In 1982, Vestron Video released a series of "professional lessons in mastering home video games" on VHS. How to Beat Home Video Games is an 80s-tastic guide to just what it sounds like; released in three volumes, each tape covered an hour's worth of detailed hints and tricks about the biggest hits of the day. It's wildly retro, and actually quite useful -- if you're hoping to master Atari 2600, Vectrex, or Colecovision games.
And how's this for irony: many of these games are actually unbeatable (they end with the player dying, always), so the title of the series is inaccurate at best. But still, dive in. Oh, and while we normally bring you five movies each night, I figured three one-hour movies was good enough for one gloriously wasted evening.
Volume I: The Best Games
Atari 2600 all the way, dudes. Includes: Space Invaders, Demon Attack, Space Cavern, Missile Command, Atlantis, Cosmic Ark, Asteroids, Yar's Revenge, Defender, Chopper Command, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Stampede, Barnstorming, Kaboom!, Breakout, Warlords, Circus Atari, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man.
Okay, Atari 2600 fans. Did you know the "double-shot" bug in Space Invaders, invoked by holding down the Reset button on launch?
Volume II: The Hot New Games
Featuring yet more Atari 2600 titles. Includes: E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Megamania, Astroblast, Encounter at L-5, Star Master, Space Attack, Planet Patrol, Nexar, Berzerk, Dark Cavern, Venture, Pitfall, Riddle of the Sphynx, Shark Attack, Mouse Trap, Lock N Chase, Tapeworm, Lost Luggage, Super Breakout, Demons to Diamonds, Gangster Alley.
"Most of these games are so new that strategies for beating them haven't been published before now!" -Spoken just before we see shots of E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Volume III: Arcade Quality For The Home
This one finally has Atari 5200, Vectrex, and Colecovision titles (the Vectrex stuff is totally awesome). Featuring: Mine Storm, Hyperchase, Clean Sweep, Rip-Off, Berzerk, Cosmic Chasm, Scramble, Venture, Cosmic Avenger, Donkey Kong, Zaxxon, Lady Bug, Smurf, Pac-Man, Centipede, Defender, Galaxian, Super Breakout, Star Raiders, Space Invaders.
The eye chart with the big "E" on top is called a Snellen Chart.
Also on Mental Floss:
DID YOU KNOW? Marlon Brando hated memorizing lines so much that he posted cue cards everywhere to help him get through scenes.
He even asked for lines to be written on an actress's posterior. (That request was denied.)