Video games are, without a doubt, one of the most popular forms of entertainment in today’s world. The evolution of the medium has allowed for the widespread success of games for children and adults alike. Since the 1980s, gaming has evolved from simple games like Pong, Pitfall, and Donkey Kong into an incredibly diverse catalogue of experiences. Nowadays, gamers experience cinematic, narrative driven stories and compete in online multiplayer matches rife with action and explosions that would appease even the loftiest Michael Bay enthusiast. When thinking about video games, another thing comes to mind: Cheat Codes. Video games and cheat codes go together like an Oreo and milk; the perfect combination of the two can lead to some incredibly fun and exciting times.
Cheat codes have been around since the infancy stages of digital games. In the early days, cheats were used to unlock things in the game that would make the player’s time easier, be it getting more ammunition for a weapon or additional health. Gathered for you here are a collection of cheats that you just might have forgotten about or some that probably slipped your mind since cheat codes just aren’t quite what they used to be! Leave a comment down below of what your fondest gaming memories are and if you still use some of these cheat codes.
15. Unlimited Turbo
Unlimited Turbo has to be one of the most satisfying cheats to use in racing games since it’s a tactic that’s easy to learn yet oh-so-difficult to master. Sure, anyone can slam down on the nitrous to propel his car into a guard rail and ride that into the curve before slingshotting into first place, but the true test of skill comes from riding that unlimited turbo all the way up to a corner and drifting around in a perfect blend of skid marks and smoke before slamming onto the gas, satisfying the inner speed demon in all of us. It’s hard for a cheat like this to be prevalent in modern racing games due to the proliferation of racers’ online components, which would give players an unfair advantage in a multiplayer race. So many racing games nowadays are so focused on realism and simulation driving mechanics that unlimited turbo would break the atmosphere of the game.
14. Jet Packs
The jet pack is easily one of the coolest cheats to ever grace the video-game world, hands down. Known primarily for its inclusion in the Grand Theft Auto series of games, the jet pack affords players a level of freedom and speed that would be otherwise impossible. Donning the straps of the jet pack and taking off make the player feel like Iron Man as he soars through the sky and weaves in between buildings, bridges, and any other obstacle that may be encountered along the way. My most memorable moments with the jet pack cheat came from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, flying around the desert and into the city for hours on end. In the newest game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, players have been working for years to figure out how to use the jet pack or wonder if it even exists thanks to some mysterious drawings on one of the game’s mountains depicting aliens and what looks like a stick figure piloting a jet pack. The world may never know!
13. Unlock Everything
The whole concept of the “unlock everything” cheat was always a double-edged sword. Do you spend all your time working your way through a game, enjoying every little bit of exploration and adventure a game has to offer, or do you become a superpowered being from the get go to make the experience easier? For me, the games I always used the “unlock everything” cheat for were the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. I never had the time or patience to play through songs I hadn’t heard of and wanted to get to my favorite tracks right away. Eventually, I found myself trying those new tracks and becoming a fan of music I would’ve otherwise never found. In a modern-gaming era, the sad reality of unlocking everything lies behind mountains of DLC that should’ve been included in the base game but are instead sold as micro transactions to help the player unlock in-game items immediately.
12. Big Head Mode
Big head Mode was a purely aesthetic cheat code for games like NBA Jam and other sports titles. It was absolutely hilarious to see characters like Shaq and Michael Jordan balloon up and take up so much of the screen with their big mugs. Big head mode is still a relevant feature in today’s gaming culture, but the way it’s accessed has changed in some games. For example, Just Cause 3, a huge open-world action-adventure game, features a big-head-mode easter egg that’s accessed by picking up and using a specific weapon as opposed to entering a specific sequence of codes. Thankfully, the code still exists in some present-day series, namely the Batman Arkham series of games that requires players to hold down the controller’s shoulder buttons while rotating the thumb sticks to achieve the hilariously goofy big head mode because nothing is more terrifying than the World’s Greatest Detective blocking out the entire Moon with his gigantic noggin.
