Jumpman? Who the F@&% is Jumpman!?!
April 3, 2009 1:15 PM   Subscribe

If you're old enough to remember NES and SEGA, What words do you think of when you reflect on your youthful gaming?

I'm trying to collect a vocabulary of early gaming. What words do you associate with those early days of ooey gooey 8-bit goodness?

Search your memories for these words which will forever be ingrained into your gaming DNA. I very much appreciate the participation of all.

*No points for up up down down left left right right A B A B Select Start.*
posted by SinisterPurpose to Writing & Language (112 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Run to the right.
posted by milarepa at 1:25 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by Perplexity at 1:25 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


one up
extra guy

conquer the game (AKA beat it, finish it, etc.)


side scroller

cheap (as in, "Stop being Cheap! pick someone other than blanka" technically a 16 bit game...)

button masher (can refer to a player or to a game)

and finally, not a word but just a phrase which has stuck with me

What a horrible night to have a curse.
posted by utsutsu at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2009

I love the Power Glove. It's so bad.
posted by TrialByMedia at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

I just think of bright colors. Today's games seem so dark in comparison to the brightly colored River Raid, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, etc. (Not to mention the gif linked right above)
posted by General Malaise at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Turbo button.
Extra guy/man.
Player One Start.

NES and Sega are early gaming? Man, I'm old.
posted by box at 1:28 PM on April 3, 2009

My husband: "I just wasted 17 hours! I died! Why can't we save our progress on this one!?!?!??!"

My daughter (as a toddler): "I only like to play the one where Mario is a raccoon."
posted by amyms at 1:29 PM on April 3, 2009

Life - instead of "health"
Men - instead of "lives"
1-up/free man
Last guy - instead of "boss"
Beat the game/Win the game

Is this the kind of thing you have in mind? I have a feeling you're going to get a lot of regional variations, because those were the days before the Internet homogenized the gaming vocabulary.
posted by pocams at 1:29 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh no! The truck have started to move!

Sorry, but the princess is in another castle.

1up, warp zone, fireflower.

Mostly though, it's just the sound effects, like the roar of an Excitebike motor, or the sound mario makes when he shrinks or goes down a garbage can.
posted by bluejayk at 1:30 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nintendo Thumb.
Flawless victory.
Finish him!
posted by scarykarrey at 1:31 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, I remember taking games' mistranslations as gospel. "If you bomb there, there's a Secret to Everyone, and on the next screen is a Let's Play Money-Making Game".
posted by pocams at 1:31 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by Eicats at 1:31 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by Bernt Pancreas at 1:35 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is this the kind of thing you have in mind?

It absolutely is! And I am interested in all regional variations. Give me everything you got.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by Damn That Television at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2009

It's dangerous to go alone!
posted by restless_nomad at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2009

Yorgle, Grundle, and Rhindle. I think they were ducks.

Or am I dating myself?
posted by bondcliff at 1:38 PM on April 3, 2009

That "whooosh" sound you got from blowing into an NES cart.


Warp whistle

Warp zone

"My turn!"

Game Genie
posted by baphomet at 1:39 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by TurkishGolds at 1:39 PM on April 3, 2009

Mostly though, it's just the sound effects, like the roar of an Excitebike motor, or the sound mario makes when he shrinks or goes down a garbage can.
Garbage can? Mario was a plumber. Those were pipes.

As for me, I think of "Eggman", "extra life", and different "worlds".
posted by Night_owl at 1:40 PM on April 3, 2009

warp whistle
posted by TurkishGolds at 1:40 PM on April 3, 2009

Watch out! A Werebear!
posted by 8dot3 at 1:42 PM on April 3, 2009

This is really going well. Don't be afraid to include a little context as well. I cannot for the life of me figure out what a B-Box is.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 1:43 PM on April 3, 2009

"Continues" -- after losing all your guys, the thing that gives you the chance to start on the level you died, rather than having to play the whole damn game over again (so necessary for Oil Ocean zone in Sonic 2).

Oh, and Funklord. Goddamn did that game have an amazing soundtrack.
posted by giraffe at 1:48 PM on April 3, 2009

I am having a laugh reading these.

