Pro tip: Shooting the Duck Hunt dog

So, we've all been playing Duck Hunt, missed the quota of Ducks, and had the Dog laugh at us.

But if you're playing the Arcade version (a.k.a. Vs. Duck Hunt), you get a special Bonus Round every once in a while where the Dog leaps out of the grass.

Which is totally your opportunity, so let fly.

He'll complain a little bit, but, hey, some folks might say that he had it coming.

Pro tip: Dealing with meaningless stats

Take a look at this screenshot from the arcade version of Tetris

Over on the right you'll see your 'stats', or a representation of the Tetriminoes you've had to deal with in Bar Chart form. My guess is that it's there if you're playing Single Player so that the right side of the screen won't be blank.

Now take a look at this screenshot from Galaga

Once you end your game, you're presented with your 'Hit/Miss Ratio', which tells you how accurate you were with your shots.

What do these things have in common?

Mostly that they don't really mean anything. It might be kind of interesting to know your accuracy, or if your Tetris puzzle gave you lots of Z pieces, but you can't really do anything useful with the data, and it won't really make you a better player.

So don't sweat it.

Pro tip: Cheesing your way through Super Street Fighter II

It might not be immediately obvious, but in the Street Fighter games, you're participating in a tournament. A tournament where you can (more or less) control the outcome.

When your opponent is chosen, press Start on Controller 2 to bring in a New Challenger.

Have Controller 2 pick the character you were fighting against, and pummel them mercilessly. Win the match, and you'll notice that you continue to the next stage.

And since you know you'll be fighting the four Boss Characters, you can also do this to beat them early.

Well, except for M. Bison. You have to beat him the old fashioned way, I'm afraid.

Oh, and this works for all variants of Street Fighter 2.

Pro tip: avoid using the "Death Grip" when using a joystick

Occasionally when I observe people playing games with a joystick (especially in an arcade), I'll see them grab the joystick full-on with their hand and hang onto it like it's the only thing keeping them from falling off a cliff.

Which works, yeah, but it definitely hinders your experience by requiring that you use your entire arm to play which results in:

  1. a loss of fine-control, you have to use the gross movements of your arm and
  2. increasing the rate you get fatigued, moving your whole arm over the course of a few games takes more energy than you think

      The solution?

      Grip the joystick lightly between the thumb and the index finger, using the middle finger as well if that's more comfortable for you

      You get more accurate control and don't use so much energy, which leads to longer playing sessions. It's totally win-win!

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: Disabling throws in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

Since there's been some hubbub lately about this Mortal Kombat movie-pitch thingy, I figured it would be appropriate for a Mortal Kombat themed tip.

So, in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, after choosing your characters, you come up to the Vs. Screen, which has this row of symbols across the bottom.

Which you and your opponent can manipulate by pressing the buttons on your respective side of the cabinet. So, say you both press Low Punch exactly one time so that the display looks like this

Then when the match starts, you'll get confirmation at the bottom of the screen that the code worked

This one, for instance, disables throwing, so you have to beat up your opponent the old fashioned way... with punches, kicks, and special moves.

Pro tip: Performing the shoulder tackle in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

One of the things about playing arcade games is that you don't really have much guidance to tell you the ins and outs of the game. So, when I got the Super NES version of Turtles in Time, I was surprised to learn that there was a move in the game that I didn't know about, a shoulder tackle. The instructions in the manual were kind of vague, but I was eventually able to figure out what to do, and I'm going to share that with you today.

To do it, you first start running (depending on how your game is set up, either by double-tapping a direction or just holding it in for a few seconds)

Then, while running, press the Jump Button to do a handspring, which doesn't actually do any damage to anyone

Then, the instant that completes, press the Attack Button to do your shoulder tackle!

And, since it's kind of tough to follow along with just my description, I've provided an animated .gif for you here.

And, yes, this does work on the arcade version.

Pro tip: The highest scoring game I know about

Pretty much since the video games kept score, it's been the obsession of a lot of people to get as many points as possible to show that they were the best player. And an arcade game called 'Giga Wing' takes that to its crazy extreme.

In Giga Wing, you have the ability to reflect enemy shots back at them, which allows you to collect these shield emblems, emblems that when collected increase your score multiplier, and your score multiplier increases the number of points you get every time you shoot down and enemy ship. And very quickly in this game there are lots of shots and lots of enemies that explode into a shower of pickups when hit

Seriously, it's enough anyone to get a score in the hundreds of millions.

But that's nothing compared to people who are actually good at the thing. Heck, you have to go through the whole game on one credit to see the 'real ending', and if you manage to do that, your score rockets up to the crazy-high territory: the Trillions.

Needless to say that I'm probably not going to achieve that any time soon. But maybe you can, if you can find a Giga Wing arcade machine (or a copy of the Dreamcast port).

Pro tip: Censoring Final Fight: Part 1

It's no big secret that before there was an ESRB that Nintendo had certain hoops game developers had to jump through to publish games on their systems. Take Final Fight, for example, a game about going through the streets of Metro City and punching people to death.

In the arcade, the first boss you run across has a unique name.

So he gets a name change for the Super NES version

Which I guess shows that the kiddos who were going to play this game would have been more affected by some boss thug's name than bludgeoning people to death with steel pipes.

Pro tip: using the Diamond Blocks in Pengo

If find an arcade cabinet of Pengo (which is going to be kind of tough these days), you might be tempted to play it. And once you do, you're going to notice that in the middle of the playfield are these blocks with diamonds on them

They've got a couple of interesting features: they're indestructible and if you line up all three of them so that they're touching...

The screen freaks out and you get 10,000 points! As an added bonus, all the Sno-Bees in the level are stunned, for a few seconds

Giving you a pretty sweet advantage (even if it is temporary).

The only problem is that in some levels the blocks are placed in such a way that it's virtually impossible to get them lined up, so if that happens, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

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