Today, I don't even have to get up off my couch if I get stuck in a game, something that seems to be an increasing rarity. I just pull up an FAQ on my iPhone, and all of a game's secrets are laid out in simple text. In the near future, Nintendo will make the games play themselves if they get too tough. But there was once a time that games were hard. Crazy hard. And you actually had to go outside your house to play them, and the main way you got better was by throwing more quarters into the machine. Barbaric, right?
That's not to say there weren't strategy guides, but seriously, who has time to read in the fast-paced 1980s? If you were real savvy, you dubbed a copy of the Conquer the Video Craze record onto cassette and cranked up your Walkman as you rode you 10-speed to the arcade. I've heard snippets of this surreal instructional record before--Kid Koala samples it at the start of the song " Fender Bender " off his Carpal Tunnel Syndrome record, and there are some MP3s of it floating around the internet --but it was totally worth the money to snag a sealed copy off eBay, if for nothing more than the cover art and the olfactory-tickling must contained behind it.
This kind of predates my early video game experiences by a few years, though my options of Nintendo Power and GamePro TV weren't really much better. As weird as the idea of a record filled with game tips might seem, the craziest part is that there's actually some pretty solid advice on this old LP. The awesomely named Curtis Hoard, who wrote Conquer the Video Craze and is repeatedly heralded as an Atari Champion finalist, seems like he knew his shit. There's no indication that the voice on the record is actually him, though whoever's doing the reading has a supremely soothing tone. From now on, I'm just going to put this record on before I fall asleep and dream about Dig Dug . Though, you know, good dreams, as opposed to the monstrous, claustrophobic Fygar-filled night-terrors I usually have.
Anyways . Here's a minute of basic Centipede knowledge being dropped on side one.