Fear not. Help is here.
No, friends, I am not talking about some sort of video game addict group therapy meeting. Your help is on the Internet, and it will show you how to beat that game once and for all. The Internet is home to countless video game players: men and women entrenched in the same silicon world that your soul craves. These are people who know how to get to level 40, how to beat the dragon, how to find the secret pot of gold in many a virtual world.
No matter what game holds your rapt attention -- from arcade games to home video game systems of every flavor -- there's a place on the Internet where you can find help. That help can come in many forms: discreet hints to help you in your gameplay, less discreet "cheats", "walkthroughs" (for the severely frustrated) which will show you how to make it intact from the game's start to finish, and "Easter eggs", hidden tricks and prizes that lurk in many games.
So if you're really stuck, or if you want to know if there's a secret way to glean extra lives from your games, read on. But beware -- many of the hints you will find on line, so-called "spoilers", can ruin your game by taking away the challenge. And what fun is that?
There's no telling what you might find in a game-related FAQ list -- maybe it will tell you technical details of the hardware. Maybe there will be hints on better gameplay, or perhaps it will tell you how to crash the darn thing in a fit of frustration.
The Domain also houses few dozen wakthroughs: start-to-finish instructions on beating adventure games. The cheats on tap include Beyond Zork, King's Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Monkey Island and the ever-popular, beautiful but frustrating game Myst.
To get to the Games Domain, point your web browser to http://wcl-rs.bham.ac.uk/GamesDomain.
If you don't have access to the web, you're not out of luck. Gopher to gopher://risc.ua.edu:70/11/games/solutions, a trove of zillions of games solutions. There we found hints for Ultima 6, level codes for Lemmings, and the solutions for the Incredible Machine. When you've tapped out the resources there, burrow your gopher to the Spies in the Wire Gaming Archive (gopher://wiretap.Spies.com/11/game_archive/), where you'll find endless cheats and hints, plus technical stuff like board pinouts and DIP switch settings for arcade games. Way cool. The FTP site ftp.netcom.com also has an excellent selection of FAQs, walkthroughs, and cheats.
If you have a GameBoy, check out http://www.cs.umd.edu/users/fms/GameBoy/, the site which contains everything you could possibly want to know about the GameBoy. It includes links to the FAQ, cheats and tips, codes, games lists, mailing lists and lots more. The FAQ alone is worth its weight in cartridges -- including a list of GameGenie codes, a list of GameBoy games, accessories and technical information about the hardware.
Super Nintendo addicts aren't left out either -- check out http://sbh.cse.bris.ac.uk/Nintendo.html -- everything you could want to know about the Super Nintendo.
Is Doom your thing? Then web on over to Doomgate -- the self-proclaimed "main world-wide access point for all things Doom related that are on the Web." If it's got to do with Doom, you'll probably find it on DoomGate, such as the "best levels list", the Doom II Secrets List and dozens of other sources of info. It's at http://doomgate.cs.buffalo.edu/index-html.html
A quick tour of some of the most popular games-related newsgroups includes alt.games.apogee, alt.games.doom, alt.games.sf2 (Street Fighter 2), rec.games.bolo, rec.games.video.3do, rec.games.video.arcade, rec.games.video.atari, rec.games.video.cd32, and rec.games.video.nintendo
The newsgroups are a great way to find answers to your specific gaming questions.You'll also find people exchanging their best high scores and playing tips. Games-related FAQ lists are often posted to these newsgroups too. It's easy to spend an entire afternoon wading through the wondrous info in FAQs like the comp.sys.mac.games FAQ (for Macintosh gamers), the rec.games.int-fiction FAQ (for fans of interactive fiction games) and even the rec.games.pinball FAQ. (Every wonder how pinball games make that loud THWAP! sound when you win an extra game? This FAQ knows.)
If you can't find a newsgroup related to your diversion of choice, ask a question on the newsgroup rec.games.misc or alt.games. You're sure to find other interested folks on these general-interest gaming groups.
No matter what your game, you're sure to find plenty of hints, cheats and tricks -- and maybe a worthy opponent -- on the 'net. Live long and phosphor.