Back in the 1970s and 80s, long before there was an Internet, people got their video game tips from magazines, books, and even home videos. One of the most popular series of home video releases were the not-so-originally-named “How to Beat Home Video Games” series.
Originally released on VHS by Vestron Video back in 1982, each of three videos in this series contained hints for 20 different games. The first release was titled “How to Beat Home Video Games – Volume I: The Best Games (Atari VCS)”. This was soon followed by “Volume II: The Hot New Games (Atari VCS)”, and “Volume III: Arcade Quality for the Home (Atari 5200, Vectrex, and Colecovision)”. Each tape originally sold for $39.95.
In an ironic naming twist, many of the games featured in “How to Beat Home Video Games” featured games that could not be beaten! Technicalities aside, the videos did feature a lot of tips that would help (at least novice) gamers improve their strategy and high scores.
Original copies of these VHS tapes are becoming more and more difficult to find. A few years ago at the Classic Gaming Expo (CGE) in Las Vegas, I picked up a (possibly unlicensed?) DVD containing all three videos for $20. While chances are most people have long since developed their own strategies for games like Pitfall and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, these videos are a neat glimpse into a time before FAQs and Youtube.
Speaking of Youtube, if you can’t track down either a copy of the VHS tape or the DVD, most of the video segments have been posted there.