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The Rise and Fall of the Cheat Code

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the iddqd dept.

Classic Games (Games) 178

An anonymous reader writes A new feature published this week takes a deep-dive look at the history of the cheat code and its various manifestations over the years, from manual 'pokes' on cassettes to pass phrases with their own dedicated menus — as well as their rise from simple debug tool in the early days of bedroom development to a marketing tactic when game magazines dominated in the 1990s, followed by dedicated strategy guides. Today's era of online play has all but done away with them, but the need for a level playing field isn't the only reason for their decline: as one veteran coder points out, why give away cheats for free when you can charge for them as in-app purchases? "Bigger publishers have now realized you can actually sell these things to players as DLC. Want that special gun? Think you can unlock it with a cheat code? Nope! You've got to give us some money first!"

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First (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47314399)

First up, up, up, left, left, down, right, down, right, up, up.

Re:First (1)

halivar (535827) | about 2 months ago | (#47314459)

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. So Select. I never needed it. (*sob*)

Re:First (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47314791)

At least with Contra, you pressed Select before Start if you wanted local multiplayer (I say "local" as if there was a viable alternative back then...).

Re:First (1)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#47314911)

I have actually implemented a slight variation of the Konami Code (no A B or Start, so I used other buttons) as a secret unlock code in an actual product. It's just hard enough to do with a rubber keypad that it often takes more than one try. I can't be the only one, anyone else out there done this?

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315075)

I have actually implemented a slight variation of the Konami Code (no A B or Start, so I used other buttons) as a secret unlock code in an actual product. It's just hard enough to do with a rubber keypad that it often takes more than one try. I can't be the only one, anyone else out there done this?

...it wouldn't happen to be the "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Up" that is used to deactivate my TV as a netflix device, would it?

Re:First (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 2 months ago | (#47315287)

Kingdom of Loathing has a text-based puzzle where you have to select this sequence to pass through a gate.

Re:First (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314559)

... Hey, macarena!

Re:First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314619)

Is that the cheat code for your mum's leathery flaps?

Re: First (1)

Teranolist (3658793) | about 2 months ago | (#47314747)

For this one you need iddqd (and idkfa could be helpful too, depends on the local population there)

Re: First (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 months ago | (#47315077)

If you enter those in Hexen, the game insults you for cheating and inverts the code's effect: idkfa takes all your guns away and iddqd is instant death.

Re:First (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47314945)

... are you suggesting he's a cambion?

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315117)

up down up down shoot shoot shoot

IDKFA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314419)

...for old time's sake

Re:IDKFA (2)

JazzLad (935151) | about 2 months ago | (#47314731)

It makes me sad that I still remember IDSPISPOPD ...

Re:IDKFA (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47314951)

I never did figure out how that's so easy to remember... you wouldn't think it would be, but there it is 10+ years later.

Re:IDKFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315415)

I never did figure out how that's so easy to remember...

If you're like me, you didn't memorize the individual letters, you memorized chunks as sounds.

IE, instead of memorizing I D S P I S P O P D, you memorized ID SPIS POP D.

DLC? (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47314427)

Don't leave children
Dangling like crickets,
Dark legs chained.

Re:DLC? (2)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 2 months ago | (#47314463)

downloadable content. Day one downloadable content is the real cancer where you don't get the whole game unless you pay extra.

Re:DLC? (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 2 months ago | (#47314719)

pisses me off when they do that. It's why I don't buy games-on-disc anymore, you don't get what you already paid for. If it's not a standalone like KSP or a free persistent MMO like Battlestar Galactica, fucking keep it.

Re:DLC? (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47315445)

pisses me off when they do that. It's why I don't buy games-on-disc anymore, you don't get what you already paid for. If it's not a standalone like KSP or a free persistent MMO like Battlestar Galactica, fucking keep it.

Well, then you don't know the gaming industry. Basically people work on a game and then get laid off.

This was fine back in the days where once you release, you can't patch (which was really helped because consoles of yore were a lot simpler to test for - nowadays you have to check out your 3D models and for glitching that could let players walk through walls because a/b/c/d/e was just right). Then there's the gameplay breaking bugs where if you save at the wrong moment, you can't restore.

Problem is, you can't patch the game if the developers aren't there anymore, and there's about a 2 month leadtime between submission of a game and when it appears on the shelf - pressing discs can easily be a month (your disc is just another one in the big press queue), and distribution another month (from disc factory to factory to distributiors and then to retail warehouses, etc).

