Welcome to the 32 Dangerous Cheat Codes, a brand new series that will run daily between November 24 and December 25. Join us as we discuss the hazardous ramifications of some of your favorite cheat codes.
Today we're going back to the 1990s to talk about that one time I was on television teaching the world how to beat Ghouls 'N Ghosts. Find out how I managed to get on GamePro TV and the sad state of affairs that came from it in this brand new episode of the 32 Dangerous Cheat Codes.
It's impossible to do a series about cheat codes without talking about that one time I was on television teaching the world how to beat Ghouls 'N Ghosts. It's true and I have the footage. I guess I should probably explain how this happened.
It all started with this magazine -- Game Player's Nintendo NES Buyer's Guide. It's nothing special to look at now and the game reviews inside border on being blatant advertisements, but that was enough to get me hooked on games journalism. I started collecting the different game magazines, starting with a subscription to Nintendo Power, followed by Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro. I poured over every issue, knowing that one day my thirst for video game knowledge would lead me to greatness.
As it turns out, that day came a lot sooner than I expected. In their February 1991 issue, GamePro magazine put out a call for 250 talented gamers looking to be part of a big project. It was pitched more as a job than a prize, putting members of this elite group in control of evaluating games and choosing what titles GamePro would cover. The magazine promised to keep in touch multiple times a year and even send out a care package to the lucky few who won an opportunity to be part of the team.
I knew this was a contest targeted directly at me, so I didn't waste any time and I quickly sent out my application. All I needed to do was let them know how many systems I owned, what games I like to play and why I would be a good fit for the GamePro S.W.A.T. Squad. I have no idea what I said at the time, but apparently it worked, because six short months later, I saw my name on the 12th page of the August 1991 issue. You have no idea how excited I was.
I was also surprised, especially when it came to some of the details surrounding what I won. Apparently somebody decided that GamePro S.W.A.T. Squad wasn't catchy enough, so they changed the name to Team GamePro and sent out these fancy pins to all 250 members. The job description also changed, as I was never involved with deciding what games were worth covering from month to month. We were told to stand by for more instructions.
As it turns out, the members of Team GamePro were split up into several groups. While many were instructed to write quotes that would later be used in the magazine, I was sent a script and prepped to be part of their brand new television show starring J.D. Roth and Brannan Howard. This was incredibly exciting, and I was ready to throw my all into the video project.
Things got even better when I realized that the game I was going to talk about was none other than Ghouls 'N Ghosts, the game I bought a Genesis to play. My job was to describe a simple way to defeat Loki, the big bad at the end of the uber-difficult action game. The script they sent me outlined a challenging (but effective) way of taking on the boss, but I knew a better way. Thanks to reading old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, I knew of a safe spot that made killing Loki a breeze. But the people at GamePro weren't interested in hearing my far superior (and 100% stolen) protip, and they insisted on me reading the script verbatim. And that's exactly what I did, which resulted in this 90 second clip.
Okay, so maybe that wasn't my finest work, but I love that it exists and that I was part of one of the earliest video game television shows. And let's be honest, my appearance was no more embarrassing than what J.D. Roth went through week after week.
This upstairs room at my parent's house still exists, though it's definitely not used for gaming anymore. Behind me you can see a small collection of Nintendo Entertainment System games, as well as a few TurboGrafx-16 cases hanging out next to some CDs. Perhaps the most important detail in the shot is my tiny old television, which has the boss fight queued up in the background. It was important to me to have the game playing in the background, if only to establish my credibility. Of course, I didn't shoot any of the game footage used in the episode, which explains why the player doesn't even bother to attempt the trick I'm describing.
I never heard from Team GamePro again, and it seemed my time with the group concluded the moment my episode hit syndication. Although it was short and there wasn't much to it, I was attracted to the idea of talking about video games. This led me down a dark path of taking freelance writing gigs and doing everything possible to talk about games to anybody that would listen. It's something I'm still doing, a quarter century later. Just imagine how much more stable my life would be if I was never part of Team GamePro.