Secret tricks in old arcade games

And by “secret” I mean moves you could do that many people didn’t know about, being pre-Intarweb and all.

Mine was Bump N’ Jump. If you managed to complete the level without running a single other vehicle off the road, you got 10,000 points at the end. (Which was waaaay more than you could normally get, virtually guaranteeing a spot on the High Scores list).

Another one that comes to mind is letting yourself get captured in Galaga so you could have two ships for the bonus round, but I’ve gotten into lively debates over whether that was a good idea or not. Plus, everybody knew about that one.

Any other good ones?

In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom there were a few such things. Releasing all of the children gave you a bonus, which was probably known. However, in the first screen, when you chose how hard you wanted to play, if you whiped everything you would get 5,000 points. On the waves when you got the stones, clearing everything gave you 10,000 points I think.

There was also a 5,000 “pyro” bonus on some levels for whipping all of the gas containers. That didn’t happen on all of the levels though. When you got to the bridge if you whipped Willie you got an extra bonus as well though I don’t remember what.

That was my favorite game from the 80s, I played a lot more in the 90s, but they came out when you could find stuff on the net.

I was told by my Intro to Cognition and Gaming profesor that in the original Pac-Man, if, when you first start a level, all you do it hit up and have Pac-Man go into the wall and leave him there, he will never get hit by a goast. I have not verified this at all, not even on the hundreds of variations of Pac-man put out on the dozens of systems it’s on.

I’m not sure if this qualifies, because it’s more a personal preference, but on Spy Hunter, I would always take the left route first because this would give me oil which I liked more than smoke (it actually killed the bad guys instead of just losing them for a second) and then I would always go to the right which would alternate between the three weapons, thus insuring I would always have all three.

I could last at least a half hour on a quarter with that game.

Not an in-game trick, but a physical trick

In the old Konami Track&Field game (the one where you pounded the two buttons to run), if you put a comb down over the two buttons at once and then hit it in the middle, you could tap both buttons much faster and get ridiculous times (100m dashes in the low 8 sec range).

Hell, in Spy Hunter I’d just coast all the way to the right side of the screen and sail past everything. Even over water. Was a good way to get to levels that I’d died on before without having to replay all the previous ones.

The original ‘Star Wars’ game.

During the run down the Death Star trench Obi-Wan says ‘Use the Force, Luke’. That was actually a tip. If you got all the way down the trench without using your guns you would get a big bonus for doing so.

Odin, TellMel, I was able to get far enough in Spy Hunter to the part where the car turned into a boat, but someone told me that even farther along there was a path where it turned into a plane. Was there, and what happened with the various weapons? (The flaming oil slick on the water was a nice touch.)

And the synth version of the Peter Gunn theme was very cool.

Wasn’t there another part of either Galaga or Galaxian where during the bonus round if you didn’t shoot a single enemy you got the highest possible bonus score?

Boy, it’s been so long I’d forgotten about the boat, but as far as I can remember, there wasn’t any plane. Maybe that came out in Spy Hunter II (A game I never cared for)

Also, if you went all the way to the right, didn’t that one with the machine gun come out and kill you? Or are you talking about something else?

In the original Mortal Kombat, playing either Johnny Cage or Raiden, you could volley a player indefinately in the corner by jump punching. This was the cheapest move of all time and anyone you did this to would beat the living crap out of you if you did it to them in a person vs. person match. Sort of an “against the computer cheat” only.
Oh! That reminds me, there was also a cheat on Mortal Kombat II that was great. On older versions of the board, you could get free games. After completing a regular one player game, while the credits rolled the players would pop up with info and stuff playing in the back. If you hit the Start button when a particular player hit the ground, the game would start over again and you could continue through another one player game.

I’m trying to remember now; I remember that there was a point where you had to eventually rejoin traffic, but I can’t remember why - maybe it was the car with the machine guns that shot sideways. (It’s been soooo long). I remember the boat as well, but don’t remember a plane (although in trying to remember, my mind switched the game seamlessly from Spy Hunter to Blue Max. Go figure.)

Oh yeah, if it helps, I’m referring to the Commodore version of the game. Not sure of variations that might have cropped up in other platforms.


If you left two certain bees on the first or second level and then just didn’t shoot them and let them fly at you for a long time they would eventually stop shooting. Then none of the enemies would shoot at you for the rest of the game.

I think that’s how it was done.
In PacMan there was a pattern that worked up to something like the 5th key.

I’m talking about the coin-op. It was in the game room of my dorm during college and I would usually play it about once or twice a day.

Also, I remember Gauntlet where if you had multiple players, you could keep one on one side of the screen and keep it from moving so you wouldn’t get tons of monster generators on the screen at one time.

I once played that game for over an hour straight on one quarter, and I never saw a plane. (I had turned into a boat five or six times.)

Another legend of the game was that in boat mode, you could use the sandbars to “jump” the mines other boats were dumping in front of you. I don’t think this was real either, everyone I saw who claimed they were doing it were nowhere near the mines they were “jumping”.

The “Turn all the way to the right” trick was a bug in the game, but yes, the truck with the machine gun would come out and kill you if you exploited it too long. Not sure how TellMeI’mNotCrazy managed to avoid this.

My favorite trick was the fact that you could ram every vehicle off the road, except the helicopter and the guys with spiked tires. I used to see how far I could get using no weapons, just ramming.

There’s still talk of a Spy Hunter movie

Anybody ever play “Elevator Action”? I loved getting the bad guys to fall down the elevator shaft, or crushing them with an elevator. It took patience to do this, much easier just to shoot or kick them.

Re Spy Hunter

I don’t think I ever played SH2, but I have many comics with ads for it. They show the car going into a shack and coming out as a helicopter.

I thought you could take out the spikey guys, just as long as your tires didn’t touch each other?

Well, yeah. I didn’t want to make the post too long, though.

My strategy was to ram the bulletproof guys into the spiky guys. When you got high enough in the game, there were always at least eight guys attacking you at once, providing plenty of opportunities.

If I’d spent my childhood studying physics with the same intensity I put into playing video games and reading comics, I’d be a multiple Nobel winner by now. :smack:

I believe they’re already started work. There’s a poster, at least.