Pro tip: Jumping further in World Class Track Meet

World Class Track Meet is one of those games that was designed to show off the Power Pad, a thing that you got up and stepped on to make guys on your television move.

Riveting stuff.

One of the events that I had some trouble with for a while was the Long Jump (and its cousin, the Triple Jump) until I had an epiphany.

Consider the Power Pad's layout

When you're instructed to jump, you'd probably just jump straight up, and then land. Then your guy would do something similar on-screen, staying airborne for as long as you do.


You could just jump off to the side and land on the floor next to the Pad

Since you didn't land on the dots, the game doesn't know that you didn't jump fifty feet in the air. Then, just jump back on the dots after a few seconds so your guy can land.

You can't actually stay off the dots forever, though. It looks like when this game was made, the programmers figured this out, too, and made it so your guy wipes out if you stay 'in the air' too long, so be careful!

Pro tip: Using a turbo controller in a button-masher

One of the kinds of games that have kind of fallen out of favor in recent years is the button-mashing competitive sports game.

And no, that's not a bad thing.

But if you're playing one, like the original Skate or Die and its High Jump mode

You and (optionally) your friends will take turns hitting the buttons as fast as you can, getting cramped arms, and getting lame scores

But plug in a turbo controller, though, and you can sail to superhuman heights. Just make sure that you pass the controller around so that everybody gets the same high scores.

Then you can move on to the events that take actual skill, and save yourself from getting cramped forearms.

Pro tip: choosing the best controller for Super Glove Ball

If you grew up during the heyday of the NES, you probably saw The Wizard, and in that you saw a sequence showing off the super rad-to-the-max Power Glove

So, of course you wanted one. You might have even wanted some of the games that were made specifically for it, like Super Glove Ball.

Trouble is, though, that the Power Glove didn't really work very well for much of anything. Trying to grab the ball on the screen and throw it around was a neat idea and everything, but it just didn't work. I had better luck using an actual controller.

And so will you.

Pro tip: getting more out of your portable system's sound system

As far back as the original Game Boy hardware, Nintendo's portable systems could output stereo sound. But all of the systems have a very poor delivery system: tiny, tinny speakers.


Most of their systems (save for the Game Boy Advance SP) came with the 1/8'' phono plug on the bottom for headphones. Which instantly makes the game sound better (it's how I first discovered that the final battle in Donkey Kong '94 had music mixed in stereo), and is fine, but I like to take it one step further.

I went out and purchased this from my local Radio Shack:

It has the phono plug on one end, and the left/right RCA plugs on the other end.

What does that mean?

It means that I can plug the output of my portable game system directly into my surround-sound system.

And that means that playing games like Elite Beat Agents and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow takes on a whole new dimension.

Pro tip: The NES 'Breath of Life'

It's a method nearly as old as the NES itself. A game doesn't work, so you blow into the cartridge connector and, blam! The game works again! For a while. Then you don't play the game for a while, and then it doesn't work again. So you blow into it again, and it still doesn't work again, so you go through a dance of insertion, removal, blowing on the contacts, and reinsertion.

The underlying problem is likely that good contact isn't getting made between the pins in the cartridge and the connector in the NES itself. When you blow on the cartridge with your breath, you're getting water vapor from your breath on your cartridge, which briefly increases the conductivity of your cartridge. Which is great, right?

Well, no, not exactly. That increased connectivity makes your game work for a time, but at the cost of the lifespan of your cartridge. The water on the cartridges combined with the slight electrical current leads to increased corrosion on your cartridges. And, while it can be cleaned, it's best to not have the corrosion in the first place.

So what do you do? If you really think that your cartridges are dusty, invest in a can of compressed air to remove it, and it probably won't do a whole lot. No, your best bet is to remove and reinsert the cartridge and give it another shot. And if you have lots of problems with lots of games, you might consider doing repair on your console, which isn't very tough, really, but it's beyond the scope of this tip.

Pro tip: Your PS2 and Xbox 360 has more buttons than you might think

At first glance, it might appear that the Xbox 360 and Playstation 2 consoles have quite enough buttons, over 11 at last count (which is more digits that most people have on all of their hands combined). But, what you may not know is that the two control sticks are also buttons. Simply apply pressure to each of the sticks like you were pressing a button and, presto! You're rewarded with the clicking sound of a button freshly pressed.

Of course, what this will accomplish will be determined on the game and whether or not the developer actually knew that these were buttons that could have functions assigned to them. So give it a try and see what happens!

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