Friday, August 20, 2010

Those who can't beat, cheat!

↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ←→←→ B A START
↓ R ↑ L Y B
↓ A R B Y ↓ A Y
(R + ←) (L + ↓) ← ↑ ↓ (R + C⇐) (L + C⇐) (L + R + ←) (L + R + →)
(L + C⇐)

Cheat codes have been a part of console gaming for over 25 years. Some cheat codes have even become a part of video game history. Some games, like Konami's Contra, were nigh impossible to beat without cheat codes. Beating these games without cheating gave players infinite bragging rights.

That all stared to change in the last few generations of games. As games have become easier, longer, and less linear, with more focus on story and exploration, cheats have become decreasingly necessary, and new features are usually unlocked by performing unique tasks, collecting and spending in-game currency, or simply progressing through the game.

Cheat devices, like the Game Genie, GameShark, and Action Replay, combated this trend. These unlicensed add-ons essentially allowed the user to hack and modify the game code to create their own cheats, such as infinite life, special weapons, and even access features that had been switched off in the final product. These cheat devices fell out of favor as online gaming and scoring became more popular, the consensus being that gamers who cheat ruin the game for everyone else. So what if you want to unlock features, but don't have the time, patience, or skills necessary to complete the required tasks? You still paid full price for the game. Shouldn't you have full access to its features?

For example, when Perfect Dark came out, I bought it day one, full price. Over the next few months, and even years, I played the game a lot and got pretty good at it, but never got good enough to play at the Perfect Agent level, let alone complete the required speed runs, which meant I would never unlock certain cheats and features I had been wanting to try. I had the same problem with GoldenEye 007, but in its case, Rare released well hidden cheat codes a few years after the game's release for those of us who could not do it ourselves. Perfect Dark had no such codes. I ended up buying a GameShark and unlocking features "illegally" after years of frustration.

The first Rock Band had a similar problem. In order to unlock all the songs, you had to unlock them in World Tour mode. The problem was, World Tour eventually forced you to play songs on hard to progress, which for me at the time meant a guaranteed fail. It wasn't until Rock Band 2 came out and I was able to export all the RB1 songs that I finally could play some of those songs that to me were unlockable. Rock Band 2 also had an "ALL SONGS" feature, but that came with a concession: online play, score keeping, and certain achievements were deactivated when "ALL SONGS" was on.

That seems to be a common exchange for the option to play the game in a way other than intended. Grand Theft Auto IV does the same thing. Use a cheat during your play session and not only does it deactivate online play and certain achievements, but if you save, it shows on your gameplay stats. This prevents players from cheating for more than personal enjoyment. That seems pretty fair to me.

So why is using cheats still such a taboo? If I am cheating on my own game by myself and not getting any rewards other than fun out of it, what's wrong with that? I would even go so far as to say that if I want to set up an Xbox Live Party using cheats, just for me and my friends, I should be allowed to do just that. There is no reason why I can't activate "NO FAIL MODE" in Rock Band 2 for the sake of my more rhythm or coordination impaired friends, then join a Party with my online friends in Florida. As long as no one minds, who cares? The Party could just post a disclaimer like, "Fear The Claw wants to activate NO FAIL MODE. This will prevent high scores from being recorded, and certain Achievements from being unlocked for the entire party. Is this okay?"

I bought Saints Row 2 several months ago, solely for the purpose of messing around in the open world, and was annoyed to discover that using any of the couple hundred cheat codes at any point during the game deactivates all Achievements, even if the cheat I am using would not affect the requirements for the Achievement I would have unlocked. ( For example, if I use a weapon cheat, it still deactivates Achievements pertaining to vehicle stunts.)  This also does not reset when I turn the cheat off. That seems unfair to me. On the other hand, Burnout Paradise does not have any cheats, but you can pay 800 Microsoft Points, or $10, to unlock all the cars in the game, an option I wish more games had.

It seems unreasonable to me that more games do not include or allow cheats. Whom does it really hurt, other than arguably the player? I paid for the game. Let me enjoy it the way I want. There are some games I probably would never enjoy fully if it weren't for cheats, because they are either too difficult, too long, or have gameplay aspects that I find annoying. Cheats allow me to reduce, or even eliminate, many of these problems, allowing me to complete games that would normally continue collecting dust on my Shelf of Shame. Now, if you don't mind, I am going to go back to my PlatStation Network port of Final Fantasy VII with the hacked game save I downloaded from GameFAQs.


  1. Winner will receive a game of their choice for any system, current or classic, from either Game Nutz store, Sherrill or Canastota, valued at up to $20 USD pre-tax retail price, subject to availability. Condition may be new or used. Used items are guaranteed to work, will include original cover art (applies mainly to sixth and seventh generation console games; classic and portable games may not have their original box or artwork), and may or may not include instruction booklet or other printed material. Winner will be decided on Labor Day, September 6th (9/6/10).

