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JJ Mike reviews the world's shittiest 80s NES strategy guide: Consumer Guide's "More Strategies for Nintendo Games"

               When corporate executives decide to get hip and with it by making a Nintendo strategy guide with a cover that features a tank shooting a tomato through the crotch of a dinosaur resting on a cloud, you know the world has gone to hell. There were some pretty fucked-up Nintendo games back in the 80s and early 90s, and since every attempt to make Japanese video game insanity palatable to westernized thinking always ends in disaster, the very fact that I am reviewing Consumer Guide's More Strategies for Nintendo Games is probably a sign of Armageddon. Americans are trying to mimic Japanese culture more than ever now, and judging by the cover of this strategy guide, it seems like the American editors of Consumer Guide designed a strategy guide whose cover alone is capable of blowing Pearl Harbor into next Thursday. Without even cracking open this book, the cover alone puts to shame every cosplayer who has ever put navy briefs over his aquamarine spandex and wrapped one of his forearms in blue tinfoil (from his drama major pals) to make himself look like Mega Man. However, this is where Consumer Guide’s otaku powers begin and end. The actual game tips contained inside will not “send your score into hyperspace” (actual quote). Instead, they either state the obvious, the ludicrous, give downright false advice or advice pertaining to a completely different game, or any combination of these errors. So for example, if you want ot get your score mondo to the max in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, then Consumer Guide wisdom will try to save your ass by noting that “Keys are usually hidden near locked doors, so when you need a key just look around for it” (63). Or, if you want to have a radly bodacious adventure in Gyruss, you may find it helpful to “Blast away at the giant eye with your Ultra-Lazonic Phaser Boosters” (18). Like all of the Speilbergian actors who spent two hours gawping at the flying disco-saucers in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (instead of blowing it out of the sky like true 80s action movie protagonists), so will you likewise gape and laugh at the unadulterated, shocking stupidity of  More Strategies for Nintendo Games (either that or the stupidity will just melt your face off).

An Introductory Stupidity Analysis: How the Editors of Consumer Guide Perceive Nintendo Games

               While the Editors of Consumer Guide partially succeeded at being Japanese through their generic video-gameish drawings, they failed in the art of describing fucked-up Japanese video game characters through the American mentality of their written English. For example, the Japanese would probably describe Q*Bert along the lines of: “Hakurusan, the only left Nachamune of the Federation, has single-handedly chosen adventures up the pyramids. Do you have what it takes bring the power back?” However, Consumer Guide’s American reviewers of Japanese games looked at the Asian fucksanity of Q*Bert and described the game as such: “Q*Bert is a well-known arcade game that pits a highly verbal nose against a crew of disruptive bad guys who try to undo what he’s just done” (3). I’ve collected some of my most seriously fucked-up writing in The Retardo Page, but none of it matches the editors of Consumer Guide when they try to staunchly and systematically deconstruct Asian video games that come from a country where the old and the young each re-enact Hello Kitty’s Panty Gumdam Fetish at conventions. I have two English degrees, and even if I combined my skills with a five glasses of cognac tonight, I still couldn’t match the absolute awesomeness with which Consumer Guide editors write when they’re sober. Read it aloud: “A highly verbal nose against a crew of disruptive bad guys who try to undo what he’s just done.” The writing is golden, and the pretentious incoherency is top-notch, unmatched by even the greatest of verbose teenage atheist losers who intellectualize their ass-sex in chatroom-debates against indoctrinated teenage Christian morons who love 2Jam4HIM at praise & worship hour.

               If you look at their language alone, the Consumer Guide Editors didn’t even know how to control video games: “Nintendo action games require a lot of skill and concentration, not just a quick wrist” (3). A quick wrist? Unless you're using the NES joystick, you don’t play NES games with your wrists. You play them by pushing buttons with your thumbs. It’s as basic as grabbing a steering wheel with two hands before you start driving. This fact may seem obvious to you and I, but not to Consumer Guide editors looking to “help” you rack up a hyperspace of fun on your Nintendo-electronic video game drive! Reading their description of using wrists to control video games is like listening to a Division of Motor Vehicles representative tell me that I should slam my crotch into the defroster “when the boss Old Man Winter comes along in the December stage. Keep your magic level up high 2 tha max and use your keys to open doors. You’re sure to win with practice!” 

