I’ve learned that there is no way to communicate an idea to a person effectively enough for them to thoroughly understand. I think about this when reflecting on my childhood. I, like many in my generation, are sadly a product of television. I learned more about the world from shows than I did from my parents. With this in mind, I know kids now and later will never understand what it’s like to not have the internet (barring any random zombie apocalypse).
Playing games as I grew up was a pretty hit or miss prospect. Your only lifelines to figuring out the solution to that puzzle or strategy to beat a boss was either calling a prohibitively expensive hotline, hope what you needed was answered in the latest game magazine, or word of mouth. Word of mouth was the method for many, including myself. I can’t explain how hard these games were to play. There were some very random, illogical things you needed to do to proceed. In Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest for the original Nintendo, to proceed to the next area, once you acquired a crystal, you must kneel for several seconds to be teleported away. There was zero context clues for this. How was anyone supposed to figure this out?
Thankfully I missed most of the PC text based games. Ones where you needed to figure out the exact sentence structure to proceed. It would have driven me insane:
>There is a small box in front of you.
The other side of the coin were secrets that sound completely implausible. I remember hearing how in the original Metroid there was a password you could enter making the main character run around in her bathing suit (Justin Bailey). Or the hidden room in A Link to the Past with a secret message from a kid who won a contest. Or if you collect all the chaos emeralds in Sonic 2 you’ll turn gold and invincible, flying around. All of these sounded completely implausible to me, but were true.
What I remember is the nonsense I heard from other kids, especially the ones who had an uncle that worked for Nintendo, trying to add credence to their story. Luigi is hidden in Mario 64. Aeris can be brought back after she’s killed in Final Fantasy VII. The Triforce can be found in Ocarina of Time. Sheng Long is a hidden opponent in Street Fighter II. There’s a nude code in Tomb Raider. I believed at least half of these, because they seemed plausible.
Two of my personal favorites I was told: In Mario 64, if you collect all 120 stars again, the hollowed out black versions, at the end of the game an image of a bear will appear in the sky instead of a star opening up another level.
I saw the commercial for the new Star Fox 64, which included the rumble pak. I called my friend, asking him what a rumble pak was (as he had purchased the game). He told me it made the controller vibrate whenever you got hit. I told him to stop lying and eventually hung up on him because he didn’t.
Did your uncle work for Nintendo giving you that super secret 152nd Pokemon that you can’t show to anybody? Fall for any rumors yourself? Comment or tweet!
Just noticed months later I didn’t have a tag here. Shock and gasp!