Almost every player has found a little secret inside the video game they are playing. A reference to a previous release of the same saga, a combination of keys that reveals a little hidden video game, a funny joke written on the walls . . . Those are examples of what is normally called an easter egg (term that was born as a reference to the egg hunt during Easter) which is anything that developers intentionally hide from the normal path of the player. Cheat codes are a subset of easter eggs that are normally activated by entering some kind of password or buttons combination in a particular part of the game. A a result, a new feature or uncommon behavior is unblocked and revealed. The question is why developers have used them since the first video games were published and why do they keep including these back doors?
Cheating is Fun!
Although sometimes cheating makes things too easy due to the wider range of possibilities: You could be working hard to earn money day by day and suddenly make one million dollars by finding the right trick online. Or you could be stuck in the same level for months and find a sequence that allows you to jump directly to the next level. If you are a game developer, be careful with including cheat codes that are shortcuts. Some players will love these simplifications, but others will prefer the harder path because they find it more rewarding.
Going Through the Back Door
For example, if you are designing the final level of your platform video game but you just want to test the mechanics of the final boss it may be a little tedious to go through the level every time. Just include a cheat code and go directly to the end!
Cheat codes have been recurrent throughout video game’s history mainly because of those two reasons. Here are 5 video games examples of games that used cheats perfectly.
#5: Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog is one of those few video games that is a synonymous of nostalgia (especially for people my age). Its debug mode is one good example of a cheat code added by developers to explore the extreme conditions of the game engine and its physics. The cool thing about this cheat is that allows the player to move, duplicate, and delete any kind of entity inside the game and then play it. Almost like a Sonic level editor inside the original game.
How to Activate?
It depends on the Sonic game and the release, but all games from the original Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis 1991) to the last re-releases for mobile platforms have contained this cheat.
In the first Sonic game from 1991 players could access debug mode by pressing:
- Up, C, Down, C, Left, C, Right, C, A + Start
In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, debug mode even allows to modify the direction of the gravity so Sonic and enemies fall upside down.
More Sonic codes.
Doom is considered to be the initial first-person shooter videogame when it was launched in 1993 and also one of the firsts to use cheat-codes extensively in order to make things easier for newbie players.
How to Activate?
For PC version, press CTRL + Alt + ~, enter one of the following and press Enter:
This code activates “God Mode”. It has been included all over the different versions of the game. It gives the player 100% health and makes him not damageable unless the Nightmare difficulty is set.
Players can wall through walls, enemies, and other elements in the level without effect
It displays the character’s coordinates and direction in hexadecimal (Only to be interpreted by the most expert computer engineers)
More Doom codes
#3: GTA Saga
All GTA games can be played in two ways: by accomplishing mission after mission or by going around the vast open universe the game provides. I personally prefer the last option and it gets even better thanks to the imagination of the Rockstar people who included tons of cheat codes that change the weather, make an uncommon vehicle appear, change the traffic’s behavior, modify main character clothes, etc..
How to Activate?
From the cheat-codes list that can be easily consulted on-line for the GTA Sant Andreas (PC version) I would select as favorites:
- Type “ROCKETMAN” while playing
Spawn a jetpack. It is not as spectacular as a plane, but you can fly and land almost anywhere.
- Type “KANGAROO”
This will make CJ (your main character) jump three times higher. Get a jetpack with the previous code to get to the tallest skyscraper and jump from roof to roof. Be careful, though, since fall damage still applies!
- Type “AEZAKMI”
Basically diplomatic immunity: complete freedom to do anything without being chased by the police.
- Type “BSXSGGC”
Cars will explode when you hit them with your car. Enjoy the destruction.
- Type “CHITTYCHITTYBANGBANG”
You will be only to fly with your car as if it were a plane. If you are being chased by the police they will fly with you if going too fast.
#2: The Sims
The premise of this video game is simple: you have to live a life through your Sims, and as in real life, it is hard to save money every month. That is why the cheat codes to earn money easily became the most popular ones. It helped the players that preferred building big and fully equipped houses develop their imagination without spending too much time on the “playable” part.
How to Activate?
- Control + Shift + C + typing “klapaucius” (unpatched version)
- Control + Shift + C + typing “rosebud” (patched version)
This code gives one thousand simoleons (game’s fictitious currency). For each “!;” you add after the code, an extra 1,000 will magically appear in your family’s account.
The Sims contains an extensive list of cheat codes such as the “move_objects on” that people used to delete the shower while the Sims were having a shower in order to see them naked. It is funny how this and removing the ladder from the swimming pool are the things we enjoyed the most. People are strange.
More Sims codes
#1: The Konami Code
This is hands down the most famous of all cheat codes. Perhaps because it is has appeared in more than 100 games made by Konami, unlocking a different feature in each one of them. It was created by Kazuhisa Hashimoto who was developing the video game Gradius back in 1985. He found the game too hard to test so he included the sequence to achieve all bonuses at once. He forgot to delete the code and the game was launched with it and included in future video games where its popularity grew to overcome the most difficult levels.
This code is so famous that is has even crossed into the world wide web. Entering the combination in Google Hangouts will change conversation’s background to a mountainside with trees and blue skies. There is a webpage that contains a list of other webpages that reveal a secret when entering the Konami Code (of course you can only access the list by entering the Konami sequence). It has even appeared in the movie Wreck-it Ralph and in one episode of The Amazing World of Gumball. For decades, web developers have been hiding the Konami Code in their web sites. It never hurts to try out the code on your favorite websites and see if anything happens!
How to Activate?
You should know it by now, but just in case:
- Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start
Big Head Mode, Low Gravity, Infinite Ammo, you name it. Do you also have a cheat code you can not play without?