Pro tip: Skipping levels in Chip's Challenge

Chip's Challenge, if you've never heard of the game somehow, was packed in with a lot of computers during the 16-bit Windows heyday. It developed a kind of a strong following somehow. I stars you, as Chip, who has to run around a series of levels avoiding enemies, collecting things, and searching for the exit.

But let's say that you're playing a level and you get stuck or lazy or both. You could hold down the left CTRL + ALT buttons and type the (faux) word "QWERTY".

Done right, you'll now be able to hit CTRL + N to go to the next level!

You can only skip the first 144(!) levels this way, number 145 wants a password (which is pretty easy to find online) or you could try to finish the level to see the credits. After that, you can CTRL + N your way through the end of the game.

Making the thing last just a couple of minutes.

Playing games with your spreadsheet program: Part 2

I'll concede that a lot of you probably don't actually have installed on your computers. You're probably sticking with an old version of Microsoft Office that came with your computer 10 years ago. And if you are, then I have a treat for you!

Open your copy of Excel '97, and on a new spreadsheet and hit the F5 button to bring up the "Go To" dialog box

And go to cell X97:L97

From there, hit Tab, then hold the left CTRL+Shift and hit the Chart Wizard button. Done right, you should be transported to a lovely purple and black landscape

Where you can use the mouse to fly around. There is a conveyor out there somewhere that shows credits on it, but my computer was way too fast to get a decent screen shot of it, so you're just going to have to take my word for it.

Pro tip: an easy win in Freecell

You get a few games with your installation of Windows, to help you pass the time, and to help you learn how to use the mouse.

But if you've moved beyond that bog-standard Klondike solitaire, you might have noticed another game lurking in the wings, Freecell.

The rules of Freecell are a beyond the scope of this tip, so I won't be going into them here.

But say that you're playing the game and you get stuck, or bored, or both. What do you do?

Well you could press Shift + CTRL + F10. That'll bring up the "User Friendly Interface" with a couple of options.

So, pick your favorite (mine's "Abort to Win"), and the very next move you make will result in your selected outcome.

Oh, and this doesn't work for Windows Vista or Windows 7. Only the version of Freecell included in Windows 95, 98, ME, and XP, I'm afraid.

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: Cheating in Minesweeper

I mentioned before, I'm pretty bad at Minesweeper.

But, I'm a sucker, so I play it occasionally anyway, and like to win sometimes. So I cheat. And here's how.

Start up a new game of Minesweeper and type the non-word 'xyzzy' (without the quotes) and hit shift+enter. Now, when your mouse is hovering over a square that's OK to click, the pixel in the top left corner of your monitor will turn white. It'll turn black if there's a mine under there. And by 'monitor' I really do mean the far upper-left corner of your actual screen, not the Minesweeper window.

Now, armed with this knowledge, I'd like to see you fail, no matter how ludicrous the challenge.

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