Mysterious Experiences You've Had In Video Games?

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Here’s a fun little topic I have been meaning to make for a while now. As gamers, I am sure some of us have had experiences in games that we feel weren’t technically supposed to happen, but did anyway and we aren’t sure why. Well, that’s what this thread is about, mysterious experiences you’ve had in video games. It can be solved or unsolved mysteries.

It’s pretty simple, just list the game, the mysterious experience you had in the game, and an explanation if there is one. Like this:
Game:
Mystery:
Explanation:

I am reserving this post for explaining the topic itself. Now it’s your turn, post the mysterious experiences you’ve had!
 
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4,803
United States
The US of A
Well, don't everybody speak at once! :lol: I have one I could name right off the bat that I have been meaning to post.

Game: Spongebob Squarepants Legend of the Lost Spatula

Mystery: A long time ago I was playing this game and was on the Kelpazoic Jungle and I got to the Jungle Fish boss and could not figure out how to defeat him. Eventually, I had to quit the game, so I wrote the code down since the game used a password function. I reentered it later on and made my way back to where I would usually go to fight him and he was gone! It seems after entering the code, it bypassed the boss fight without me having to actually beat it myself and sure enough, I got what I needed from it as well and could continue on with the rest of the game.

Explanation: None. To this day, I still have no idea how this happened and I have yet to see it again. It's possible I may have entered the code slightly wrong and it took me further into the game as a result, but I am skeptical of this. I have tried to recreate this in recent years and have had no luck doing so.
 
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4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: Need for Speed Carbon

Mystery: I noticed at one point with Cross's Corvette in the bonus cars section, it had a body kit that looked slightly different from body kit 4, which is available with the Corvette Z06 in the game. The most noticing thing for me was that it was missing some features in the back. Upon investigating via hex editing, I found it actually had the same hex code as body kit 4 and even said it had it installed when viewing the car. What's strange is looking at the menu for the body kits, body kit 4 looked just as it should upon cycling over it, same could be said for installing it in-game. However, if I was to install it via hex editing, the result was quite different from installing it in-game and it was a perfect match to what Cross's Corvette looked like by default despite the hex codes being the same. For a while, I wondered if they were two different body kits, but the hex codes being the same had me a bit confused.

Explanation: In recent years, Sage Ages mentioned that the preset cars in the game had overlapping body kits and given that Cross's Corvette was a preset car, I quickly realized that was what was actually happening with Cross's Corvette and that it wasn't a different body kit altogether. Rather, it was a body kit that was by default, not installed properly, hence why it's looked noticeably different than what it was supposed to be. Not sure why I didn't realize that sooner.
 
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5,899
Canada
Ottawa
Pyano1132
Game: Gran Turismo 6

Mystery: That one glitch where you could save a championship mid-session and upon loading the game back up, the same event would take place on your most recently-played user created track. You could get some pretty neat races using this glitch.

Explanation: Well, it was a glitch all right. PD patched it a week or two after it popped up, but not before I saved a bunch of replays and many other players started using it as well to create their own events. Still not sure how the user tracks could hijack an event like that, but it was cool to see while it lasted.
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: Gran Turismo 6

Mystery: That one glitch where you could save a championship mid-session and upon loading the game back up, the same event would take place on your most recently-played user created track. You could get some pretty neat races using this glitch.

Explanation: Well, it was a glitch all right. PD patched it a week or two after it popped up, but not before I saved a bunch of replays and many other players started using it as well to create their own events. Still not sure how the user tracks could hijack an event like that, but it was cool to see while it lasted.
This is fascinating! Do you by chance remember what update it was?
 

VBR

Meme Dissident in Exile...
Premium
7,700
England
Yorkshire
ScapeGoat4U
Game: Silent Hill 2.

Mystery: I liked to play the game late at night during the witching hour on my own & in the dark. I think I was on my first playthrough, & after turning off the game the soundscape was still playing. This is strange I thought to myself, as the console was turned off as well. Why was these incredibly haunting sounds still audible if everything had been switched off? It didn't help that my place was totally undecorated at the time, had missing tiles, & looked just like many of the locations in the game. I thought something supernatural was going on & I started getting a little freaked out, but kind'a liked it. It was creepy AF!

Explanation: After some time, I went outside & the noises got louder. Then, I realised that there was a massive vehicle doing some unidentified industrial process to some drains, I think, & the sound it made was almost exactly the same as the weird sound design in SH2.
 
