Quantcast

Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Resources for cheat codes and strategies in the 90s?

  1. #1
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert RvR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    198
    Rep Power
    10

    Default Resources for cheat codes and strategies in the 90s?

    Nowadays we can look up any cheat code we want on the internet, but it wasnt always like that. Nintendo famously released cheats for their games in the Nintendo Power magazine, so I was wondering if Sega did the same with their magazine or other ones or released some kind of guide books? I remember seeing official strategy guides for sale in the early 00s but back when I was playing Genesis I was like 8 years old and didn't even know something like a guide could exist for a game. Feel free to comment any memories you have using any resources like this.

  2. #2
    Pirate King Phantar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Munich, Germany
    Age
    40
    Posts
    4,468
    Rep Power
    80

    Default

    Well, in the US there was Sega Visions, which wasn't quite the same as Nintendo Power (it never quite felt the same, it was more a Newsletter that grew into a magazine but was never as fully fleshed out), but it definitely came closest in terms of what Sega put out themselves. Sega-16 did a feature on that about... Wow, has it been 15 years already. Man this site has been around a long time.

    Other than that, your only option were regular newsreel mags like Hardcore Gamer, EGM and the like. I had a subscription to "Sega Magazin", a German paper that wasn't made by Sega but officially endorsed by them, which only covered Sega consoles. The same publishing houses sometimes also offered strategy guides in magazine form that printed walkthroughs, or section-by-section hints, or printed maps.

    Some game companies offered hints or entire "strategy guides" for their own products, sometimes looking like magazines, sometimes as paperback books of some type. Others got a little more creative; Infocom for example offered "Invisiclues", Booklets with invisible hints that could be made readable with a special marker. Those were pretty popular back in the 1980s. And some companies offered hotlines you could call on your phone to give you hints, tips and sometimes outright cheats, but those were usually quite expensive.

    Sierra was infamous for advertising their strategy guides and hints hotline right in their game manuals, leading to the accusation that the company would make their games deliberatley obtuse so they could sell more guides.
    Last edited by Phantar; 03-12-2021 at 03:54 AM.
    The funny thing about an oxymoron is, even if you remove the ox, there'll always be a moron. The Question Remains: Y?

  3. #3
    Pirate King Phantar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Munich, Germany
    Age
    40
    Posts
    4,468
    Rep Power
    80

    Default

    Since you were also asking for memories...

    I had subscriptions to two video game magazines, though I occasionally bought other ones as well on newsdesks. The Cheats & Hints sections definitely had a certain appeal. I remember keeping entire folders that just contained Walkthroughs, Hints and Action replay Freezer Codes from various magazines. Most of my friends had similar folders, and the photocopier at school was often crowded with kids copying cheat sections and walkthroughs from one another. When the father of a friend of mine got a photocopier for his office, our close circle of friends would often meet at his place just to swap our latest cheat sheets.

    Every video game mag worth its money had a cheat section in one form or another. The publishers knew that kids would often collect these cheats, and sometimes tried to accommodate them. The publisher of Sega Magazine even sold collectible folders, advertising that they could be used just to keep your videogame hints and tricks in them. Sometimes they even tossed in such a folder for free if you had a subscription.

    For a while some zines had the cheat sections on perforated paper to easily tear them out, but that method didn't last very long because sometimes kids would just sneakily remove these pages without buying the mag itself. So most magazines just printed them in the back of each issue, and you usually had to carefully cut the Cheat sections out of a magazine if you wanted to keep them seperately (ideally with a razor or a utility knife, if you didn't want to damage the magazine too much), which was pretty irksome, especially if you wanted to keep the issue in good condition. There was one magazine, Power Play, that famously printed their "Tipps & Tricks" pages always on special green paper in the middle of each issue. These sections had their own table of contents, and more or less formed a "mag within a mag". Since they came on their own paper, it was easy to see at a glance where these sections began and ended, and they could easily be removed from the magazine; you had to carefully open the staples, then you could just remove the green Tipps & Tricks section as a whole, and afterwards bend the staples back down again so the magazine itself was unharmed. Then you could punch the pages and put them in your folder. It was great - you could immediately see at the newsstand if the Cheat section was missing, but you could also easily remove it from the issue without damaging the rest of the magazine.

    At least up until the mid-90s, some magazines even offered prizes or sometimes even cash for particularly worthy cheats or walkthroughs submitted by readers. I remember getting 20 bucks once for a submission of mine to one of the multiplatform magazines (I think it was Play Time? Not entirely sure any more...), describing how to use a hex editor to edit not just the track layouts, but also the terrain for the stunt racing game "4D Sports Driving" on PC (it had a track editor where you could lay down road types on a fixed grid, but only 5 pre-selectable terrain types, but a friend and I discovered that tracks and terrain forms alike had fixed hex numbers, so you could just select a terrain, save it as an empty track, and then use a hex editor on that save file to manipulate each tile of the grid individually. ) That was about 30 years ago!

    And then sometime in the mid- or late 90s, when the Internet became more commonplace, a friend of mine told me of a tool called "Dirty Little Helper". It was a little program you installed on your DOS PC and had an updatable database of cheats, walkthroughs, hints and even Trainer- and other cheat tools for PC games, that could be accessed over the Internet (or through update disks - they actually mailed you disks if you had a subscription). You installed that on a pc and then had a searchable, scrolling list for almost all the PC games you could think of. Tools like that, updatable through the Internet, were the beginning of the end for the Cheat sections in magazines, I think. (Dirty Little Helper is still around on the Internet, btw., and has actually evolved from a purely cheats-based database to something of an E-Zine for Games, with news and Updates, not just for the PC but basically also all console platforms itself. Kind of an ironic evolution there. )
    Last edited by Phantar; 03-12-2021 at 03:46 AM.
    The funny thing about an oxymoron is, even if you remove the ox, there'll always be a moron. The Question Remains: Y?

