This story took place back around 2002, when I was finishing up Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. My primary focus at the time was putting together all of the assets which made up the fighting monsters - their animations, sounds, effects, and building a cohesive fighting system out of those assets.
My primary tool for this task was an internal tool we called the Monster Editor. The Monster Editor was primarily engineered by my good friend Solomon, and it was at least partially because of our ability to mind-meld so effectively that I had been hired by Pipeworks to use his tool.
But at this juncture, just a few months before the game shipped, Solomon had stopped work on the Monster Editor. Someone thought this might be a good time for another engineer to take a look at it, and maybe add some much-needed user interface improvements. Brian Apgar was put to the task.
Brian was (and is) a really serious worker - he attacks his problems with vigor. In just a few days, he had optimized and tweaked the entire interface at least once over - a good portion of those changes were driven by a wish list I had been keeping, but many were his own ideas. Including, most importantly for this story, a set of keyboard shortcuts.
Brian had simply taken a look at the function I used most often from the toolbars, and given me Ctrl-foo equivalents. These weren't written down anywhere - I just had to sort of figure them out. Ctrl-C was copy, Ctrl-V was paste. Ctrl-M brought up the move list, Ctrl-W was the weapons dialog. And so forth.
In these final months, I spent a _ton_ of time reviewing our 11 monsters and making sure they operated the same way. A lot of that meant comparing the event and control data - which we called an "edge." I would copy an edge from one monster, paste it into another, and then review that edge. I became a big fan of the Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V shortcuts during this time - I probably used them 300 times or more every day.
Important aside - at this time I had not yet switched to my dvorak-lifestyle. I was still using qwerty. So "C" and "V" were along the bottom left side of my keyboard.
On the day after we shipped our gold master, I was reviewing more monster data - quadruple-checking just in case we were rejected and had another chance to submit. (We didn't.) Brian at this time got caught up with some linger tasks - one of which was to provide me with a list of all keyboard shortcuts. When he sent it to me, one of the very first item on the list was "Ctrl-X : Exit without saving."
Exit without saving!
I couldn't imagine why I would need a shortcut to do such a thing - and then I realized that "X" is immediately adjacent to "C" on the keyboard. At any time I could have easily hit Ctrl-X by mistake, and lost an arbitrary amount of data. As it happened, I never made that particular mistake. But I immediately requested that Brian remove the shortcut.
I suspect that many people don't think this story is especially interesting, or shocking. But you should appreciate that I spent days at a time at my desk during this period. I slept and ate these monsters. I felt as if I had discovered a nuclear bomb connected to my doorknob set to detonate if anyone turned it the wrong way. This keyboard shortcut never caused me any trouble, but it's absolutely my engineering boogeyman. I worry about it whenever I get a new feature or application. I see it out of the corner of my eye when I start to feel comfortable with a task.