CommenTerry: Cheat Codes and Today

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Cheat codes have been one of the most cherished secrets of the gaming age. Since one of the first incarnations of the “Konami Code” on Konami’s ‘Contra,’ cheat codes have gone through many different iterations and uses, some for making the game easier, like providing god mode or weapons and power-ups; to adding challenges like instant enemy spawns or other punishments for players attempting to “cheat.” Today, cheat codes have started fading into the era of yesteryear, and it is a very sad departure that I’ve noticed.

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My History with Cheat Codes
As a child, a lot of games were either too scary or too hard for me to play. A few examples? The original Doom and Gradius III. In Doom, I was always afraid of dying, but it was a simple input of “IDDQD” that changed my bloodied and beaten face into a pristine, unscathed face with golden, glowing eyes. I could walk through anything as I pleased, no imp, baron of hell, or cyberdemon could stand in my way. Gradius III goes down in my book as one of the hardest games that I’ve ever played. I remember getting through a ton of the levels in one day, only to die on the second to last level because my ship and reactions weren’t fast enough to beat the level. I had to input a few cheats to get to that point in the first place, and although I never beat the game, I was glad that Cheats were there to help me get there (mind you I was like 7-9 years old).

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What’s with Cheat Codes?
Cheat codes have centrally been something interesting, most notable in the Grand Theft Auto series, where cheats gave things like flying cars, instant weapons, health, and wanted star removals. As we’ve seen with Grand Theft Auto IV, those cheats now come at a price. Achievements are now “locked,” from a certain save file when cheats are inputted through the game’s interface. Less and less games are starting to have cheat codes because of the move from offline single player games onto online games, where cheat codes would be too difficult to implement.

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It’s a shame to see such a remarkable feature go, because it’s in fact, a part of gaming history. The only hope I have for the future, is that more games decide to turn to the roots of gaming and add a few cheats along the way!

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