easter eggs

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: Generating random haiku in Half-Life: Opposing Force

You're familiar with the haiku, right? A short poem where the lines have specific numbers of syllables (5, 7, and 5)?

So let's presume that you're playing through Opposing Force. You bring up the Console by hitting the "`" key (it's the same key as the "~", but without the Shift). Then you type the word "haiku" (without quotes, of course). Hit Esc to be taken back to the game and be treated to a short poem that probably won't make much sense

And you can repeat for more

You have to read fast, though, because they fade out very quickly.

Pro tip: Viewing a sad, short scene in Super Castlevania IV

In Block 6 of Castlevania IV, you eventually come across a hallway where these chandeliers fall and try to crush you.

But, you'll notice that there's one archway that doesn't have one. Hit the ground there with your whip to reveal a secret staircase!

Where you'll find a ghost walking around with his ghost-dog

And if you kill off the dog

The Ghost will fall to his knees and begin to cry

Which is kind of sad, really.

But then you get to load up on powerups, which makes it OK.

Pro tip: Viewing 3D models in Star Fox

I loved playing Star Fox when it first came out. A game that did full 3D on a non-3D system? You betcha!

But, play it long enough (which actually won't be very long at all) and you will become very familiar with this screen

And if you've completed enough of the game, you have the chance to continue, and you see this screen

Which features a 3D model of your ship rotating around.


If you grab Controller 2 and start pressing buttons, the model changes to that of the various ships and enemies throughout the game!

Which you can rotate and zoom around to your heart's content.

And yeah, I know that this doesn't sound like much. But after losing a particularly difficult space battle, it's nice to be able to unwind for a bit before you tackle it again.

Playing games with your spreadsheet program: Part 2

I'll concede that a lot of you probably don't actually have OpenOffice.org 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: Accessing Level 0 in Toejam & Earl

The first level of Toejam & Earl seems pretty straightforward, right? Just a small island in the middle of an endless sea to get you introduced to the game, right?

But, say you progress far enough into the game that you get something that lets you travel across the surface of the water, like Icarus Wings

Then you could brave the endless expanse of water and travel Southwest until you make landfall

The island has a couple of presents on it, which is nice, but it also has a hole in it. So you obviously want to jump in

And when you do, you're greeted with a tiny island with a Lemonade Stand, a Hot Tub, and a Hula Dancer

For a nice, relaxing time, and a health refill.

And as a bonus, once you're done here, when you jump off the island you're transported back to the highest level you got to on your adventure. Extra bonus!

Pro tip: The Ghostbusters Connection

I was lured into buying the newest Ghostbusters game over the weekend, and I've got to say, it's a better game than the last Ghostbusters game that I played.

But, right at the beginning, I started to explore and found this interesting screen on one of the computers in the firehouse:

Which looks startingly like this screenshot of the ending sequence from the old NES game

Which doesn't seem like much, I know, but the NES game came out in 1986, so if you're younger than about 24, you might have missed the connection... until now.

Pro tip: A Hidden Song in Castlevania: Bloodlines

In several of the Castlevania games you'll find that the developers threw in remixed versions of some songs from prior titles, which is fine, lots of those songs were pretty good.

But occasionally they're a little harder to find than others. Like in Castlevania: Bloodlines.

You have to first go to the Options Screen

And play Song #5 and Sound Effect #073 (and leave those two selected as you exit the screen)

Then, start the game and progress until you get the "4th powerup" for your guy (an orb for John and a book for Eric)

Once you do, you'll be greeted with a song from a classic Castlevania game! But probably not the one you're thinking of. The song that's played is from the opening stage of Castlevania III, titled, shockingly, "Beginning".

Don't have a Genesis and a copy of this game handy? You're in luck! The remix can be downloaded here

Pro tip: not a secret message in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People

When playing through Episode 3 of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, I came across a manual page from one of the games within the game: Limozeen's Hot Babelien Odyssey.

Remembering yesterday's tip, I ran over to my binary to ASCII converter and plugged in the numbers and got:


Which doesn't actually mean a whole lot to me. In fact, I couldn't make heads or tails out of the code, which leads me to believe that it's just a random string of ones and zeroes.

So don't be fooled.

Pro tip: Decoding some secret messages in World of Warcraft

Back when I used to play World of Warcraft I ran through a dungeon called Gnomeregan. In it, I got all these cards with lots of ones and zeroes on them. Ones and zeroes that looked like they might have been encoded secret messages.

So I went to my favorite Binary to ASCII converter and fed it the codes. Here's what I discovered:

White punch card: "Thrall and Jaina sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G"

Yellow punch card: "If you can read this, you're standing too close"

Blue punch card: "The gnome king wears night elf underwear"

Red punch card: "Help! I'm trapped in a binary punch card factory!"

Prismatic punch card: "Message to Castpipe: your laundry's ready for pickup."

These messages add a whole new insight into the fallen Gnome city.

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