OMAHA, Neb. – After finding his old 8-bit Nintendo console in the attic and popping in the game cartridge for Contra, thirty year old Sean Sandhu quickly realized he had forgotten the special code necessary to get 99 lives. A beloved video game title throughout the 80’s decade, Contra was legendary for being an extremely difficult if not an impossible game to finish without the secret code that the game’s programmers had surreptitiously added to the start screen.
“You only get 3 lives and you’re supposed to get through level after level of machine-gun wielding bad guys and helicopters with heavy artillery. Fat chance.” Sandhu recalled fond memories of lazy childhood afternoons listening to Men at Work while blasting away through the many levels of Contra without fear of receiving the Game Over screen. Although impossible to verify, Sandhu claimed that with the code he could finish the entire game in just under an hour. “Without that code, I am nothing. Nothing, I tell you!"
Predating the internet, the coveted Contra code was passed by simple word of mouth. Sandhu received the cherished insider information from 10 year old neighborhood gadfly Matthew White in 1988. White moved out of the suburban Omaha neighborhood in 1989 and was unavailable for comment. “God dammnit all to hell, I can’t remember it,” said Sandhu, struggling with the Nintendo game paddle. “Up, Up, Down, Right, Left, A, B….No. Uhhhh…Down, Up, A, Up, Left, Right, Select…Shit. I’m close, I can feel it. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Left, Right, B, A…Shit, Fuck, Fuck!”