               The Consumer Guide editors couldn’t even describe a game as basic as Double Dragon without sounding like said DMV representative. They tell me that I will “have to learn to execute video karate moves” (3). Video karate moves? If you were to use this kind of sentence structure outside of a video game context, you could describe grocery shopping as “depositing various boxes of circular Cheerios into a wheeled crate composed of thin interweaving metal bars welded together” (i.e. a fucking shopping cart).
The Games Reviewed

Double Dragon

               It would seem like a difficult endeavor to fuck up a description of one of the best street fighting games ever made, but the Consumer Guide Editors pull it off. The first quarter of this “strategy guide” consists of the Consumer Guide Editors retelling the backstory of Double Dragon. This is like listening to Raffi’s song where he tells you that he likes to “eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas” six different ways by manipulating the vowels in each word. The sad thing is, the Consumer Guide editors try to sound riveting. They explain that “the Black Warriors have gone too far. They’ve kidnapped Billy’s girlfriend, Marion and taken her to their hideout” (8). In order to rescue her, Billy will have to use “his highly developed, precision martial-arts skills,” (8) as he alone is the only man who “has the daring to stand up to the Warriors” (8). In my experience, 90% of game players forgot the objective of this game by the time they knocked out their third Williams (who the Consumer Guide editors confuse with Chintas).

               The rest of this strategy guide is more encouragement than strategy. When I was a nine year-old who got up late on a Saturday morning to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch and kick ass at Double Dragon, I never needed encouragement. I never needed my mom to come up to me and say, “When you’re first inside the cave, watch out for sharp falling rocks" (12). If she did say that to me, I would have rolled my eyes as early as nine years old and said, “They’re called stalactites, mom!” And if my friends said, “Be careful crossing the bridge. You may have to drop your bat to get in a good Jump Kick” (9), I would have said, “You guys can go blow a screwdriver, because you CAN’T drop weapons in Double Dragon. You have to get knocked down in order to let go of a weapon. There’s nobody on my side of the bridge to knock me down, and even if there was, I have no life left to survive getting knocked down. All you guys know about video games is jack and shit, and jack just left town.”

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

               Unfortunately, this sucky review simply sucks and is not funny. But I included this pic because it looks like Simon Belmont is stabbing the hanging skeleton with his penis.

Guerilla War

               At this point, More Strategies for Nintendo Games is no longer a strategy guide because stating obvious principles is not strategy. The Consumer Guide Editors tell me to rescue prisoners for bonus points, not to shoot prisoners, to avoid bullets, to get out of tanks before they blow up, and that playing with a buddy in the two player mode makes the game easier. If the Consumer Guide Editors wrote the instruction manual for Lawn Mower Warrior 6000, it may read “Avoid turning the lawn mower over while it’s running and then sitting your naked ass on the spinning blades. This could cause damage to your rectum, possibly even your sphincter.” The captions under the pictures would probably read something like, “If you take your pants off and find your penis going toward the open end of a chipper, watch out! It may be wise to pack an extra pair of pants in your inventory. You can bring up your inventory on the sub-screen whenever you desire by pressing the START button. In the higher levels, you may want to take paths that avoid chippers altogether. But playing with a buddy will increase your score.” This bullshit advice is no worse than the boss-battle advice that’s actually given to you toward the end of this “strategy” guide. I shit you not, the Consumer Guide Editors actually wrote this to help you: “The pattern for each boss varies slightly, but you defeat them all in the same way no matter which level you're on. You have to shoot, shoot, and shoot" (15).

               If the prisoners are already tied up, how is lassoing them going to do them any good?                  I don’t have any choice whether or not I explore this enemy supply depot. The game scrolls upward IN A STRAIGHT FUCKING LINE. I have to go through it because the game won’t let me go anywhere else. Consumer Guide buttholes.

Gyruss

               Imagine you're playing Super Mario Bros., and you find a strange new mushroom in one of the "?" blocks. Curious, you grab it, and when you do, the words INFINITE DIARRHEA! flashes across the screen, and the invincible music starts playing. Except instead of becoming invincible, you suddenly have the worst diarrhea of your life and you find yourself BOOKING IT to the bathroom without even having time to pause the game. As you run through the living room, you find out that you're wearing a Teddy Ruxpin outfit, and your little brother is sitting next to your girlfriend telling her a story about how he once caught you masturbating to The Rocky Horror Picture Show..