So you have a team of devs sitting idle for two months. Well, you could put them on fixing some of the more egregious bugs found (leading to day 1 patches) because they have an extra 2 months to fix it, and the other devs (and artists, etc) can work on making extras (day 1 DLC). Because the moment the game is released, gamers might find a bug and you need to get people fixing it.

Developers can't sit around idle, and if a game's done, either you reallocate them to a new project, or lay them off. Either option doesn't work if you need to fix bugs. That's why you have day 1 patches (extra 2 months to fix bugs), day 1 DLC (2 months to generate content), and day 1 gamebreaking bugs.

And once someone is reassigned to another project, it's damn near impossible to get them to go back and fix issues with the existing code (just getting them back up to speed and building the code can be challenge all in itself).

Very few games get patched after the first month as that gets treated as the official close of the project. Unless there's a business case to keep DLC going in which case you'll have a small team for that. But that's it, and most games on the shelves are dead after the first month.

Re:DLC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314535)

If you leave the last syllable off each line, does that make it a haik?

Re:DLC? (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47314587)

If you leave off the last letter, does that make it a wor?

Re:DLC? (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47314721)

Ye.

More of a backronym meditation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314863)

Clearly wasn't going for haiku.

Re:DLC? (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 2 months ago | (#47314689)

For me in the type of games described in the last sentence, it was DownLoadable Crack.

plugh (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 months ago | (#47314429)

It may be a bit dark, but I don't think I'm likely to be eaten by a grue

XYZZY (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 2 months ago | (#47314801)

It may be a bit dark, but I don't think I'm likely to be eaten by a grue

"Nothing happens here."

Re:XYZZY (1)

STRICQ (634164) | about 2 months ago | (#47315095)

A hollow voice says, "Cretin."

Mark of times (5, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | about 2 months ago | (#47314457)

So cheat codes are alive and well - they just now start with $ sign.

Re:Mark of times (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47314493)

Only they've worked a little harder on inventing games that are totally unfun without cheats.

Intentionally including busywork in games so you can pay to avoid it.
Slowing your rate of activity down to fewer decisions/hour than playing chess against your granddad. So you can pay to speed it up.

Re:Mark of times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314521)

Imagine how fast you could have beaten FF7 if you could have paid to unlock sephorith's masamune after the first reactor.

Today's devshops are GENIUS

Re:Mark of times (1)

qbast (1265706) | about 2 months ago | (#47314625)

Not all that much faster I think. It has been a while since I played FF7, but I don't remember spending much time 'grinding' - just following the story at its pace.

Re:Mark of times (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314727)

I guess you never bothered with the Chocobo nonsense to get Knights of the Round.

Re:Mark of times (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 2 months ago | (#47314785)

Eh? The Masamune in that game (won in the Golden Saucer) is a useless trophy with zero use.

Re:Mark of times (2)

qbast (1265706) | about 2 months ago | (#47314645)

Isn't it great? First you pay for that irritating slow grind, then you pay again to avoid it. Now we just need to way for marketing geniuses to figure out how to make you pay for the third time.

Re:Mark of times (3, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47314687)

Pay to stop playing, of course.

Re:Mark of times (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47314743)

Season Pass
Complete Edition
Legendary Edition
GOTY* Edition
HD Remastered Edition
Ultimate Pack

If you enter the Steam store [steampowered.com] right now you have an example of several of those in the very front page.

*:game of the year

Re:Mark of times (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47315711)

What is really annoying is when the 'Complete Edition' or whatever ends up being released before the last of the DLC, and then remains on the shelf as 'complete' despite not being so(and, when discounted bundlings of the actually-complete version do come along, you either take the bundle and pay for the initial 'complete edition' again, or you pay full release-day price for the DLC because you aren't buying the bundle).

Europa Universalis III did that particularly egregiously (a pity, I found it otherwise engrossing): "Europa Universalis III Complete edition" is the base game and two expansion packs. Oh, you wanted all four expansion packs(and we are talking some pretty substantial changes and additions here)? Try "Europa Universalis III Chronicles", because that makes some kind of sense. Oh, and then there is a bunch of petty DLC that doesn't fit anywhere in there...

