Five Iconic Gaming Feats Everyone Has Done…But I Haven’t

By: Chris Hodges, editor-in-chief

Hopefully not everyone but me…

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Did a Crazy Drift in Crazy Taxi

Crazy Drift

I thought Crazy Taxi was one of the funnest arcade games I’d ever played when I first discovered it in 1999. So I was ecstatic when the Dreamcast came out and offered the chance to play Crazy Taxi at home as much as I wanted. I never gave much thought to the fact that, when I played it in the arcade, I’d typically only last a few minutes each time I played. That’s not unheard of for an arcade game, after all. But at home, continually only getting to play for a couple of minutes at a time and never ranking higher than 30th or so was starting to irritate me. Even as I began to master my driving skills and hardly crashed into anything, I still didn’t seem to be getting any better at the game despite almost flawless handling of my taxi. I don’t remember exactly where I finally learned of the Crazy Dash and Crazy Drift, but what I do remember is that I could not pull either of them off. I tried and I tried and I tried, and even looked up tips online how to do it. No matter how many different ways I saw it explained, I absolutely could not pull off a Crazy Drift, and to this day I still haven’t. I can occasionally luck into a Crazy Dash, but only in challenge modes–never in the main game. I really want to love you Crazy Taxi, but unfortunately, my inability to do what is supposed to be a rather basic move keeps us in the friend zone.

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Performed Zangief’s Spinning Piledriver (or any fighting game move that requires a 360 degree rotation)

Spinning piledriver

I was 10 when Street Fighter II hit arcades and probably about 12 when I first got my own home version of it (shout to out Special Champion Edition for Genesis), so I was the perfect age to completely immerse myself in it and play it for hours on end. Ryu was my early favorite and the character I played the most, but I still put plenty of time into playing each and every one of the 12 fighters, learning their moves and techniques inside and out. Armed with an issue of Tips & Tricks that had the special move inputs for all of the characters, I’d rest the magazine in my lap and do each move over and over again until it was committed to muscle memory and I could pull them off without a second thought. For the most part, I got pretty good at using every character and could fire off their moves with ease. Every move, that is, except for Zangief’s Spinning Piledriver. To do that powerful move, you have to to a full rotation of the joystick or d-pad, hitting punch simultaneously with the completion of the circle. For some reason, I have never once been able to pull this off. I don’t even think I’ve ever done it by accident. I suppose I’m just not doing it fast enough, but I always end up jumping, which negates the move completely. It’s pretty frustrating to not be able to pull off a rather standard special move from a 25 year old fighting game that I’ve easily put hundreds of hours into. Ditto for any other fighting game move that requires a full circle rotation, most notably Liu Kang’s Fatality from the original Mortal Kombat which, you guessed it, is the only Fatality in that game I’ve never once been able to do.

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Beat Mike Tyson in Punch-Out!!

Tyson_PunchOut-2

Punch-Out!! is probably my favorite NES game that isn’t called MarioZelda, or Metroid. From the first time I saw those enormous sprites to getting into the literal rhythm of the gameplay, I was hooked. I got to where I could pretty consistently breeze through until about the time when the early characters like Piston Honda and Bald Bull start repeating, and that was usually when I’d start to struggle–still win, mind you, but it definitely took some work. I can remember how excited I was when I found out there was a code that let you skip straight to the fight with Mike Tyson, and like many gamers of a certain age, I still know it by heart: 007-373-5963. So ingrained is that code in my head that I once started to rattle it off when I was asked for my social security number, and I got almost to the end before I realized my mistake. Of course, the main function of that code is just to show you how incredibly tough of an opponent Mike Tyson is, and it would be nearly impossible for someone who didn’t have the skills to make it to him the old fashioned way actually be able to go straight to him and win the fight. But it definitely got me pumped, and I was determined to hone my skills and one day be able to knock out Iron Mike. Well, I never did, and still never have. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never even landed more than a couple of punches on him. It’s of great shame that I’ve never once finished one of my all-time favorite games, especially since that was a game that was likely originally aimed at children–and I’ve spend a lot of non-child years with non-child hands still being obliterated by it. Oh, and for some reason, I’ve also never been able to beat the second Piston Honda without it going to a decision.