4,803
United States
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VBR
Game: Silent Hill 2.

Mystery: I liked to play the game late at night during the witching hour on my own & in the dark. I think I was on my first playthrough, & after turning off the game the soundscape was still playing. This is strange I thought to myself, as the console was turned off as well. Why was these incredibly haunting sounds still audible if everything had been switched off? It didn't help that my place was totally undecorated at the time, had missing tiles, & looked just like many of the locations in the game. I thought something supernatural was going on & I started getting a little freaked out, but kind'a liked it. It was creepy AF!

Explanation: After some time, I went outside & the noises got louder. Then, I realised that there was a massive vehicle doing some unidentified industrial process to some drains, I think, & the sound it made was almost exactly the same as the weird sound design in SH2.
Can't blame you for being disturbed, I would have been too.

Sound design has come a long way over the years and some sounds really aren't too far off from what we hear in the real world. Not a mystery of any sort, but related to what you're talking about, my dad was playing Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2010 once on our PS3 and my mom heard the sirens from the game. She thought they were real and then ran to the door to see them go by our house because she thought they were coming by, only to find out what she heard was from the game instead. I can't blame her for thinking that because the sirens in that game are pretty spot on. Although I am not a fan of the game itself, I have to give it some credit, the sound design is incredible.
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
This perhaps one of the biggest mysteries I know and I have no idea why I didn't post it sooner.

Game: Not really a game-related mystery, but rather a save file on my PS1 memory card.

Mystery: Long ago, around 2003 or 2004, I was starting to understand the PS1 a lot better, particularly the memory card and started to figure out how to save games. Eventually, I can recall navigating to the save menu on Tarzan for the PS1 and finding a save game that said "Gardens of Theed" that I think had some numbers in the name as well. I was kind of puzzled by it because I did not have a game by that name whatsoever nor have I ever heard of it. I eventually deleted it because I had no use for it since I did not own the game it came from, however, it would still continue to puzzle me for many years later

Fast forward to around 2011 and 2012, I learned of a place called Sony Index, a website that seemed to have an index of every known PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP game produced and decided to look the game up there. I was met with even more confusion than before, I could not find any results for the game on there and was not sure why. So I googled it and found a Youtube video for Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace for the PS1 with the name "Gardens of Theed" in the title. I didn't think it was related to what I found on my memory card long ago and ultimately dismissed it still thinking Gardens of Theed was some obscure PS1 game that hadn't been documented.

Explanation: In 2017 I got the aforementioned Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace for the PS1 and started playing it. Eventually, I thought I recognized the save game icon and I also came to notice there was a level by the name "Gardens of Theed". It was then I learned that the save game I had found nearly a decade and a half prior by the name "Gardens of Theed" was actually NOT from a game by that name, rather it was the name of a level from within Star Wars Episode 1 for the PS1. So what I saw on Google previously was actually my answer all along. I had always thought the text displayed when viewing the file on the memory card was the name of the game, but that apparently isn't true for all games like I once thought.

Regarding how it got on the memory card, I eventually realized that the PS1 I had was previously owned by my cousin before my mom bought it off of him in 2001. That said, I came to the conclusion that my cousin apparently had Star Wars Episode 1 for the PS1 at one point in time and had created a save game on the memory card that had not been erased by the time my mother bought the console. It's possible he may have sold the game by then or simply didn't sell it to my mom knowing I was too young to play it at the time she bought it. I don't know when I figured that part out, but I think it was long before I got the game or even looked it up, but it was something I do recall thinking about again after getting the game.

Ironically, my cousin, the previous owner of the console, came to visit weeks after I bought the game and looked at the game and some of the others I had bought with it. I eventually mentioned to him about how he evidently had Star Wars Episode 1 before he sold the console to my mom since I had found that save on his memory card long ago. He didn't have any recollection of owning the game, but I think this may just simply be due to the fact it was a long time ago and was not something he could remember after so long because not everyone has a photographic memory of the games they played. Given how early in the game the "Gardens of Theed" level is and how it was the most recent level on the old save, it's possible he didn't even play it much.
 
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VBR

Meme Dissident in Exile...
Premium
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England
Yorkshire
ScapeGoat4U
Sound design has come a long way over the years...