Hit that box for a "free man" and hope the "boss" doesn't get you!
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:49 PM on April 3, 2009

Avatar (as in Ultima IV)
"Coin detected in pocket" (OK, that was an arcade game)
Warren E. Robinett
posted by jbickers at 1:50 PM on April 3, 2009


Down, UP, UP + R, Down + L = Scorpion Fatality

But i really think Supernintendo games were more about sounds....somehow I remember all of the sounds in super mario bros rather than the words...from the first "blurp", to the sound Mario made when mounting to Yoshi...same with Sega...all I remember are the sounds Sonic made when loosing his rings....
posted by The1andonly at 1:51 PM on April 3, 2009

Some of these spill over into the 16-bit era, but:

Jan-Ken-Po! (Alex Kidd)

Green Hill Zone!


Seconds. (A house rule for Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat at many arcades I played at was to let whoever lost the first round win the second round, thus leaving everything up to the final round and prolonging the gaming experience. This was called giving seconds. Failing to give seconds could lead to some tense moments.)

Code wheel.

Bald Bull.

ABACABB (Password to unlock gore mode on the Genesis version of Mortal Kombat. Also all the IDDQD and DNKROZ codes from early first-person shooters.)

Blast processing.
posted by painquale at 1:52 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by SeƱor Pantalones at 1:53 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by majick at 1:53 PM on April 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

"Get off the damn couch and go outside!"
posted by pandemic at 1:55 PM on April 3, 2009

(so necessary for Oil Ocean zone in Sonic 2).
Really? I never had trouble with Oil Ocean zone, except in Act 2 with the time limit (that stupid extra life in the corner!!) but I had the WORST time in Metropolis. Those stupid cricket things.... after a few months with Sonic 2 on my computer though, I am able to beat the entire game barely even losing a life.
posted by Night_owl at 1:55 PM on April 3, 2009

I vividly remember:

"You already have games. Why aren't you playing those?"
"I'm not going to get you something that you'll only play for one day."

These words, spoken by my parents, now form the basis of my judgments of video game worth. My decision to buy a game depends on how many weeks of gameplay I can wring out of it, if there's some kind of replayability, and if I'm not going to get in trouble with the missus should I bring it home.

However, in the spirit of conformity, here are some words and phrases that I'll remember from my gaming youth:

"It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue." - Zork
"Beware, I live." - Sinistar

Like bluejayk, though, I mostly remember the sounds. Air-Sea Battle, Combat, Pole Position, et al.
posted by CancerMan at 1:56 PM on April 3, 2009

One that wasn't directly from a game: some of my brothers' friends apparently thought "versus" was a verb and faux-conjugated "verse" from it. As in "Wanna verse me in Ice Hockey?"
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:56 PM on April 3, 2009

walk-through walls
(i've sometimes thought about naming a band "the walk-through walls")

mode 7

parallax scrolling
posted by naju at 1:57 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by yeti at 1:57 PM on April 3, 2009

No goalies!
Warp whistles, when introduced it was like a carpet being pulled out from under you. First introduction to the concept of paradigms.
"Are you a bad enough dude to save the President?"
The Anti-Drug/Pro-DARE splash screens in the arcade.
Mine-cart level
we called the Laserscope the fuck-hat. You were supposed to yell "FIRE" into the mic, but it never worked right.
In Contra, even with the Konami code, I'd still yell at my brother not to "steal a life". In a two-player match, when one player exhausted all his lives, he could take one from your extras.
And it doesn't have a name, but we all became intimately familiar with the sensation of your cheeks being stretched from hyperventilating into the damn cartridge.
posted by now i'm piste at 1:58 PM on April 3, 2009

I first saw this in the arcades, but it got ported to the NES.

"The president has been kidnapped by ninjas.

Are you a bad enough DUDE to rescue the president?"

This is an interesting questions because when I think of the original NES, actual voice was not common at all and words were relegated more to simple verbs (health, power, lives, score, etc.). I tend to remember visuals and game music more than words.
posted by seppyk at 2:00 PM on April 3, 2009

Penny Heaven
posted by The World Famous at 2:02 PM on April 3, 2009

Oregon trail (on the Apple ][c ) introduced me to dysentery. And my girlfriend got confused between 'ford' and 'fjord'
posted by now i'm piste at 2:03 PM on April 3, 2009

"Just let me get you through this one part."
posted by Iridic at 2:06 PM on April 3, 2009 [6 favorites]

I had the WORST time in Metropolis

Yeah, why the hell were there 3 acts in that zone? An the overzealous spinning of the nut-and-bolt thingey. Oof.