NoClip was the first ever video game cheat I ever learned about and is considered a console command instead of a traditional cheat code. Enabling NoClip allows players to move through walls, barriers, and pretty much any solid object with ease, meaning players can bypass the pesky hunt for a keycard on the other side of the map and simply phase through a door, continuing on with their journey. Of course, the downside to using this tactic is that it removes the feeling of satisfaction for completing a tricky puzzle or finding a hidden key card since you’re playing the game in a way the developers didn’t intend, but let’s face it: we’ve all had to use this cheat at some point in our lives.
10. Paintball Mode
Paintball mode is a gameplay modifier that changes certain effects in a game, mainly the bullets and their impact. When enabled, players shot in paintball mode will be covered in bright colors and swaths of paint, making them stick out like a sore thumb to the other players in the match. This can be used to the tactical advantage of other players by marking their opponents for all to see. Another benefit of this mode was its ability to make a game less violent. For example, Call of Duty: World at War was an intense World War Two shooter that had gruesome deaths and dismemberment effects. These could be turned off or replaced by the paintball mode, appeasing parents who might be worried about the content of the games their children play.
9. God Mode
Ever wondered what it would feel like to play as Superman in your favorite game? Well, look no further than God Mode. Known also as Invincibility/No Damage Mode/Invulnerability, this cheat lets you wreak havoc on anyone and anything that you deem unworthy without any of the repercussions brought on by death. Go right ahead and jump off of the tallest building in the game; you’ll be able to pick yourself right back up from the crater you leave in the ground and continue on with your rampage. Stuck on a boss that somehow always kills you in one hit? God mode will let you take them down without so much as an ounce of effort from the player. However, the downside to this cheat is similar to that of using NoClip in that it goes against the grain in terms of how the developers designed the game and intended you to play. But sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do to survive!
8. Flying Car Mode
I was first exposed to flying car mode in the classic PS2 game “The Simpsons: Hit and Run.” Now, back then, nobody really paid attention to just what this game was all about, but it was essentially a parody of Grand Theft Auto, which I was way too young to play at the time, so the Simpsons had to do. For those of you who’ve never had the luxury of playing a game with a flying car cheat, it’s pretty straightforward. Upon entering the cheat code, the effect of gravity on cars shifts and makes it possible for cars to speed up fast enough and eventually take off into the sky where they use inverted controls, making the car control as if it were a plane. This cheat led to some of the funniest and most formative gaming moments of my childhood. Even today, the flying-car ability is still very popular although it now formulates itself in the form of a mod to a pre-existing game, like Grand Theft Auto V.
7. Bunny Hop
The early to mid-2000s was dominated by extreme sports and athletic events that led to the overpopulation of X-treme sports games and their proliferation in the electronic entertainment world. Whether it was Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX, Tony Hawk‘s Pro Skater, or Kelly Slater‘s Pro Surfer, extreme sports were in high demand during the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube eras. This cornucopia of extreme entertainment found its way into games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Grand Theft Auto has always been a pioneer for giving gamers a full, rounded experience and the inclusion of a bicycle was a no-brainer. Without using any cheats whatsoever, the bicycle is capable of hopping small distances, allowing the rider to make it over a curb or through some other obstacle. Using the Bunny Hop cheat meant that the bicycle jump was multiplied by a scale of ten, making for some incredible montage tricks and stunts and for adding a different flavor to standard gameplay.
6. Play as Master Hand
In the video game fighting series Super Smash Brothers, players compete against computer-controlled enemies and other players in a fight to the death using some of the most memorable characters in the library of Nintendo history. The series first debuted on the Nintendo 64 and has seen an iteration of the franchise on each successive home console as well as the Nintendo 3DS (here’s hoping for news on a Nintendo Switch edition coming soon). In the game’s adventure mode, each session would end with a battle against a giant gloved hand that looks like it was taken right off of Mario and increased in size exponentially. Did you know it’s possible to play as Master Hand in Super Smash Brothers Melee on the Nintendo Gamecube? It’s a tricky cheat that requires precise timing and seemingly glitches the game to work, but there’s nothing quite like obliterating your opponent with the game’s final boss.
