Chances are if you’re over a certain age and are in possession of two working thumbs, you’ve got something of a pixelated past – hours lost to side scrolling console games, not to mention the amount of time just spent blowing on the cartridges. This is the story of Halifax’s Wordburglar, one such experience that led to immortal glory.
Before the advent of the internet, such quests were untaken as solitary struggles. We’d hunker down in our parent’s basements with an ungodly amount of high fructose corn syrup-based supplies and toil away endlessly, hands sweaty, face pressed against the screens, burning out our eyeballs. All for the chance to add our initials to the hi-score screen next to the countless other times we had added the same three initials to the hi-score screen.
It was a thankless job, and most of us were content to toil away in near anonymity, but there was one way to achieve immortal fame: Nintendo Power Magazine. It wasn’t just the holy grail of Nintendo gamers, it was the church and congregation. It had everything: tips and tricks, the locations of all the warp whistles and 1 Ups, maps of all the levels, cheat codes, and of course, the upper echelon of gamers – the hi-score listings.
For many of us that world seemed unattainable. It was like the Forbes list. Were these even real people? Were Canadians even eligible? What was the hi-score exchange rate? And even then you’d have to go to the near super human effort of taking a photograph – with a film camera no less, under extremely specific conditions. But if you could pull it off, that was it, unending glory. Being simultaneously celebrated and loathed by every gamer for all of eternity.
This is what happened for one young Wordburglar. He set out one afternoon to conquer an obscure game called ‘NARC’, and had his Hi-Score listed in Volume 23 of Nintendo Power Magazine. That story is now documented in the only appropriate format for such a victory – in an 8-Bit video with a whole lot of chiptune music. Check out the video for ‘NARC HI-SCORE (IN NINTENDO POWER)’ from Wordburglar’s album Rapplicable Skills.