To further contribute: playing the "top" part of the level was always way easier than the main way, amirite?
posted by giraffe at 2:07 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by suedehead at 2:10 PM on April 3, 2009

"Battletoads-hard". There was one level that we could never beat, at that level became our gold standard.
I'd never heard of "Winner stays on" until playing head-to-head at a friend's party. The game? Double Dragon.
posted by now i'm piste at 2:14 PM on April 3, 2009

-------- -------
posted by now i'm piste at 2:15 PM on April 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

secret invisible boxes
(containing coins or powerups which could be found in Mario games)

do a runjump! do a runjump!

skipping the whole level by running along the top of the screen

bonus coin rooms

spikes (watch out for them)

venus fly traps
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:15 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

just let me get to a save point!

just one more level!

No continue?? [crying]
posted by peep at 2:16 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

From yesterday: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23gamingcliche

(Not terms necessarily, but ideas and themes. Lots of great nuggets amongst the great unwashed.)
posted by sachinag at 2:23 PM on April 3, 2009

Skipping turtles (in one Mario Bros. level -- I think it was in world 4 -- you could "skip" an overturned turtle repeatedly to get up to 99 lives, if you kept it up).


Is Atari not allowed? Atari is the granddaddy of NES and Sega.
posted by chowflap at 2:28 PM on April 3, 2009

Is Atari not allowed? Atari is the granddaddy of NES and Sega.

Atari is most defintely allowed. Oh the endless frustration of Crystal Castles!!!

Also when I mentioned I was interested in all regions, I meant the world. So if you're a Kiwi, Limey, or any other fruit derived English speaker. Spill it. Did you call them "free guys"?
posted by SinisterPurpose at 2:33 PM on April 3, 2009

Sega does what nintendon't
Blow on the cartridge

Honestly though the biggest thing I remember is the music and sounds from turning on Sonic the Hedgehog
That long Seeeeegggggaaaa followed by the Doo do duh duh do do
posted by Redmond Cooper at 2:38 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Any reference to blowing on a NES cartridge to make it work, or running keys along the connector pins as a rumor

Warp zone, boss level, turbo button, being on your "last man".

Any cliched Nintendo commercial, or joke about "playing with power." Nintendo Power magazine having game knowledge that is actually worthwhile. The Nintendo help line - a 1-900 number. Games where you could do a "power jump" or some sort of combo move by hitting the button at the right time.

Infinite 1-up loops, including people leaving a brick sitting on the edge of the controller to hold down a button, or the turbo button.
posted by mikeh at 2:39 PM on April 3, 2009

d-pad. you had arrow keys on computers, a d-dap on a console.
posted by now i'm piste at 2:41 PM on April 3, 2009

posted by now i'm piste at 2:42 PM on April 3, 2009

Also don't be afraid to share any Colecovision memories and words as well!
posted by SinisterPurpose at 2:46 PM on April 3, 2009

. . . or the sound mario makes when he shrinks or goes down a garbage can.

Garbage can? Mario was a plumber. Those were pipes.

posted by Night_owl at 5:40 AM on April 4 [+] [!]

Hmm. That would make more sense. Wonder why that never occurred to me.

"A Winner Is You" and "Justin Bailey" are my favorites.
posted by bluejayk at 2:49 PM on April 3, 2009

Sonic vs. Mario.

If you had one life left in a game, not remembering if the game ended after that life or if you could continue on with "0 lives."

Game Genie.

Renting Sonic and Knuckles and being totally blown away with the ability to "link" the game with Sonic 2 or 3.

Every NES had its own unique quirks. One friend had one where you had to push down the cartridge and then pull on it a little bit for the game to work and another friend had one that would turn off if you jumped anywhere in the room.

Of course, blowing on the cartridge, blowing in the NES, and then blowing on the cartridge again.
posted by Diskeater at 3:01 PM on April 3, 2009

I hate jumping.
posted by billtron at 3:07 PM on April 3, 2009

Since my parents didn't buy game systems very often, for me it was attempting to keep up with emulators and roms.

