I had so much fun with the “nerdy theory” list I made a few months back that I decided to do something along the same lines for today’s list. This time I’m focusing on one of the biggest aspects of my childhood, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Again, let’s spread these around and see how many people think they could be true. It’s a pretty safe bet that nobody would trace them back to me as this blog isn’t highly read… I think.
Here’s my list of top ten list of rumors about the NES that I wish were true.
- Blowing on your cartridge will erase your save files. We all tried blowing on our carts as kids because we all heard that doing so would get them working again. It wasn’t until years later that we found out this was total crap. However, with the games that actually save your progress, blowing too hard could actually erase the save files. It’s also possible to erase passwords that games give you but you have blow really hard.
- Nintendo released carts of The Legend of Zelda that were made out of real gold. Remember how cool the Legend of Zelda carts looked when they were made out of shiny gold plastic? That was a neat cosmetic difference, right? It turns out that Nintendo leaked some carts made out of real gold as part of a contest. The contest ended up getting canceled due to legal reasons but not before five of the carts were released. They have yet to surface on the collector’s market, however.
- The microphone that was part of the Famicom’s controllers are actually in the NES controllers as well. Somebody along the line didn’t realize what that specific piece of technology was, however, and the microphones were sealed inside the solid plastic. You just have to yell louder to use them.
- The real reason Mario goes on adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom is that he’s actually a lousy plumber. Really, have you actually seem him doing any real plumbing? I know that was supposedly the backstory of Mario Bros., but even then Mario and Luigi are working as exterminators more than plumbers. That’s why you don’t see Luigi as often. He’s on the job picking up Mario’s slack in the family business.
- There was a contest held in Japan for you to win a Tetris cartridge by playing a live version of the game. It was held underwater to slow down the falling blocks’ movement. Unfortunately, two kids drowned when pinned under a square piece. Nintendo hushed up the story pretty thoroughly, so I’m not surprised you didn’t hear about that one.
- The NES is backwards-compatible. However, the system was cancelled mid-production. It was similar in power to the Atari 2600, except that the carts had more storage space, thereby allowing more programming capabilities. As a result the games looked and sounded like Atari 2600 games, but in size and scope they were comparable to the NES. Six of the games did make it onto the market, albeit in limited quantities: Mount Olympus in Heat, Dagger Run, The Moon’s Revenge, Aikido Master II, Sitar Hero and the now infamous E.T. 2. Good luck finding any of those for under $500.
- Nintendo released a peripheral that made the NES portable. It was an awkward attachment to the bottom of the machine that acted as a battery pack to take your NES anywhere. However, as portable television sets weren’t very common and it was more expensive than the console itself, the attachment was soon discontinued. Of the few that made it to the shelves, none of them have survived due to corrosion. At least, that’s what they want you to think.
- You can totally hook your NES up to the Internet. There isn’t a whole lot you can do with it, though. The Internet browser is incredibly slow and the Netflix channel only shows that horrible Super Mario Bros. movie. If you have the NES Virtual Console cartridge, you can download some games but due to size limitations on the cart they aren’t very big. Interestingly, one of the downloads you can get is the pack of games that was originally released with Windows 3.1, due to Nintendo’s secret pact with Microsoft.
- If you play Metroid at just the right speed, the aliens’ movements will sync up with the vocals on David Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy” of records. If you hold controller two’s aforementioned hidden microphone to your stereo with this setup, the background in the game will turn psychedelic.
- Super Mario 64 was re-designed as an 8-bit sidescroller and released on the NES. Nintendo released this in limited quantities and without publicity as an experiment during one Christmas season. It sold moderately well but the games were recalled once consumers complained about the game crashing. Apparently, if you follow the process to unlock Luigi in the original version of the game, the NES version stops working permanently.
Now, let’s see if we can get this rumor mill running.