Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

I've forgotten most of the things I read in video game instruction manuals when I was a kid. But one thing I read in the instruction manual for the Commodore 64 version of Double Dragon stuck with me.

It taught me something about the reality of video games.

I'm talking about a note in the Double Dragon manual from the developers (see above; click it to enlarge it). In the note, the game's programmers explained why the two main characters of this C64 port of this brawling instant-classic had transparent waistlines. It was weird that they did, after all. Their justification was as bizarre as it was reasonable: they cut the heroes in half to enable multiplayer.


Here's how the game looked on the C64, transparent waistlines and all... the price for co-op play:

That instruction manual note was a lesson for me—young gamer that I was back then—about how game designers work within constraints. They will sometimes have to cut here to add there. As a gamer and a fan, I should appreciate that and celebrate the people who make the smart choices. Lesson learned. I think the Double Dragon C64 team made the right choices. I thought so then, and I think so now.

(Scan of the manual via the Sixty Four Origins Database. Watch the game in action here.)

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