If they can refrain from screwing around like that, 'GOTY' and friends are actually inoffensive(except 'season pass', which is the same 'money up front for you don't know what; but totally 20% off!' scam as pre-order). Games, like movies, books, and basically anything else that has a low per-unit cost of reproduction but a relatively high cost of production, tend to be sold in a way that attempts price discrimination: Rabid fan? Buy it on release day for $69.99, buy each DLC as it comes out at full price. As time goes on, and sales at that price dry up, you lower the price and/or bundle all the DLC to lower the total acquisition cost(and, in the case of any DLC that includes plot additions or graphics overhauls, give the player a more coherent experience). As time goes on further, you drop the price further, until you eventually hit the cost of distribution, concerns about 'devaluation perceptions', worries about competition with newer titles, or desire to preserve the value of eventual nostalgia-bundles.

The grandiosity of the names for "Yeah, all the stuff related to GameX" is kind of annoying; but it otherwise seems about the least offensive part of the DLC business (and is actually older than it: back when 'expansion pack' was something you bought in a separate box, on a disk, eventually the 'Gold Edition' 'GOTY' 'Battle Chest', etc. would come out, sometimes remastered onto fewer disks and a streamlined installer, sometimes just all the disks shoved in one box for the price of one box.)

Re:Mark of times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314751)

1. Incorporate malware plausibly disguised as an ARG

2. Hide the installer.

3. Make the ARG pay-to-win.

solution for ya (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314755)

If you don't like those kinds of games, stop buying them.

Re:Mark of times (0)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 months ago | (#47314853)

For the most part these paid bonuses are not as much cheats but shortcuts from hours of grinding.
The cheat codes of old, had things like God Mode where you just won't dye, so you can go on and fight the bad guy boss bare handed if you want to. Or just automatically give you the ultimate weapon, or boost your stats to the max.

Now the paid stuff is usually gust giving you extra game cash to buy equipment where otherwise you will need to play the game for days to earn it.

Now also in the old days, most "free" games were shareware. Often you had a few levels then you needed to buy the game. Today you get the full game however you either are asked the pay for game upgrades, or sift threw adds. You are still paying for the game one way or another. Unless you were happy with just playing the first few levels.

Re:Mark of times (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314943)

WTF is up with your spelling and grammar? Are you retarded? Can you stop posting until you learn to actually proof-read what you have written before you commit to it? So tired of your stupid, poorly written comments. Please go away.

Re:Mark of times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315087)

Well, it passes spell checker. I'm just picturing an in-game character that's all pink trying to throw boxes with logos on them....

Re:Mark of times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315345)

It looks like he's using (poor) speech-recognition software.

Examples (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 months ago | (#47315263)

I've heard this accusation before, but I'm not seeing much evidence of a trend.

Goggling "pay DLC cheat codes" brings up a few examples that I then looked into with gamefaqs. Dead rising 2 has some cheats you can pay for, but there were no cheats in dead rising one. Saints row 3 appears to have other cheats for free that are roughly the same thing. Sleeping dogs cheat DLCs appear to simply be shortcuts, like buying in-game money.

It seems to me like more games are simply cutting out cheats altogether, for free or paid. I suspect it's more about wanting to make sure cheats don't ruin the mandatory online multiplayer portion that all games seem to have to have, or ruin the achievement/trophy systems. GTA had always been good for cheats, but GTA V, the cheats are severely limited. Invincibility only for 5 minutes, and cheats can't be used in missions. It's annoying: replaying games with cheat codes gives more replay value: several months after beating a game fairly, I might want to play it again, but don't want to spend as much time getting the hang of it again.

Re:Mark of times (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 2 months ago | (#47315309)

The almighty $ has always been life's primary cheat code.

*B A start (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314465)

pretty sure the konami code is B A start not A B start

Platform standards (1)

happydan (948604) | about 2 months ago | (#47314483)

One of the reasons we don't get many cheat codes any more is that the platforms don't like undeclared code running in games they approved for publishing.

Re:Platform standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314539)

And all the $$ add-ons go through the same rigorous approval as the app????

Re:Platform standards (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 2 months ago | (#47314723)

They do, actually.

Re:Platform standards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314607)

You're forgiven for the conflation of cheat code and hack, because it's in the summary as well. Cheat codes are not "undeclared code". Cheat code is functionality without an obvious user interface, but they are part of the original program nevertheless. Pokes on the other hand are hacks. They're not part of the original program. Pokes changed memory content (counters, branch instructions) without any help from the program.

online play stopped cheats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314491)

I thought it made cheats go commercial. It there a first-person shooter for the PC that doesn't have wallhackers and botters?