                Such a nightmare still does not suck as much as this Gyruss strategy guide.

                Just like in their Double Dragon shitstravaganza, the Consumer Guide editors spend a bulk of this article narrating the suspenseful backstory of, I shit you not, an army of alien “Gyrussians” who invade all the planets in our solar system in the year 25XX. This backstory is shitty enough to melt your eyes out of your head, so I won’t even quote from it, even if it’s my intent to bring you satiric joy. What I will tell you is that the Consumer Guide Editors must have been working around the clock to write enough idiocy to drive people away from a decent shooting game.

               The funniest part of this strategy guide lies in how the Consumer Guide Editors describe the boss-battles and the weapons with which you combat the bosses who are “faster, meaner, and tougher than ordinary Gyrussians” (18). The Consumer Guide Editors describe your regular shot as a “photon gun” (17) and your special, high-damage bombs as a “plasma gun” (17). But throughout the strategy guide, they describe these two weapons in increasingly fucked-up terms. There comes a point where you don't know whether they're talking about your ship’s lasers or suppositories from the future. Check out this strategy for defeating the Neptune boss:
Apparently, Gyruss is so rad, gnarly, and from the future that my “photon gun” (17) is now my “Neo-Bomb-Blastic Cannons” (19). Actually, I can’t really tell whether the Consumer Guide Editors want me to attack the Neptune Boss with my regular or special shots, because in another pic, they tell me to “Blast away at the giant eye with your Ultra-Lazonic Phaser Boosters” (18). So now I’m not sure when I’m supposed to fire what, but that I shouldn’t worry, because I should “Keep shooting until the solar system is free” (21).                  Oh shit! Now I have "Neo-Bomb-Blastic Cannons" (19), a "photon gun" (17), and "Ultra-Lazonic Phaser Boosters" (18) to fire at the open attack-pods of fortified space-bases "(unless you use a plasma ball)" (19). By this point, I'm wondering if if the editors of Consumer Guide had invited Stephen Hawking over for a drinking game where they would all try to come up with increasingly complex names for the two simple attacks that the player uses by pressing button A or button B. The loser (the person who came up with the least impressive name) would have to take a whole shot of Zima, and the winners would all shout "WoooooOOOOO-HOOO BABY!" and point double gun-hands at him.

Mega Man II

               Reading the Consumer Guide Editors review Mega Man II is like watching Snoop Dog nonchalantly slip on Pokemon-themed Coke bottle glasses as he raps about a sex-Ferrari owned by Mariah Carey. It’s so stupid as to be unbelievable, but you can’t stop watching because your poor mortal brain simply can’t conceptualize how someone could take a game as canonically fundamental as Mega Man II and describe it more hilariously than Harpo Marx ever described anything with his psychotic array of nonverbal cues.

                To begin with, the Consumer Guide editors don’t even get the names of the boss-acquired weapons right. When you beat Bubble Man, you got the Bubble Lead, and when you beat Wood Man, you got the Leaf Shield. But according to the Consumer Guide editors, you gain “Air” (31) when you defeat Air Man, “Quick” when you defeat Quick Man, “Heat” when you defeat Heat Man, and so on and so forth. To prove that they know less about old school games than Superman knew about puberty when he came to terms with his Kryptonian libido, the Consumer Guide Editors actually describe “Wood” as “a useless weapon” that should “rarely be used. All that happens when Mega Man fires Wood is that four leaves go across the screen” (31-32).

               For a moment, let’s ignore the embarrassing moment of sexual awkwardness inherent in any description of Mega Man ‘firing wood.’ Then, let’s remember that if the Consumer Guide Editors didn’t have ADD and would just let Mega Man stand still for a moment after ‘firing wood’, then they’d discover that the four leaves don’t actually “go across the screen,” but instead circle around Mega Man as a protective shield. Finally, let’s please remember the situations in Crash Man’s and Dr. Wiley’s stages where chilling out for a few seconds and using the Leaf Shield could protect you from all the little birds and spinning spools that homed in on you and tried to either knock you off the moving platform or down the long ladders. If you’ve been on this planet long enough to have tried to look like MC Hammer at some point in time, then this knowledge should be as obvious to you as OJ’s guilt.

