Shut your freakin gob: Juno and cheat codes

Originally posted at GameSpot on July 1, 2008

About a month ago, I saw the movie Juno. I didn’t really expect too much, but I ended up really enjoying the movie.

That said, something interesting happened as I listened to the soundtrack not to long ago. I was driving home from work and heard these lyrics:

“Up up down down left right left right B A start
Just because we use cheats doesn’t mean we’re not smart”

I had heard the song before – track seventeen, “Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches. But this time I really heard the words and understood them: “Up up down down left right…” That sounds like a code I would have punched in on my NES years ago!

After some digging, I found out that this is a reference to the fabled “Konami Code,” made most famous in the states in the old NES game Contra.

While this may be common knowledge to others, I had never heard of it – and to find out about it from listening to the Juno soundtrack? Pretty sweet.

But even better is the instant connection I felt with the songwriter. I felt like I needed to pull the car over – up until them I had just been jamming along, but now the song spoke directly to me. I think if you were a musician that has to be one of your goals – your song hits someone in such a way that they almost pull over.

The moral of this story? Keep an eye (or ear) out – you never know where a fellow gamer may turn up.

Post tenebras lux

Turtles through Time

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 10, 2008

Currently playing through TMNT for the GBA and at first I wasn’t sure how much I liked it; then something happened – I beat the first level. Many times a game might not seem like a good investment, but then you make some actual progress – and the game is as good as gold.

This is the case with TMNT, and I’m sitting pretty at Act 3. I forgot how much I enjoyed the turtles as a kid, never missing one second of the cartoon and going to see the first movie in the theatres. (I’m sure I saw the second movie in theatres as well, but I don’t know about the third one – the first movie was the good one though.)

Playing through the game got me thinking about my gaming with turtles past. First up, the arcade game. This was out at the height of the turtles (first round of) popularity, and it was a great beat’em up that you could play with a friend. I can remember forking over quarter after quarter in order to keep Donatello and the others alive as long as I could. I never beat the arcade game; either because I wasn’t good enough or wasn’t rich enough – probably both.

Next up was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES, and it was a must-own for any fan. The game, however, took advantage of that fact and was awful. Annoying levels (swimming through electric seaweed) and punishing difficulty sucked most of the fun out of this one, although picking your turtle and a well done intro-sequence helped to ease the pain a little.

I vaguely remember playing (or renting) some other turtle games, mostly emulating the side scrolling multiplayer fighting action of the original arcade game – which was a good thing.

I know there have been a slew of TMNT games in recent years, but this GBA title seems to be the only one with a decent score. I haven’t played them, so I can’t personally vouch for how good they are. However, it has been fun to re-visit a franchise I enjoyed as a kid and find there is still some life there.

Turtle power!

Post tenebras lux