thing about games is, sometimes there are ways to play them a little differently. In some cases, it's possible for certain tech-savvy gamers among us to get inside the game mechanics and change things around. Yep, ever since games existed, fans have been finding new ways to add fresh rules and gameplay to the games. So let's take a gander at some of the ways gamers have bent, broken, and twisted the rules to change the experience.

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1. Speed Running

To speed run is to get from the beginning of the game to the end as quickly as possible. You might think that getting to the end is the whole point. While that is true, takes it to the extreme. There are different ways to approach a speed run. You could do the bare minimum that is needed in order to get to the end of the game, or you could take the time to complete the game 100 percent while still trying to finish the game at top speed.

Speed running has become very popular over the years and there are even world records having been set, with games being beaten in a matter of minutes. Popular game choices for speed runners include Doom, Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Dark Souls.

There is even an event called Games Done Quick, where speed runners perform a gaming marathon in aid of charity. GDQ has raised more than $8 million, teaming up with the likes of Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. These events attract thousands of people, who come to watch players showcase their top-tier gameplay skills.

2. Pokémon Nuzlocke Challenge

Image: ProJared Wiki
Image: ProJared Wiki

Here we have a very well-known contest among Pokémon fans. The Nuzlocke Challenge takes the typical gameplay and adds two simple and potentially devastating rules:

  • Rule No. 1: If your Pokémon faints, it must be released or permanently boxed.
  • Rule No. 2: You must catch the first Pokémon you encounter in a new area, and nothing else. It's also the norm to nickname every Pokémon you catch, though that isn't technically a rule.

These two statutes drastically change the Pokémon experience. You're no longer prioritizing stronger Pokémon or selecting the types you want. Instead, you're working with whatever Lady Luck throws at you.

There are also several factors that work against you while playing by these rules. You'll find yourself holding your breath whenever the opponent attacks, hoping that the onslaught is not a critical hit. You'll also be on the lookout for any Pokémon types that your team is weak to. One bad match can cripple or even wipe out your entire team, forcing you to grab whatever is in your box in a bid to soldier on, or even having to start over from the beginning.

A certain psychology also comes into play with this hack. With it being common practice in the Nuzlocke Challenge to name every Pokémon you catch, when one goes down, it's not just “Geodude fainted!” or “Charmander fainted!” Now it's “Wendell fainted!” or “Joey fainted!” or even “Blamblegam fainted!” These Pokémon now have names, names that you gave them. All it takes is critical hit or a super-effective attack and they’re dead. It really puts pressure on the players to grind and make sure their team is as ready for the journey ahead as possible.

3. Super Mario 64 Chaos Edition

This mod doesn't just break the rules, it removes them altogether. Chaos Edition turns this beloved launch title into a random mishmash of absurd glitches and bugs.

Allow me to set the scene. You just started the game. You go into the castle. You notice that your health has started depleting by itself. You hurry on to Bob-omb Battlefield before your health runs out. Suddenly everything in the level is rocketing toward you in a massive tornado! You try to outrun it, but the camera tilts and you realize you can't turn left. The tornado catches up with you and beats the living snot out of you. Then Mario comes flying out of the painting and you realize that he's been turned into nothing more than a sign.

This mod turns the game against the player. As you traverse the levels, it will glitch or become altered in random ways. You could be climbing a mountain and then have Mario suddenly yanked away by an invisible force and fall off the level. You could be making your way down to the sunken ship in Jolly Roger Bay, when all of a sudden the water disappears, causing to fall to the bottom. To add insult to the excruciating amount of injury this mod puts you through, you could finally get the star you wanted and the whole thing crashes. This mod is a challenge not of your skill but of your patience.

4. Kaizo Mario

Also known as “Hack Mario” or “Asshole Mario,” Kaizo Mario is a series of Super Mario World hacks designed by T. Takemoto in 2007 as a challenge for a friend. The entire premise of these hacks is to be as difficult as possible without being entirely impossible. The obstacles these hacks throw at you seem impossible at first, but they can be overcome with a lot of determination, some top-level platforming skills, and excessive save state spamming. You know you're in for a fun time when you start up the game and the opening has a Thwomp falling toward Mario with walls on either side.

has gained somewhat of a cult following as an ultimate challenge of skill and determination. The popularity has even spawned some spinoff hacks of other Mario games, like Super Mario Bros. 3 and . There are even videos on YouTube of people somehow managing to speed run the games. Some of these videos have well over a million hits. Give these hacks a shot, if you think you're good enough.

5. Zelda Randomizer

Imagine, if you will, that you're playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, a timeless classic on the SNES. You've traversed Castle and just finished springing Zelda from her cell. You open the chest in the cell and inside you find — the Quake Medallion?!

For those of you who wondered what it would be like if all the items in a Zelda game were shuffled around, this hack's for you. To my knowledge, only the original and A Link to the Past have been randomized, but I'll use the latter as my primary example.

The basic premise is that every inventory item in the game has been swapped around so that each chest you encounter could be anything, from a single Rupee to the Master Sword. It completely changes the experience of the game because you don't know what the next chest might hold. You could potentially walk up to the first dungeon, completely armed to the teeth with all the best items.

Unfortunately, the randomizer is a double-edged sword. With all the items in various chests, you could find yourself shut out of a dungeon or forced to stop halfway through because you can't find the item you need to progress any further. This really puts your prior knowledge of the game to the test and forces you to seek out all the chests in the hope of finding what you need. Or you could be a total pansy and google the locations of all the chests. It's up to you.

These are just a handful of ways gamers have challenged themselves by hacking and changing the rules of the game. What sort of challenges or alterations have you played? Let me know in the comments below! Also, be sure to check me out on Facebook and Twitter for updates on upcoming articles.

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