We didn't just play Nintendo in the 80s. We ate Nintendo cereal. It wasn't very good, it got soggy in air, and all of the shapes looked more like seahorses or turds than Mario, but it identified you as a rad to the extreme Nintendo player. Now you didn't have to just let your ass know how much you loved Nintendo with every painful wedgie, you could tell your spoon too. I knew a friend who had the Nintendo robot mom to pour it for him, but one day he was breast feeding and he doubled in size and grew wings. It's not a great story, I just thought it was weird the testers let her get distributed before anyone tried putting her robot boobs in their mouth.
The Nintendo Cereal System and Nintendo Power glass bowls (inset). Just in case you thought breakfast was taking away too much time from video games.
But that's nothing. I don't care if you cover your cereal with Metroid-shaped bananas and have Donkey Kong pee milk on it. You weren't a true NES fan unless you bought the $19.95 Secret Video Game Tricks, Codes, & Strategies videocassette tape hosted by "Jim and Donn." I know you think twenty dollars is a lot for a half hour video with tips on 5 or 6 games, but that's why you grew up watching WKRP in Cincinnatti and not saving princesses. Twenty dollars was nothing. We spent fifty dollars for Deadly Towers and hundreds of other games that were so bad they made us fear electricity.
And yes. On the cover of the video, holding the sword: Fabio. The Fabio.
Whoever made the video decided it needed more credibility for the hosts, and the reassuring second N at the end of Donn's name and Jim's thumbs up weren't enough. So they made up important titles for them. Donn and Jim suddenly became the U.S. National Video Game Team. And to make it official, they bought themselves matching jumpsuits. Fucking jumpsuits*. As far as I know, our country does not have a video game team. And if these two clumsy geeks are who we found to represent us, Canada finally has the weak spot they were looking for to start making fun of us.
*Recent studies do not indicate that jumpsuits increase video game performance. However, these studies show that if you put on a video game team jumpsuit, you might as well take off your genitals.
You'll notice right off that the Video Game Team members aren't very good at video games. And they don't make up for it with good broadcasting skills. If they're not reading to you from the instruction manual in fragmented sentences, they're awkwardly breathing hard into the microphone while they play. After 30 minutes of the video, you learn as much about Nintendo as you do from bathroom graffiti but without all the clever rhyming. I don't know how they got this job, I'm guessing they must be best friends with the janitor that donated his mop closet for the set. The whole damn thing is like letting a friend play your Nintendo badly with their feet. Only they don't talk, you hate them, and they're dressed like an insane housepainter.
Jim gives us a thumbs up as if to say, "It's A-OK that you're in my secret base! Thumbs up for Nintendo! Thumbs up for YOU!"
The Learning Begins
One of the first "tips" Donn gives us is that Silkworm is true to the arcade version with all of the hidden bonus points. That helps a lot, Donn. Then he stops talking and lets us watch him play for about 10 minutes. And trust me, I don't care if you've had someone sell you insurance at church, it's the longest 10 minutes of your life. It looks like the key to winning the game is NOT getting hit by enemies. This lesson is worth the $19.95 alone, since you can apply it in your regular life when you're playing in traffic or dodging the cleansing water that comes out of a "shower."
Guerilla War, Breathing Excercises
Later in the tape they give us some brilliant hints to beat Guerilla war. We've already learned from their last tips that our country's video game team can't talk and play games at the same time. It's at this point we start to realize that they have trouble doing either one by themselves. Donn's first hint for level 5 is to "use your lasso to save the hostages." Then he manages to miss almost every hostage while the microphone is next to his controller so we can hear him panting AND clumsily smashing the buttons at the wrong time.
After that, they turn off his microphone and he plays silently for a few levels. He doesn't do anything helpful. In fact, he spends almost all his time headbutting bullets and shooting friendly hostages with a flame thrower. He doesn't speak again until level nine when he says, "To get to the tenth and final round of guerilla war, you must first fight through level 9."
"Level Nine? What the fuck happened to Level Ten? ...Oooooooh."
Later he added, "be sure to breathe through your nose and not your ear to avoid asphyxiation." I hear he's doing a love advice column now where he gives tips like, "To attain a life of celibacy, concentrate on finding a video game champion jumpsuit. Pull the front zipper UP to attain the closed jumpsuit." Look, I know all of the government funding and fantastic parking places you can get by hiring the handicapped, but please don't dress them up in uniforms and send them off to teach kids how to play Nintendo.
Donn, not giving a fuck so hard, it's burning calories.
How to Not Give a Shit About The 3 Stooges
Next, the US Video Game Team gave us their help with The 3 Stooges, a shitty game almost 3 kids owned, and less than 1 cared about doing well in. It was based on the show that taught us how funny it is to kick an ugly person's ass, and the point of the game was to raise money to save an orphanage by throwing pies at people and running through a crowded hospital. I know it sounds like it's just a bad joke, and it might be, but I didn't write it. That's really what you do in this game.
Well, it's what they attempted to do.
Here's a special tip to win, straight from the masters: "In the hospital scene concentrate on picking up the supplies while avoiding the patients." This tip is really unfair to the kids that couldn't afford to buy the tape. Think of the advantage they would have with someone reading the game's instructions to them from their VCR. You don't think that would help that much!? What if I reminded you that the person stuttering at them was wearing a JUMPSUIT.
And if you doubt them, they're fucking out of here. They've got bitches waiting in the car.
Later in the tape, they follow up with this tip: "If your Nintendo-compatible video game system is not working, first check to see if the power in your parent's basement is ON. Use the "DOOR LOCK" to keep the parents from walking in on you while you hump your Nintendo-compatible cartridge."
And that's how Rygar was conceived.
They Teach You Something, and Make You Pay Dearly
In Blaster Master, their tip is to throw a bomb on the bad guy and pause the game when it hits. While the game is paused, it keeps hitting the bad guy. I know, it sounds like a good tip! That doesn't stop you from hating them, though. They don't just tell you to pause and assume you know what one minute and fifteen seconds is. No. They show you. You get to watch the entire minute go by - no fast forward, no cut, no anything. But it's not one minute of dead silence. Like I said, the grenade still goes off while it's paused.
And it sounds like this: "BYUBYUBYUBYUBYUBYUBYUBYUBYU!!!!"
Keep in mind that when this tape came out, we didn't have mute buttons on our remotes. If we did, we'd miss out on the end to this tip: "Press the Start Button to UNpause. The enemy boss is destroyed." As an extra help, they zoom in on their controller to show us exactly HOW to press the Start Button. You will seriously want to punch your country's National Video Game Team in the ear after this tape, and anyone that says differently is either lying or doesn't have hands.
"Here to explain the process of pushing UP, controller expert James Henkle."