Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! was such a great game to play on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
It had all the right features: detailed graphics, exciting music, responsive controls, and memorable characters (Except the ones that I forgot in this head-to-head Video Game Trivia battle with Wired Editor Chris Kohler).
Best of all, this game is a ton of fun to play.
While still in our youth, my friend Derek McCloud and I played countless rounds on his copy of the game, always trying to discover secrets and tricks to give us an edge over the colorful competition. Without the internet, we relied on our own experiments and rumors from friends to figure out the perfect timing needed to overcome difficult opponents like Bald Bull and Soda Popinski.
We finally beat the game, but I know that I have gone back to play it all over again – many times – in the 29 years since it’s release. It’s probably been a few years since I have done a complete playthrough, but I was surprised to see the game making news on several popular websites earlier this month.
Apparently, members of the crowd in the background of the game provide specific signals for when to land a knockout punch against several opponents – you can check out the discovery in this video:
Hidden in Plain Sight
Have you ever experienced the same type of revelation in your own life?
Maybe you are trying to find a solution to a complex problem, overcome conflict with another person, or maybe just find your keys (I know they are around here somewhere)?
Then, suddenly, you find what you are looking for – and it was right in front of you.
How did I miss it? Am I just stupid or is my brain playing tricks on me?
Maybe. Or maybe it is a survival skill that we filter out things our brain determines are unimportant.
Because honestly, when a 300 pound juggernaut is barreling down on you, should you really be staring at a bearded spectator?
At base of your brain (yes, mine too) is a filter known as the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It’s job is to determine what is important, what is a threat, and what you can safely ignore. If this part of your brain did not do it’s job, life would be very short, if not unlivable.
Without it, concentration would be impossible.
But here is the really important part: you can control what the RAS allows to get through to you and what it filters out.
How? The easiest example I can think of is when you buy or want to buy a car. Have you noticed as soon as you get a new car, or as soon as you begin shopping for a car, suddenly that exact model seems to be everywhere?
What sorcery is this?
Where did this abundance of vehicles suddenly come from?
The truth is, they were already there, your brain was just looking for them. Wait, let’s use another word in place of “looking”: your brain did not value them.
So there is the secret: What you place value on, gets through.
When you master a video game, you know what is of value to success in the game. You focus on those activities and ignore unimportant activities that won’t take you to your goal. When I watch someone play a game that I am not familiar with yet, I don’t immediately understand why players make certain choices, but once I learn the value, I start to focus on the right things as well.
Now it’s time to think about your own life. The opportunities you see will depend greatly on what you value.
Take some time to think about what is really important to your own goals, then start looking for answers.
It just might be right in front of you.