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: Using the gaps in the walls to your advantage in Super Mario Bros.

In the Underground portions of Super Mario Bros. it's real tempting to try and get up to the ceiling, that way you can just kind of run to the right as fast as you can without worrying about trying to avoid the obstacles in front of you. But usually it's kind of hard to get up there.


I alluded to this earlier, but if you scroll the screen so that one column of bricks is halfway scrolled off the screen and then start breaking them

You'll notice that Mario (or Luigi) can fit in the gap, and he'll kinda get stuck

Keep on jumping until you're at the top of the screen!

Making it much easier to pass these stages.

Pro tip: Using the whistle in Nightshade

Bats in Nightshade are particularly annoying because they kinda swoop in and take some pretty healthy chunks of your health away when you're not really looking.

But if you've found the whistle, you can totally take care of them. Just find it in your inventory and OPERATE it. It turns out that bats in this game hate the sound it makes.

And they clear out of whatever room you're in

Making it much easier to walk through without the danger of getting rabies.

Pro tip: Playing a grey puzzle in Anticipation

When you get to a high enough level in Anticipation, you come across the Grey Squares which, if you land on them, put your piece into a kind of roulette mode to allow you to choose what color you really want, which is useful for wrapping up the game if you only have one color to go.

But! If you rapidly press A and / or B before your piece lifts off to start flying around all over the place, you can actually play a puzzle on that square

I don't really know why you'd want to, though, since you don't need any grey cards to complete the game.

Maybe you want to show off or something. And I'm cool with that.

Pro tip: invincibility in Abadox

I admit, I never was very good at Abadox. Mostly because I had a hard time finding it at my local rental stores, and that means that I never got what you might call 'passably decent' at the thing. And that means that I saw this a lot the few times that I did play it.

So now when I get the urge to play this game, I go to the title screen

And press

On controller one. If I've done it right, I'll be totally invulnerable!

And since the game scrolls on its own, I can totally start a stage, go make a sandwich, come back and defeat the boss, and repeat until I've sailed through to the end.

Which is totally cheating, yeah, but it's been out for over 20 years at this point. I think I can justify it now.

Pro tip: Tetris is (usually) balanced

It's really easy in competitive Tetris, especially if you're matched up against someone who's at about the same skill level that you are, to feel like the game comes down to the selection of pieces you get. But, in most games of Tetris, both players get the same pieces. It really comes down to who can put them in place the fastest.

Which is kind of hard to wrap your head around, I know, so I prepared the video below where I use the same controller input for both controllers and play a short round of competitive Tetris.

It's actually pretty illuminating. Everything's the same: pieces dropped, garbage sent, all of it.

Of course there are probably variants of Tetris that don't make everything equal like this, but you probably don't want to play those.

Pro tip: Strafing in Blaster Master

Some time ago I mentioned a technique for defeating one of the bosses in Blaster Master that involved a maneuver known as 'strafing' (even though it's not really strafing). Strafing in this case means firing your weaponry in one direction while moving in another. Normally, this is impossible in Blaster Master.


If you first fire a Grenade, and then hold down the A button, Jason will stay facing the same direction, no matter what you push on the Cross Pad. Observe:

Which is incredibly useful for flying enemies that attack in irregular patterns... and certain giant crabs.

The only downside is that while you're doing this you can't fire your grenades, but if you keep your gun powered up, that's not too much of an issue.

Pro tip: playing as all girls in Bad News Baseball

This is going to sound very similar to something I talked about some time ago, but I assure you, it's totally different.


So, you're playing Bad News Baseball and saying to yourself, "Gee, this is great, but I'd like to play with a team of girls rather than a team of guys." And I can understand that. The selection of games featuring women playing competitive sports is, shall we say, lacking.


You totally have the option of changing everyone in Bad News Baseball into women if you perform the following steps:

1. On Controller 1, hold Down + Left
2. On Controller 2, hold Up
3. While holding all of these, turn on your NES (or reset it)

Done right, the mode selection indicator will turn from a baseball

To a heart

And when you start the game, all of the players have female names

And, unlike in Baseball Stars, the players actually look feminine, more or less

At least as much as possible on the limited hardware.

Pro tip: Seeing the ending to GI Joe whenever you want

So let's say that you're playing through the G.I. Joe game for the NES and you're getting frustrated at it. But before you give up on it, you want to see the ending sequence for some reason. Maybe to complete your collection of NES game endings.

So you go to the Password screen and put in this password

Which, if you take out the Z's, says "1ST NDG", is kind of like it saying "First Ending"

Which makes it way easier to remember.

But does that mean that there are multiple endings for this game? Well, no, not that I was able to discover.

Pro tip: some silliness in A Boy and His Blob

One of the things that annoyed me about A Boy and His Blob is that when the Boy is running and you let off the control pad, he slides a good eight or nine feet, usually right into Instadeath(tm). It's almost as if his shoes are made out of Crisco and the ground is slightly warmed.

But if you ever get to one of the ledges in the game (and there are lots of ledges in the Deadly Caverns portion of the game), and let got of the Cross Pad he'll slide right off the side of the ledge and be suspended in midair.

Which looks like a glitch at first until you wait a few seconds and the Boy looks over

Then looks down

Realizes he's not on solid ground any more, covers his eyes, and falls down

Or you could use that precious few seconds to try and run back over to the ledge. But this only works if you slid off the ledge. If you run off, the Boy will just fall as normal.

Sure it's a little Wile E. Coyote, but who doesn't like watching that guy fall down, too?

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