pro tip

Pro tip: Filler week part 1

Even in the best of circumstances, moving to a new house is an ordeal. And since I've done that this weekend, my games and devices are all packed away until I can dig them out again.

But have no fear!

I will be posting some 'behind the scenes' images this week, and should be back in full swing next Monday.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Pro tip: Seeing the ending of Mr. Nutz any time you want

Let's just get this out of the way right up front: Yes, there is a game called Mr. Nutz. It stars a squirrel.

It's kind of long and kind of hard (*snicker*), and you get passwords to kind of help you along.

But what if you went to the Password screen, and instead of entering the password you had, you entered "VITAMI"?

Well, then you'd be taken directly to the ending sequence!

Which, like a lot of the games of the time, isn't all that special.

But don't worry about that.

Pro tip: Using duplicate characters in Final Fight 2

If you're lucky enough to have a copy of Final Fight 2, you know that you (and optionally a friend) each choose one of three characters to wander through Metro City and beat up bad guys. Pretty standard stuff.

But, if you go to the title screen

And press

Down, Down, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right, Left, L, R

On Controller 1, the background will change from Black to Blue.

Signaling that the code worked. This will allow you to choose the same character for both players

You know, if you're into that kind of thing.

Pro tip: You don't get to save in Excitebike

One of the neat things about Excitebike is that you get to design and race on your own tracks,

but a few options on that screen confused me, like "SAVE" and "LOAD". You hit one and you get a screen like something's happening

but it kind of gets stuck there. For a long time I thought I had a bad cartridge or something, but it turns out that in the American version of this game, saving isn't even implemented!

So don't be fooled.

Pro tip: An easier warp in Snake Rattle 'n Roll

I admit, the warp in Snake Rattle 'N Roll I told you about a few months ago is kind of tough to get at. If you just give up completely trying to get it, I have a consolation prize for you.

In level 1, you'll notice these tiny islands floating out in the abyss. One of them has nothing on it. How conspicuous.

Hop on that island and hit the B Button to be whisked away to Level 3!

Which isn't quite as far as Level 8, but you also didn't have to work as hard, so I'd say the tradeoff is worth it.

Pro tip: Starting on whatever level you want in Super Adventure Island

Believe it or not, I actually kind of suck at the Adventure Island games. It's not really my fault, though. Your guy bites it after being hit once by anything, and enemies are strategically placed right in the best place to jump.

It's devious.

So if you get stuck and throw your controller across the room in frustration instead of making progress, then I understand and have some news you might be interested in.

If you go to the title screen, and let the demo start

Then immediately cancel out of it and go back to the title screen. Then press Right on the Control Pad + L + X + Start. Done right you'll be whisked away to the Stage Selection Screen!

Which is great for previewing those later levels before you retire the game completely.

Pro tip: Dealing with meaningless stats

Take a look at this screenshot from the arcade version of Tetris

Over on the right you'll see your 'stats', or a representation of the Tetriminoes you've had to deal with in Bar Chart form. My guess is that it's there if you're playing Single Player so that the right side of the screen won't be blank.

Now take a look at this screenshot from Galaga

Once you end your game, you're presented with your 'Hit/Miss Ratio', which tells you how accurate you were with your shots.

What do these things have in common?

Mostly that they don't really mean anything. It might be kind of interesting to know your accuracy, or if your Tetris puzzle gave you lots of Z pieces, but you can't really do anything useful with the data, and it won't really make you a better player.

So don't sweat it.

Pro tip: Play one stage sans music in Castlevania

The Castlevania games typically have pretty good music for their respective consoles, but in the first NES game there is a way to temporarily turn it off if you have some bizarre reason to want to do so.

First, pop in your Castlevania cartridge and power on your NES. Then... don't touch anything. Eventually a demo will play

Let it go and cycle back to the title screen. Continue not touching anything and a second demo will play.

Let it go and cycle back to the title screen.

Finally, you can touch something!

Hit Start on Controller 1 and the game will start as normal, except when you get in, the music will be gone!

(It's real hard to get a screenshot of music not playing, so you'll just have to try it for yourself)

Once you do something that makes the music change, like fighting the stage Boss, the music will start up again and not go off, so enjoy it while you can!

Pro tip: Cheesing your way through Super Street Fighter II

It might not be immediately obvious, but in the Street Fighter games, you're participating in a tournament. A tournament where you can (more or less) control the outcome.

When your opponent is chosen, press Start on Controller 2 to bring in a New Challenger.

Have Controller 2 pick the character you were fighting against, and pummel them mercilessly. Win the match, and you'll notice that you continue to the next stage.

And since you know you'll be fighting the four Boss Characters, you can also do this to beat them early.

Well, except for M. Bison. You have to beat him the old fashioned way, I'm afraid.

Oh, and this works for all variants of Street Fighter 2.

Pro tip: Checking out (some) cutscenes any time you want

Ever been digging around on your computer's hard drive, in the directories where the games or other programs are installed to see what you can find?


Well you should! (Just be mindful to not actually delete or modify anything) You might find all kinds of goodies.

For instance, check out this partial listing of the Videos folder in my Neverwinter Nights install.

Doesn't look like much, I know. And it's kind of hard to tell from this shot, but they all have a .bik extension. What does that mean?

Glad you asked!

It means that these movies were created with the RAD video tools. And that means that if you have the right player, you can watch them.

Even better, the company responsible for the format has also released a standalone player that you can download here that can play those videos and a whole lot more video conversioney stuff. It's a pretty good deal for a free tool.

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