Warnewts was released late in the lifespan of the 8-bit Musjido Multimedia System (MMS). A mash-up of ideas from then-popular arcade brawlers and Saturday morning cartoons, the game retailed for an astonishing $79.99 due to battery-backed memory and a custom chipset, but it was well worth it to most gamers in the fall of 1992. With the next-generation 16-bit systems still at the height of their prices and a massive base of installed MMS users, Warnewts was viewed as a way to get a near-16-bit experience on an 8-bit console.

Some facts quickly became apparent: the original developer, Makhar Studios, had gone bankrupt just before the end of the game’s development, meaning that the company that released the game had no access to the source code. This led to Warnewts being shipped with some serious bugs that could not be easily fixed, like the infamous “Level 4 Platform Crouch-Punch.” The game was also incredibly hard and unforgiving, with three lives and three continues and dozens of instant death traps per level. Even with an optional built-in cheat to increase the number of lives and continues to five, beating the game was considered a mark of the highest video game artistry in the spring and summer of 1992. Third-party cheating devices like the Game Grimoire wouldn’t work properly with Warnewts‘ custom chipset, either, forcing an unprecedented outpouring of honesty from gamers.

The ending of Warnewts, much like that of Ghasts n’ Gargoyles, promised that a “true” ending could be unlocked, though whether do to a bug or design the ending did not specify what actions had to be taken and simply returned players to the title screen at its conclusion. Rumors swirled that this ending could only be unlocked by completing the game with no lives lost or continues used, a seemingly impossible feat.

In August 1994, the first claims appeared that a player had met the conditions to unlock the secret Warnewts ending. Less than a day later, a reporter from Musjido Elite magazine visited to confirm and take screenshots.

The found the player in the local morgue.

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