Cheats codes are an integral part of retro gaming, from the inane to the useful. You can earn extra lives with them, unlock new characters, and even discover some pretty cool secrets just by utilizing a special sequence of controller inputs or performing certain actions in-game. The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, was the home of so many of these cool little iniquities that you couldn’t just look up online, of course. You had to pick them up from your favorite magazine, friends in the know, or even special “cheat” hotlines.
That’s part of what makes them so special, but also the fact that they’re so cool. Some of them are pretty iconic as well, and even if you don’t quite remember what they do, you remember the games they came from. In the spirit of highlighting some of these fun little secrets, we’ve rounded up 10 clever cheats from the NES that you can use right now. Whether you’re rocking a classic NES or trying some of these out on your NES Mini, you’re in for a world of fun.
Metroid’s infamous “Justin Bailey” code is still a bit of an enigma. No one’s still quite sure where the name came from, but according to a mental_floss article, former Nintendo Power editor George Sinfield thinks it might be some random kid’s name. The origin doesn’t matter quite so much as what it does. Entering the password “Justin Bailey” with 12 blank spaces trailing it will let you play Metroid with heroine Samus Aran in a bright, colorful leotard and a full set of missiles. Samus rocks the leotard, and you rock enemies’ worlds. Awesome.
Not so much a cheat code as an easy way to get around in the original Super Mario Bros. on NES, these warp pipes let you travel throughout the game in a much easier manner than you could just by, well, playing the game. There are three different Warp Zones in the game, and you can find one in World 1-2 and two in World 4-2. From the first zone you can get to World 2, World 3, or World 4, and World 4-2’s pipe takes you only to World 5. You can get to World 6, 7, and 8, but you have to use a special Beanstalk to get there. They’ll always remain a staple “cheat” of childhood.
Want to make some quick progress in The Legend of Zelda? Instead of chugging through the classic adventure RPG, just enter your name as the titular Princess Zelda herself when typing in your name at the Name Registration screen. From there, you can start on the second quest with no muss or fuss. Easy, right? This tribute to the princess is an oldie, but a goodie, and it’s simple to pull off.