Videogame pranks are hardly anything new, but back in 1999 one gamer pulled off what will probably go down as the greatest hoax in the history of Zelda.
Of course, some people will just remember as that time some douche with nothing better to do pissed off half the internet, but I’m all about thinking positive.
Those of you who grew up the seminal N64 Zelda title Ocarina of Time may recall hearing rumours that you could actually find and obtain the legendary Triforce in its entirety.
This, of course, was a load of rubbish, but through a combination of vague hints, fake screenshots, and the fact that the internet was a much less cynical place back then, a legendary hoax began.
Hyrule: The Legend of Zelda was a real hotspot on the web back in the day if you wanted to talk all things Zelda. It was here that Ariana Almandoz, a gamer from Colombia, began her deception.
Almandoz first revealed in an email to the HTLOZ staff:
I’ve found it. I found the Triforce about a week ago and I took the picture on Friday.
Her initial email didn’t contain any tangible proof – but a day later she sent the below image:
Predictably, the image sparked a ton of discussion. Some called bullshit, while others wanted to know what they had to do to get their hands on this prized Zelda treasure.
Almandoz frustrated fellow fans by being purposely vague, saying only that the process involved the Temple of Time and a hidden song for your ocarina.
As doubt began to build and the rumour started to spread further, Almandoz finally revealed that you would need to learn a song called Overture of Sages from Kaepora Gaebora (you know, the owl that talks a lot).
While she shared another screen, she still refused to reveal specifics on how to learn the song.
Unfortunately, it was at this point that Almondoz fell apart like wet cake under intense questioning and speculation, opting to disappear for a time.
She returned a few months later to finally reveal all:
People from all over the world try my story, they will swallow it like candies no matter that the pictures are a total fake, the mistakes I made in purpose were to show how silly can some people be. Some idiots will show proof against the pictures, will try to show their knowledge in the usage of software like Photoshop and will prove to me that they know nothing, (none really discovered how I made them) people will play play and play non stop and will not even sleep,everything just for me, ja ja ja, I’m still receiving emails !!!! I can’t believe this.
Was Almondoz the very first internet troll? If so, that’s not a title you really want to hang onto.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.