5. Level Select
In the modern gaming world, having to remember cheat codes to access different levels is a thing of the past. Thanks to larger memory storage in consoles, games are capable of creating their own save data so that the player never has to pull out a pen and paper to write down a complicated series of button directions or codes. In general, it seems as if levels as a whole are slowly disappearing as more and more games shift into the open world format that has become so incredibly popular over the past decade. Games like Call of Duty have even begun shifting to a more open-ended single-player experience so that the player has a reason to come back and continue playing the game long after the campaign ends. Thankfully, games like DOOM (2016) have kept the old-school level design, rife with secrets and hidden areas to explore that no doubt helped make it one of the highest-rated shooters that year.
4. Action Replay/ Gameshark
While not technically a cheat, Action Replay and Gameshark hold an incredibly nostalgic place in my heart. These external means of modification would allow players to access game content that would be otherwise impossible to see from just the base game itself, and this is what made the accessory so popular. Some of the gameplay modifiers you could enable included changing the way gravity affected your character, meaning you could make them lighter, thus allowing them to make a difficult jump with ease, or increase the gravity so that players could nail a precise jump with relative ease. In the modern gaming world, where games are now sold as diverse platforms with more to them than just the base game itself, Gameshark and similar modification tools have become a thing of the past. I still miss the days of being able to play as Wario in Super Mario 64 or being able to add a longer timer to Superman 64 so that I could actually finish one of its atrocious levels.
3. Unlimited Lives
If there’s one thing that retro video games relied heavily on, it was the life system. Most games would start you out with around three or four lives, and if you lost all of those over the course of a single level, that was it, game over. It had the potential to get infuriating at times, especially in some of the harder levels of classic platformers like Super Mario Bros. or Crash Bandicoot. Of course, developers would give players the opportunity to gain more lives during the course of the level, usually by gathering one hundred of the game’s collectible currency that would then be converted into an extra life. For gamers that wanted to be on the safe side, it was possible to exploit games like Super Mario Bros. by jumping on a turtle shell repeatedly against a staircase until the extra lives started stockpiling themselves for a rainy day.
2. Gamecube Startup Easter Eggs
The Nintendo Gamecube was the first console I ever owned, and it gave me some of the greatest gaming experiences that I still hold near and dear to my heart. For years, I used this console daily, playing some of the best games of all time, from Super Mario Sunshine to Spider-Man 2, yet I didn’t find out about these nifty Easter eggs until I was a freshman in college. Before you turn on your system, make sure you have a controller plugged in, hold the “Z” button down, and then press the power button to turn on the console. The startup noise will be replaced with a squeaking toy sound that’s rounded off with the giggle of a child before loading your game. The other alternate startup sound requires four controllers, so you just might need an extra set of hands. Hold the “Z” button down on all four controllers to hear a clacking sound that ends with a satisfying ding, and then, enjoy one of your favorite games!
1. The Konami Code
There is no cheat code more important or widespread than the Konami Code. My first exposure to the cheat was on the NES while playing Contra with my older brother. He showed me the sequence I needed to input, and ever since that day, I’ve never forgotten it. The cheat consists of entering a rapid succession of inputs on a controller: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, and then A. Sometimes, the code would also include shoulder buttons or the pressing of select/start. I would later learn that Contra wasn’t the first game to use this code and that that honor belonged to Gradius, an old-school space shooter. This cheat code was so popular that it even managed to transcend the world of video games and would be seen on a variety of other locations, from Facebook to the name of a song played by the band “Deftones.”
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