The Death of Cheat Codes

The Death of Cheat Codes

Cheaters never win…but they do have the code to skip levels on “The Adventures of Batman and Robin” for the Sega Genesis, which means they’re the only ones who beat that…so they kinda win. There use to be a time when cheat codes were prevalent in nearly every game, whether it was something as simple as unlocking all the levels or giving you infinite lives. Some games were so difficult that it was almost inevitable that you would eventually succumb to the temptations and cheat your way to a gold star.

As kids, we rarely felt bad doing it, because it was the thing to do. Whether you got the codes from a friend, out of a magazine, book, or if you were lucky enough to have one, a Game Genie, the kid with the codes was usually the one you wanted to be friends with. Now it’s be a while since the days of the Sega Genesis or Nintendo 64 and cheat codes aren’t nearly as common nor as popular. Instead, they’ve been replaced by inch thick strategy guides and internet walkthroughs. So what’s happened to the days of 99 lives and infinite ammo?

Some could argue that in a way, cheat codes are still alive and well on PCs, with people constantly creating mods to give almost any crazy addition they want. I remember me and my friends being impressed that a code in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater could make peoples heads big, nowadays these guys are modding dragons in Skyrim so they look and sound like Macho Man Randy Savage. We were easily entertained back then I guess. Another argument is that games have become more of a completionist’s market, with things like achievements and gamer scores connected to every title, so you can show off all your hard earned work spent beating Duke Nukem Forever.

I don’t know why you’d want to admit you actually played that game, but alright, ride those achievements off into the sunset my challenged little friend. Honestly though, I think the main culprit is that games are more serious now than they were back in the days of Sonic the Hedgehog or Contra. Why would Naughty Dog add a God mode cheat to The Last of Us when their whole goal is to create a suspenseful experience where the threat of death is ever present? Kinda ruins the mood a bit. Then again, some games could really benefit from pulling the proverbial stick from thine arse, if I can be so proper as to use archaic English.

Many games nowadays are too stuck up for cheat codes. I could really use infinite health in Rage Quit 2…I mean Dark Souls 2, before I simply piss all over my console just to feel more dominant. Maybe even a code that could make Ride to Hell: Retribution revert into it’s original form so I could properly fertilize my tomatoes; oh how I do love a good salad.

It seems like developers are making some of these games so stupidly difficult to the point of pure middle finger status that when you take a moment to gather yourself, the game looks at you like, “What? Are you a quitter? Are you putting that controller down? Why don’t you come back and see me when you’d like your testicles back.” Well you know what Dark Souls, I am a real man who misses the days when a crazy difficult level didn’t mean you had to miss out on the rest of the game and that was honestly the best part of cheat codes. You could finish a game you loved without being an elite nerd. Now my days of ruling the streets with my Game Genie may be over, but there is something to be said about setting a speed record on The Dark Below DLC for Destiny with a few OP friends, that almost feels like cheating.

If all else fails, go buy yourself a new Sega Genesis at a garage sale for $5 bucks along with Zombies Ate My Neighbors and tell me you’re not immediately gonna put in infinite weapons. It’s alright, we support you.