Pro tip: Crazy Taxi driving techniques

Crazy Taxi is kind of a tough game. Mostly because if you play the arcade game, you have no indication of how to perform the advanced techniques that you need to know to be successful at the game.

But that's what I'm here for.

You need to know 4 techniques to be a successful cabbie.

1. The Crazy Dash - The idea is to shift into Drive and then immediately stomp on the gas. The timing is a little tough to get without a demonstration, but pulled off successfully, you'll immediately rocket to top speed. You can do this at any time, even while you're driving. Also, if you're at a stop, and you do the Crazy Dash, but immediately put the car into Reverse, you'll go full-speed backwards.

2. The Limiter Cut - Once you get going at top speed with the Crazy Dash, you'll notice that your car will start to vibrate. When that happens you want to throw the car into Reverse, then Drive, and then hit the Gas, with the same timing as the Crazy Dash. This will give you a burst of speed that lets you go faster than your top speed for a couple of seconds.

3. The Crazy Drift - While you're driving, put the car into Reverse and then into Drive while turning a direction. You'll easily slide around corners. Let go of everything and do a Crazy Dash to recover.

4. The Crazy Stop - Do the Crazy Dash, but hit Reverse and the Brake instead of Drive and the Gas. You'll manage to stop much faster.

Here's a video I prepared of me performing all 4 of these techniques on the Dreamcast version Crazy Box challenge rank S-S. I'm a little out of practice at the game, but I think you'll get the idea.

Pro tip: Checking to see if your PC is up to speed

So you're out at the store and you find a new game that you want to play on your PC. But you're not a hardware enthusiast, so you don't really know what that stuff in the 'system requirements' box means or worse, if your computer meets them.

What do you do?

The easiest thing to do is to go to this site .

You pick a game from the dropdown list and install the ActiveX or Java control, and after a few seconds you're presented with a screen that tells you whether or not your PC is up to the task of playing your selected game.

It even has a breakdown to show you where your system isn't quite up to speed (if applicable), and is actually a pretty good indicator of your machine's performance in the game you picked.

It's Windows-only, though. But if you can work around that, then it's a pretty handy tool.

Pro tip: Bling gnomes won't touch anything you've touched first

These creepy things are Bling Gnomes:

They have two purposes in life: to pick up the gold that drops from enemies that you kill, and to convert unwanted items into gold. They do the latter by doing a little dance and anything on the ground of a certain quality or lower will disappear and the gnome will defecate a stack of gold coins.

No, really.

But, he has a little quirk... well, several, but we're only going to talk about one today.

You can't use your little gnome friend to clear out your inventory on the middle of a dungeon run.

Anything that's been in your inventory, or that you tried to pick up, but wouldn't fit in your backpack and then dropped back on the ground he won't consume. I don't really know why, maybe your hands are dirty?

Any of those items that you've sullied with your contact have to be lugged back to town to sell, so you have to decide if you want them before picking them up.

Pro tip: Check out some developers' mugshots in Dungeon Siege 2

All over the world of Dungeon Siege 2, you see these teleporter things.

Step in, choose your destination and you get whisked away, passing the time with a sparkly screen.

Kind of soothing, but what if you want to see something different? You're in luck!

Hit the Enter key and type in the word '+twilightzone' (sans quotes).

Now, when you step into a teleporter, the sparklies are metamorphosed into photos of the developers.

Trippy, yes.

To go back to 'normal' just put the code in again, substituting a minus for the plus.

Pro tip: What to do with Warcraft 3 on Christmas Day

Warcraft 3 is a pretty fun game, with lots of interesting cheaty things you can do with it. In a single-player game, hit 'enter' to bring up the chat window (yeah, I know there's nobody to chat with in a single-player game, don't worry about that).

Type in the phrase (sans quotes), "SomebodySetUpUsTheBomb", and hit 'enter' again.

Then you see this screen.

Then you go spend some time with actual people instead of messing around on a silly little game page like this one.

See you on Boxing Day.

Pro tip: ride a little pony in Neverwinter Nights

Neverwinter Nights is a game where you get to act out Dungeon and Dragons, and even get to designate one player to be the all-mighty dungeon master to kind of guide the game and keep order.

But sometimes you just want to screw around.

