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Thread: cheat codes/strategy guides/FAQs/video walkthroughs- do you use them?

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    Default cheat codes/strategy guides/FAQs/video walkthroughs- do you use them?

    This topic branches off of my other topic in which I discussed my experience with Metroid. I try to play games as the artist intended. Meaning I use the tools initially available to me; in-game tips as well as meticulously reading through the manual to see if there is mention of any tips (often times there is.) HOWEVER- once Nintendo Power came out in 1988 I feel something else happened... the advertisements for Nintendo Power that came packaged with the cart often talked about how to beat the game. I almost feel that from this point forward, game developers had this in mind while designing the game. Anybody who has read a fair amount of Nintendo Power knows how closely Nintendo of America worked hand in hand with their magazine. The woman who voiced Princess Peach in Super Mario 64 was also one of the review editors. I dont remember her name off the top of my head but it may have been Leslie Swan. Im sure a quick Google search could confirm that.

    Anyways back on track... is it fair to say that reading NP was intended as being part of the whole experience or did developers say "hey, not everyone has a subscription to this magazine so let's make it so that a 10-year-old could play this game without ever reading the mag."?

    Of course Game Genie was never accounted for during game design (at least I would think so considering how Ninty sued them in the early 90s.) I doubt any developer thought "well some kids may be using GG so lets make it so the game is still fun/challenging to play even if the kid has infinite lives and ammo". Well that is all speculation of course but if I were a betting man, Id bet that the designers started from a position of assuming the gamer didnt have a Game Genie.

    Ultimately my question for readers of this post is this: at what point do you break down and look up Youtube walkthroughs or go on GameFAQs? For me the answer is this... if I am going for 100% and Ive beaten the main storyline and just searched and searched but couldnt find that last hidden package or secret area, yeah Im gonna go on GameFAQs. But more often than not I will put the game aside and play something else before I resort to looking at a map or reading a walkthrough. There is a sense of pride in beating a game without any help but at some point one has to either give up or look for help.

    At this point for me, Game Genie is a non starter. I cant imagine enjoying a game like Contra if I had infinite health. Some cheats are fun though like the moon jump in Super Mario Bros. but usually I would rather just play the game as intended and try to get the most out of it hefore boredom sets in.

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    also there was a side mission in GTA3 where I often felt itd be impossible to know how to do it unless you "cheated" by looking it up. Multi Story Mayhem. there are no clues in the game that would give any indication of how to initiate the mission

    also, the Mortal Kombat games... I dont know how anyone wouldve known about the fatality combos besides either reading a magazine or talking to someone who had read a magazine. And the game developers are the ones telling the magazines the button combos to begin with.

    so the point is, I feel that so many games are designed with the expectation that these games arent being played in a vacuum and it is somewhat ambiguous as to which games were meant to be played with help and which games were meant to be played without

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    Yeah, Leslie Swan voiced Peach. I believe there were very few, if any, Nintendo of America employees who were working exclusively on Nintendo Power. They were typically also involved in development and localization of games, and the website when that came along, and so on. Dan Owsen, another member of the Nintendo Power staff, did voice acting for Super Metroid and Star Fox and was also the admin of Nintendo's BBS back in the day.

    Anyway, I don't use Game Genie (don't even own one) and rarely touch cheat codes (generally only stage selects when games have no password/save system and I can't be bothered to replay the early stages endlessly, though I only jump to stages I can reach just fine without the stage select, with at least as many lives/continues as I'll start with when using the stage select; I don't want using the stage select to be giving me any advantage). I generally like to do as much on my own as reasonably possible, but I have no problem turning to a guide if I'm stuck or trying to find whatever I missed as I aim for 100% completion. I actually really like playing through games alongside Nintendo Power. To me, it's part of the experience. And Nintendo Power generally wasn't so thorough, anyway, so you'd still be on your own for much of the game. But when it comes to games on Nintendo platforms, a large percentage were developed first and foremost for a Japanese audience, so I don't think the developers were necessarily thinking of Nintendo Power. If anything, they would've been thinking of various Famicom, Super Famicom, etc. magazines. Also, print strategy guides took off in Japan earlier than in the US, so if not magazines, developers may have been assuming customers would pick up a strategy guide if they were stumped and couldn't get the info they needed from a friend.

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    There used to be a Nintendo tip phone number to call for hints or walkthrough advice, I forget how much they charged per minute but this was around before strategy guides were common.

    I would use a strategy guide or walkthrough if I got stuck in a game, if it started to stop being fun. Plus some games have bugs and at times I only found out about them when looking up a walkthrough, like with Broken Sword for the GBA having bugs that prevented the game being completed if you saved the game while in certain areas. Not fun realizing I needed to delete my save and start over but I wouldn't have just figured that out on my own.

    As for cheat codes, occasionally I'll use them just to mess around and have fun but usually I'll play the game without using any. It depends on the game and what the cheat code does. I know there's a code for Q*Bert on gameboy that plays all the cutscenes together as one continuous movie so that's something I'm ok with.

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    I believe it was around the mid 90s when the Nintendo Game Play Counselors hotline became a 900 number. It wasn't horribly expensive, but still something I used sparingly. I called a couple times myself, once to get help in Link's Awakening and another time to ask about the glitched up shrine in Lufia 2 (which they didn't know anything about and just suggested that my copy of the game was defective; I brute forced my way through the area, which isn't terribly hard to do, and years later learned all US copies of the game are glitched in that manner, so it wouldn't have helped to return my copy and get another). Around that same time, they put up a pre-recorded line where you could get tips on a couple dozen games, whatever was big at the time. That line was free (might've been long-distance, though).

    Prior to the 900 number, the counselor hotline was just a regular number with a Seattle-region area code (206), so it was free for those who lived close to Nintendo of America, which is in Redmond, WA, but long-distance for everybody else. I kind of got skunked on it myself because I lived in Washington state, and my city had the 206 area code when I was a kid. But I didn't know about the hotline at that point and didn't take advantage of free calls. By the time I was interested in calling the hotline, the region that the 206 area code applied to was shrunk down, and phone numbers in my city got a new area code. So then it was long-distance for me too, and the switch to the 900 number came shortly thereafter.

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