Pro tip: Hiding the Next piece in Tetris

You've very likely heard about Tetris, so I won't bother explaining how it works to you.

One of the things that you'll notice, though, is that over on the right side of the screen there's a preview of what piece is coming next, which is very useful information.

However, by just pressing the Select button you can make that box clear.

Supposedly this is to make the game more challenging. Which it does, but only by destroying some of the strategy, so I'm not really sure why you'd want to do it. You can press Select button again to make the piece reappear.

This also works in the original Game Boy version.

Pro tip: four of Blaster Master's bosses are pushovers

Blaster Master can be kind of a tough game. You have to take your little guy up against great big monsters that are way more nimble and way stronger than you are. But you have a secret weapon at your disposal: the Pause Button.

Make your way to the boss of area 2, 4, 6, or 7 (one of the frogs or one of the crabby things) and start chucking grenades at it. A successful hit will make it flash. Then, while it's taking damage, pause the game.

While the game's paused, the boss monster will continually take damage. Leave the game paused for about 30 seconds or so and you win! Pretty awesome!

Just be aware that this works both ways. If you're getting hurt when you pause the game, you'll keep taking damage until you unpause. And then you'll have to do the whole battle over again.

Pro tip: Super Metroid: Bomb jumping

In Super Metroid, you slowly get all these abilities to trick out your bounty hunter's abilities as she hunts down and destroys space pirates and energy-sucking globs of goo.

One of the hallmarks of the series is that there are little prizes hidden in all kinds of nooks and crannies that are steadily more accessible as you find more and more goodies.

One of the things you find early on is the morph ball.

And bombs that you can use when rolled in a ball.

The bombs have the added effect that they bump you slightly up (or slightly to the side if you're not directly on top of them).

Now, it's tough to get the timing right, but if you set a bomb so that you bounce up a little, and then set another in such a way that it explodes right before you fall all the way back down, then you bounce a little bit higher.

Keep on placing bombs and bouncing up higher until you get to someplace that you maybe weren't supposed to be yet. Who knows what you might find.

Pro tip: Mario's Double Jump

In the Super Mario Bros. series, Mario is known for his jumping ability, he can easily jump twice his own body height if he gets a running start.

But, interestingly, he can jump even higher given the right circumstances.

First, find a Super Mushroom. A fire flower would work, but they don't move, so the effect isn't as obvious. Starmen won't work at all.

Then jump so that you're coming down as you collect the power up.

While the powering up animation is playing continue to hold the jump button. Once the animation stops animating, you'll jump again!

I haven't really found very many uses for this tip, other than showing off, but maybe you can.

Pro tip: Klax: The Big X

Since it's not the 90s any more, I don't know if it's still time for Klax, but I still enjoy it on occasion. You have a bin and have to sort colored tiles into it in such a way that three or more of the same color line up horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. You get bonuses for chain reactions and such, and for clearing more than three tiles at once.

The biggest clear, it would stand to reason, would be one that was diagonal from each corner and meeting in the middle, hence the 'Big X'.

It's actually kind of tough to set up one of these things, since you pretty much have to work on it from the beginning of a wave, and then not mess things up by getting a clear that collapses one side of the X, but it's worth lots of points if you can pull it off.

And once you get so far in the game, you'll have to create one to proceed anyway, so might as well get some practice in early.

Pro tip: double team moves in the Simpsons arcade game

The Simpsons arcade game is just weird, and not really related to the show very well. Of all things, you have to rescue Maggie from Mr. Smithers, who had just robbed a jewelry store.

But, that's what we have to work with, so we'll deal with it.

You play the game as your Simpson of choice and anyone else around the machine does the same.

You run along, beating the armies of identical twins, until you get to the end of the stage, then you fight the boss character, and then go on to the next stage. No surprises there.

However, the stages get pretty tough after a while, mostly because the amount of enemies you have to deal with at once gets pretty ridiculous.

But you have a secret weapon in your arsenal.

If you have a friend, or some random guy decided to play this game with you, you can make your characters do super-powered double-team moves. The trick is that you have to get them standing next to (almost on top of) each other to pull them off.

Once you get them standing close, just let go of the joysticks and all the buttons for a couple of seconds. Then someone will say a catchphrase and begin the attack.

It doesn't last too long, probably because it's a bit more useful than your regular punches, kicks, and vacuum cleaner shots, but you can do it any time you want... assuming you can get to a safe spot for a couple of seconds.

And this works with any combination of two characters you happen to have, so go nuts.

Pro tip: Blow up enemies faster in Dig Dug

Dig Dug is just weird, you have to use an air pump to inflate enemies until they explode. You press your button, shoot out an air hose, and then wail on the button to keep on inflating whatever helpless creature you stab with it.

But, in the heat of battle, you might really wish that you could pop those baddies faster.

Good news for you, then.

When you're pumping up something and then press a direction on the joystick, you start moving, but the enemy that you pumped up stays pumped up... for a while. You can then throw out another line and give it another pump. Then move, then pump.

Even easier, if you just walk toward the creature while tossing out air hoses, you just kind of pop them in record time.

And it's not even that gross to watch.

Pro Tip: Using the edges of the screen to really amaze people who are easily amazed

You know Donkey Kong the game right? Rescue the girl from the gorilla at the top of a series of construction sites, yeah? The thing is, though, Jumpman (later known as Mario) is extremely fragile. If he falls more than a few inches, it's instadeath for him, so you probably don't just jump off of girders willy-nilly.

Even though you totally can.

The edges of the screen are distinct boundaries. If you hit one while on the ground, nothing especially exciting happens, but if you hit one while jumping, you kind of bounce off of it and fly back the other direction. I pretty much only use this tip to grab the hammer on the left side of the final board.

It's not really that useful of a tip, I know, but it is showy. And you can't be Pro without being a little bit of a showoff, it's just too much fun.

Pro tip: Scoring lots of points in Qix

Qix is kinda old, but there really hasn't been a game like it since.

You have a marker that you have to use to block off portions of the playfield. The portion you get is the smallest area that doesn't contain the Qix (which is the pulsating line-thing in the middle of the screen.

You can either draw fast or slow. Slow gives you more points, of course, but is way more dangerous. So, what you want to do is carve up little sections using your fast draw

And then make the last section with your slow draw

Bam! Huge points!

Pro tip: Pipsy is for pro players only

Diddy Kong Racing is just all kinds of weird. You have anthropomorphic animals racing go-karts around an island to get magic balloons from a blue elephant-genie to liberate said island from a maniacal wizard pig. Standard stuff.

One of your choices to help liberate the island is a diminutive mouse named Pipsy. Pipsy is a little slow, and kind of light, so she's hard to control. But if you can control her, oh man, you've got something here.

One thing you have to know is the controls. Your basic controls are A to go forward, B to brake, and R to do a sliding turny-thing.

Two things to remember, then, is: the slower you go, the tighter you can turn; and pressing R to turn means you can take a slide around a curve and turn without losing much speed.

The thing we want to do is combine them into one super-technique. Let's take a course, any course at all. How about... Star City?

The thing about Star City is that it has these brutal right-angle turns right in the middle of the track. Lame!

But if you combine the gas, the brakes, and the slide-turn-thing, you can totally take the turns without even touching the walls. She hugs that track like it's velcro.

Which is kind of tough to see in these shots, so I've prepared a (4MB) animated .gif file to show it in action here. I almost botch it because her control is just so tight. Pretty awesome, really.

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