Okay, so first enter 'Debug Mode' by pressing the ~ key and typing the command 'DebugMode 1'

Once that's successful, press the ~ key again and type in the phrase 'dm_mylittlepony'

Once that's successful, marvel at how your character is now riding one of those stick-horses and makes galloping noises.

You can also do the command again to disable it, you know, if you think that taking down an intellect devourer while holding on to a toy horse is just too silly.

Pro tip: Change your advisors into llamas

There's really no way around it, SimCity 4 can be a tough game if you're poor at managing fake people, fake money, and fake cities. But you have these guys to help you out. They're your advisors.

Their job is to tell you how terrible of a job you're doing, and that they need you to spend more money in their pet area to make the city really awesome.

But, what would happen if you, say, held down Ctrl + Alt + Shift +X? Then you might see this box pop up in the corner of your screen.

This is a pretty fun box, it lets you put in all kinds of stuff to really mess with the game. For instance, if you put in the phrase "DollyLlama" (without quotes, natch), and then reopen your advisors tab, you'll notice that they've gotten new heads.

Yep, all your advisors are now llama-headed, which kind of takes the edge off what they have to say, you know?

If, for some reason, you want to give them back their human visages, you just repeat the code. But, I'm really not sure why you'd want to.

Pro tip: Running faster in Painkiller

Painkiller is an interesting game where you have to guide an unassuming everyman through some rather twisted scenes in Purgatory and eventually Hell. None of which made it into today's tip... Sorry about that.

Since you're one going up against many, you have to master avoiding... well, pretty much everything. And one of the best ways to do that is to keep moving, it's harder to hit a moving target, after all.

Your regular old running speed is 11. 11 what, I don't know, but it's 11 units of speed.

As a side note, I used the console command 'speedmeter 1' to show how fast I'm going for illustration purposes.

You'll notice that when you jump, that the speed raises slightly, not too surprising, I guess. But here's the part where physics kind of go out the window. If you jump again as soon as you hit the ground you'll notice that your speed increases again. Jump and it increases yet again.

Presumably, you can keep on hopping like this, increasing your speed and filling up your speed meter down there until the meter is, well, full.

I can't quite fill it up, I keep running into stuff that slows me down (but due to the wonky physics, slamming into the wall at 28 speed units doesn't actually hurt).

This has the handy effect of making you way harder to hit by pretty well anything that's hostile to you. The downside is that it gets a whole lot harder to aim your guns at things. But that's a small tradeoff, right?

Pro Tip: Start wherever you want in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Diablo II is kind of a fun game and everything, but a little on the long side. But what if, after playing through the game a time or two that you just wanted to experience a certain part of the game, or wanted to try out one of the other classes without actually building it up from the ground?

Good news for you, then, there is!

First, update your copy of Diablo II to at least version 1.10. Just connect to Battle.Net and and you'll be in great shape. Then get out of you game and find your Diablo II shortcut. Right-click on it and select 'Properties'. Now modify the contents to the right of the Target field (after the quotes) so that there's a dash, the word 'act' and a number, all run together. So, if you want to start in Act 5, you'd append '-act5' after the quotes, and without the quotes.

Then start up the game and create a new character.

Enter the game and behold!

You're now at the beginning of the act you chose, your character's an an appropriate level, and you have all the skill points you need to spec your character any way you want.

What else could you ask for?

Pro tip: Cheating at Bookworm Adventures

Bookworm Adventures is a game where you spell words to defeat enemies. It's a perfect game for sesquipedalian linguiphiles to strut their stuff.

But suppose you don't feel much like thinking on a particular day. Or that you don't know how to spell very many big words. Well... then you've got a problem.

Now, you could just think about what to spell, since there's no time limit or anything, or you could visit Anagrammer.

Anagrammer is a site that lets you put in up to 16 letters (convenient) and it spits out all the words it can find that can be made with the junk you put in.

Yeah, that one was kind of easy, but there are lots of combinations that yield words that I didn't even know existed... like 'antiphonary'.

Now, using that site to progress through the game is definitely cheating, and not nearly as satisfying as staring at the screen for 15 minutes and breaking out with some gigantic polysyllabic onslaught, but as a relief to use after staring at the screen for 30 minutes or more with your brain almost completely locked up... well, then it's kind of nice.

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