I forget what it's called, but that giant pad for nintendo olympics where you'd use your hands to "run" and "jump" to game the system. Think DDR pad, but only as an actual controller.

posted by jmd82 at 3:09 PM on April 3, 2009

Joystick. Speccy. Pokes. Kempston compatible. Codemasters. Ocean. Rubber keys. Feelies. Datacorder. GOTO 10. Listings. Eugene's Lair. The Gnome at Home. Acorn Electron. Beeb.
posted by run"monty at 3:18 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Turtle Tapping.

Being that guy that, upon seeing someone throwing themselves helplessly at a portion of the game, would simply say, "gimme the controller." And all their problems were solved.
posted by Rendus at 3:20 PM on April 3, 2009

We were poor at the time, but Dad managed to scrounge up enough one year to buy me an Odyssey2. I tried to pretend it was awesome, but those games were awful.

Anyway, "The elf shot the food!" That's never going away.
posted by Skot at 3:22 PM on April 3, 2009

He's on fire, from downtown, terrible shot

some mispronounced Street Fighter shouts: "Bean's Eye Kick", "Chuck-chike-chick-charOOkus"
posted by grobstein at 3:40 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Eiger! Eiger! Eiger Uppercut!
posted by grobstein at 3:40 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Just the other day, I was thinking about the rumors and disbelief that spread through my neighborhood regarding the Minus World.
All the kids seemed to be divided into two camps; those that believed in it and those that didn't. It seems like the debate raged on forever "There is a Minus World" countered by "No there isn't!"

Of course it didn't help things when you tried to show that it did exist, but kept breaking the damn block that you need to get you there!
posted by El_Marto at 3:42 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

<robotVoice>Insert coin</robotVoice> from Gorf. Is that too old or the wrong medium?
posted by Brak at 3:43 PM on April 3, 2009

-Body blow - Body blow - Uppercut!
-It's a secret to everyone
-The white noise static sound that was supposed to be crowd noise as all three outfielders lurched en masse towards the baseball in Nintendo Baseball.
-Your are on your way to the Super Bowl! (and so many other things from Tecmo Super Bowl...like the Mighty Bombjacks halftime show, and the receiver and defender launching themselves skywards in the cutscene experienced on every Hail Mary).
-The day we figured out we didn't actually need ROB, our Robotic Buddy, to spin those tops just to open the doors in Gyromite.
-Shooting the dog in Duck Hunt.

-Vainly jamming the joystick in a given direction, hoping against hope the Atari Football spacemen would comply with my wishes.
-Extreme anger when being lapped in Indy 500
-Crushing, crushing disappointment at the release of the 2600 version of Pacman
-Utter confusion as to what you were supposed to do in Swordquest
-Invisible tanks, bitches!
-Actually winning the game as the one giant plane against the three little planes.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:48 PM on April 3, 2009

in particular, I remember this from the wonderful Basewars. Jesus, what a game!
posted by grobstein at 3:50 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Save codes: a little password you wrote down which embodied the game state at that point.

Cart (cartridge): ROM chips that held the actual game; mostly they're called discs now, except maybe for the Nintendo DS. Do people still call them carts, or do they call them cards now that they're the size of a SD card?

Hint lines: toll lines that would charge per minute to give you advice on how to beat a game

Tanooki: Tanuki is japanese for racoon, but left intact in the US version, probably to distinguish between the two.

If you want to go spelunking into old gaming vocabulary, pick up one of those old game tips books at a used bookstore or whatnot. I'm pretty sure I've sold mine, so you'll have to find someone else.
posted by pwnguin at 3:52 PM on April 3, 2009

Joystick. Speccy. Pokes. Kempston compatible. Codemasters. Ocean. Rubber keys. Feelies. Datacorder. GOTO 10. Listings. Eugene's Lair. The Gnome at Home. Acorn Electron. Beeb.


