xbox 360

Pro tip: The Tetris T-Spin

In Tetris, you occasionally will have to maneuver pieces so that they fit in spaces where it doesn't initially look like they're going to fit.

Like this T-piece, for example.

It would totally fit in that hole on the left column if some of those pieces weren't in the way.

But if you let it get partway in

And then rotate it at the last second, it slides into place

Which is easier to show in animated .gif form

This is a pretty useful maneuver, since it lets you slip those T-pieces in places where they wouldn't normally go.

Pro tip: manipulating when the letters for E-X-T-E-N-D appear in Bubble Bobble

If you play Bubble Bobble enough, you might begin to suspect that the collectible items that appear are essentially random.

But you'd be wrong.

Some of the more useful items are the bubbles that hold the letters that spell the word EXTEND. To get them, all you have to do is encase a lot of enemies in bubbles and maneuver them so that they all pop at the same time.

If you popped enough, when the next stage starts you'll notice that the lettered bubbles start pouring in!

In fact, you get two less than the number of enemies that you popped at once (pop 3 enemies, get 1 bubble; pop 5, get 3 bubbles; etc.)

And this works on every version of Bubble Bobble that I tried it on.

Pro tip: Stocking up on items in Mega Man 9

In Mega Man 9, you have to do a bit of collecting. Mostly these Bolts that you use as a kind of currency to buy upgrades to make the game slightly easier. But collecting them is a pain, since they're kind of rare.

But you can tip the scales to your advantage (slightly).

First, you have to have completed Jewel Man's stage, so you have the Jewel Satellite.

Then go to Concrete Man's stage and stand right here (it's pretty close to the beginning), face left, and activate the Satellite

Now, birds will fly by and drop boulders which will break on the upper platform, and a chunk will fall into your shield. If a goodie falls out, it'll drop right on you for collection!

You'll get all kinds of drops here, and it just keeps going for as long as you want to stand around.

So how long you should stand there really just depends on how much stuff you want.

Pro tip: A Quick 2-Hit Combo for Guile in Street Fighter 2

Today, I'm going to share one a quick-'n'-easy two hit combo with Street Fighter's Guile.

First, you're going to want to hold Back on the controller to charge for the Sonic Boom. Then press Forward and Weak punch to throw it.

Keep holding Forward to walk toward your opponent, trailing your projectile, after it hits,

follow it up with a Fierce Punch.

Done right, you'll be able to hit your opponent with both of them for a quick 2-hit combo!

And, if you can back your opponent in the corner he won't slide back so far when the initial hit smacks him, giving him less time to recover and avoid the second hit.

Since this is kind of tough to show the timing in picture form, I've created an animated .gif here(4.5MB) that shows it in action.

Oh, and it also works for Street Fighter 4.

Pro tip: reading the synopsis in the Tales of... games

The Tales Of... games are pretty good RPGs, but like a lot of RPGs, the plots sometimes get a little bit tough to follow. But you have a (not very) secret weapon.

Check out my status screen from Tales of Symphonia for the Game Cube:

The bottom-right option is 'synopsis', which shows a list of topics

which tell you a brief recap of what's happened so far, and what you should do next.

Which is pretty awesome if you have a tough time following the story for some reason, plus it gives you insights into how the story's playing out that you may have missed otherwise. Which, when the story gets as complicated as it does in this game, that's not a bad thing.

Pro tip: The easiest 1,000 Gamerpoints on the Xbox 360

When you're playing Xbox 360 games, you amass these points, which are added to your profile, for completing certain objectives in the games. The points are cumulative and don't really do much except let people know how many games you've played, and to what completion. There are usually 1,000 points per full game, spread out over any number of challenges.

But, say you want to quickly beef up your Gamerscore. You could rent (I wouldn't bother buying it) Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth, then you can run over to the left as soon as the game begins and start hitting enemies with your ranged attack. As long as you don't get hit you keep your combo multiplier going, and all you need to pass all of the challenges is to get the combo meter to 50. This video (not by me) explains things a whole lot better than I can.

Of course, this is kind of cheap, but it's not strictly cheating. And who knows, the game might not actually be terrible, but once I got all of the achievements, I put it back on the shelf.

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