Beginning in August 1997 – a generation of gamer’s imaginations would run wild over an inaccessible area of the sentinel Nintendo 64 game, Goldeneye.
Chances are, you’ve played Goldeneye. Arguably, the most successful first person shooter of all time. The graphics and gameplay mechanics may be aged now but calling the game ground breaking for its time would be an understatement.
The game starts out in the same locale as the movie. A dashing (albeit more pixelated) James Bond begins at the precipice of the Byelomorye Dam armed with only a silenced pistol to combat soviet guards protecting the chemical facility built at the bottom of the dam itself. As the player makes his or her way through the level, they reach the top of the dam – a narrow area with guard towers evenly spread across. Our daring agent’s seemingly only point of entrance would be from bungie jumping down the massive concrete construct.
But far off in the distance is where our mystery lies. A seemingly unreachable island – complete with an additional guard tower and armament not seen in other towers of the game. For years, rumors swirled about what treasures and secrets the island held. The infamous Moonraker nemesis , Jaws was rumored to be lying in wait there, ready to pounce on unsuspecting players.
Word of mouth – through school cafeterias and chat rooms alike, were full of players who had been there and seen extraordinary things with little to no proof. However, like everything else, the mystery became buried by the sands of time, eventually forgotten and what secrets did lie there lie undisturbed, a question confined to a ROM cartridge placed on the shelf and left behind. The next generation of gaming came in and Rare’s masterpiece was replaced by the Halo’s and Call Of Duty’s of tomorrow as the island that launched a million rumors lie in wait untraversed and forgotten.
But ten years after its release “GoldenIsland” as fans have called it was brought back into the limelight. With an interview with game designers stating the islands original purpose.
“There was talk about being able to drive a boat there, but we never got around to implementing the boat… Development was very freeform and unplanned back then – some things made it in and some didn’t. We really were working out how to do everything as we went along.”GoldenEye team members Mark Edmonds and Duncan Botwood
With a game shark clipping code, players could travel over the body of water themselves to explore the island themselves. Needless to say it was anticlimactic. No Golden guns. No Jaws. No surprises.
Sometimes the secret just isn’t really worth learning.