Indeed. SH2 was one of the first games to experiment with 3d audio. I remember some of the in-game sounds as appearing to originate behind me, it was a very good effect. What with PS5's beefed up version of that, many gamers could be in for a treat I tell thee!
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: A browser flash game called "Switch" on Funbrain.com

Some relevant info about the game: I doubt anyone is familiar with this game, so let me explain a bit about it. Back when I was 14 I think, me and many others in my school used to play the games on Funbrain.com a lot since it was one of the few that they allowed. Switch was a puzzle game on there that I really enjoyed (and still do) that involved switching fruit around and if you got 3 in a row, they disappeared and you would earn points for it and more would come down and such. The goal of the game is to reach 4200 points in 60 seconds and it was kind of a challenge but doable none the less.

Mystery
: Somehow, after scoring some points, it seems like fruit kept falling into perfect place constantly and I managed to get 40,000+ points within the given time limit when I usually struggle to get just the 4200 points the game asked for. This is far beyond the requirement the game has and technically it should not be possible by normal means to get this many points, yet somehow I did.

Explanation: A super lucky glitch? I don't really know how it happened, it just seems like I got extremely lucky with the fruit constantly falling into perfect place and managed to accumulate far more points than the typical player ever could. How could I get this lucky though? To this day, I still don't know, but whatever it was, it certainly wasn't normal and I have yet for it to happen again. I've played it some just this past week and haven't come anywhere as close to what I did back then.
 

VBR

Meme Dissident in Exile...
Premium
7,700
England
Yorkshire
ScapeGoat4U
Game: Journey.

Mystery: the entire game is one big mystery! It's the closest thing to a 'spiritual' experience you'll get in gaming.

Explanation: there is none, except whatever one you want to come up with for yourself. IMO, the game is like one big giant metaphor for life...
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command

Mystery: Just recently, I was playing this old PS1 game again, something I do about once every year, and I was going back and trying to get all the medals. Eventually when I got to Karn 1 I think it was, I tried to do the time trial and as soon as it finished loading, the screen fades to black like it normally does, but before the level even come up and I could see anything, I heard Buzz say maybe 2 words and then it stopped. Next thing I know, it brings me to the mission accomplished screen with a time of 00:00:00 and like that, it was over before it even started! Was pretty amazed it happened and kind of relieved by it since I don't really like time trials in general. What makes this even more exciting, is I actually got a picture of this! This being the offscreen picture I made as soon as it happened.
IMG_1617.jpeg

After this, I saved and tried going back to it to see if it did it again, but it didn't and loaded like it normally would. I have had this game almost 20 years and have never had this happen once in the entire time I have owned it, and it's one I play at least once a year!

Explanation: None. It's obviously a glitch of some sort, though how it was triggered, I don't even know. It's worth noting I was playing the game on my Playstation Classic and it's possible the emulator it uses had something to do with this, but this is only speculation.
 
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4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: NASCAR 2000

Mystery: A long time ago when I was just a kid, I borrowed this game from my cousin and played it some. Eventually noticed this when viewing the track records:
SLUS-00962_2021-10-04_14-29-27.png

A track called "Big Sky" in Montana. I had never seen the track before until I went there and I could not find it anywhere in the track selection either. It confused me because I felt like it should be there, but it was nowhere to be found outside of the track records.

Explanation: Simply put, it was an unlockable track that I hadn't unlocked yet. As a child, I was still fairly new to gaming and I felt like if it was truly an unlockable track, it would be visible in the track selection and would have the word "locked" to indicate it hasn't been unlocked yet. However, that's not how NASCAR 2000 is, the track simply isn't visible until you unlock it, but I did not realize that until later. Eventually, I figured out that you have to beat all the races in "Race against The King" to unlock it, and then it will be fully playable.
 
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156
South Africa
South Africa
MadSaffer
Game: Dead Space 2.

Mystery: Hole in the space time continuum. Day became night became day.
Seemingly able to forgo basic human needs for over 24 hours.
Blinking once per hour achieved without (lasting) damage.

Explanation: Damn fine game at exactly the right time.
 
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4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: Froot Loops Lost Map Switch

Some relevant info about the game: It's a reskin of the flash game "Switch" I mentioned above.

Mystery: So last year, September 18th to be specific, the mystery I spoke of earlier with Switch from a long time ago apparently came back with a vengeance. Except for this time, the game glitched out on me and the score was roughly half of the previous occurrence. However, this time, I got a screenshot of it! :eek:
High Score.png

What happened here was much like the previous occurrence, they just kept falling into to perfect place constantly and although it was roughly half what I got previously, I still got a score that was considerably higher than normal as a result. What makes this one different from the other is, it glitched out and wasn't filling in the empty spots like it was supposed to. Played this and the original version it's based on a lot and have never had this happen before.