ZX. RAM Pack. Thermal printer. LOAD "". Cassette swaps. Cassette demagnetizers. Atic Atac. Jet Pac. Football Manager. Sinclair User. C&VG.
posted by galaksit at 3:53 PM on April 3, 2009

NABU. Other mental ephemera: this Archie cover, the sound of Speak & Spell, and the slow, soft bleep-bleeping of the Tomy Hello Kitty Seaside Holiday game.
posted by kmennie at 3:57 PM on April 3, 2009

I remember seething at the injustice of the rule that my little brother and I should play for an equal amount of time rather than an equal amount of lives.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 3:59 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by baphomet at 4:24 PM on April 3, 2009

I think my' B' button is broken.
posted by ryecatcher at 4:51 PM on April 3, 2009

We used say that the sound that the "throwing sword" made in Zelda was "Whapeerlo!"

Game Genie

The music from Ice Hockey (both on NES and Genesis <>
The idea of Quests. "The Second Quest."

Nintendo Power.

That robot thing with the lens like eyes that was used for some game.

What a "splunker" is.


"Run and jump."

B-running. <>
And blowing cartridges.
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 5:04 PM on April 3, 2009

"I just have to save my game!" (when playing Dragon Warrior III, where you had to walk back to a castle to save). "We've almost beat the level" (when playing anything else).

Also, how did we all learn the blowing-on-cartridges thing? Was it multiple, independent, simultaneous acts of desperation? Suggested in the instruction manual? Handed down from kid to kid, neighbourhood to neighbourhood in a great chain of knowledge?
posted by roombythelake at 5:13 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

"You be Sub Zero, Dad"
posted by Fortnight Bender at 5:36 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Code books (pre-internet collections of cheat codes for major games)


"Turn it off and turn it back on" (when the game froze)
posted by Rhaomi at 5:38 PM on April 3, 2009

THE END when you lose Missle Command (built into my Atari XE!)
The Liberty Star, Zylons, Command Ship - all from the XE version of Star Raiders II.
Legend of Zelda - "Master using it and you can have this!" "Dodongo dislikes smoke" "Let's Play Money Making Game"

but as most everyone else has mentioned, it's all about the sounds.

Galaga - the bonus stage bonus sound for killing all the bad guys.
original gameboy version of Tetris - the background music.
Legend of Zelda - the low on heart containers beep and the you-just-died noise (and the continue sound loop!)
Carnival on the Intellivision, that damn duck munching your bullets.
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:49 PM on April 3, 2009

1) ALIS uses the BURGER, ALIS is HEALED (followed by ascending tones to express a gain in vitality)

2) The static-choked voice recording of "PERFECT" that you heard after a flawless level of SMS Sega Shooting Gallery - it sounded less like the word on the screen and more like a cough and a sneeze heard through a drive-up speaker.

3) Whenever we got a new game, we would nervously speculate on what the "last boss" would be like - in our minds, he was always some bullet-shitting demon from beyond Antares who would doom our efforts to "beat the game" if we ever had the skill and fortune to even lay eyes upon him. The "last boss" was always a subject of much anxiety, right up until we reached him and cracked his pattern.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:52 PM on April 3, 2009

Oh, oh and "double-tap"
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:53 PM on April 3, 2009

Dada dada dada
Dada dada dada
Da Da Daaa--daa
Dada dada dada!!!

Castle theme!!
posted by saradarlin at 6:15 PM on April 3, 2009

Man Castlevania Level I is my go to earworm music. I hum that shit to myself constantly.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:29 PM on April 3, 2009

Pushing the game up with the Nintendo on in order to induce the red light blinking phase on purpose because if you then push the game back down into position, you can jiggle it until the right screen shows up. Then hit reset while the light is red and you're golden. This works as much as 50% of the time. Fuck blowing on a cartridge.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:33 PM on April 3, 2009

Sorry, none of my contributions were vocabulary based. I just got lost in the moment. I'll try to get some verbiage down after conferring with my Nintendo/Sega colleagues.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:37 PM on April 3, 2009

This conversation has obviously grown beyond the scope of my original thought. I am finding added value in everyone's contributions. Don't worry if you can't boil the sentiment down to a single word or phrase.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 6:45 PM on April 3, 2009

Wakka-wakka from Pac-Man

Blow on the cartridge.

That damn chuckle from the dog in Duck Hunt.
posted by wiskunde at 7:09 PM on April 3, 2009

"But I Jumped!"
posted by Aquaman at 7:54 PM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

"PAUSE": Leaving the Nintendo on pause all night so you could continue where you left off the next morning.

