Pro tip: Don't return your feet to the starting position in Dance Dance Revolution

If you watch the Attract Mode of most Dance Dance Revolution machines, they will eventually go into a tutorial on how to play the game, and in it, the demo character will stomp on an arrow, and then return its feet to the center. Check it out (it starts at about 0:58 in this clip):

And I see a lot of beginners playing the game like this... and stumbling around. Why? Because the arrows in the songs are set up so that you don't return your feet to center after hitting each one, which has the side effect of reducing the number of steps you have to take to hit all the arrows. Check out the kid's feet in this video:

If he returned his feet to the center after every time he hit an arrow, he wouldn't be quick enough to hit all the arrows, and neither would you.

So don't do it!

Pro tip: not a secret message in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People

When playing through Episode 3 of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, I came across a manual page from one of the games within the game: Limozeen's Hot Babelien Odyssey.

Remembering yesterday's tip, I ran over to my binary to ASCII converter and plugged in the numbers and got:


Which doesn't actually mean a whole lot to me. In fact, I couldn't make heads or tails out of the code, which leads me to believe that it's just a random string of ones and zeroes.

So don't be fooled.

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: All the lives you could want in New Super Mario Bros. Wii

At the end of World 2-3 in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, you find this formation.

Look familiar?

It's strikingly similar to a formation we saw in a prior tip. Check it out

So you might be thinking you can apply the same technique: wait until the Koopa gets about halfway down the 'stair' and jump on it.

You keep bouncing, racking up points, until


You can keep doing this for as long as there's time left on the clock, with the added bonuses of: 1. there's no bug that goes off if you get more than a certain amount of lives, 99's the limit and 2. if you need to, you can come back to this stage and do the trick again for yet more lives.

And, to help illustrate the timing, I've prepared the video below.

Pro tip: using the walls to your advantage in Double Dragon

In Double Dragon's Mission 3, you will eventually come across a pair of green Abobos. They're kind of tough, since you have less room to maneuver than normal.

But you can use that to your advantage.

If you can back Abobo up so that his back is touching the wall on the left

And give him a jumpkick to the face, he'll fall through the wall!

Saving you precious life-points.

Pro tip: regaining some health in Punch-Out!!

When you're playing the Punch-Out!! games and you haven't yet learned how to bob and weave properly, you're going to get punched a lot.

Which means that you're going to be knocked out pretty quickly unless you do something.

But what?

You do have one secret weapon.

Once every match, when Doc's giving you his pep-talk, you can hit Select. His fist will start pumping faster, and when you get back into the match:

Boom! Health Boost!

The amount of health you get appears to be random, sometimes you get a little sliver back and sometimes you get nearly the whole bar back. It's less reliable than I'd like it to be.

And if you do it before the match starts? Then your health gets halved. Good for a challenge, I guess.

And this does work on the Wii version. Plus the amount of health you get back has been normalized, making it well worth your while to do this trick every chance you get.

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: You have a maximum of 9 lives in Mega Man 9

If you check out Mega Man 9's pause screen, you get lots of info like how much weapon energy you have left and how many more Mega Mans you have in reserve.

[Normally a screen shot would go here, but I kind of don't have access to a working capture device, and my artist is on vacation, so use your imagination, or just consult your own status screen]

You'll notice that next to Mega Man's Mug that there's a two-digit number to indicate how many lives you have left. You might think that you can get up to 99 tries to off Wily, but you'd be mistaken.

For some reason, even though you have two digits to show how many lives you have left, the counter stops at 9. And lives don't continue to accrue, either. If you have 9 lives, pick up 4 more, lose one, you won't have 12 left in reserve, you'll have 8.

So be wary.

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