With the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection coming out at the end of August, folks are discovering a wealth of bonus content inside its museum, from game design materials to unseen development art.
Recently, however, thanks to the retro fan @jellyscare, we came across an interesting post from the Twitter account for the educational exhibit Art of Nintendo Power, sharing something you won't actually find in the collection: maps of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES used by the Nintendo Game Play counselors.
Game Play counselors were the individuals tasked with handling the phone lines at Nintendo and taking questions from players. As the former Game Play counselor Erich Waas told our pals at Nintendo Life back in 2016, in the early days, the counselors would all contribute paper FAQs and maps to green binders that were shared among the team to give them the correct answers. Later on, this was replaced with a DOS-based database called ELMO.
Art of Nintendo Power tweets, "In honor of the #CowabungaCollection collection, here are some maps for the TMNT NES game that were used by Nintendo Game Play Counselors. To my knowledge, these have never been shown online. Enjoy!"
We did a quick look online to see if we could find these maps anywhere else, and couldn't locate any evidence that they'd been shared before. We did, however, see some scans that would ultimately end up in the employee manual within a MetalJesusRocks video (6:18-6:38). These look slightly different to those seen here, with less in-depth labeling and cleaner outlines.
What we love about seeing these original hand-drawn maps is how incredibly matter-of-fact they can be. In the section for the City level, for instance, Bebop and Rocksteady are referred to as "Two Pig Guys", something you can imagine a stressed Nintendo employee scribbling as they make their way through this challenging game.
Did you ever call a video game phone line? Did it end up helping? Let us know in the comments.
Only called once that I clearly remember: I was probably around 10-ish, and it was for Shadowrun on the SNES. I don't remember for certain what for, but it was in the first zone of the game and it might have been related to healing the shaman in the graveyard. The guy I spoke to was very nice and we did get me through it.
@bippity_bop I always wanted to call a hint line, but the terrifying 'Secure permission from your bill payer' put me off as a kid. I used to have to rely on trading bits of math books with cheat codes/tips written on them in school. Obviously that then devolved into people making stuff up and tons of really strange urban myths about hidden characters and secret endings with impossible requirements.
@JackGYarwood oh yeah I remember the impossible requirements that would result in some crazy, too good to be true secrets. I wonder, before the internet, how localized these rumors were? Did any of them spread nationally or internationally? I remember one specifically about Ocarina that involved getting a white Epona… can’t remember what you had to do. But that one did get shared online I believe.
The TMNT maps are interesting. I’m glad all these games are getting some attention again with the rereleases and what not.
@MSaturn It's something I've always been meaning to look more into. Like everyone knows Mew and the truck, the Triforce in Ocarina of Time, and reviving characters in FF7, but there are probably a ton of strange localized myths about video games. It would be an interesting topic for a forum post probably!
I called the helpline once as my parents wouldn't allow me because of the price. The only way I was able too was I paid my parents for the call from my allowance.
It was for Final Fantasy III on SNES. I don't remember what the exact problem I was having but after hours of getting nowhere I called and the guy was able to help me in a few minutes. I remember him being friendly and very helpful. I felt special being able to tell my friends the next day in school that I got to call the Nintendo Power Helpline lol. They were so jealous.
That's pretty cool.
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