What Happened to Cheat Codes?

I was playing some classic games the other day and it hit me, why aren't there really "cheat codes" anymore. Everyone remembers the great days of resetting your NES after failing to achieve the infamous Konami Code in Contra. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. So I have to ask myself, why hasn't Konami used that code in the last two generations of gaming? And for that matter, why is it so rare for games to use codes in games?

There's the argument that using cheat codes makes the game easier thus shortening the length of the game. Because of this I could see developers wanting to disallow cheat codes in their games. I can recall multiple times that I rented a game and realized I needed to return it the next day so I inputted some codes and went straight for the big guns. This allowed me to get through the game much quicker and only rent the game rather than buy it; not exactly what companies want is it? But this argument can really only hold itself together if you implement the cheat codes into the game in a lazy fashion (press Up, Down, and A at the pause menu). But if you spend some time programming, cheat codes can actually add length to your game.

Now I would be more than fine if games followed the same way of unlocking codes that Goldeneye introduced back in the Nintendo 64 days. For those of you unaware, Goldeneye challenged you to beat each level within a certain amount of time on a certain difficulty level. Not only was it a unique way to use codes in a game but it was really an early version of Xbox 360 Achievements and extended the life of the game immensely. If you accomplished the challenge, you were awarded a new cheat that could be used in the game. The more prestigious the code, the harder it was to get; oh the pain and memories of Invinciblity, Invisibility, and Unlimited Ammo. The only issue with this form of cheat code was that no other company really ever tried to mimic it. Perfect Dark was the only game that used a similar code-unlocking tactic but that was made by the same company.

So where have the codes gone? Am I not looking in the right place, or are they becoming a thing of the past like starting over at the beginning of the game when you run out of lives?


Tyler DeWeese said...

what's Contra?

TanookiTravis said...

Oh DeWeese. I would just do a Google search for that little gem. Basically it's a shoot'em up game that is near impossible without using the Konami Code. Without the code you only get 3 lives but with the code you get 30. Great game though.

mndrix said...

Is Contra available on the Wii's virtual console yet?

TanookiTravis said...

Contra III is available but my guess is they are holding off on the original until a later time. There is actually a new Contra coming out on for the DS I think before the end of the year, so that could be when they release it. Sort of a little marketing thing or something.