HaiTaku 8-Way 8-Bit Extravaganza: The Solution

Seven-and-a-half out of eight ain’t bad, as Meatloaf never sang. Kotaku readers managed to crack almost every part of yesterday’s special 8-part HaiTaku dedicated to 1980s 8-bit classics. If none of it made sense to you, here’s the full solution — including the clue no-one properly understood.

I eat endlessly
in endless corridors of
dark blinking terror.

An easy one to start with. This is a straightforward outline of Pac-Man. (Buried clue: Blinky is the English language nickname for the red monster.) Gooky was the first one to get this right.

My feet become cold.
Those diamonds take forever.
What’s that buzzing noise?

This is a fairly literal description of Pengo, as DrCurlytek correctly deduced. Pengo involved kicking iceblocks, moving diamonds around and killing Sno-Bees — all referenced in the haiku. The Bond/Shirley Bassey reference was purely for my own amusement.

This looks familiar.
This reminds me of something.
Batteries are fine.

It took a while, but Gundamguy eventually clicked that these are all quotes from the classic Seinfeld episode “The Frogger”, where George unsuccessfully attempts to preserve a Frogger machine on which he has the high score:

Jumping and jumping,
some leaping, lots of scorching.
Don’t monkey around.

Donkey Kong: Easy! Mario has to jump over barrels to the top of the construction site to try and attack Donkey Kong (a monkey), while the barrels themselves end up burning in a steel drum. Cephalxn! was the first to answer this correctly.

Pulling over lose
energy, push on speed it’s
the issue of now.

Lots of people guessed this might be a racing game (“pulling over” made that fairly obvious). falkirion001 eventually worked out it was Pole Position, but couldn’t actually explain why that was the best possible answer. This is why:


So there you go.

Closing in on me
Dark forces cold and unseen
Oh my hip pocket

DrCurlytek scored a second win by recognising these as lyrics from the Player One pop classic ‘Space Invaders’:

But we’ll also give bonus points for 35’s answer of “EA’s fetish for microtransactions”, even if it’s the wrong era.

The layers of dirt
connect with my openings —
Watch out for the rocks!

A double victory for Gooky, who identified the core elements of Dig Dug in this description — tunnelling through dirt and using rocks to destroy enemies while being careful not to kill yourself.

Get to two hundred
and fifty-six and you’ll find
every thing stops.

Pac-Man makes a second appearance, this time because of the infamous bug in the original arcade version which meant it crashed after 255 levels. B-ob spotted that one fairly quickly. My trouble-making colleague Chris Jager suggested that the level-255 kill screen meant that the “endless corridors” in clue #1 were deceptive, but in my head those were a reference to the continuous tunnels from left to right, not the non-existent “endless” nature of the game.

Thanks for playing, everyone — I had a blast, hope you did too.

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