Full disclosure: In the Summer of 1991 I called the Sierra Hint Line every day, racking up massive three-figure phone bills that landed me computer-less for a few weeks when the bills came in. To be fair, the Sierra Hint line was a pretty awesome experience; it had a very deep touch-tone organization and fun theming for each game where the hints were given in the genre of the game you were looking up. All of this is to say that I’m not above looking up a hint for a tough bit of a game.
Judging from this ad I doubt that 1-900-HOT-HINTS had the same level of panache that the Sierra Hint line had. I’ve got a feeling this was more of a smash-and-grab. In fact, even excusing what would likely be a poor presentation, I have my doubts as to the quality of the hints themselves.
The red flags are numerous, from the crude NES-game-like animation to the crude, superhero-in-the-living room animation, to the discouraged teen’s flat delivery of such exciting copy as “Hot Hints is fast, fun, and a dollar sixty five cents a minute!”
Still, I bet this number made a pretty penny back in 1990. Here’s the ad. Awful stuff.