Tales from The Trenches Archive

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It was a different era.

My tale takes place in the bygone days of yore.

This was an era in which the WELL was the closest thing to an Internet that existed.

In those days, scientists had recently announced the achievement of placing an entire gigabyte of information onto a single silicon chip! (though they could not believe it could be of any practical use…)

Yea, those many eons ago, when Atari had just released its new gaming console to eat all other gaming consoles: the Jaguar.

In that time before even the now long-extinct Game Sharks had crawled out from the primordial sludge, its ancient ancestors still ruled the land of console gaming prehistory.

This was the age of the Game Genie!

I, as one of the very lucky few, the chosen ones, had been hired by the great Galoob Toys (Requiescat in pace), creators of Micro Machines and distributors of the Game Genie, to test Game Genie cheat codes.

Engineers plugged away in some undisclosed location, hacking hexadecimal codes to enable the unskilled and unscrupulous child to cheat at - now antique - video games. Our job was to check to insure that these codes, when entered into the Game Genie with proper ceremony, would actually do some sort of cheating in a manner somewhat similar to the engineers’ descriptions sent with these same codes.

When the description was inaccurate, a better description would be written by the tester. (ie: this isn’t infinite lives! this is 99 lives!) When the code was ineffectual, it was the testers’ duty to see it was discarded.

In this way we toiled, and so earned our wage.

Our tiny, two-cubical “code testing” department was planted smack in the middle of the incredibly cool in-house art department, who would constantly converse boisterously on all manner of topic, usually of great hilarity and some little bawdiness, astounding we wee gamers in their midst with their wit, and all the while would they be busily turning out colorful packaging and adhesive sticker designs for Galoob’s licensed toy franchises (such as Biker Mice from Mars and The A-Team).

I actually got paid to sit in a room filled with entertaining, creative people and play video games - full time. (and to cheat with honor, no less.)

When the Genie’s sales were done, so were those halcyon days of my youth. I was laid off. When my final day arrived, while all these wonderful persons I had grown so fond of in that never-to-be-returned-to place of joy were happily nibbling away at a huge cake in my honor - trite condolences and wishes for my future good fortune scrawled upon it in cold sugar - I, in my loss, hid myself away on a loading dock out behind the building and I wept great tears of grief and sorrow.