Explanation: Like the previous mystery, I think it was just a strange case of really good luck and a glitch of some sort, but how it was triggered, I still don't know.
 
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4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: Lego Star Wars III The Clone Wars (PS3)

Mystery: I got the game back in June of 2011 and played it to near completion with my brother for a while, but there was something that prevented me from reaching 100%. I had every character in the game, except one and I could not figure out how to get it. For a long time, I assumed it was Bossk since I didn't see him in the character list and I saw mentions of him on some cheat code websites. However, entering the cheat code for him yielded nothing and I could not figure out how to get that last character. Eventually, I ended up abandoning the game for personal reasons in late July of that year, leaving the mystery unsolved for many years to come.

Explanation: Fast forward to just early this week, I talked about that missing character I could never find in the TTGames Lego Modding server on Discord, and turns out, I had been misled the whole time. Bossk, although he exists in the files, was never actually a playable character in the game because he wasn't included in the list. That said, I finally understood why the cheat code for him did not work, but I was met with even more confusion because if it wasn't Bossk I was missing, who was it?

So last night, for the first time since late July of 2011, I decided to go back into the game to get to the bottom of this. I looked at the grid and then looked at the game's internal list of characters and discovered it was the Luxury Droid I had been missing the whole time. It's supposed to spawn in the medical bay on the Resolute, but I had no recollection of ever seeing it there and could not find it anywhere. Not sure if my copy just had issues with this or if it was just tough luck, but I eventually caved in and just entered a cheat code to unlock it. Once I did, I finally had 100% of the game done and the mystery was solved.
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: NASCAR Rumble

Mystery: Way back in 2005, I had played through rookie, pro, and elite and thought I would be done by then and have everything unlocked. However, for some reason, I didn't have the Jet Car. So I assumed maybe I had to fill in all the trophies in Hall of Champs or find a wrench on a track in order to get it. So I tried both and unfortunately, I still didn't get it! I had done a lot in the game and could not figure out how to get the car to save my life and it left me genuinely stumped.

Explanation: Sometime later on, I eventually found the answer here and when I did, I realized it was a wrench all along! :) It was on Stoney Creek in the Bad Lands and it wasn't even hard to find either. So I looked for it and eventually got it and now I had literally everything unlocked in the game.

However, this revelation opened yet another mystery in the game. That mystery being I had searched that place before and didn't find it despite being in the right place. It would seem the wrenches to unlock cars don't always appear in races for some reason and this would explain why I didn't see it before and that said, I don't blame myself for being stumped. This mystery would go unsolved for many years afterward.

However, just this past hour as I was typing this very post and about to submit it, I decided to research it. Eventually, I found this page showing the locations of the wrenches and the video on that page said this:
Please note that to find some wrenches, the difficulty has to be on elite.
Nowhere in the game did it mention this and I had never read anything saying that before, until now, but seeing as some of the pictures showed him using an elite car, it seemed plausible. So I went into the game to verify and turns out, the Golf Cart, Road Captain, Hot Rod, and of course, the Jet Car, could I only be unlocked on elite difficulty and the wrenches for them won't spawn on any other. So after nearly 17 years, I finally had an answer to this mystery on why I didn't find the wrench for the Jet Car despite knowing the location and it was simply because I was playing on the wrong difficulty. :dunce:
 
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3,114
United States
Connecticut
SPhilli
SPhilli911
Game: Dirt Rally 2.0

Mystery: I saw a moose on the Sweden rally stage of the game. :lol: It's not as weird as it sounds, the game does have random and sometimes very rare animal encounters, but as far as I know there is no moose in the game. But I swear it was there, I remember thinking, "oh neat they added a moose to the game" as I drove by. But when I watched the reply to get a screenshot, it was nowhere to be seen. I even jumped on Google to see and sure enough, not one mention of the elusive bigfoot moose.

Explanation: No explanation, I was seeing things, most likely a tree that looked moose like. But I am still convinced it's there and it's programmed to to be very rare to see in the stage and no one other than me noticed it. I'll just keep my tin-foil hat on, thank you.
 
