↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ←→←→ B A START
↓ R ↑ L Y B
A B A C A B 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.