After lying dormant for nearly three decades, someone discovered a two-player mode in...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,570   +1,074
Staff member
In context: Most people who played video games in the 1980s and 90s probably remember cheat codes with an element of fondness. There were even entire publications devoted to the subject, and finding one on your own was pretty exciting. Nowadays, cheating in video games mostly happens in multiplayer titles and is generally frowned upon since cheaters ruin other people's experiences rather than keeping their spoiling to themselves.

Today, the excitement of finding hidden secrets in games is still alive as new Easter eggs and cheats occasionally pop up in decades-old games. Recently Unlisted Cheats uncovered a couple of "new cheats" in 1994's Super Punch-Out — Nintendo's followup to Mike Tyson's Punch-Out from 1987.

Now to be clear, these are not necessarily "cheats" in that they give you an unfair advantage in the game. Instead, they are the more generic meaning of the term — as in, something that happens after a specific button sequence. Like previously known cheats in Super Punch-Out, these new ones use the two-controller combo. So plug in a second gamepad to do these.

The first allows players to have a single bout with any fighter in the game, including those from Super Circuit matches. While on the start screen, hold Y + R on the P2 controller and then press Start or A on the P1 gamepad. This sequence brings up a fighter selection screen with all the characters. Pick one, and you will fight a single match against that character.

Considering how fleshed out this character select mode is, it's somewhat surprising that it just wasn't integrated into the game as a regular reward for completion. It certainly wouldn't have taken that much code to add it to the main game menu.

The second code is a bit more interesting. It seems that Nintendo included a two-player mode buried in the game. You can access it by doing the first cheat. After selecting an opponent you will see his stats. On that screen, hold B and Y on P2 and press Start or A on P1.

This trick allows player one to fight as Little Mac against the selected character, except a second person can use the P2 gamepad to control the fighter. Whatsmore, player two can perform the fighter's signature moves. For example, IGN Senior Editor Kat Bailey notes that if player two holds Down and B while playing as Bald Bull, it executes his charge move.

You don't even have to own the old hardware to use this trick. If you own a Nintendo Switch and have a subscription to the online service, you have access to the retro NES/SNES game catalog. According to Good Vibes Gaming, the cheat works on that version of Super Punch-Out (masthead video).

It's somewhat surprising that such a simple combination of buttons has remained hidden for 28 years. However, there could be even more. Now and then, someone finds long-hidden elements in decades-old games like Doom II, Super Mario World, and more. Even the original Punch-Out still has some undiscovered secrets.

In 2016, Nintendo game designer Makoto Wada revealed a 22-year-old cheat in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out involving timing your strike with a flashbulb in the crowd to knock out Bald Bull. At the time, Wada said many other hidden tricks and Easter eggs remain uncovered in the title, but didn't elaborate.

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YouShallNotPass

Posts: 42   +89
Most of the time, those are not Easter egg but back doors for developer to test the game during development and some developers just leave it there betting no one will find out. Not to mention, its cool to show off to their friends what secret they can do to a released game.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,570   +1,074
Staff member
But how was it found
They didn't really go into detail but apparently they "casually found some new cheats ... while doing some request work." Since the other known codes for the game involve using both gamepads, they had a starting point and then just randomly started trying other button combinations until they stumbled upon these two.
 

Inthenstus

Posts: 124   +172
This is neat! If I had to guess, this was used to test certain conditions that were extremely rare with the AI. So instead, they had a person reproduce the issue over and over until it was solved to speed up development.
 

TheRealSCDC

Posts: 304   +420
~all ammo (I think that's what it was) was so helpful in the quake games. :) I generally suck at FPS games and play on easy or regular. I still miss that feeling of first firing up Quake with my 3dfx card with Glide or OpenGL. Don't remember which came first. Oh how nice that was.

I didn't like polygons over sprites/pixels at the time because everything looked so triangular. But how thihngs have changed.
 

EdmondRC

Posts: 304   +414
I really miss the 80s and 90s. I know that nostalgia paints a cleaner picture that reality, but still, I think the world was much simpler and nicer back then. Today, it feels like the future of tech is an inevitable dystopia, back then, it felt like the tech world was full of promise and possibilities. In many ways tech has advanced in expected ways, we just didn't know how intrusive it would be and how it would change how we interact with each other so much.
 

Random Commenter

Posts: 10   +8
I really miss the 80s and 90s. I know that nostalgia paints a cleaner picture that reality, but still, I think the world was much simpler and nicer back then. Today, it feels like the future of tech is an inevitable dystopia, back then, it felt like the tech world was full of promise and possibilities. In many ways tech has advanced in expected ways, we just didn't know how intrusive it would be and how it would change how we interact with each other so much.
I miss nostalgia...