Hello Master Malstrom
I was reading you post about Dark Souls and about how introducing an easy mode would take away part of what made the game special. In it you said that “At least during the 8-bit generation, they had to buy a game genie and experience the shame of cheating.” This got me thinking. What happened to the idea of having cheat codes built into the game? Contra was a really difficult game. But did they give an easy mode? No. They kept the game difficult and gave the player the option of using the Konami code to cheat the system if they felt they needed to. One could even think of Warp Zones in Mario as a type of cheat code in a way. Sure you can beat the game without cheat codes, anyone could, just as Mario is terribly difficult with Warp Zones. But that would just make beating the game without cheat codes all the more a bragging right. After all, the player who cheated would have seen the late game content first hand. He’s know what someone had to go through to beat the game and appreciate it all the more.
This seems like a much more elegant solution to me than just implementing more difficulty levels and it amazes me more games don’t do this today. Cheat codes are a lot less work for the developer, they don’t interfere with the experience at all for the normal player (since you have to look for them to find them and those who don’t need them won’t look), and, depending on how they’re done, are a much more exciting way to play the game than merely playing on some watered done version of the game, giving them value to the normal players as well. After all who wouldn’t love beating an incredibly difficult game and celebrating by turning on a bunch of cheat codes and mowing down all of your most hated foes with ridiculously overpowered weapons and attacks? Perhaps a cheat list could even be a reward for beating a game. Having easy modes makes the game feel dumbed down. But having cheat codes lets the player make themselves overpowered should they wish to be. Seems pretty obvious to me which is superior. What do you think?
This is a great idea. Bring back cheat codes! When people got stuck in old school games, they’d cheat! Say it with me, everyone. SAY IT:
Up, up, down, down…
The readers smile and join in…
“Left, right, left, right…”
And start! Very good, readers! We loved our cheat codes back then.
So what happened to our cheat codes? A big clue is with the Blizzard games. Warcraft 2 and 3 had cheat codes. So did Starcraft. But Starcraft 2 did not. Why? What happened to my ‘Black Sheep Wall’ or ‘Power Overwhelming’ cheats?
The Internet changed everything. Since Starcraft 2 was connected to the Internet and had ‘achievements’, there were no cheat codes. We still cheated though. It is probably fixed now but you can swap save games. It’s much more fun to do the Raid Night achievement by just downloading the save file and calling it a day instead of playing eight hours straight (yes, it is an actual achievement. Horrible).
Games should allow us to cheat. They are, after all, just games. When people screw up in a game, they want to cheat so they don’t feel the experience was worthless. Oh snap! My Vic Viper ran into a bullet. Start a high level with no power ups? Screw that! Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, and start. Now this is more like it.
Instead of hearing more of ‘let us make games where it is not about winning or losing’, how about allowing us to cheat like we used to? If winning and losing are not relevant, then give the player the power to cheat (not in multiplayer of course).
Easy mode makes me feel like a LOSER. But cheats makes me feel CLEVER. The warp zones in Mario always make me feel smart when I use them. People would rather be the cheater than the loser who is on ‘easy mode’.
This is a screenshot of my naked wizard slaying an Inferno boss. It was a bug that allowed wizards to gain invincibility. I had more fun on Diablo 3 that day than any other. It was fun not having to deal with the BS mechanics for once and just see stuff die.
I can cheat in Minecraft. I can cheat in old RTS games. I can cheat in First Person Shooters. I can cheat in most of the oldschool games. Why can’t I cheat now?
“The Internet needs to ensure proper gameplay enforcement,” replies a stuffy voice.
And if Golf had an Internet connection preventing cheating, the sport would die out.