Helping those less pro become more so.

Pro tip: Seeing the end of Krusty's Super Fun House any time you want

Krusty's Super Fun House, like pretty much all the Simpsons games, is pretty tough. You have to take Krusty on a tour of the rooms in his Fun House to rid it of an infestation of purple mice. It's a puzzler, of sorts.

But say you get tired of the puzzles, or you just give up. You could start the game over and change the default password of "HI KIDS"

to the much less obvious " JOSHUA " (with a space at either end)

Which will let you enter any door in the Fun House you want. So just enter and immediately leave all of the different areas to instantly clear them. Then, head to the exit and marvel at how such a tough game could have such a lame ending.

I warned you!

Pro tip: Starting on whatever level you want in Sonic the Hedgehog

The original Sonic the Hedgehog game, like pretty much all the games in the series, starts out pretty easy and then ramps up the difficulty to a ridiculous level pretty quickly. So it might be nice if you could practice those advanced stages, right?

Well, then good news!

If you go to the title screen

And press Up, Down, Left, Right on Controller 1, you'll hear a sound like you've collected a Ring. Then hold down the A button and press Start. Done right, you'll be presented with a Stage Select screen!

Letting you start pretty much anywhere you want.

Just be aware that if you start at the last stage and finish it, you won't see the true ending. You need to play through enough of the game to collect the Chaos Emeralds for that.

Pro tip: Preparing to fight Dracula in Castlevania

Dracula's a pretty tough customer in Castlevania, and if you die while fighting him, you only get very few powerups to fight him again, making things tougher.


You could go back down the staircase leading to his chamber, and then back up again. If you do, the candelabras will reset and you can collect the powerups again. And as long as you don't walk far enough to the left to trigger the boss fight, you can repeat as many times as you want. And using some techniques I discussed earlier, you can really load Simon to the teeth with weaponry

Making this a slightly slower version of the method in Castlevania IV

Pro tip: Starting on (almost) any level you want in Zanac

Ever been playing Zanac and got just so far before you got frustrated and quit? Or maybe your playtime was cut short by a power failure or something and you had to stop before reaching the end. What do you do?

Well, you could start over again from the beginning, or you could power on the game, and wait for the title screen to appear

And then press the Reset button on your NES 13 times(!).

Done right, when you hit "Start" to bring up the Start / Continue screen, you can use the Left and Right arrows on the Cross Pad to choose whatever level you want.

Just be aware that you have to hit "Continue" to start on any level other than 1. Also, I couldn't start on anything higher than Area 10. When I tried to pick anything higher it'd kick me back to 10, so there's still a little bit of work to do, it seems.

Pro tip: Summoning Cows from Hell in Neverwinter nights

If you've played through Neverwinter Nights enough to have gotten bored with the combat, you might consider spicing it up a little bit.

First, make sure that DebugMode is activated by hitting the "~" key and typing "DebugMode 1"

Then type "dm_cowsfromhell"

And you will summon... Cows from Hell to attack your enemies!

They don't do a lot of damage, but it is kind of neat to watch them spawn on the battlefield and then viciously attack your foes.

Pro tip: avoid using the "Death Grip" when using a joystick

Occasionally when I observe people playing games with a joystick (especially in an arcade), I'll see them grab the joystick full-on with their hand and hang onto it like it's the only thing keeping them from falling off a cliff.

Which works, yeah, but it definitely hinders your experience by requiring that you use your entire arm to play which results in:

  1. a loss of fine-control, you have to use the gross movements of your arm and
  2. increasing the rate you get fatigued, moving your whole arm over the course of a few games takes more energy than you think

      The solution?

      Grip the joystick lightly between the thumb and the index finger, using the middle finger as well if that's more comfortable for you

      You get more accurate control and don't use so much energy, which leads to longer playing sessions. It's totally win-win!

Pro tip: Controlling the number of energy tanks you have in Mega Man 3

Mega Man 3's password system may look pretty complicated, but it's actually pretty easy to figure out. For example, it uses the placement of a single red dot to record how many Energy Tanks you have, and you can totally use this to your advantage.

For example, take this code that I got for having beaten no Robot Masters and having no Energy Tanks.

Consulting the chart below, I know that a single red dot in square C5 means 0 Energy Tanks. From there, it's a simple matter of moving that dot up to A6

To start the game with 9 Energy Tanks, the maximum!

From there, it's a simple matter of recording your password, moving the dot, and continuing on each time you need a refill!

And here's the list of dots and their Energy Tank attributes

      #   Dot Position
0      C5
1      E6
2      E4
3      B4
4      A5
5      C1
6      D2
7      C3
8      F2
9      A6

Pro tip: Hearing the music in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back any time you want

If you're a fan of the Star Wars movies, there's a good chance that you're also a fan of the musical score from the series. And if you liked the score from the movies, odds are that you want to listen to it in any form, right?

Well, then good news!

If you pop your copy of The Empire Strikes Back into your NES, and when the "A Long Time Ago..." appears

Press Left + Select on Controller 1. Done right, you'll be taken to a screen where you get to hear each of the musical selections from the game!

And who wouldn't want to hear these iconic songs, represented in their 8-bit forms?

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.

Pro tip: Lots more subs in The Hunt for Red October

If you're playing through the NES adaptation of The Hunt for Red October for some reason, you might start thinking to yourself, "Gee, I wish there was some way I could make this game easier". And if you were, today's your lucky day.

First, crash your subs into the landscape until you run out, which sounds counterintuitive, I know. But when you crash your last one, and before the screen tells you "Game Over", pause the game.

Then while it's paused, grab Controller 1 and press

A, B, Select, Right, Left, Left, Right, Select, B, A, B, B, A

Under normal circumstances, that is your single-use Level Skip code, but since we're out of ships, the circumstances change and instead, you're given a full complement of submarines! How many? Well, the counter rockets up to "I5" if that tells you anything

Which means you can play this game until you finish it or you're absolutely sick of it. Win-win!

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