"PASSWORD": Meticulously writing down the password you got (ie: Metal Gear, Metroid), and the shorthand used to distinguish upper- and lower-case letters. (And the anguish when you realized you wrote down the password wrong!!!)

"WAIT FOR ME... NOOOO!": When going upwards in Contra and one player goes faster than the other, killing him.

"MIKE TYSON": As in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out. And all the "dialog" from that game. There were some keepers, but I can't remember them now.
posted by Simon Barclay at 8:20 PM on April 3, 2009

"MEGA MAN", "DR. LIGHT", and "DR. WILY", as well as all the bosses from the Megaman series whose names ended in "-MAN".
posted by Simon Barclay at 8:22 PM on April 3, 2009

I remember (among other things):

The "schunk-schunk-schunk" of Space Invaders.

Getting together with the other kids in the neighborhood to figure out which games we were gonna ask for at Christmas (so there were no doubles).

After figuring out how to beat Adventure, having contests to see who could beat it the fastest

Thinking it was really stupid for my sister to use all of her birthday money and several weeks allowance to get a Colecovision just to get the Cabbage Patch doll. Later on, playing Burger Time for hours.

Wondering why my Commodore64 wasn't able to do anything like the stuff that War Games kid was able to do.

Tetris. Hours and hours of Tetris. I loved it when the colors changed and the game got faster, and I especially loved the little Nintendo characters at the end of each level.

And... Mario. The reason that, to this day, I only play on Nintendo systems. My husband has had every other system, but the Nintendo is mine. When I was 18, I lived with 4-7 other people (we were 18-21 and many roommates in a small place is what we could afford). We had 2 TV's. One for watching and one for Super Mario Bros. 3. The SMB3 TV and the NES attached was never turned off. If you got tired of playing, you just handed the controller to the next person. There were only 2 people who could pass the ice world, so if you were the only one up at 3:00 AM, and got to the ice level, you had to either wake up one of the 2 roommates who could pass it, or wait until morning. Eventually, it got to the point where each one of us had our "specialty" and we'd take turns on the levels. Before I lived in that house, I was one of those fairly superficial girls who are always at the coolest club. Super Mario Bros. 3 is the reason I started dating nerds, and eventually married one.
posted by dogmom at 8:32 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

A term I recently came across, but did a lot as a kid is "RAGEQUIT" - when you get angry at the game or whatever and you quit in anger/disgust. Might involve slamming the wired controller down (controllers were far more robust back then, I cant tell you how many times I threw my NES controller down).

Someone above mentioned the Nintendo Power Pad (for the track and field game).

One thing I remember from arcades as putting your quarter at the base of the screen to signify you had next (alternately, got next) on whoever won the current match.

"You fight like a dairy farmer" "How appropriate, you fight like a cow" (Monkey Island, PC)
posted by SirOmega at 8:44 PM on April 3, 2009

Cheat Codes
Game Shark/Game Genie
Tanooki Suit
Warp Zone
Do A Barrel Roll
One Up
Fire Mario
Blowing on the Cartridge
Underwater Music
Stage Clear
Samus Aran is a girl?!
Mike Tyson's Punch-out
Light Gun
NES Advantage
Boy and his Blob
Nintendo Power
Kid Chameleon
Power Pad
LATE nights
Mountain Dew
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 8:55 PM on April 3, 2009

"the game is cheating!"
posted by swbarrett at 9:14 PM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

quadruple overtime
posted by laptolain at 9:16 PM on April 3, 2009

Winners Don't Use Drugs

It sometimes amuses me to think in adventure game/interactive fiction terms. Go stairs. Look desk. Get tea. Inven. Use tea.

Also: "I don't see that here." "You can't pick that up." "I don't understand 'fuck this game'".

"You have died. Your score is 2. Restore/Restart/Quit?" and similar..
posted by out of context at 10:40 PM on April 3, 2009

We referred to "tapping turtles" as "the turtle hop." This was easiest on level 3-1 (Super Mario Brothers) but could also be done with the beatles on 7-1.

