Not to go flashback on you twice in one day, but once again I say that back before the Internet offered up all help for every game ever, stumped players turned to magazines or, if that failed, to phone services like Nintendo's Power Line that was staffed by game play counselors skilled in all things Nintendo. Can't find Level 7 in The Legend of Zelda? Call the Power Line. Looking for a warp whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3? Call the Power Line. Completely lost in Metroid? Call the Power Line. The service has been defunct for years now, but Nintendo is bringing it back for three days as part of the marketing push for the NES Classic Edition console. It even has the nearly same phone number: (425) 885-7529 (the area code is different now). The revived line won't connect you with a live human as in days gone by, but instead lets you listen to automated messages. Here's some of the press release:
While playing one of the 30 great NES games included on the NES Classic Edition during the weekend following the Friday launch, you might find yourself puzzled by some of the more challenging games. (“How do I find the first Warp Whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3?” you might ask yourself.) If your memories of the original games fail you, no need to fret. You can just call the Power Line, which will return and run from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13, between the hours of 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT each day. The original Power Line was a beloved service in the ’80s that connected fans to Nintendo Game Play Counselors who offered helpful tips and tricks. In this fully automated version, you can use your real-life phone (bonus points if it has a cord!) to dial (425) 885-7529 to hear recorded tips for several games, plus behind-the-scenes stories from original Nintendo Game Play Counselors. You never know what you might learn!
Nintendo is banking hard on nostalgia to sell the NES Classic Edition. Aside from the Power Line, the mini console comes with a classic NES-era poster and the company is not allowing pre-orders through (most) retailers, so you'll have to hit the streets and search for the console just like we had to do in the 1980s. It's a unique idea and certainly points for effort to Nintendo for going all-in on this. I just hope they're prepared to meet demand. One thing we don't need the company to bring back from the 1980s is the frustrating "chip shortage" excuses that kept fans from diving into the latest games such as Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.