Cheat codes are stronger than ever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314499)

cheat engine 4 life.

Re:Cheat codes are stronger than ever! (1)

neghvar1 (1705616) | about 2 months ago | (#47314567)

agree. Find those values, alter them, then freeze them

Deep dive (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | about 2 months ago | (#47314545)

Yesterday I got several Google results with "deep dive" in them. Today I turn to a Salon story and there it is in paragraph 1. Now Slashdot. Looks like a new catchphrase has hit critical mass.

Re:Deep dive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314621)

"new catchphrase"?

I've been hearing that "deep dive" for years now... It's not that new, at least not in Software Development at the company I work for...

Re:Deep dive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314661)

What's that supposed to mean anyway? A claustrophobic experience in the total dark where any wrong move will create a sediment cloud and reduce visibility to zero?

military poisoning language (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314735)

"Deep Dive" means that you take a powerpoint slide to the boss's boss and try to explain technical details to a PHB for an hour (20 minutes over schedule), after which he uses his misperceptions to benevolently damage your program.

Cheating as a tactical element! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314557)

I remember playing Warcraft2 - you could allow cheats or not.
It was great - turning invincibility off so you could attack, then turning it back on again - it was basically who could type the cheats fastest would win!
We didn't play many games like that, but the occasional one off was entertaining!

Talk to Iolo, spam, spam, spam, humbug.

Why get for free what we can make you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314569)

Why give people for free what we can make them pay for.

up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-select-start is now: 2541 4562 3664 4562

Or, on the PC (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 months ago | (#47314575)

We get to have cheat codes whenever we want and you can go shove your DLC up your ass. Just fire up a memory editor/debugger, CheatEngine being a free purpose designed one, and you are good to go.

The whole "selling cheat codes" thing is just so scummy. Particularly since I think it can lead to the "pay2win" mentality of "Maybe we should make this harder, so people need to give us money for cheats!"

Re:Or, on the PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315477)

I used to believe memory editors were complicated as hell to use. And then I discovered it's basically just scan for value, change it, go ingame and see if it's correct.

Changing money or resources is the easiest: Memorize the amount you have, scan, and then scan again and display values that have decreased by X amount.

Unfortunately, it's not as fun or as simple as typing in a quick word combo and having a car appear at your location.

This the future of slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314577)

Ever more cleverly not-so-disguised slashvertised advertorials?

DLC's sold as cheat? (1)

Ailure (853833) | about 2 months ago | (#47314613)

Honestly, this is not really commonplace, at least not on the PC platform (no idea about console). There is only a handful of games I seen that sold cheatey DLC's (and with cheatey, I'm thinking of godmode esque cheats). Where does the idea that it's common came from, rose tinted nostalgia glasses?

Cheat codes are a bit less common sure, at least game specfic ones. Some games still got a dev console you can use, but it's usually engine rather than game-specfic cheats.

How I define cheating. (1)

neghvar1 (1705616) | about 2 months ago | (#47314639)

I see cheating as gaining an unfair advantage over another player. I do mean player and not bots or the computer (no moral dilemma) I remember in Age of Empires 2, you could enable cheats for all players and those games got crazy. (despite using cheat codes, I did not see this as cheating because no one was at a disadvantage) My general rule was play it through the first time with out cheating, then cheat to your heart's delight. The two worst cases of cheating in multiplayer games was Diablo 1 and Counter Strike 1. In Diablo 1, multiplayer toons were saved on the local computer instead of online along with that there was an app (bobafett) that aloud various cheats including killing all players on the same level you were on and then claiming their gold and gear that dropped. Counter Strike 1's infamous cheat was OGC. x-ray walls, auto target lock, auto fire. It got so bad that the more skilled players were being accused of cheating if their scores were significantly above the others. (this happen to me on numerous occasions) . I can't think of any other multiplayer cheat epidemics

Re:How I define cheating. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314711)

I separate cheating from cheat codes. Very similar name, but typing in IDDQD on a single player mission is not going to do anyone harm, unless the high score is stuck on some gamer network.

The best I've seen so far were games that allowed whatever you want in single player mode, and in multiplayer, you could enable cheat codes, but was off by default.