In Super Mario 3, you could do a completely different "turtle hop" on world 2 (I believe level 2-1) by wearing the raccoon suit and constantly crushing the same three skeleton-turtle-dudes, which would continually resurrect.

There was also a turtle suit in this game; it sounded awesome but was pretty easy to lose, in my experience.
posted by aydeejones at 11:26 PM on April 3, 2009

All of these wonderful game references, but nothing about Toejam and Earl?
Throwing Tomatoes
Rocket-Skate Shoes
Flawless Victory
Finish Him
Do something besides throwing your spear and upper-cutting!!
posted by ComeUndone at 12:05 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

"now your playing with power!"

But mostly I remember those page long passwords you had to write out . You were pretty much screwed if they contained O's, 0's, q's, 9's or any mix of capitol, non capitol letter. I spent way to much time entering insanely long passwords over and over because i couldn't read my own damn handwriting. Thank god for memory cards.
posted by ljesse at 12:14 AM on April 4, 2009

seppyk's entry wins hands down for me, but some more that i didn't see already used:

"i feel asleep!!", "the truck have started to move!" -metal gear

"barf!" -river city ransom (countless enemies)

"tell mike to dip my letter in water...." -startropics; in real life you have to dip a letter that came with the box in water or just put in 747

"but does the breeze knows of the hardships they endured?"-phantasy star i ending

"the fierce fish win the cup!" -nhl hockey ('92) if you win the stanley cup as the san jose sharks

on preview, this one is for comeundone:
"wake up!" -toejam and earl
posted by the aloha at 12:18 AM on April 4, 2009

"Dad! Stop walking in front of the TV!"

"geez mom, I'll do it in a second, I'm on the last level!"

"XUDFPQM. Write that down."

and from Maniac Mansion "Don't be a tuna-head"

Oh, and my brother continually telling me that moving the controller wildly when jumping over a gap doesn't help.
posted by unassuminglocalgirl at 12:44 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

"green elf needs food. badly."
posted by juv3nal at 12:51 AM on April 4, 2009

or as the in-game voices had it, "Glub glub, glub glub"
posted by grobstein at 1:30 AM on April 4, 2009

(This may not be as NES/Sega centric as you wish)

Fucking potion-stealing gnomes from Golden Axe.

The sound of Atari 2600 Combat tanks with bouncy shots increasing in pitch and usually frequency: "dink...... dink.. dinkadinkadinka! pwxhhh [hit]"

The ridiculousness of the giant bomber vs. three planes in Combat.

Mario's squeaky-ass shoes in the original Donkey Kong. Winka-winka-winka-[silence]-winka-winka-sproing! I could probably make videogame noises all day long and everybody here would know exactly what I was talking about.

Air-steering or jump-steering (loathing of games without it; I'm looking at you, Moon Patrol).

Chiclet keyboards. The PC Jr itself. The Coleco ADAM. Fear of owning a Timex Sinclair 1000. The poor TI-99 4A. I could go on and on with just the Apple II stuff... frex the 80 column card as something to brag about owning. The monitor prompt. Memory of Choplifter and Lode Runner so deep, it's like a whisper in the blood.

"Intellivison -- intelligent television"

The Zelda secret sound. Still a going concern, to be uttered when you find your car keys or a pen.

Bounding box, as the target of hatred when it's too big for us or two small for our enemies.

Bullet-dodging, as seen in most scrolling shooters. We also called this "jooking" but I don't know if it was commonly said.


Those A/B switcher boxes with the antenna-prongs and the slidey switch or the clunky black A/B buttons. Massive worrying about whether it was on channel 3 or 4.

Checkpoints, where you continue from, unless you're out of continues.

Forwards and backwards fireballs and dragon punches as shorthand for certain joystick moves.

If one joystick moves and another fires a gun, that's Robotron controls.

Any light gun game is a Duck Hunt sequel.

"Flickering" in the game sense of when you are temporarily invulnerable at the start of a new life or just after getting hurt. "Go for it dude you're still flickering." (not the sense of an overloaded graphics chip, or the fucking Amiga's modes-that-should-not-be .. but those sort of count too).

Wall-humping: either the behavior exhibited by dumb monsters trying to get to you, or what you do when you're looking for secrets.

