Back in the days before online FAQs and YouTube walkthroughs, kids had one tool at their disposal if they were stuck on their favourite NES title – the telephone. Call 206-885-7529 in the 80s, and you’d be put through to a resident ‘expert’ in your pixel conundrum. For many childhood years, this myth of the all knowing Nintendo guardian rang true, however it wasn’t until a few blue binders started making their way on auction sites that reality crashed. These experts were nothing but regular players with the wisdom of a book full of maps, keys, and handwritten notes at their aid.
Until now, few shots of the tomes used by these counsellors have surfaced, however YouTuber MetalJesusRocks recently uploaded this video which shows off a full Nintendo Game Counsellor Guide, as well as a 1989 Nintendo Employee Manual.
The maps created by each of the team members had been photocopied by their creators for circulation around the call centre, and detail was sporadic. Take the massive colour map for Legacy of the Wizard for example, which displays every location crammed onto one full colour page, and compare it to the rather sparse indications of space for other games. These less detailed notes have indicated, as MetalJesusRocks points out, that there was more of a focus on Nintendo Power Line employees to play through the games they’d be helping with, with the aid of crudely drawn squares to speed them up.
The Nintendo Power Line was first advertised in the premiere edition of Nintendo Power Magazine in 1988 and it surprisingly ran until June 1 2010. Try and buy a piece of these iconic manuals now however, and it’ll destroy your PayPal with pages from Link’s Awakening going for extraordinary amounts on eBay. The guide shown off in MetalJesusRocks’ video contains titles from the Dragon Warrior games, Metroid series, Snake’s Revenge, all of the Legend of Zelda titles from the time, The Goonies II, Castlevania II, a handful of Final Fantasy releases, and dozens others.