However, games just are so humdrum these days... why even bother playing yet another FPS or another Madden variant, much less goofing around with it. The days of having cool cheats/mods and custom levels are long past us, it seems. I still have a ton of mods for some older C&C games.

C&C was interesting. No real cheating, but if you wanted to, you used a utility like BigPOP and made your own insanely powerful units.

And this ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47314647)

Bigger publishers have now realized you can actually sell these things to players as DLC. Want that special gun? Think you can unlock it with a cheat code? Nope! You've got to give us some money first!

And this is why my XBox isn't connected to the interwebs.

I'm not interested in your damned in-game economy, and I have no interest in getting my ass kicked by a 12 year old playing on-line.

I'll stick with my off-line gaming, thank you very much.

Re:And this ... (1)

Dins (2538550) | about 2 months ago | (#47314965)

I'm with ya, brother...

And this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315365)

If you intend to keep it offline, why not JTAG or RGH it which would enable game modding, game trainers as well as homebrew and emulators.

Fuck DLC and multiplayer online in particular. (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 months ago | (#47314667)

this may just be my opinion as a greybeard, but back in my day of commander keen and blake stone: aliens of gold, Cheat codes existed but players rarely used them. part of the games replayability was its challenge; its where nintendo users patented the phrase 'nintendo hard.' Sure, you always knew the kid down the block with the Game Genie, but there was a certain pride and honor to beating Duck Tales without using it.

my question is when will DLC stop? I already bought the game, and back in my day that meant half or a quarter of the content. some can argue shareware was analagous to DLC but thats a stretch. Shareware originally came on BBS systems and was a form of advertising. it convinced you to mail in a check for $25 and get that sweet copy of Duke Nukem 1. DLC just serves to segregate players by monetary class, effectively voiding any reason to care about prowess in gameplay. Some trustfund kid in hawaii will always be able to kill you with his microtransaction-approved skill enhancement that doesnt get flagged on multiplayer servers as cheating. Turning my playing field into an ayn rand capitalist paradise will certainly make me reconosider your games.

tethering me to a multiplayer universe serves only two purposes I can think, perhaps 3. Its a way to ensure you rent me a product instead of me buying it, and it prevents me from using your game without you knowing exactly how and when i decide to play it. Sometimes im not here to collaborate and that should be OK. i should be allowed to selfishly play a game by myself, i shouldnt have to 'authenticate' with your servers and i should be allowed to avoid entirely your rich tapestry of trash-talking 13 year olds and perhaps multitask with a bit of quake in one window, and code in the other.

Re:Fuck DLC and multiplayer online in particular. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314811)

When you think about it, being able to beat the trustfund kid in Hawaii without paying extra is today's Nintendo hard. They're doing you a favour. :-P

Re:Fuck DLC and multiplayer online in particular. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315051)

DLC is actually more like expansion packs a la Duke 3D Plutonium PAK or map packs for Doom where you got a little more content for your registered shareware game. I honestly have no problem with this. If I like the game and I want more of it, this is a good compromise where you don't have to wait as long for a sequel (that they might seriously screw up! [Looking at you Duke3D!])

I have a huge problem with microtransactions, which are the work of the Devil. See, rather than sell you a playable game, you are sold or given an unplayable game. Then they will sell you digital upgrades to fix a broken game. This is especially how mobile games work. I'd rather just pay full price and be able to use the game. It's like Pacman with one life and no power pills, but you can buy powerpills (99 cents each) and extra lives (life pack is 3 for $5).

Fuck DLC and multiplayer online in particular. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315137)

Valid arguments and certainly righteous, but games are actually games--that is, people playing them aren't pondering the economic and philosophical reprecussions of monetarily-attained in-game advantages. They're blowing time with entertainment, thinking about it as little as possible. Game developers and distributors can take advantage of this by charging for whatever they want, however they want, with whatever frequency they want. While we might be able to remember the 90s and say no, we aren't the bulk of their market share. 5,000 thirty+-somethings mumbling "get off my lawn" is negligible in comparison to 5,000,000 elementary/high-school students more than willing to shell out Christmas money for some digital "thing" they'll forget about next week. Yes it's silly, yes it's actually morally questionable (the same way converting real money for WoW gold coins is), but there's not numbers enough of people who actually notice and care to stop it.