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4,803
United States
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Although it doesn't appear to be about Dirt Rally 2.0 I don't think, it does mention a moose being at Sweden. I don't play this game, but I speculate the track was ported from the previous title with everything intact, so you might not have hallucinated after all! :)
 
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3,114
United States
Connecticut
SPhilli
SPhilli911
Although it doesn't appear to be about Dirt Rally 2.0 I don't think, it does mention a moose being at Sweden. I don't play this game, but I speculate the track was ported from the previous title with everything intact, so you might not have hallucinated after all! :)
Whoa! Maybe I really did see one then. Super odd, then, that I wasn't able to find it in the replay. I play the game quite a lot and have not seen it since.
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
That little mystery of yours is making me want to buy the game now after seeing what it looks like. It looks promising!

The best you could do is just record a video while on the track, then look back at it later. It's interesting to me how there is little mention of it anywhere outside what you posted and on that page.
 

GTvsForza

Premium
7,016
United States
The Gem State
GTvsForza
GTvsForza
Game: Super Smash Bros Brawl

Mystery: During my high school years, a friend showed me a video of someone claiming to be playing as Mewtwo in SSBB. They picked Lucario and changed the player name to MEWTWO.

Explanation: It was a mod in early development. They changed the name to trick you, and it worked...
 
33
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
I've got two.

Game: GTA San Andreas

Mystery: Only happened to me once. I was driving in the hills in the SW quarter of the map, suddenly a WWII-style fighter jet crashed into the road and exploded, killing me.

Explanation: Not sure if this was deliberately programmed but guess it was a bug with the altitude/flight path of the plane. It never happened again and I began to wonder if I imagined it, until when just before GTA IV was released CVG published a GTA special in which it mentioned it happening in a feature about odd things that occurred in GTA games.



Game: Grand Prix Legends

Mystery: Driving round the Nordschleife very occasionally you'd see what appeared to be a spectral figure "dancing" on the road ahead. From memory it was in the run up to the Schwalbenschwanz/Kliens Karussell section just before the long straight.

Explanation: Loads of people were discussing it on forums at the time. It turned out the most likely explanation was it was just a graphical glitch with the sun being below the road surface but the light breaking through. Given it was an incredibly demanding game for the machinery of the time, with lots of official and unofficial addons, fixes and enhancements, it's not surprising there would be glitches like this.
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: Gran Turismo 2

Mystery: Here's another one that's from around the same time period as the Jet Car mystery I posted earlier that is quite similar to it as well. As a kid, when I first saw the Ford GT-90, not only did I love it, but it had the highest HP I had seen at the time and I became obsessed with getting it in my garage. With that said, I and my cousin both decided to play through the game in an effort to figure out where it can be won. So I did, I beat pretty much everything I can think of in the game and never got the car. I could not figure out how to win it to save my life and it left me pretty confused as to how it supposed to be obtained.

Explanation: About a year or so later, I learned how to browse the internet. When I did, I eventually looked it up and found it was acquired through the Seattle 100 miles endurance race. I was slightly confused about this though since I had already played it, but I did it again anyways and finally got the car I had wanted.

For a long time, I assumed it had to be played twice in order to get it and I think the webpage I viewed even claimed it was. However it wasn’t until recent years I learned this wasn’t the case. What it really was, was the event had a probability system making either one possible the first time, though playing again is necessary if you didn’t get what you wanted at first. Which would explain why I didn’t get it at first despite playing it already.
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: The Dukes of Hazzard II Daisy Dukes It Out

Mystery: Was playing split-screen with my brother many years ago and I recall finding a gap in the level geometry that would allow me to drive off of the map. When doing so, I remember falling off what seemed like a steep cliff, then landing on a very large flat plane of land and being able to slowly drive on it a very long way from the playable area to where the dot was in the center of the screen instead of the map.

Explanation: Obviously this is a glitch because theirs no way this was intended to happen. However, as far what we were doing and where currently remains unknown since it's been so long. Though I can note it was at least on the side of the map where the trees act as walls and based on my recent try in the game, I believe it was somewhere around the Boar's Nest. Wherever it was, I can recall it wasn't too hard to find because we did this at least twice.