  4. #4
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert RvR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    198
    Rep Power
    10

    Default

    ^Awesome haha, I tried to add to your rep but it says I have to spread it to other users.

  5. #5
    The Cat in the Hat Shining Hero NeoVamp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    10,515
    Rep Power
    200

    Default

    Back in the early 90s you could practically find me at the local magazine store, god there were so many gaming magazines!
    I don't know about the US, but there were a ton of British magazines talking about Sega back in the day. although I don't really remember the names.
    So yeah, never did feel it was hard to get cheats for Sega games. there was this one magazine that would be nothing but Sega cheats. fuck I wish I could remember the name.
    it always had a couple reviews in the first pages and then page after page of codes, although they just kept adding codes so buying the magazine each month didn't get you 100% new codes.

  6. #6
    Master of Shinobi
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,202
    Rep Power
    26

    Default

    Back in the day the best I had for the Genesis was the little book that came with the Game Genie. I got Nintendo Power for years and sometimes it would have decent tips, but really it was just a way to advertise the games. You had to get Nintendo's strategy guides to get the good stuff. Today it's hilarious how bad some of the advice was back then, like Nintendo's guide for Final Fantasy is filled with stuff that doesn't work because of glitches in the game.

    On the PC side, I wasn't smart enough to hex edit or debug a game back then but sometimes you could change things just by going into the text configuration files.

  7. #7
    Pirate King Phantar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Munich, Germany
    Age
    40
    Posts
    4,468
    Rep Power
    80

    Default

    ^ oh yeah, almost forgot about that. When I got my Pro Action Replay for the Mega Drive, it came with a booklet to that had Freezer Codes for 100+ games in them. This ranged from practical (unlimited energy in Mortal Kombat, level select cheats for Sonic the Hedgehog) to curious but fun (jump extra high in Revenge of Shinobi, play as a boss
    character in fighting games ) to weird and apparently pointless (have characters run around in different colors). I was always most amazed by the ARP codes that unlocked hidden content - I always wondered how people managed to find those out back in the day.
    The funny thing about an oxymoron is, even if you remove the ox, there'll always be a moron. The Question Remains: Y?

  8. #8
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert RvR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    198
    Rep Power
    10

    Default

    I wonder if these magazines had teams of people trying to find cheats or if it was just from offering rewards for sending them in, or if they were going after people who worked on the games and paying them for the info.

  9. #9
    Death Adder's minion dark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    12
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    I think gamefaqs existed as early as '97 or '98 and it was a well known spot to go and look up cheats. If you had the internet in '95 or '96, you could use a search engine to find someone's fan website or cheat code compendium website which had typical cheat codes in it. I remember looking up a move list for Mortal Kombat 2 and it had a handful of fake moves on it (like a "Sai Swipe" for Mileena by holding back and high punch, which doesn't exist in any version of the 2D MKs). I remember gameing magazines providing hints/tips for genesis games, I don't remember cheat codes per se (they were probably there, I didn't read a ton of game magazines at the time), but for instance, I remember a magazine outlining the conditions needed to fight Noob Saibot or Smoke in MK2 on snes and genesis.

    Prior to the internet, there were more brick and mortar bookstores around and you could go to one of those and assuming it wasn't a mom and pop place, there would be books that were compendiums of cheat codes. I had one for PC made by Bradygames, it was an interesting book kind of like a phonebook. It was all text, no pictures, and covered 30 or 40 PC games, providing cheat codes for stuff like Doom. This stuff existed for console games as well, I was a little young to remember, but game stores probably sold cheat books too. In fact, I remember my library as a kid had some books of cheat codes and guides for NES games.
    Last edited by dark; 03-13-2021 at 02:51 PM.

  10. #10
    Pirate King Phantar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Munich, Germany
    Age
    40
    Posts
    4,468
    Rep Power
    80

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RvR View Post
    I wonder if these magazines had teams of people trying to find cheats or if it was just from offering rewards for sending them in, or if they were going after people who worked on the games and paying them for the info.
    Nah, many cheats came directly from the game developers, and whether a Magazine got some exclusively or earlier than others was usually more of a question of how good of a reputation a Magazine or a specific editor had with a manufacturer - if any money was exchanged there, I would say it was simply in the form of advertising revenue 😁 ( I also suspect mags sometimes outright copied cheat codes from other competitors). Other cheats were sent in by readers (who sometimes received a small bounty - Power Play offered 777 DM for the "Tipp of the month" until the early 90s, but that money usually went to submissions of dedicated walkthroughs or complete sets of maps for popular games). Editors often didn't have much time to properly verify submissions, so sometimes a fake one snuck into the pages.Occasionally an editor was tasked with creating maps or walkthroughs for more popular games, or a freelancer was hired to create a strategy guide. To my knowledge though, dedicated "cheat finders" didn't exist. During the early home computer and console era though, some magazines (mostly those covering Amiga, Atari or C64) employed editors who were also accomplished hackers, and those could come up with interesting cheats, but that was mostly circumstance, not by design.
    Last edited by Phantar; 03-13-2021 at 04:30 PM.
    The funny thing about an oxymoron is, even if you remove the ox, there'll always be a moron. The Question Remains: Y?

  11. #11
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert RvR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    198
    Rep Power
    10

    Default

    Just thought I'd mention it turns out Sega Retro actually has a lot of these old magazines scanned and archived. Pretty cool reading through some of them.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •