Secret tricks in old arcade games

That’s correct. There’s a fairly known “rest spot” in the arcade version of Pac-Man which would correspond to the location your professor gave you. It’s the first wall directly up and to the right of where you start (the inside right corner of the “T” above you.) As long as you enter that spot when the ghost’s aren’t looking at you, you can stay there indefinitely.

Plus, as for Pac Man patterns, you can find ones on the web that will detail how to get to well past the 5th key. (In fact, far enough to get to the last level [255th?] where the game glitches and turns the screen into half junk.)

In Ninja Gaiden (the first one) for the original Nintendo, on the very last level, on the very last floor of the level, you want to go into face the final monster with as many weapons points as possible (obviously). You could go down a tiny bit to the floor just before the last floor without falling, and go back up to the last floor, and a lantern that you gave you 5 weapons points would regenerate every time you did that.

Oh, yeah, and speaking of Nintendo, in Super Mario 3, on the last world, there’s a couple of ship levels which you can pass by simply swimming underneath the entire level, rather than dodging all the wrench-throwing moles and cannons.

And in the arcade version of Cruisin USA, you can press one of the “view” buttons during the car selection screen and get an extra three cars to select from (including the always cool school bus.)

Plus, there’s a tricky gear shift in Out Run which you can do that allows you to go completely off road and not lose any speed. With it you can crazy stuff like drive over the beach and water on the left side of the screen, full speed, in the first level without having to fear traffic.

On the first level of Crystal Castles, go to the upper left hand corner of the board behind the high score initials, then jump. This will send you to level 3 and give you 300,000 points. There are other cheats for getting from there to level 5 and then to level 7, but I don’t remember what they are.

The Paperboy coin-op had a bug that let you rack up billions of points. At the end of your route, you would ride through the bonus track. At the very end of the bonus track, if you rode slowly and carefully, you could squeeze your bike past the bleachers at the far right of the screen. You had to sort of eek through a small space between the bleachers and a fence.

If you managed this, you rode through another bonus track filled with graphical glitches. If you finished this bonus track, you would score would either be A) several hundred billion points, B) only a few hundred points (rolling over the counter), or C) negative several trillion points.

I remember on the old… uh… Top Gun game? For the… uh… Sega Genesis, I believe it was…

If you went up to the upper left hand corner of the screen, and just stayed there, you wouldn’t get hit with anything, and eventually you would get to the end boss. you had to move, or he would blow you up with missles, but it was a great way to get to him and not waste lives.

Space Invaders had the classic 23/13 shots rule, to get the 300 point flying saucer. Pre-1980, 300 points was a big deal!

Dang, I was hoping someone would have a tip for Defender because I must have spent a bazillion quarters on that game and never once beat the high score.

In the original Donkey Kong arcade game, you could climb to the top of any ladder and hang there while the barrels zipped by above Mario without dumping down the ladder on top of him. In subsequent versions, this glitch was “fixed” and the safe zone was no longer available. I believe the machine we looked for were copyrighted “1979”. If you got one dated 1980 or later, you were on your own.

Hey, I remember that. Actually Donkey Kong wasn’t released till 81’.
The way to tell if you had an older machine was on the title screen. If it said ‘Donkey Kong 1981 Nintendo’ you had the old version. If it said ‘Donkey Kong 1981 Nintendo of America’ it was the new version.

Can someone please explain this rule? I’ve never heard of it.

As requested:

In the original Space Invaders, the flying saucer was worth either 50, 100, or 150 points. Careful analysis showed that the point value was not random, but was based on the number of shots the player fired. Experimentation showed that if the flying saucer was hit on the 23rd shot of the round or on a multiple of 13 shots thereafter (36, 49, etc) the saucer was worth an undocumented 300 points.

I was a Defender junkie (dare I say…god?), but I never did know or discover any cheats. The game had several control skills that were handed down to me from a phenomenal player who saw me crack 100,000 and deemed me worthy to peek inside the door of ultimate enlightenment :wink: I don’t recall what my highest scores were though…

Hyperspace is a crutch, never use it.

Shooting what’s behind you is more important than shooting what’s in front. You need to master the quick reverse-fire-reverse button sequence. The reverse-reverse move also can give you a quick peek off screen as the screen scrolls

It is often worthwhile to let the landers snag your people, then shoot and carry multiple ones around and rearrange them into more defensible spots. Later levels, just sacrifice a bunch and only try to defend about half of the planet. Much easier.

Save your smart bombs for the inevitable loss of the planet. You can queue up the hordes of buzzers and get most all of them in a single blast.

Don’t sweat the skinny saucers, they are suckers for the reverse-shoot move. Just don’t get too many, handling 3 or more at once is quite stressful

Never sit still, the only time your finger leaves the thrust button is to wipe the sweat from your eyes. Better yet, just let the sweat drip and sting, it builds character.

Sweet. Thanks, Scuba_Ben.

I knew it was something like that. It was college for me, so I probably lost a few of those brain cells for exact dates. It sure made it easier to make it up the ramps on the first screen of each level. It also worked on the girder screen and the elevator screen, but the fire balls moved a little slower and it wasn’t needed as much.

I went to Disneyworld a couple of years ago and they had an arcade with some throwback games. Foe once I could kick my son’s butt at a video game! :smiley:

The clever trick I know for that game is as follows: by far the hardest part of the game is the last 7 or 8 floors of every building, when it’s all elevators except at the far left and right of the screen. Trying to navigate all the way left or right across that is just asking for trouble. So instead, just go down the far right side, get any red doors, and exit the building. If you missed any red doors on the left side, you’ll then be automatically teleported directly to them, get them, go down the far left, and exit the building. NEVER try to cross to get to red doors.

I completely forgot about Elevator Action. Whoa.

Anyone else ever play Mind Control? That thing had some seriously ear-wormy music.

I’m with you for the most part… but nothing beats the sense of accomplishment you get when you cross over to the other side by jumping over each open elevator shaft. It was a matter of timing - if you waited, there was a moment when all the elevators were above you, leaving the shafts free to jump over. You could cross in about three seconds, and if there were any bad guys, they would get kicked when you landed.

You could also shoot out the light fixtures to get them to drop on bad guys and kill them, but I think that isn’t really a secret. Everybody seemed to know about it.

True. But that’s very dangerous because if guys pop out of doors while you’re in the middle of the screen then you’re stuck and VERY exposed. It might be fun, but it’s still suicidal


The rarest thing, in my experience, is seeing bad guys fall down elevator shafts to their deaths.

The way I could get them to do it with any amount of regularity was in that very section with all the elevators. I’d be in an elevator right next to a floor with a bad guy. The key was to keep the elevator shifting up and down, with the bottom of the elevator about even with the bad guys nose, so he’d see me, but never get the opportunity to enter the elevator. Eventually he would go into a loop where he would be constantly walking forward into the base of the elevator in a vain effort to have forward motion once the elevator dropped far enough for him to enter. Once he was in this loop, all I had to do was make the elevator go up… and once the elevator was no longer arresting his forward motion, down he’d go.

For the time period that game came out, and simple as it was, I was (and am) really impressed with the number of subtle features it had.