Hopefully, I might be able to get to the bottom of this soon. 🤞
 
223
United States
United States
Game: Project CARS 2

Mystery:
Was racing the old Lola Can-Am-type car thing at old Monza with the banking with some friends. Qualifying was almost done, was sitting in the pits spectating the other guys. When the session finished, it dropped us on the grid and the race start, I noticed it put me in 3rd instead of 1st where I qualified. Weird but we had experienced weird stuff like that with the game before, figured maybe I dirtied the lap somehow or something. When the race started we charged towards that first chicane and about halfway there I tried to move over a bit to make some room and noticed my car did nothing, but the car in front of me moved. We got to the braking zone and realized something was seriously wrong, as when I braked the car in front of me braked and I drove square into the back of it. About this time my friend yelled "what is happening?!" and we both ended up through the hay bales and in that little nook in the chicane wall

While trying to turn around and get going we figured out the problem. I was controlling my car on pole from his cockpit view in 3rd, and he was controlling his car in 3rd from my cockpit view on pole.

Explanation: My guess is it had something to do with spectating, but we never had it happen before and it never happened again.

Kind of a shame we never figured out how to replicate it, as it could have been a fun way to do team races in slow cars.
 
4,803
United States
The US of A
Game: Gran Turismo 5

Mystery: Way back in mid-2012, there was a seasonal event that was a drift trial at Côte d'Azur and I remember downloading a replay from the highest-ranking player to use as a guide to learn how to get a high score. Upon watching the replay, I noticed the car was a silver chrome Subaru 360 that for some reason only topped out at 16 mph. I found this rather unusual because I did not know how one could make a car that slow and I think I tried to do this myself but couldn't. For a while, I wondered if the engine was just really really bad and then used some very close gear ratios.

Fast forward to 2022, I recently learned how to extract cars from replays and replace my riding car with whatever I extracted. Since this one was one I was still very puzzled about, it was the very first one I tackled. Upon injecting it into my save game and looking at its tune settings in-game, this is what I saw:
Gran Turismo 5.png

The engine was in good shape and had close gear ratios just as I had foreseen. Overall, it appeared it was all done by normal means, but then I noticed something incredibly off about this car. It somehow had its power limiter adjusted when you cannot do it on cars below 50 hp, which opens up an even bigger mystery. How did he even do this?! 🤔

Explanation: Currently, there is none, but I have a few theories:
1. Save Editing. Many would probably be quick to say this and I get why, but I beg to differ because this event and its replay was from August 2012, and as far as I can tell, save editing in GT5 didn't become a thing until early 2013. It's possible save editing may have existed at this time and just hadn't become public knowledge yet, but I doubt this.
2. Possible glitch? I highly doubt this, but it could potentially be some kind of glitch the user had done allowing him to use the power limiter.
3. Revision differences. This I think is the most plausible theory. I believe whatever update GT5 was on at the time may have allowed the player to use the power limiter on this car, but was later removed for it and apparently cannot be done as of 2.11. (which is what I am on)

Whatever it is, it's unusual either way. I am going to look into this a little further eventually and see if I can find some answers.
 
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4,803
United States
The US of A
So a bit of an update on the Subaru 360 mystery I posted above. I posted about it on a Discord server and I was able to find out exactly when the seasonal event was held, what update GT5 was on at the time, and even the leaderboard for said event. It was here I learned 2.07 was the current update for GT5 at the time, so I decided to do my own research and go to that update on another HDD to see if the tune for that car could be recreated. Although I edited my previous post, something I didn't notice previously is the power limiter is only usable if the car has more than 50 hp. That said, I imagine the user tuned his car real high, used the power limiter, and then removed the parts after because I learned this can be done and it won't reset the power limiter unless you view it.

However, even on the right update, I was unable to recreate it. The power limiter simply would not go down below 86.4% and the gear ratios could not be set to what this car used. I later went back to 2.11 and recreated it via save editing and while I was able to get it then, something I noticed is when I view the gear ratios and power limiter settings, they will reset to something the game actually can be set to. This clearly indicates these settings are outside of the parameters of what the game actually allows you to do.

That said, I think I can most likely conclude that this is the answer here:
1. Save Editing. Many would probably be quick to say this and I get why, but I beg to differ because this event and its replay was from August 2012, and as far as I can tell, save editing in GT5 didn't become a thing until early 2013. It's possible save editing may have existed at this time and just hadn't become public knowledge yet, but I doubt this.
I think that last sentence is what happened here. Sure I may not have been aware of save editing in GT5 until January of 2013, but given how this event was only a few months from this, it's quite possible it was starting to become a thing at the time and just wasn't made known yet.