4 - Metroid Passwords
This article was written by Malake256 and does not necessarily reflect Metroid Wiki's views.
There are many technical mechanics and specifications taken for granted in today's systems. Older generation gamers may remember a form of "manual saving" where predetermined passwords were used to call older states in the game. Extremely old NES games (such as Megaman, Caslevania 2: Simon's Quest, and more importantly Metroid) lacked internal batteries, meaning they lacked the ability to save, resorting to a special password input left behind by modern consoles. After dying or reaching certain check points, gamers were often given codes, expected to write them down. After writing such codes down, the game could be replayed and the code would be entered to return to a similar state as the one the player left off on. Sometimes, however, interesting things would happen, particularly when entering codes found by other players.
In total, there are 64 characters (not including the space) and 24 character slots, meaning there can be 22,300,745,198,530,623,141,535,718,272,648,361,505,980,416 total possible passwords, of which 87,112,285,931,760,246,646,623,899,502,532,662,132,736 actually function. This mean that through an entirely random method for guessing a code, there is a 1 in 256 chance of the password working. However, 11 out of 16 of these codes that "work" do absolutely nothing or reset the game. Meaning there is basically a 1 in 4096 chance of a randomly guessed password functioning in a practical sense (thanks to tasvideos.org for crunching the numbers). If you once thought of trying every possible password, don't.
Out of the unnumbered amount of codes available in all games, none are as interesting as Metroid's Justin Bailey code. Just who is Justin Bailey? Are we just in Bailey? Is Justin Bailey just an alias for Samus? Does Justin Bailey exist?... I am Justin Bailey, we are not in Bailey, Samus needs no alias, and probably not. The code is the Justin Bailey code (see below for a list of code inputs) places Samus in Zebes with no suit. Without the suit, however, Samus sustains just as much damage as she would with the suit. The suitless appearance of our heroine caused by this particular password deals no particular change in gameplay, meaning her suit change is purely cosmetic. The 255 Missiles, 5 Energy Tanks, and other upgrades however are a complete boon toward Samus's way. The Power Suit lacking Samus has been fan-named Justin Bailey, or Justin Bailey suit, but it has been generally accepted that it is not the same as the Zero Suit (though it remains debatable). A little-known fact, however, is that the Justin Bailey suit does not have to be reached through the actual Justin Bailey code. There are many codes that place Samus out of her suit, for whatever reason, however, the Justin Bailey code stood out, earning the no-suited Samus a name.
The origins of the name are always fuzzy and untrustworthy. Fans have believed that the term "Justin Bailey" was slang used to describe a bikini in another country. This belief, however, was proven false as no such vernacular term exists in any country. Another belief was that Justin Bailey was an important man to the creation of the Metroid, but no such Justin is credited in any game; additionally most people involved in the creation are Japanese. The most obvious and convenient belief to trust would be that the code itself is a product of chance. As it's been reported, other names and curious arrangements of numbers work as passwords. Justin Bailey, however, became the most popular—in the end, it's simply a product of luck (or bad luck). Regardless of its nearly unworthy recognition, Justin Bailey is an easily recognized target of Metroid fans, sparking much fan art, many jokes, and even an online comic series.
The second most popular Metroid password is undoubtedly the Narpassword. Whether it's Narpas Sword, Nar Password, or Narp ... or anything else, the code's effect remains highly effective. This powerful password was installed as a cheat code and not a password able to be found by through regular gameplay. The code allowed Samus to start in Brinstar with an infinite amount of Missiles and Energy. This beastly code also gives Samus increased Ice Beam capabilities, shooting out a much larger beam.
The origin if the Narpas Sword is much more clear than Justin Bailey's. What is a Narpas Sword you ask? Well, there is no sword. Though it is more often referred to as Narpas Sword (due to the six-character chunking of Metroid's password system), we all know there are no swords in Metroid and it was probably meant to be read Nar Password. The origin of "Nar" is likely "North American Release", as the North American release was the first release of Metroid to use password saves (Japan's Metroid used Famicom disks). In this case, the Password's full name is "North American Release Password," likely a password used by programmers and game testers to help debug the game. Whatever its purpose, the code has been used countless times for players to breeze through the game.
More on Passwords
NARPAS SWORD throughout the entire Metroid
The "Justin Bailey Conspiracy", a parody on the origins of Justin Bailey
Justin Bailey in action