THE UNSOLVED MYSTERY OF JUSTIN BAILEY
By Matthew Byrd
In the 35 years since Metroid's release, only one of the game's mysteries remains unsolved. This is the story "Justin Bailey."
Metroid actually featured quite a few cheat codes in the form of passwords. For instance, the password "NARPAS SWORD" grants you invincibility and infinite missiles.
The most famous Metroid password was "Justin Bailey." It grants you an array of items and other benefits but is best known for letting you start the game in Samus' now-iconic bodysuit.
Justin Bailey's quick rise to fame is often attributed to the password's appearance in an issue of Nintendo Power as well as the fact it's so easy to remember. After all, it's just a person's name.
But who is Justin Bailey? At the time, many players assumed that he was somehow related to someone on the development team. However, simple fact-checking quickly disproved that theory.
An especially popular theory of that era suggested that "Bailey" was slang for a bathing suit and that the code referred to Samus being "just in" her bathing suit.
However, that theory was also disproven years later. Not only was that outfit not Samus' bathing suit, but kids eventually learned that "bailey" isn't actually slang for a bathing suit.
So why is Justin Bailey a password in the first place? Well, at the risk of disappointing a generation of gamers, it turns out that the code is just a coincidence.
Metroid's password generation system meant that a variety of codes could be used to achieve the same effects. It just so happens that Justin Bailey is one of the random phrases that work.
How did anyone discover this code, though? Many people first read about it in Nintendo Power, but who was the person at that magazine who found it?
Well, one of the magazine's editors received a tip from a player regarding the code. It's believed that player must have tried to enter their name as a password and discovered something incredible.
Sadly, we have no idea who the "real" Justin Bailey is. The person who discovered this code has eluded the public eye for years. Of course, we may still be assuming they even exist.
What we do know is that the legacy of Justin Bailey will live on. Not only is the code referenced in several subsequent Metroid games, but it even appears in other franchises.