My Uncle Works at Nintendo

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.

Examine box

>Bad command

Take box

>Bad command

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!


5 responses to “My Uncle Works at Nintendo

  1. This was a post that brought back some funny memories of my childhood! I used to love cheat codes for games. Honestly, as unnecessary as they may be now, I wish games today still had them. I remember getting those books of codes back in the day, gamesharks, and then eventually using websites like And yes, I got the super secret Pokemon. I’m not sure if you’re referring to Mew, or the glitch Pokemon, but I got them both! I never knew about the nude cheat for tomb raider though… Now I’m tempted to replay the old game just for that reason!

    • I had a mew as well. I found missingno. but never caught him, didn’t want to crash my game. I remember when my friend got an NES game genie. We beat every game we could get our hands on. Including the original Turtles game and Battletoads. They were really hard. I remember someone telling me about the Nude Raider code you need to do a backwards flip off a statue into her pool, and some other nonsense.

      • Ah, the game genie. I forgot about that one. Man, I loved the old ninja turtles on NES. Battletoads sounds so familiar, but I can’t remember it. I’m sure if I saw it I’d know. I’m going to have to start investing into the old gaming systems soon. I love today’s video games; graphics, gameplay, story lines, but for some reason the old games made me so much happier… Even lacking all of the advancements. Maybe it was just being a kid that made them better? Anyways… Rabbit trails… Good post man!

      • You don’t know what the original turtles game was like. It wasn’t like the side scrolling beat’em ups the latter entries were. It was ridiculous. Battletoads was in the same vein but near impossible. I do love the production value of today’s games but older games had severe technological limitations making a lot of the neat tricks they did necessities. Plus they were actually difficult giving you a better sense of accomplishment when you actually succeed. Go back and beat Mega Man 2, then we’ll talk.

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