Who Was ‘Metroid’s’ Justin Bailey?

Justin Bailey was a programmer. Justin Bailey was an inside joke. Justin Bailey was referencing British slang for “bathing fit.”

If you played the Nintendo Amusement Program aspect-scrolling shooter Metroid in the 1980s, chances are you’ve read a person of these explanations for the game’s most notorious password. Entering “Justin Bailey” and keying in an added 12 blank spaces permitted gamers to get started the match with heroine Samus Aran showing up in a leotard instead of her armor whilst currently being provided with a complete arsenal of missiles.

As opposed to the garbled nonsense of other passcodes, “Justin Bailey” was domesticated. It sounded like a authentic particular person acquired blended up in the Metroid output at some position. Where did he appear from? Was he man or myth? Or was it all just 1 pretty bizarre fluke?

The Oct 1991 situation of Nintendo Electrical power. RetroMags.com

Nevertheless it’s impossible to say when avid gamers 1st became conscious of the code, proof details to the point that it acquired nationwide consideration in the slide of 1991. That is when Nintendo Ability, the company’s in-residence magazine, very first manufactured mention of the name in a “retro” approach manual for the 1987 match intended to hoopla the pending Activity Boy launch of Metroid II.

Sadly, Nintendo Electricity hardly ever bothered with bylines. The closest we may well ever get to an author’s credit rating is George Sinfield, who labored as a author and senior editor for the journal and tells psychological_floss that he “probably” wrote the Metroid guide.

“Samus demonstrates her identification and appears in the revealing match if you are equipped to finish the match really speedily,” he recalls. “I consider it is less than an hour. When you prevent participating in at any level just after that, the game will generate a password that enables you to start once again with Samus in that state. The fact that ‘Justin Bailey’ will work as a password at all, enable alone a single that capabilities a powered-up Samus, is pure coincidence and was not set into the match intentionally.”

Metroid was one particular of two early NES games—the other becoming Child Icarus—that employed a password program to let players to return to an state-of-the-art position in the recreation. (They also came in silver packing containers to aid distinguish them from other releases.) Metroid’s Japanese version was on a disc that allowed details to be saved right to storage the U.S. launch, programmed by Nintendo’s foundation of functions in Kyoto, Japan, employed a password method that produced random phrases. “Justin Bailey,” Sinfield suggests, is just 1 of a lot of functioning codes that transpired to make feeling to a human.

If the password was not set in intentionally, that implies an individual transpired throughout it by accident. And due to the fact no a person is susceptible to typing in random good names, it is achievable that an actual Justin Bailey made the decision to consider out his own name as a lark. The latter concept retains up: In purchase to compose the technique guidebook, Sinfield would have referred to in-residence details as nicely as suggestions sent in by viewers.

“I wrote the ‘Classified Information’ part back then and got tips and methods from a great deal of sources,” Sinfield says, “like gamers who sent us letters. My guess is that anyone named Justin Bailey wrote to Nintendo with the code immediately after inputting his have title and receiving attention-grabbing effects.”

Even though not definitive, it may perhaps be the best rationalization we are going to ever get to the thriller of Justin Bailey: a bored player who accidentally turned the most famous (and hypothetical) NES gamer of all time.

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