Cheaters Never Prosper?

Upon my younger brother obtaining a cheat cartridge for his Nintendo DS, I decided to look into cheats a bit more. Personally I’d always just thought of cheats as an easy way to bypass a certain level I was stuck on in my latest PS2 game or even for some light entertainment with a cheat along the lines of the bad guys having over-sized heads.

Cheating in video games involves a player of a video game creating an advantage beyond the bounds of normal gameplay”

So to start, here’s a quick history of cheats: cheats have been used in video games for their entire history, with cheat codes initially used for play testing purposes. Soon after, cheating was largely exploited by the more technologically minded gamers because of the actual difficulty of enabling said cheats. This involved reprogramming a tiny portion of the loaded game which was stored on a gamer’s computer memory. Thereafter people quickly began to catch onto the popularity of this method of game exploitation and a cheat industry began to emerge following the evolution of gaming systems. Cheating was physically packed and sold as a product, stamping a distinct footprint in the gaming culture from that time on…

Then we arrive at the modern use of cheating, to find it more popular than ever! But there has been a change or two:

  • Having to reprogram a loaded game has been thrown out of the window. This method has been replaced by cheat codes and trainers – quite a lot of games even have an option to “Enter Cheat Codes”
  • The majority of cheats are not implemented by the modern gamer, but by the actual game developers

Game developers aren’t the only ones that have noticed the popularity and demand for cheat codes either. Several gaming magazines dedicate a whole section to cheat codes and/or walkthroughs for the latest title on console or computer. One of the assumptions as to why developers include cheats in their games is to make it more accessible for the casual gamer that may not have the time to complete the game alone. But I’m pretty sure the point in buying a game is to play it all the way through, and get enjoyment out of the time spent playing it – well at least that’s why I buy games?

However third party cheat methods such as trainers involve the use of external programs, which raise a number of copyright laws. Said issues were brought up in a case where Nintendo unsuccessfully sued Lewis Galoob Toys in reference to its ‘Game Genie’. The claim was that the device created derivative works of games and violated copyright law.

I’m against cheats for use in completing games or any form of multiplayer gameplay – surely I’m not the only one that feels terribly guilty for the past times I’ve done this (that being a walk-through for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)? But for a bit of fun or perhaps to spice up the game and provide replay factor, I don’t mind a code or two. Me using money to buy any form of cheating device is really unlikely though…







15 responses to “Cheaters Never Prosper?”

  1.  avatar

    I can’t remember the last time I cheated in a game. Chances are it was around the MegaDrive era when cheat codes would often be released before the actual games but even then, the general rule was that a game MUST be completed honestly first before using cheats to fool around with afterwards.

  2. John.B avatar

    God, they still sell cheat devices?!

  3. NorfolkNChance avatar

    I remember back in the day using pokes on the speccie 🙂
    Paige every time you put up an article that refers back to the old days I feel that little bit older… I’m only blooming 32!

    I’m against cheating and even against help guides. Every time I see a cheat/help guide I think of my cousin playing Tomb Raider, doing only what was in the guide. It defeated the whole purpose of the game and put me off playing TR for ever.

  4. Michael avatar

    I’m not sure a walkthrough is cheating as you still have to play the game as originally intended. That said, I dislike (using) them as it takes from the point of the game… unless you’re completely stumped after trying everything you can think of! Then, and ONLY then, would I do it.

  5. Laura avatar

    I’m finding the whole re-setting of the COD:WAW cheaters ranks very amusing! A friend of mine lost his rank and he swears he only used it in custom games, yeah yeah pull the other one Rich 🙂

    I think walkthroughs are great, if you get lost in a game or are completely baffled by a puzzle they can help you get back on track. I can’t imagine using one for a whole playthrough of a game that’d take all the fun out of it.

  6. Rob avatar

    Yeah for me I only cheat when i completed a game. GTA being the prime example. Infinite ammo = killing fest

  7. City avatar

    I use walkthroughs when I get massively stuck, and I tend to not like them for ruining stories etc

    Ive used a few cheats – unlocking all the songs on GH: world tour as there was loads of us wanting to play and we hadnt completed career mode yet, tomb raider II to make lara blow up just for the hell of it, and there was one for Action Fighter (Sega Master System II) where you could enter different player names for different abilites.

