Younger readers were spared the hassle/cost, but older folks will remember that people used to have to make phone calls to get tips and strategies for tough video games. The most famous was Nintendo’s Power Line, and over the weekend the AV Club spoke with three former employees about what life was like working for Nintendo, manning the phones.

Looking back almost thirty years later, it’s such a bizarre job from a unique place in time, and that’s exemplified by the stories told by Shaun Bloom, Caesar Filori, and Greg Lowder.

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It’s a great read, with lots of interesting tales about what it took to get fired and how closely Nintendo would monitor the activities of employees, but the best part is the insight we get into the company’s Christmas parties:

Greg Lowder: People always ask me about working for a Japanese company, kind of one of the first big ones, at least locally. I don’t know about you guys, but I always thought it was great. They worked really hard to make it a great experience. The Christmas parties were absolutely incredible.

Caesar Filori: Oh my God, those were insane. Insane.

AV Club: In what way?

Caesar Filori: A limo for everybody. They provide free transportation, so you can drink. Of course, when I’m there, I was 17 or 18 years old, and people thought it was fun to give me all of their drinking tickets. I’m just wasted out of my mind doing karaoke, as was everybody else. So much trouble came from those parties, as you might imagine, with open bar in the late ’80s, early ’90s. Somebody smashed the mirror on the back of an elevator once, at the Sheraton Hotel? I remember somebody groped Mrs. Claus one year, because they were wasted, and got fired. Lots of weird stuff at those parties.

And suddenly, I want to read less about the Nintendo Power Line and more about the Nintendo Christmas parties.

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(If you do still want to read more about the Nintendo Power Line, though, here’s a cool look inside one of the “guides” employees would use when they were talking with you on the phone.)