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What is Super Alexa mode?
Amazon Alexa is full of little tricks and secrets, whether or not you’re using it as the foundation of a smart home. Some are genuinely useful, while others are there purely for your amusement. Super Alexa falls squarely into the second category — here’s how to activate it, and the explanation behind its existence.
Super Alexa mode is activated with the famous Konami Code, also known as the Contra Code. It invokes a silly response that sometimes includes an obscure League of Legends reference. It's an Easter egg rather than a practical feature.
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How do you activate Super Alexa mode?
Tell a speaker, “Alexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.” Normally you have to get this exactly correct for Super Alexa to trigger, but sometimes it may cut you some slack. When it doesn’t work, Alexa encourages you to try again with responses like “you’re so close” or “close but no cigar.”
If you’re successful, Alexa will either say it’s giving you “power-ups” or present you with a more elaborate message, as follows:
“Super Alexa mode activated. Starting reactors…online. Enabling advanced systems…online. Raising dongers. Error. Dongers missing. Aborting.”
What’s the story behind Super Alexa mode?
Super Alexa is an Easter egg for long-time gamers. The trigger phrase is the Konami Code, also known as the Contra Code. It was first used in Konami’s 1986 game Gradius for the NES, but it’s better known from Contra, a platformer released in 1987. Entering the code on Contra’s title screen gave players 30 lives. Because the game was so notoriously difficult, memorizing the code was often considered mandatory rather than a true cheat.
The code has since been put into many games, including some that have nothing to do with Konami such as Fortnite, Tetris Effect, and BioShock Infinite. You can even use it with Siri or Google Assistant to elicit unique responses.
The term “dongers” in one of Alexa’s responses refers to Imaqtpie (Michael Santana), a League of Legends streamer on Twitch. He’s famous for using a champion called Heimerdinger, whose name he shortened to “Donger.” That, in turn, got put into the phrase “raise your dongers,” and caught on with Twitch and the rest of the League of Legends community.
Activating Super Alexa has no practical value. Its presence presumably stems from someone at Amazon being a fan of Contra, Konami, or gaming in general.
In recent times, the donger response appears to have become less likely, if you get to hear it at all. That could be because internet trends move fast, and keeping references to League of Legends and Heimerdinger might feel outdated, whereas the Konami Code has become legendary — no pun intended.