Today, video games contain very few "secret characters". Most of them are discovered within days, if not hours, of a game's release and disseminated so quickly and widely across social media that you never have a chance to find them on your own.
But back in the day, the ability to play as various secret characters was only learned a few ways: Through physical magazines and guides that you had to ask your mom to buy for you, schoolyard lore, or the early internet, as packed with rumors true and false as the seas during the age of discovery (and just as slow and difficult to navigate.)
And for every real secret, there was a fake one we so wanted to be true, like how to revive Aerith in Final Fantasy VII, or play as secret boss Reptile in the original Mortal Kombat, but they were usually fake.
Unless... they weren't?
These games include hidden characters that can only be found via hidden knowledge. Ones who took so much time, luck, and processes so convoluted, only a select few managed to uncover them.
10. Grey Fox - Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions
Did anyone do the VR training in the original Metal Gear? You know, the arcade style tutorials/challenges separate from the main story? I suppose you can't have too much of a good thing, but with Metal Gear Solid being, well, freaking Metal Gear Solid, one of the Playstation's best and most defining games, tacking on some extra, stand-alone levels just seemed superfluous.
It's not a big surprise that the expansion, Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions (also known as VR Missions) didn't make much of a blip on anyone's radar. After all, it didn't continue the Metal Gear Solid story - it just added a bunch of new VR Training levels.
Unfortunately, anyone who skipped out on this seemingly underwhelming package missed out on something we all wanted but never imagined being real:
The ability to play as cyborg ninja, Grey Fox.
Granted, you had to complete the bulk of the game as Snake to unlock Ninja Mode, but once you did, you were treated to a whole new way to play MGS; running like the wind, turning invisible, flipping over an enemy's head and taking them down with one lightning-fast slash to the back.
Nothing personal, kid.