Won’t You Come Home, Justin Bailey?

Back in the days when memory cards for video game systems had yet to be invented and battery backup was still new, some games used passwords that would start you where you last left off. Mind you, calling them passWORDS was a bit of a stretch, since they were generally just seemingly random sets of characters. Occasionally actual words did work, however, and one particular one in Metroid that caught the attention of fans was “JUSTIN BAILEY,” followed by twelve dashes. It was said that it would let you play as a woman, although we now know that you’re ALWAYS playing as a woman in that game.

If you finish within a certain amount of time, however, Samus Aran will remove her suit and reveal herself to be a scantily clad female, and you can then play the game that way. I guess it’s a bit of fan service, and while it’s not much by today’s standards, you took what you could get when the alternative was this:

Of course, Samus is bad-ass no matter what she wears. In fact, that’s part of what’s strange, because her Power Suit is supposed to be advanced Chozo technology, but she apparently has all the same abilities when wearing nothing but a leotard. Is the suit like Dumbo‘s magic feather? Is she still wearing it but it’s invisible? At one point I wondered if she was wearing the suit to intentionally hide her gender, especially since the American instruction manual referred to Samus as male (the Japanese one used gender-neutral pronouns). Even if that was the original intention, however, it appears to have been later established that Samus’ employers already knew she was a woman.

Besides, why would she have needed to keep disguising herself while on Zebes? Was she afraid Kraid would hit on her?

Anyway, when the Justin Bailey password first made the rounds, people suspected that it was put in there on purpose, perhaps as a tribute to someone on the staff. There were also rumors that “bailey” was slang for a swimsuit, but this wasn’t true. The real answer seems to be that it really WAS just random, although I don’t think it’s one you could get by playing normally through the game. If I recall correctly, it results in some open barriers being found behind closed ones, which of course you couldn’t do without cheating. That still leaves open the question as to who tried that password in the first place. I’d suspect THAT was someone named Justin Bailey, but the actual origins remain shrouded in mystery. Another odd password that DOES appear to have been put in intentionally, since it alters the game mechanics in a way Justin Bailey doesn’t, is “NARPAS SWORD” followed by thirteen zeros. You’ll note that this contains the word “password,” although that leaves open the question of what “NAR” means. I do have to wonder if Final Fantasy’s Gilgamesh is searching for Narpa’s Sword.

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2 Responses to Won’t You Come Home, Justin Bailey?

  1. Chris S. says:

    I would say “RAN” probably meant or was intended to mean “Random”. Thus “Random Password”.

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