Hey Everyone, Prodaj here! As promised here is part 2 of “What Happened to Cheat Codes?”
What Happened to Cheat Codes? Pt. 2
Last week was a little window into my own history of cheat codes. Now I’ll talk a bit about the actual history of cheat codes. According to sources, cheat codes in video games have existed ever since video games have. Cheat codes started out as an easier way for developers and game testers to repeatedly play different parts of a game to perfect the mechanics to their tastes. In order to perfect that boss fight on level 8 they made a cheat code to get to that level easier instead of playing the game through to that point. A lot of times, the developers forgot to take out the cheat code after it was released for sale; and in other cases it was left in to preserve the quality of the game. It didn’t make sense to take out a cheat that could potentially affect other aspects of the game by crippling the programming it was built upon, so they left it in. In other cases it was left in purposefully; meant for the truly intrepid gamer to discover. Waypoint.vice.com did a really good article about this if you would like to read into this further:
One famous example of the early cheat code was the Konami code made by Kazuhisa Hashimoto as he was working on porting the 1985 side-scrolling arcade game Gradius to the NES. He was quoted as saying that the arcade version was really difficult and he never played it that much and it was no way he could have finished the game, so he inserted the famous Konami code for the NES version. An even earlier noteworthy example of early cheat code was Maniac Miner for the ZX Spectrum, a British 8-bit personal home computer in 1983. The developer, Matthew Smith, inserted a cheat mode by entering the code “6031769” which was based off of his driving license. There was even an early iteration of a game trainer called “The Great Escape Utility” or TGEU, made exclusively for the 1981 stealth –based shooter adventure Castle Wolfenstein which sold 20,000 copies by June 1982. The TGEU was the start of other game-enhancing cheat cartridge devices that took the gaming world by storm. Enter: The Game Genie.
The Game Genie was developed in 1990 for the NES and had other devices released for the different platforms like SNES, Sega Genesis, Game Gear and Game Boy. The Game Genie or GG for short temporarily modified the game data allowing the player to cheat, and alter various aspects of the game. The cheat system sold over 5 million units worldwide and most video game console emulators featured the GG code support. Its success would be short lived however due to legal issues with Nintendo and the arrival of the 5th generation game console which most famously included the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. There was other cheat hardware developed to replace the GG and to evolve with the new generation of consoles. The Game Shark and less notably, Code Breaker are a few. These later versions cheat cartridges were replaced by cheat discs. During this time, a lot of game developers were embracing the cheat code trail blazed by the Konami code and others. Cheat codes were starting to be cool and the culture was spreading. People would scour Usenet, an older version of what we would call online forums today. Gamers would find these cheats and then submit them to the then growing medium of gamer magazines.
The “cheat culture” as I have called it, was a period of time before the internet age where gamers, developers, publishers, and even television sought to cash in from. It became a self-sustaining free-for- all where everyone benefitted. Magazines such as GamePro, and Game Informer and Electronic Gaming Monthly to name a few all bolstered their readership by giving their readers the cheat codes they wanted. But all good things must come to an end.
That’s it for part 2 of my piece, please like and follow us and remember- stay Critikal!