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ONM Remembered – #79


from Official Nintendo Magazine issue 89 (February 2000)

Although this scan is from a Nintendo mag, these Cheats Unlimited ads showed up in Official UK PlayStation Magazine, GamesMaster and just about every other game-related paper product at the time. Back in the day when if you wanted a walkthrough or a cheat, you had to actually telephone people! Or buy books! Or hear it from word of mouth!!!!

I miss cheat codes. When was the last time a big-name title offered you an honest-to-goodness level select? Or the ability to give everyone massive noggins? I never thought I’d see the day when cheat codes disappeared, but I can’t remember the last time I could get unlimited ammo just by pausing and punching in an obtuse button combination! Never mind “messing with your intricate game design,” I think it’s really upsetting. I miss cheat codes.
I suppose their disappearance has to do with how games no longer treat themselves as plinky-plonk challenges, but as experiences. You’re not just shooting these dudes in the face for something to do, you’re shooting them in the face to EMBRACE THIS RICH NARRATIVE. I suppose daft ol’ cheats would spoil the atmos’. You’d never catch a film giving you the chance to debug mode into them and screw around with important events. I tell you, Bridge to Terebithia would be a different film if you could just lock that girl in her room for a couple of hours. It’d be for her own good, man, there are better ways to cram a coming-of-age story down our throats!

Also, man, I love how everything had to have a mascot back then. The Cheatmaster and the Cheatmistress! I’m trying to remember if I considered these characters ‘cool’ when I saw them in the mags years and years ago. They just seem tailor-made to try and appeal to little dorks of the nineties – the sunglasses, the trench coat, the shirt with his name emblazoned it. These two totally did trench coats and spandex before The Matrix made it cool.
The Cheatmistress doesn’t exactly have much of a design, though. Tank top, spy pants and a nerf gun. Easiest cosplay ever. I’m disappointed her name isn’t printed on the gun, though. Also, jeez, I never noticed how freaky her face is before. It’s like her eyes and her lips are in a desperate battle to consume her entire head. I bet underneath his glasses the Cheatmaster has the same ludicrous faux-anime eyes.

Food for thought: With mascots this bodacious, do you think kids were too embarrassed to phone up? I mean, you wouldn’t want a cool dude like that to know you were stuck on level 3 of Pocahantas.