Re:Fuck DLC and multiplayer online in particular. (1)

Dins (2538550) | about 2 months ago | (#47315311)

While we might be able to remember the 90s and say no, we aren't the bulk of their market share. 5,000 thirty+-somethings mumbling "get off my lawn" is negligible in comparison to 5,000,000 elementary/high-school students more than willing to shell out Christmas money for some digital "thing" they'll forget about next week. Yes it's silly, yes it's actually morally questionable (the same way converting real money for WoW gold coins is), but there's not numbers enough of people who actually notice and care to stop it.

Sadly, this is spot on. It sucks, but us old gamers aren't anywhere near enough to change things on our own. The only way we have could any leverage is if enough of us get our kids on our side. I've gotten my 16 year old son thoroughly indoctrinated in what I think is good and bad about the gaming industry today. He's my little disciple. :)

Re:Fuck DLC and multiplayer online in particular. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315267)

DLC looks like it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Before Apple put IAP in, you would pay a couple bucks for a game, such as a tower defense app or something like that. After IAP, games went from decently playable to just not fun to play unless you wanted to toss up to a C-note for stuff that the previous, non-IAP version of the game gave you when you started.

Levels, I understand. However, most IAP isn't for expansions, it is to make the game winnable in some shape or form, or just to make someone pay a bunch of cash.

Even MMOs are affected. Try an iOS or Android MMO, and if you want to try raiding or PvP... you have to buy that expensive "epic" set of items from the store, or your character will remain "Thub the Club" forever.

In general, this is probably the worst time for gaming in general since the video game crash of 1983. No new IP, no interesting, open-ended games like NWN, just more FPS games. It is sad that the only real items to look forward to would be EQ: Next, and maybe WoW's tossing in of The Sims into one's level grind in the next expansion.

Heck, even an old school single-player Ultima (perhaps a rewrite of Ultima 7-9, especially 9, so they actually make some sense) written with no DLC, just focus on gameplay and decent graphics, would be something to look forward to. Same with a single player Wing Commander game.

They can't sell cheats anymore (4, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47314691)

I think the reason they don't have cheats anymore is not because they can sell them as DLC, but because they CAN'T sell them anymore. If you look at it, cheats were first invented as a method of copy-protection, rather than a testing device.

It's most evident in a lot of older NES games (usually ones that were made before battery-backed saves) where the most commonly used "cheats" were so-called continue codes - button inputs that could be used to continue after a game over. These things were all over the place, and were usually listed in the way back of the game's manual. This was mostly a tactic to stop rentals and re-sale, since there was no easy way to look up the codes and unless you had the manual or knew someone who did, you'd be out of luck. Even the Konami Code is an example of this: unless you are very highly skilled at Contra, which was one of the first games to feature the code, you are probably not going to finish Contra without the extra lives granted by the code.

Re:They can't sell cheats anymore (1)

AnOnyxMouseCoward (3693517) | about 2 months ago | (#47314837)

I'm not sure if that's copy-protection or just lazy coding/porting from arcades to consoles. On the arcade, it makes sense to make a game hard enough that the player has to insert a few quarters to keep going, which is the whole business model. Since you don't put quarters into your console and paid $70 for your game, it also makes sense that you get continues for free, and that way no one has to change the gameplay.

I did face copy-protection in the form of passwords, but that was mostly just to continue playing, not to make the game easier (ex: Lands of Lore).

Re:They can't sell cheats anymore (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47314903)

It's definitely copy-protection. There are a bunch of instances of games that were actually made harder in the United States to discourage rentals - compare, for instance, the Japanese version of Battletoads to the United States version. The Japanese version is MUCH, MUCH easier. Battletoads doesn't have a continue code, but it does have the "Mega Warps" that I believe are mentioned in the manual but are very well hidden from the average player.

Re:They can't sell cheats anymore (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 months ago | (#47315207)

Sometimes they stopped trying to hide it and just resorted to 'enter the fifth character of the ninth line on page eighteen.'

I got Transartica as a (legal) three-game bundle set, all one one CD. I had endless trouble with that - it kept asking, but never accepted my answers, because I didn't have the original manual. The combined manual I had (Transartica, Fairy Godmother and... some game I forget) used different page numbering. I didn't discover the solution until some years after purchase. The front label of the CD case was actually folded in two: If removed from the CD case and opened up, tucked away inside it was a page/line/word list chart. The publisher had included it, but not made it easy to find.

Re:They can't sell cheats anymore (2)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#47315033)

Pretty sure that was more so the developers could test their code without having to play through an hour of all the other levels. And for the testers, too.

