As I sat down to play through, Celesteit’s hard not to realize how helpful and necessary cheat codes can be. Not only this but they can be incredibly hilarious to mess around with at times. Cheat codes have always been a fun way to get the most of the game or just simply help to get through difficult sections. With a history spanning from the NES-era of games, it’s strange to notice how these have gone away this generation. Game developers need to bring back cheat codes since they can be some of the most memorable features in a release.

Cheats have been around in many different forms. From the original Konami code to those found in the Grand Theft Auto series, they can all have a range of benefits. Whether it be a Big Head Mode, Infinite Ammo, additional lives, or having every character wearing a mustache, they can all add to a game’s enjoyability. Who doesn’t get a kick out of messing around with some the in-game settings? Being able to quickly summon a jet out of the sky can make things feel more game-like and less realistic which can be a great thing. Not all games need to be taken too seriously, just look at the recent Tomb Raider reboots or Batman: Arkham City. Each of these included a Big Head Mode and other features to help the overall experience feel more enjoyable. Another noteworthy addition is Doughnut Drake from Uncharted in which the lead character puts on a few pounds during the campaign.

Cheat Codes

Doughnut Drake

It’s not as if cheats need to be included from the start, no. Rather, they can be included after a game has been completed or through unlockables. Ratchet and Clank from the PlayStation 2 era allowed for cheats if certain “Skill Points” were completed, as well as finishing the game. They help make a player want to load up another save and have things feel a bit wackier. In addition to this, some games become more memorable thanks to their cheat codes. Goldeneye 007’s DK Mode, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Paintball Mode, even NHL Hitz 2002 gets in on the fun with its Big Puck Mode. Not only these but also just playing as Bill Clinton in NBA Jam creates some hilarious gameplay moments. All of these help their games become fond memories in the minds of those who played them.

Cheat Codes

Cheat codes can also take the form of Assist Modes. Take the indie game, Celeste, for example. Developer Matt Makes Games had included an Assist Mode to help those who may not be the best at the game be able to complete it. In their words, “We understand that every player is different. If Celeste is inaccessible to you due to its difficulty, we hope that Assist Mode will allow you to enjoy it.” No need to “git gud” or die trying in order to experience the game in its entirety. A series like Dark Souls, Code Veinor even Super Meat Boy could become much more enjoyable to a larger group of players. Dark Souls 3 has some of the best level design and world-building in modern-day gaming but how could somebody experience this if they can’t pass the tutorial?

Including cheats to help complete games isn’t something out of the ordinary. The infamous Konami Code lets users have 30 extra lives in Contra back in the day or you could just buy a Game Genie. Game Genies included loads of different cheats that could be implemented into a game that helped make a title a bit easier. Having more ammo than ordinary or extra health may seem unfair to some but to others, it could be a huge savior. Instead of being stuck from experiencing a release in its entirety due to a skill gap, why not just let them tweak the rules a bit? It’s not hurting anyone or diminishing from another player’s experience since they can be turned off and on. There’s no reason to gate-keep a title so others won’t enjoy it.

More and more games release without any inclusion of cheat codes which is saddening. These add a new layer of fun to titles and make them feel more like a video game, which they should at times. Cosmetic cheats are some of the best features in a game and ultimately become a topic of conversation among friends because of the secretive nature of discovering them. More assistive cheats can also help players experience a game from start to finish easier. No need to become frustrated or feel as if all hope is lost from not beating a level. Games should be fun and not be taken too seriously. Developers create them for players to create memorable experiences and want to keep coming back for more. Cheat codes are a way to achieve this and should begin to make its comeback during the next generation of consoles.