  8.  avatar

    I dont use guides myself but i have skimmed a game FAQ from time to time.

    most of the time the answer to your problem is right in front of your face that when you look at it all the time you cant see it. other times its the equivalent of space 4 pixels up and down >:-(

    I owe many a good nights sleep to game FAQs

  9. Lorna avatar

    Like Michael, I don’t see guides and walkthroughs as cheating as long as they aren’t used before the game is even played as a sort of step by step Bible. I will use walkthroughs, guides, or videos when I am stuck, fed up, need a good map, lost, or beyond crying blood over something. In thge case of the Mirror’s Edge Time trails, it is irrelevant anyway as you still need the dexteritry to pull off the moves.

    I am however aginst the use of cheat codes from the off which make playing the game pointless…my caveat to that, is the Dizzy games and most others on the Spectrum which you needed infinite lives for – and then, in many cases still struggled to complete the things! Like another poster here, I am surprised that cheat carts etc are still sold!

    I own a lot of guides and am partial to some special eds, such as the HB Fallout 3 one and the Fable 2 special which came with a gorgeous art book. What I don’t do however, is spoil the story for myself. They are good for flagging up Easter eggs, finding shitty collectables which I refuse to spend hours struggling on myself, and in the case of the wonderful Oblivion guide, giving backstory or choice consequences that you may have missed. The only time I will read ahead is if I have a nasty feeling that by doing something I will render a batch of other quests unplayable or pass a point of no return.

  10. Dave avatar

    Ah the Game Genie, the catalyst for many a legal battle.

    Yeah I never use cheats anymore, just head over to gamefaqs if I’m stuck on a game to the point that it stops becoming fun. The Blood Ties mission on Fallout 3 was one such incident, got so stuck for some reason (probably cause I’m impatient and skipped some of the vital dialogue mind you)

    Ace article Paige.

  11. Andy Turner avatar
    Andy Turner

    Back in the 16 bit days I used to love some harmless old cheats to get to my favourite bit of the game or find things that my child level patience wasn’t up to figuring out the way it was intended…sadly as an unexpected side effect years later old button combinations still fill corners of my brain that I could be using for learning a foreign language or remembering loved ones birthdays….in fact it probably makes me a slightly bad person to be able to tell you more confidently that up, down, left , right (listen for the ring) hold A press start is the level select for Sonic on the Megadrive, Pausing on Aladdin on the same console and pressing A,B,B,A,A,B,B,A skips a level and to enable the blood on Mortal Kombat you press Down up left left A right down during the preachy screen at the start…than my mothers birthday.

    In terms of the modern era I’ll look at a guide if im really stuck as a last resort (literally if its getting to a point that im going to switch off and not play the game for months.)

    The only exception I make to this is with RPG games which I like to work out for myself but have a list to hand of things like summons / spells / some other third thing I might collect since I get a little bit OCD about getting them all and since FF8 stung me with a missable one years ago and given the length of time you put into an RPG id rather be safe than sorry.

    PS Just kidding about your birthday mum 13th of August xxx

  12. Paige avatar

    Haha, sorry about making you feel older!
    I agree with the use of walk-throughs if you’re absolutely stumped with a puzzle or what not, but then you get the people that keep it by their side all the way through a game, or just follow it step-by-step before even trying it themselves.

  13. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    I don’t consider game guides cheating, they’re more of an aid when you have reached your breaking point of patience with a certain part of the game.

    It’s the people who exploit glitches in multiplayer games that really grind my gears…

  14. XanderSan avatar

    What’s interesting is a lot of people have stopped people button-codes/cheats in their games because of the way Achievements/Trophies work. This seems kind of contradictory, as surely cheating to finish a game like Doom was already robbing you of your own sense of achievement anyway.

    It just seems really strange that your own sense of achievement isn’t as important as their idea of what should be an achievement, so much so that they basically protect the integrity of the achievement by not including cheat codes and the like.

    I think the Konami games are the most interesting in terms of cheating since you can unlock certain bonuses like the Bandanna in MGS or the ridiculous alien beam in Silent Hill 3 which themselves are cheats, but instead of robbing you of your sense of accomplishment, they are actually rewarding to unlock and use in themselves. They are still technically cheating since they horifically break the games’ difficulty, but it feels like you’ve really earnt that right to cheat, rather than feeling like you’ve cheated.

  15. Andy Turner avatar
    Andy Turner

    It’s true….if you collect a “Cheat” weapon or unlock a cheat that makes you super invincible by completing a game on it’s most difficult setting…is it really cheating any more?

    I’m thinking the likes of Super Dante mode on original Devil May Cry, which made you pretty much god but you had to finish the game on the all but impossible Dante must Die mode first. Or having a rocket launcher on resident evils 2 – veronica required you to finish the game in usually less than 3 hours having used hardly any first aid spray and not saving the game…I always considered these less cheats and more rewards for hard work.

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