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.