There has been a lot of evolution of cheat codes.
At first the game companies probably just left them in because it was easier than removing them. (conditional compilation and debug/release targets? what's that?)
Then they left them in because they became cool.
Then they made games with hundreds of them so they could monetize them in various ways like "official" strategy guides (this was in the days before web ads)
Then they didn't care.
Then it's possible that the console manufacturers cracked down on "hidden" stuff because they got so paranoid about ways to break into their system. (never mind that hacked save files on memory cards have been one of the best ways to break into a system)

No idea how cheat codes can be any form of copy protection, whether console or PC. In the '80s, computer games often had code sheets to run the game, but those weren't cheats, they just let you in.

Re:They can't sell cheats anymore (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47315347)

I think the reason they don't have cheats anymore is not because they can sell them as DLC, but because they CAN'T sell them anymore. If you look at it, cheats were first invented as a method of copy-protection, rather than a testing device.

It's most evident in a lot of older NES games (usually ones that were made before battery-backed saves) where the most commonly used "cheats" were so-called continue codes - button inputs that could be used to continue after a game over. These things were all over the place, and were usually listed in the way back of the game's manual. This was mostly a tactic to stop rentals and re-sale, since there was no easy way to look up the codes and unless you had the manual or knew someone who did, you'd be out of luck. Even the Konami Code is an example of this: unless you are very highly skilled at Contra, which was one of the first games to feature the code, you are probably not going to finish Contra without the extra lives granted by the code.

From the wiki: The Konami Code was created by Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who was developing the home port of the 1985 arcade game Gradius, a scrolling shooter released on the Famicom and NES in 1986. Finding the game too difficult to play through during testing, he created a cheat code to give the player a full set of power-ups (normally attained gradually throughout the game)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

The code was no copy protection, that is the lamest claim I've heard yet. Not to mention when Gradius came out, resales of games wasn't the big business it became later. No Gamestop to buy games, and what was to be come EB (then later Gamestop) didn't buy used games back then. Granted there was small shops that did it, but it wasn't a big problem at all back then. Now back then computer games used code wheels and other lame tools as copy protection, but I think even by then that practice was dying out.

Cheat codes were put into games for 1 purpose. To cheat. Usually for developers that wasn't very good at the game, so they could debug different parts of it they'd normally have trouble getting to. Much like Easter Eggs, it became something some developers like to do.

Not everything that gives advantage = cheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314701)

First, I think cheating only applies in multiplayer. A cheat in single player is just a mod the devs hardcoded in themselves.

In multiplayer, I would define cheating as an advantage that is limited to some, but it wasn't intended to be limited.

Under my definition, DLC and P2W aren't cheats, as it isn't intended that other players can't get them. The devs totally want everybody to pay and get that advantage.

I'm not saying the ideas of DLC and P2W are good, but just that they're not "cheats".

Zyzzy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314709)

My favorite is still "xyzzy" from the old Adventure game: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xyzzy

Re:Zyzzy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314871)

That's wasn't a cheat code. It was a magic word that was part of the game, along with plugh, plover, etc.

Razzle Dazzle Root Beer (1)

dottrap (1897528) | about 2 months ago | (#47315173)

Suck Blue Frog (Quest for Glory 2)
Command parsers were fun.

Game bugs easier cheat around than fix them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314729)

Ive seen buggy levels, poor porting and such crappy games that didnt have cheat codes go into the trash (or if heard about before buying never were bought)

Its a good way (for solo games without the achievement rubbish that is just a forced online requirement coersion to shove ads down players throats) for the company to have a game with bugs not require so much patching (cheat around it instead of have to fix)

Many games have a few really poorly designed (or ported) spots that just dont work worth a damn for many players and if the company is stupid enough to have that spot in the block further content access (without a simple way around it) then they deserve the bad reviews (if you can find an honest non-aasslicking reviewer) and loss of sales for their incompetance.

Armored Patrol (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 months ago | (#47314753)

Not a cheat code per se, but when you play Armored Patrol on your TRS-80 Model 1, there is a 'trick' that allows you unlimited energy.

If you back your tank up to the edge of 'the universe' and then point your barrel back into the arena at bad guys you can just keep shooting and shooting and get an unlimited score - You'll never run out of energy and no tank or robot can kill you.