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Finished Contra without the Konami Code

contra-facehugger

To be honest, I’ve probably only ever tried playing Contra without the Konami Code for the month or so that I had the game before I learned that the code existed. What 8 year old doesn’t automatically put in a code that gets you 30 lives in a video game? And so it went, each of the dozens upon dozens of times that I played through the game solo or with a friend, automatically inputting the code as soon as I turned the game on, almost as if the game wouldn’t run without it. It never occurred to me or any of my friends to play the game any other way. Plus, the game is still plenty tough without it, and I’m not ashamed to admit that my young self wouldn’t even always get through the game even with the code (though I maintain that most of that was due to friends who were terrible at the game and would steal all my lives once they died way too soon–that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). I know that a younger, more patient, more dexterous me would’ve been able to beat the game if the code never existed and I was forced to memorize enemy patterns and boss configurations as Konami intended. I also know that my 35 year old self would likely not be able to do it. Either way, it’s something I’ve never done, and at this point, never will do. But at least it’s not quite as disappointing as the other items in this list, because I can still fully enjoy–and finish–Contra even without being able to do on with the default settings.

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Pulled off the 99 lives trick in Super Mario Bros.

SMB 3-1

This one legitimately irritates me. I’ve tried and tried and tried to do the famous trick on the steps at the end of world 3-1, but I always either send the Koopa shell careening down the steps, or…it kills me. Fat lot of good a 99 lives trick does me if I lose a life every time I try to do it. For years, I chalked my failure up to insufficient information on how to do the trick properly. Relying on text-based instruction and a couple of screenshots hardly equips one for the nuance required to pull off the complex trick. So when YouTube was a thing, I watched a few videos of the trick being done, and…I still couldn’t flippin’ do it! And because the spot to do the trick is right at the end of the level, surviving the failed attempt means sending away the last available thing that’ll kill you. So the only way to try again without restarting the whole game is to just stand there and wait out the clock, which kills  you and lets you restart the level. And I am usually too impatient for that, so I say screw it and just finish the level (or quit entirely). Not being able to easily retry the trick is definitely a big part of why I find failing at it so frustrating. Sure, I could use a save state on an emulator, but that’s kind of defeating the purpose of getting to say I did the trick if I cheated to do it. Sigh. Maybe one day, Super Mario Bros. Maybe one day…

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Come on, let’s hear some of your unaccomplished gaming feats. I won’t judge yours if you don’t judge mine…

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9 thoughts on “Five Iconic Gaming Feats Everyone Has Done…But I Haven’t

  1. Ive done the smb trick but only once, maybe twice in the hundreds of attempts I made. Is it true you die if you get too many lives?

    My biggest shames are probably never beating the first quest of the first zelda. I beat the second one, but never the first.

    Second is I never beat the original sonic. Though I am not sure how seriously I really tried that one. Back then I just accepted most games that weren’t Mario were not to be finished.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never done the 99 lives trick either in SMB, haha. I can do it on one of the New Super Mario bros. games but that’s different haha. And no shame in not beating Mike Tyson. He’s one of the hardest final bosses in video game history! I’ve only beaten him once… after 10 years of playing this game… Keep trying and you might be able to finally get him!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I got really good at Crazy Taxi (I credit under performing in my Physics exam to that game!) but I can absolutely relate to the others. I can just about pull off the 360 moves in fighting games, but anyone playing me will see it coming from a mile off. Contra (Probotector over here) was a nightmare, as was Punch Out. I hadn’t heard of the 99-life trick in Mario when I was a lad though. I think there;s a challenge to do it in Ultimate NES Remix on DS.

    Liked by 2 people

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