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.

Pro tip: Warping around in Willow

The Willow RPG for NES is pretty tough, and if you're like me at all, you'll give up on it pretty fast. But what if you want to see some more places that the game has to offer?

Well, you're in luck, kinda.

You could start by putting in this password:

Which has fairly normal-looking results.

You're toward the end of the game, loaded up with weapons, armor, and magic, but you're only on Level 3.

But if you hit Select

These coordinates appear in the middle of the screen. If you hold the A button and press Up and Down you can change the right one, and if you hold the B button and press Up and Down you can change the left one.

After you find some coordinates you're happy with, hit Select again to be transported there.

It'll take some trial and error to make sure that you don't end up inside a wall or in a screen full of glitches, so you might want to take notes.

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