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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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presidents
George Washington’s Incredible Hair Routine

America's Founding Fathers had some truly defining locks, but we tend to think of those well-coiffed white curls—with their black ribbon hair ties and perfectly-managed frizz—as being wigs. Not so in the case of the main man himself, George Washington.

As Robert Krulwich reported at National Geographic, a 2010 biography on our first president—Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow—reveals that the man “never wore a wig.” In fact, his signature style was simply the result of an elaborately constructed coiffure that far surpasses most morning hair routines, and even some “fancy” hair routines.

The style Washington was sporting was actually a tough look for his day. In the late 18th century, such a hairdo would have been worn by military men.

While the hair itself was all real, the color was not. Washington’s true hue was a reddish brown color, which he powdered in a fashion that’s truly delightful to imagine. George would (likely) don a powdering robe, dip a puff made of silk strips into his powder of choice (there are a few options for what he might have used), bend his head over, and shake the puff out over his scalp in a big cloud.

To achieve the actual ‘do, Washington kept his hair long and would then pull it back into a tight braid or simply tie it at the back. This helped to showcase the forehead, which was very in vogue at the time. On occasion, he—or an attendant—would bunch the slack into a black silk bag at the nape of the neck, perhaps to help protect his clothing from the powder. Then he would fluff the hair on each side of his head to make “wings” and secure the look with pomade or good old natural oils.

To get a better sense of the play-by-play, check out the awesome illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton that accompany Krulwich’s post.

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"American Mall," Bloomberg
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fun
Unwinnable Video Game Challenges You to Keep a Shopping Mall in Business
"American Mall," Bloomberg
"American Mall," Bloomberg

Shopping malls, once the cultural hub of every suburb in America, have become a punchline in the e-commerce era. There are plenty of malls around today, but they tend to be money pits, considering the hundreds of "dead malls" haunting the landscape. Just how hard is it to keep a mall afloat in the current economy? American Mall, a new video game from Bloomberg, attempts to give an answer.

After choosing which tycoon character you want as your stand-in, you're thrown into a mall—rendered in 1980s-style graphics—already struggling to stay in business. The building is filled with rats and garbage you have to clean up if you want to keep shoppers happy. Every few seconds you're contacted by another store owner begging you to lower their rent, and you must either take the loss or risk them packing up for good. When stores are vacated, it's your job to fill them, but it turns out there aren't too many businesses interested in setting up shop in a dying mall.

You can try gimmicks like food trucks and indoor playgrounds to keep customers interested, but in the end your mall will bleed too much money to support itself. You can try playing the bleak game for yourself here—maybe it will put some of the retail casualties of the last decade into perspective.

[h/t Co.Design]

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