Tokens. Especially if accompanied with sad memories of tokens depreciating from 5+ per dollar down to 4, with games creeping up to 2+ tokens each.

Referring to any "tap this button fast" challenge as a Track and Field type of deal.

Color- or palette-cycling cycling as a featured visual effect.

Wanting to establish quickly whether water kills you or not. (This one hasn't changed too much). Anger and hatred if hitting walls hurts you.

Bonus round/wave meaning exactly like Galaga's.

"Dommas [sp] pass..... dommas pass.... Heil!"

The "end screen", for games where when you beat them all you got was a single special graphic.

This crazy notion that when we buy a game, we don't have to immediately update it because it's not in extended de facto fucking beta.

Iolo the Bard. Lord British, though now in a scornful tone: "I wish Lord British over there would come to the fucking counter and do his fucking job."

"Body blow.. body blow.. uppercut!"

Zelda II's gold cartridge. (I never called cartridges carts).

Finally, the blowing thing worked.
posted by fleacircus at 4:26 AM on April 4, 2009

All of these wonderful game references, but nothing about Toejam and Earl?

Yes! Toejam and Earl was the best. I spent a good deal of time a couple of years ago trying to track down that game for my still working SEGA.

"wake up. wake up. wake up. WAKE UP!!!!"
Nerd herds
Icarus wings
Trying to sneak up on Santa to scare him and get more presents
Finding the ringing pay phone
That effing bogey man

And Sonic the Hedgehog. Jumping through the big ring at the end to get to the bonus levels. Up Down Left Right A Start to choose from any level, instead of playing from the beginning.
posted by geeky at 4:42 AM on April 4, 2009

"Get Equipped!" - from Mega Man 2

Seconding "This game cheats!!"

"I get the Nes!" - when my friend and I used to play his older brother's nintendo, there was one NES Advantage and one crappy ol' regular controller. We would fight over who got the "Nes" all the time.

"two player switch" or "two players at once" games.

"Wiggle it after you blow on it." - this was our secret to getting NES games to work: lightly wiggling the cartridge in the console.
posted by hpliferaft at 6:50 AM on April 4, 2009

load "*", 8, 1
Then you go upstairs and make a snack while you wait 45 minutes for the game to load from the cassette.
posted by 8dot3 at 7:27 AM on April 4, 2009

"Boomshakalaka!" and "He's on fire!" from NBA Jam.
posted by shannonigans at 10:28 AM on April 4, 2009

The miracle of saved games and EEPROMs on a cartridge.

Warrior needs food badly. Valkyrie is about to die.

Now it is beginning of a fantastic story!! Let's make a journey to the cave of monsters! Good luck!

Welcome to your doom!

The NES version of Bionic Commando and being pleasantly shocked to find it was so different from the arcade version, but still a great game.

Blaster Master - the multiplying computer boss (stage 5?) and dying 30 or 40 times before I figured out how to beat it.

Renting cartridges from video stores. Play It Again games - buying and selling cartridges.

I learned how to write largely from reading VideoGames & Computer Entertainment.

Reading Jeff Rovin's "How to Win at Nintendo Games" books and other "LOL we has all teh codez!" books.

Secret Video Game Tricks, Codes and Strategies.
posted by ostranenie at 1:25 PM on April 4, 2009

One that wasn't directly from a game: some of my brothers' friends apparently thought "versus" was a verb and faux-conjugated "verse" from it. As in "Wanna verse me in Ice Hockey?"

For us, the verb verse didn't mean just "play against," but "school"/"teach" -- as in you think you're such a hotshot, but I'm going to verse you in Mario Kart. You would never sincerely invite somebody to verse you. I think I assumed it was related to "well-versed."
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:41 PM on April 4, 2009

"Your princess is in another castle" 1ups, stars, lukatuki (sp?) suits. I LOVED mario bros.
Mostly though it is the sounds.

My siblings and I received our nintendo in conjuncture with my dad's trip to Egypt. For a longtime there after I thought Nintendos came from Egypt. Although I now know better, the two have been forever linked in my mind.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 1:39 AM on April 5, 2009

Tap twice (to get your wrestler to run in Pro Wrestling)

Bruble Bribble (the way the game pronounced 'Double Dribble')
posted by Twicketface at 10:16 AM on April 6, 2009

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