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23 Places Where the Konami Code Lives On

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Way back in 1985, Kazuhisa Hashimoto was working on the arcade game Gradius. Because he didn’t want to actually play the whole game during the testing process, he developed a little shortcut that gave him a full set of power-ups, letting him live long enough to easily get to where he needed to without dying. When the game went live in 1986, the code was still there. To get full power-ups, all a player had to do was enter the code up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.

The trick caught on, and soon, the so-called “Konami Code” could be found in a number of arcade and video games. Most notably, it gave you 30 extra lives in Contra. This super-secret (…or not) code has a special place in the hearts of geeks who have since grown up and used the insider code in websites, in movies, and on TV shows. Here are a few places to watch for the UUDDLRLRBA reference.

1. It’s Shark Week every day at Qiwi.be. Keep hitting enter once you key in the code.

2. Some old-school Nintendo nostalgia for you at virtualNES. Enter to activate.

3. Just when you thought the bacon craze had reached its limits, SoundClick takes it to another level.

4. The Code plays a key role in Wreck-It Ralph

5. You can also find a reference to the code in the queue to meet the Wreck-It Ralph characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios:

Photo courtesy of Jason English

6. If you didn't catch the reference in Archer a few weeks ago, don't feel bad—it was disguised as a code within a code. 

Photo courtesy of Gamesided

A Redditor thought that the code above resembled hex code, so he sent the chain through a decoder to see what he would get. The result? "UUDDLRLRBA." The find was confirmed by the animator who put it there.

7. In 1976, Gene Roddenberry and William Shatner sat down and had a little chat about Gene's history and the development of Star Trek. It's not terribly hidden, since the page spells out exactly how to find this "hidden" interview. But it's fun anyway!

8. Here's a little twist on the code: Go to a Google search bar, then use Google Voice to search for "Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right." (No "b" or "a" necessary.) It unlocks a Google "cheat mode" that will make you laugh. Or at least roll your eyes.

9. Various Conde Nast UK sites provide a quick look at ancient fashion history you probably didn't know about—check out Vogue and GQ

10. The UK Wired (also Conde Nast) site also has a little hidden treat. Meow go on over and try it out.

11. Try it at digg.com—and turn your speakers on.

12. The code works on BuzzFeed. It's diabolical, though. SFW—just diabolical. 

13. There's no missing the effects of the Code at Dango Design.

14. Eagle-eyed fans of the animated Disney series Gravity Falls may have noticed the gaming reference on the journal page in the intro. You can see how fast it goes by here, which is where I grabbed the screenshot.

15. Scott Pilgrim fans won't be surprised to learn that there's a hidden message on the Scott Pilgrim iPhone app site. Be sure to press enter.

16. Could you use more rainbows and unicorns in your life? Cornify thought so, too. Head there and enter the Code for a sparkly surprise.

17. Geek and Hype's Konami Code contribution is quite fitting. 

18. Get ready for fun graphics and earwig music over at Nikdaum.com.

19. The next time you're over at dancesportinfo.net, checking out the latest in the world of ballroom dancing, give the code a try. 

20. The Easter egg at teddy-o-ted.com is actually somewhat useful ... or at least more so than most of these.

21. I'm going to show you one of the images you see when you enter the code at http://www.ukoakdoors.co.uk/, but trust me—you're going to want to go see the other two. (Let us know if you find more than two.)

22. Get goosed over at kuppiya.com. And keep clicking! There are plenty of geese to go around.

23. A geeky insider joke on Family Guy—who could have guessed?

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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iStock

If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
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Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books

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