I remember leaving for school in 1982 with the space bar taped down, and then coming home to a zillion points.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Who pays for porntipsguzzardo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314759)

Who pays for porntipsguzzardo now that we have the Internet?

Oh the memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47314777)

This brings back memories... I worked on an xbox game around 10 years ago and we added in a bunch of cheat codes. The one that never got published was one that added names of the developers and our families to all of the bad guys. The fat enemy was our boss. Haha.

Fun times!

Old games were more difficult (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 2 months ago | (#47314807)

Another reason cheat codes existed is that without them, a lot of players couldn't finish the game. I think there are several reasons for this: the arcade roots, a larger percentage of hardcore gamers, the need to prevent the player from finishing an expensive game quickly after buying or renting it and game design being a much younger discipline.

Don't get me wrong, I actually prefer today's easier games, but it does mean that you don't really need a cheat code anymore to finish most games. Instead of having the difficulty increase a lot as the levels progress, games now have selectable difficulty from the start and achievements to add challenge for more talented and/or experienced players.

Re:Old games were more difficult (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315141)

I'm not sure I prefer today's easier games. The amount of handholding is frankly insulting sometimes. Look at Earthworm Jim HD and the original game. The original game had no need for arrows as if to say "over here stupid." Some things were a little obscure like killing the first boss, the Sega CD had a simple message that said "use the crate." The HD version has a fucking 4 page tutorial for fighting the boss. Part of the challenge of old games was learning strategies to find your own path to victory. Not being told how to win and then testing to see how well you can follow directions. Well I gotta go, there are some damned kids on my lawn.

Re: Old games were more difficult (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 2 months ago | (#47315457)

I bought the latest tomb raider. It was dumbed down so much it wasn't even fun to play.

The article gets the most famous cheat code wrong? (4, Informative)

chad.koehler (859648) | about 2 months ago | (#47314921)

Isn't it B -> A? The article's title has it as A -> B. I find this quite distracting.

Pinball machines also had it (2)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 2 months ago | (#47315039)

Some pinball machines easter eggs and some even gives you extra points.
http://hem.bredband.net/b25718... [bredband.net]

Monkey Island 2 (1)

j2.718ff (2441884) | about 2 months ago | (#47315139)

I believe the code was Ctrl-Alt-W, which allowed you to instantly win the game. It was awesome because of how pointless it was. It brought you to the final scenes of the game. In one of them, a character's dialog was replaced with something like "I wonder why I'm standing here", because if you cheated you way to the end, you wouldn't know the story.

DLC Shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47315143)

I first heard this acronym about a month ago from my 12 year old son. What? Someone asked in this thread, when will DLC go away? It will probably never go away and here is why, in my opinion: Kids are playing games on line and the spoiled kids whose parents give them anything they ask for buy all of the DLC shit and go ahead in the game. I am awesome! I beat the boss and leveled up! The kids who don't get to buy the DLC shit and get left behind in the game, either nag their parents - please can I buy weapon pack XYZ!!! - please! - or, if they can, beat the system by being really good at the game which is detrimental in its own way as it means spending too much time - wasting too much time playing stupid games. It is pitting the asshole parents against the parents who actually want to instill some sense of values in their kids. I think my kid will learn in the future that his DLC loving chums are in fact loser douchebags, but it will take time to learn that. Right now he has this neck breathing brain dead friend who he looks up to a lot (the kid blows his nose in his t-shirt - disgusting child, idiot parents). I can't tell him - your 'friend' is a fucking retard - he needs to learn that himself and find better friends, but this is what one is up against and this is part of what the game company pimps are exploiting. The vulnerability and insecurity of youth. Keeping up with your 'friends'. Staying popular. Simple as that.

Easy / Difficult modes (1)

j2.718ff (2441884) | about 2 months ago | (#47315199)

When I was a kid, I didn't have the hand-eye coordination to beat the tough video games. Cheat codes (and I include things like warp zones in this category) allowed me to beat the game and feel cool. When I was older, and decided to dust some of these games off, playing the whole way through without cheating provided a new level of fun. I suspect that cheat codes helped make games appealing to players of different abilities.

Why I stopped playing games (1)

JohnFen (1641097) | about 2 months ago | (#47315581)

The advent of all games involving a "social" context, requiring access to the internet, and the use of DLC and micropayments, is what made me give quit gaming entirely. The cheat code business is a side-effect of this. This is one of the items on my short list of things that the internet has made worse.

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