               In addition to not knowing the proper names of classic Mega Man weapons, the Consumer Guide editors regard the ability to change the stars in the background of each boss’s intro screen into little birds as a “secret strategy” (34), which is about as useful as putting Lion King stickers on your boxing gloves before you go out to fight Mike Tyson. And of course, the Consumer Guide Editors include the expected Mega Man II screenshots with captions that (I believe) they originally intended as filler, but somehow ended up being twisted retardomares that either stated the painfully obvious, gave false advice, or described a completely different situation from Mega Man 1. Here are some of them.

“Hotdog is one of many mechanical monsters that patrol Woodman’s jungle. This action-shot shows the widening arc of flame that he repeatedly spits at you to burn your blue metal ass. But don’t worry. There’s a way to turn the stars into little birds in each boss’s intro screen.”   Iceman? Wrong game, dumbasses. We’re still in Flash Man’s world.
               You’ll sooner convince me that Michael Jackson is white before you convince me that it’s possible to use regular shot after having frozen the screen with Flash Man’s power. That isn’t even possible in Rockman II: Dr. Wiley’s Riddle, the Japanese release of Mega Man II. With this in mind, I can only deduce that the Consumer Guide editors took no efforts to test their theories when making this strategy guide.  

Don’t you America know nothing?! This no “evil agent” of Quickman. It’s 1UP, Mega Man’s head!

This lameness carried over into other aspects in the lives of Consumer Guide editors. In the late 80s (and possibly even today), the daily life of a Consumer Guide editor consisted of having plain shredded wheat, a grapefruit, and Fibercon for breakfast. Then they would shove broomsticks up their asses, get in their Oldsmobiles, and drive to work to enjoy a day full of imagining that they were reviewing things. Actually reviewing something could have been seriously dangerous to the frail psyches of these baby-boomers who would look at a modem and dub it an “interweb data transfer unit” and a solar-powered calculator as “a Flash Gordon sun-using math device.” This being the case, one can imagine that the editors of Consumer Guide must have had many fantastical adventures in their heads as they put Beach Boys on the juke and talked about Steve McQueen movies as they imagined how such newfangled super-beings like “Mega Man” could defeat beings like “Quick Man” with their Ultra-Lazonic Phaser Boosters.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

               I won’t go into too much depth regarding the actual “strategies” that the Consumer Guide editors give in this chapter, since they're so talented at stating the what’s plain before the naked eye that they can make the advice of Captain Obvious himself ring with Kabalistic ambiguity. However, the short strategy guide to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link contains the cruelest, most stupid photo-caption that I have ever seen the editors of Consumer Guide produce. It's stupid enough to deserve special attention, and judging by all the rocket science in this strategy guide, that's saying something.

Awesome! When I need a key, I should just look around for it. And if you want to eat chicken for dinner, search the meat department until you find the poultry. You’re sure to find it if you look hard enough and believe in yourself, and shoot, shoot, shoot. Oh, and we won’t mention the fact that if you use your magic to turn into a fairy, you can just give the finger to the whole concept of keys by flying through keyholes.

How cruel a bastard do you have to be in order to hint at a solution (the fairy in the pic is situated right by the keyhole!) yet never end up giving the solution at all?
   

Conclusion

               “More Strategies for Nintendo Games” is probably the only videogame-related material that could make the cheesiness of G4’s X-Play as big a relief as a bag of White Castle burgers, lemonade, and earplugs hidden in an apocalyptic desert with abandoned TVs that won’t stop playing Thunder in Paradise reruns. Consumer Guide's screen-capture quality is shitty, and their captions give either false advice or describe a completely different situation. This makes the overall reading experience like watching an old Sugar Hill rap video and seeing the opening credits describe it as Freshmen by The Verve Pipe. When you look at the reading experience in this way, it actually becomes a rip-roaring thrill ride of mondo, high-tech power-ups 2 the max where literally anything can happen! What will you encounter next? A screenshot of a Dungeons & Dragons game described as cooking with Martha Stewart? A pic of Wesley Snipes in drag with the caption “Drop the key so that Phanto will stop chasing you”? Or perhaps a description of where to find the ice beam in Metroid paired up with a pic of Anna Nicole Smith shaving her ass? After your initial consideration, you may be royally freaked out by the concept of such a “strategy” guide. But honestly, More Strategies for Nintendo Games is not just a strategy guide, but a small universe of unintentional self-parody that you won’t want to miss. Pick up a copy at ebay.com or half.com today.