Pro tip: Viewing a secret message in Best of the Best Championship Karate

If you're playing Best of the Best Championship Karate for some reason, you could go to the main screen where you choose your options, and change your name to


(that's two spaces before and after)

And then start your match normally. Before you get to the action, though, you get this... thing

I'd recommend against trying to call or fax that number, though.

Pro tip: Viewing a secret message in Magic Darts

I never got a lot of mileage out of Magic Darts, mostly because I don't really know the rules to darts and don't have the inclination to learn.

But if you have a copy of Magic Darts you could to to the title screen.

Then grab Controller 1 and hold down the A + B buttons (and keep holding them until I tell you to stop) and then press Start to go to the Select Game screen

Then start holding down the Select button in addition to the A + B buttons that you're still holding. Then... wait. A minute or so later you'll see a secret message!

I don't know who K1 Nakanishi is, but I do know a game that he or she worked on, and that might get me a wedge in Trivial Pursuit one day.

Also, you can let go of the A + B buttons now.

Pro tip: Checking out the Debug Menu in Castle of Dragon

If you're unlucky enough to actually have a copy of Castle of Dragon for some reason, I've got something here that will make it a little bit more interesting.

First, go to the title screen (that's the easy part)

Then, grab Controller 1 and press

A, A, Left, Left, A, A, Left, Left, A, A, Left, Left, A, A, Left, Left, A, A, Left, Left, A, A, Left, Left, A, A, Left, Left, A, A, Left, Left

Which is kind of hard to remember. So just keep pressing "A, A, Left, Left" over and over again until the screen changes

Which lets you do all kinds of stuff like: listen to all the songs in the game, listen to all the sound effects, and view all the enemies in the game!

Okay, yeah, this isn't all that great. But it's way better than the actual game, so there is that.

Pro tip: Ending a round of Dr. Mario whenever you want

So let's say you're playing a round of Dr. Mario and you screw up your puzzle

Possibly even worse than I've done so here. What do you do?

Well, you could just keep hitting Down on the Cross Pad to fill up the center columns with capsules and end your game, but that's way too slow.

Even better would be to hold A + B + Select + Start. Done right, you'll be kicked back to the title screen!

This is way better than just walking up to your NES and hitting the reset button, mostly because you don't have to actually get up walk the up to 6 feet to wherever your NES is.

Pro tip: Starting on whatever level you want in Alien Syndrome

Fire up your copy of Alien Syndrome and go to the title screen to discover

That you have an NES game with SEGA listed as a credit!

But that's not why we're here.

If you grab Controller 2 and hold Right on the Cross Pad, while simultaneously holding Down on Controller 1's Cross Pad, and then hit Start on Controller 1 while holding those down, you'll be greeted with this

Which means that you can start on any stage you want, even fighting the last boss!

Good luck!

You'll need it!

Pro tip: Playing "Hyper Tennis" in Super Spy Hunter

Play enough Super Spy Hunter (which, the first few times you play, will be about three minutes) and you'll be greeted with this

And after that, you have the option of prolonging your pain or just ending it outright

But you might notice that if you hit the 'A' Button, the little gun turrets on the screen begin to move positions. Move them so that they're in the 'down' position before hitting hitting Start and you'll be in for a surprise

You're challenging the computer (or a friend of your choice) to a game of Hyper Tennis! What's Hyper Tennis?

Well, it's kind of like Pong. You know all about Pong, right?

Even better, if you beat the computer, you win 20 lives for your continue, but if you lose, you get zero. Is it worth it?

Heck, I dunno, man.

Pro tip: Skipping the Ice Caverns in Battletoads

Now that you've warped from Stage 1 to the diabolically tough Turbo Tunnel level, you might be holding out a faint hope that there's another warp to take you yet further.

And it wouldn't be in vain.

You do have to complete a fair bit of the stage, but during the last leg of the Bike portion (where the level speeds up to a ludicrous degree) you will need to actually aim for the tenth wall (which is actually pretty easy to do, the hard part is not hitting the other walls that are hurtling at you at a thousand miles per hour).

Crash into the correct barrier and you'll be rewarded with another warp!

Which will spirit you right past the Ice Level and directly to the Surfing Level.

Hope you're ready!

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: Free powerups in Abadox

Okay, so maybe cruising through Abadox while completely invincible is a bit on the easy side. Maybe you want a little bit more of a challenge... but not a whole lot. Okay, we can do that.

First, go to the "PRESS START" screen

Then grab Controller 1 and press Up, Down, Right, Right, Up, Left, Right, Down, Left, Up

Then start your game. Everything will look pretty much normal... until you pause the game and then unpause again.

If you did the code right, when the action starts again, you'll be loaded to the teeth!

And you can do this as many times as you want, which is especially helpful if you accidentally pick up a gun that you don't want.

But you're still very destructible, which adds just enough challenge to keep the game interesting for a while.

Pro tip: An easier way to record passwords

It might be hard to believe now, but there was a time that if a game took longer than a few hours or so to complete, that your progress would be saved via a password, and depending on the game, these could range from just a few letters, to pictograms, to full on extended alphabets.

Take a look at this password screen from Willow, for example

Look at that mess! Upper case and lower case letters, gigantic serifs, numbers, symbols. It's like a typewriter threw up on that screen. And if you mis-transcribe one character? Yep, your password and your hours of progress are lost. Forever.

That sucks.

The solution?

One would be to adjust your penmanship so that each character you write looks unambiguously different from the rest, but that's a whole lot of work. I like to take the slightly lazier approach.

Digital photography has progressed to the point where you'd be hard pressed to find a device that doesn't have a camera in it, so I like to grab whatever digital imaging device I have handy, snap a picture, and then use it for reference.

Of course, if I suck at photography and manage to take a blurry, unreadable picture it's just as useless as one that I wrote down poorly, so it's definitely not infallible, but it's a step in the right direction.

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