Feature: Nintendo Hotliner Life 1990–93: Manning The Phones During The Console Wars

The curious tale of a Nintendo UK Hotliner.

“Video Game Enthusiasts Wanted!” teased the advert in the Portsmouth Evening News. Other than a phone number, this mysterious call to arms offered no further information. But as a gaming obsessed 18-year-old looking for a job after finishing a BTEC in Computer Studies, I was mesmerised by the possibilities – I had to call. A female voice answered and proceeded to quiz my gaming credentials: what games did I like? How many games had I completed? And curiously, did I have experience in telesales or call centres?

A month later, in December 1990, I found myself joining five other rookie ‘Games Counsellors’ on the UK’s first Official Nintendo Hotline, a telephone helpline dedicated to providing live hints, tips and tricks to flummoxed Nintendo gamers.

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