September 23, 2007

We (“we” being me plus at least one other person) went through a few Nintendo Entertainment Systems in the old days. All the dust particles that built up due to the machine’s cartridge door being held open by the object also holding the game down because the spring-lock was broken probably did not help. Lincoln logs, legos, Sega Genesis games, many items held the honor of this holding. Various “game cleaning” devices may also have found at last a legitimate use in this role.

The games themselves similarly suffered. There were some, like Air Fortress, which always worked, either due to disuse or simple irony, but the older ones were a different delaware. I actually had mapped out in my mind which glitch patterns and colors meant Legend of Zelda was how close to starting up properly. A blank blue screen was bad. That was the furthest from function. I knew when it started being gray and occasionally showing white dashes it was almost working. The NES we got later, unfortunately, defaulted to a blank grey screen so it was really hard to know how much more blowing needed to be done. We had to replace the first NES, as I said, because its spring-lock broke. Its door had also broken, but that didn’t really matter since that wouldn’t stay closed while the game was being held down. Though the second’s spring also broke, we were cautious enough to see that the door remained intact. By that time we had moved on to leaving control devices in stupid places and letting them get stepped on. Big kid stuff. (that’s noise)

Good old Legend of Zelda. This was the version without the “hold reset or lose data!” warning.

This warning was added to the later issues of the game without the gold cartridges, which has me mystified, as it doesn’t look at all expensive to have produced. All the more mystifying is that the absense of silence, which is also golden, ought to have resolved any budgetary issues. Perhaps this is golden wisdom.

There were some graphic errors with which the game was playable, like vertical white lines, and others which I knew not to bother with, like the horizontal orange lines which gradually spread from the upper left corner to cover the whole screen. My cousin Patrick called that “the ozone layer,” and I never questioned it. I don’t think I ever questioned a thing he told me, even though 53.7% of it was rubbish, and that’s a bit more than half. I believe it was from a friend of his that I learned the “blow in the cartridge” trick. You know, that great trick that never worked one time. We did that for six years.

It’s impossible to say to what extent this sort of thing contributed to my lifelong fear of being sent to prison. Incidentally, Patrick also told me that the creature with wings is named The Guy Who Flies With His Pants On. It makes sense; why fly with your pants off, if you have pants?

Different games had different diseases, but all suffered from the ozone layer. It is a good thing I never heard that aerosol sprays “depleted ozone” until later, as I would probably have found myself emptying those directly into cartridges in lieu of plain inefficient mouth-driven air and thought myself quite clever. Mmmm.
Sometimes there would be “good” lines at the start, but then ozone would slowly start sneaking in. Of course I was always in denial about it. I would pretend not to notice it, and hope that it would go away. Alas, ozone is all around us, and is in all places at all times, so it really cannot go anywhere. Even if it could, Ozone Road was a mere two blocks from my place of business, Olympus Battling business, so its fearsome layer could return before long. It did.

There was a period when I was just grateful to get a certain intendo tape, as the people I liked less liked to say more, working for a few minutes. There was one Metroid password that I entered so many times that I actually memorized it and no longer needed to consult the birth certificate or Abraham Lincoln autographed picture I had written it over. It wasn’t even a good password. I think it had one energy tank and fifteen missiles, in the second part of Norfair without the high-jump boots.

BOOTS, I said! Why, in a situation which involved boots, and you had space on the screen to print “boots,” would you not do so? I guess I’m just old.

Newer Legend of Zelda cartridge side-by-side with picture I found online of older Legend of Zelda. Obviously taken by an amateur, who set it up in an environment with minimal light reflection or whatever, so the precious metal exterior just resembles plastic painted to be a goldish color.

Newer Legend of Zelda side-by-side with earlier picture I took depicting itself and gold cartridge picture. Despite the tape issue, not I nor anyone I had or yet have met called these things “carts.” I remember getting an occasional issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine between 1992 and 1996 and wondering what video games had to do with driving around in little mechanical cars or transporting groceries.

I also wondered if Mike Weigand was really a Battletoad.

How Blackthorne could be “game of the month” in any situation had not yet occurred to me to ponder. I mean, you can’t even draw your gun when climbing up a ledge. I hate that. For shame!
Oh, and Gary Coleman did own an arcade at the time this magazine was printed, but I assure you Mike thought he was being every bit as hilarious dropping the name then as he would today.

4 Responses
  1. 1
    7:11 pm, September 24, 2007

    Yamamanama sez:

    Better than that damn blue screen.

    There’s some interesting things you can do if you mess with the circuitry, or for the less willing to permanently destroy things, replace some data in the rom with the statement BITE ME AND DIE using a hex editor.

  2. 2
    5:43 am, September 25, 2007

    A feeding frenzy sez:

    I guess I must have taken too good care of my NES, as no part of it ever broke off, and it in fact still works today, though with a hightened frequency of maladies (nothing resembling the above mentioned ozone, however).

    Incidentally, I have both the gold (obtained from an associate, and broke down about half way through the “second quest”) and non-gold Zelda cartidges. The latter made an appearance in a parody of that infamous rapping ad which I made about a year back. All the cool kids were making them at the time, you see.

  3. 3
    6:59 pm, September 25, 2007

    Eeplivopu sez:

    I’ve seen a number of special promised results try and tempt me into using hex editors, but the pursuit of worse glitches is certainly a new direction. If it’s anything like all those “corrupt super mario bros!” youtube videos then… apparently I can put a custom logo and 40 seconds of self promotion at the beginning praising my rad random byte entering skillz.

    If you had one of those late era, 1993 systems, I could understand. Or if you were an only child. Or had well organized parents. I remember maybe about three years ago I briefly encountered one of the rectangular sort, and I was astounded to see a game within, staying down on its own.

    The only video I ever found of you was the stuff about ketchup. I promise you that anything you might regard as embarrassing which you attempted to cover up you did so successfully, at least as far as my grasp is concerned.

  4. 4
    6:28 pm, November 29, 2008

    Free teen thumbnail galleries. Trackbacked With:

    Anal teen….

    Teen poetry….

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