    (Hint: even if you think someone else has already posted the correct answer, enter anyway. You may find a different answer which is more accurate, and snag the win!)

  2. 1. Universal(mostly) Konami code. Had multiple effects in different games. My favourite was in Contra for NES, where it gave you 30 lives.

    2. Street Fighter! Opens up most of the playable characters.

    3. Blood in Mortal Kombat!! I loved how they actually made a cheat code to allow for this.


    5. I think this one is for Duke Nukem 64 for the level unlock, but im really not sure.

    Thats all I can really think of. And I mostly agree with you about all this. I think cheat codes are an art lost on our next-gen systems. The only games that really retain them are the ones that had had them before(the fighting games and adventure games). I think the disabling achievements while cheats are running is reasonable. Cheats are more meant for fun in my opinion, rather than getting around things that you can't necessarily do. I think more games need a good difficulty changing system.
    This would allow for people to adjust certain challenges to their skill level. This is a system I've encountered mainly to the best effect in Mass Effect. You can adjust the difficulty level on the fly so that you can complete challenges that are just too hard at that time.

  3. First is the infamous Konami Code. First used on Gradius for the NES, it gave the player a number of power-ups. In Gradius III for SNES, it actually destroyed the player's ship.

    Second is from Street Fighter II for the SNES. It enabled character vs. same character play in two player versus mode.

    Third is from Mortal Kombat for the Genesis. It unlocked the gore and the bloody fatalities. It also enabled this version to outsell the graphically-superior-but-bloodless SNES version two-to-one.

    Fourth is from Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. When entered when the player highlights "Erase game" on the menu, it starts a music test.

    Fifth is from GoldenEye 007 for the N64. Made the player invincible.

    As to the use of codes and such, it depends. For most games, I don't mind checking a walkthrough long enough to get a nudge in the right direction whenever I'm stuck. However, there are times where I'm completely and utterly stuck. Good example is the original Mega Man for NES (played via Mega Man Anniversary Collection on GameCube). I could never get past the big yellow monster in Wily's stage until I learned about the pause trick (fire Elec Man's weapon, then pause and unpause the game repeatedly, increasing the number of hits on the enemy), which I then used to finish the rest of the game.

  4. 1. The Konami Code; yes, famous for appearing first in Gradius, and MOST famous for being the 30 lives code in Contra. But this code was also in Operation C (Stage Select)! And Shattered Soldier! And Neo-Contra! And Contra 4! (Weapon Power Up) (Can you tell I like Contra?)
    Also, I used the Konami Code LIBERALLY in TMNT: Turtles in Time to expand my max lives to 10.

    2. Street Fighter 2 (SNES), allowed players to play against each other as the same character. Entered at the Capcom Logo. I always forgot and had to press reset. :-X

    3. Mortal Kombat Genesis BLOOD CODE, Entered at that intro screen with all the text. You'd know it was entered because you'll hear Scorpion Yell "Get Over Here!" and the text turns yellow. I might say this was my first ever memorized cheat code! This WAS the first game I ever preordered, and I didn't own an SNES yet. I was lucky.

    4. Donkey Kong Country song select code. Enter this code at the file select screen highlighting "Erase Game." Then, press select to change the song! Thus shows my early admiration for video game music!

    5. Goldeneye Invincibility Code, entered AT THE CHEAT MENU, makes the option appear. Might I add that I NEVER got this one right? I HATED it. I'd spend an hour entering this, then All Guns, then Infinite Ammo. I hated turning this game off.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your statements; as long as achievements are out. After all, sometimes I just want to fool around on a rental, and being invincible really helps!

    On the other hand, I have never beaten World Tour Mode on Rock Band [1], and I DID unlock all of the songs...maybe it was because I did all instruments on Solo Play?
    Beating World Tour on RB1 is one of my goals for the future, though. I might have to Voxtar it, if my wife doesn't step up.

  5. This is tough… Technically Richard was first to name all five cheats, with 95% correct information. "Flash" jumped in two days later and named all five cheats with 100% correct information. (The discrepancy was in the fifth cheat. The cheat I listed actually unlocked Invincibility in the Cheats menu. A completely different code was used to make the player invincible during gameplay.)

    I considered offering a sixth cheat as a tie breaker, but I didn't want either participants to feel, if you'll pardon the expression, cheated. After much deliberation, I have decided to call this one a draw.

    So here's what I will do: You will each receive the prize offered, but the first to name this sixth cheat will receive their prize first.

    Ready? (I decided to go with one I've been using a lot recently):

    ↑ ↑ ← ↑ ↓ SELECT

  6. The code is from Mortal Kombat 2 for SNES. When entered on the Character Select screen, it boosts the time needed to successfully input a fatality.

  7. We have a winner! Both of you let me know what game you'd like and where to send it, and I'll see what we can do to get it to you. You should both already know how to contact me! ;-)