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X L R --> <-- A B? Sorry, But I Don't Speak Geek...

 

Games are lacking these days. You heard me, they’re lacking. Oh sure, the majority of games these days have superb graphics, flawless controls, heightened realism, and beautiful storylines. It’s terrible, am I right? Whoa, whoa, don’t try and disagree with me. Everytime I start up a game and attempt an honest single player campaign, the pattern is the stale “accomplish-task, add-to-story, move-to-next-level, rinse, repeat” method. In the Call of Duty series, you instantly receive an objective, cap a few Nazi/Taliban baddies, finish the objective, then you’ll be dropped off at another level. In the Legend of Zelda series, you enter a dungeon, slice and dice ‘em with a couple of combos, solve the room’s mysterious puzzle, acquire a prized Hylian object, and then slay the dungeon’s boss with the new weapon’s aid. In the Assassin’s Creed series, you pick your future mission, plot out an infiltration technique, hope to God it works, assassinate the leading Templar, and walk away in style. How redundant and dull can gaming get? Am I the only one who sees what’s wrong with games these days??? Seriously, do I have to spell it out for you?

C-H-E-A-T C-O-D-E-S!!!

Now that is a cheat code list.

 

 

I remember when I first started console platform gaming. The Sony PlayStation was the craze at the time, and after seeing the vast library of games that were available for it, I was instantly hooked. All those years of Game Boy were in the past by the time I held an actual controller for once in my life. But, the truly greatest feature was the game: Tony Hawk Skater 2. It may not have been the best game for the PlayStation, but it was well worth calling the best in the entire Tony Hawk game collection. The gameplay was fun and fast-paced, as well as the mission setup, considering you could only finish certain missions in 2 minute intervals. Each level was large and brilliantly unique with its own different missions, including the classic SKATE letter objectives. Almost everywhere you go, something hilarious will ensue. Whether you hear diarrheal sounds when next to the bathroom, or the golf cart driver speeding furiously, or even the crapping bull. Bonus levels and costumes were included, too. Oh sure, playing as original pro skaters like Bucky Lasek and Grif Campbell may be fun for the first few times, but we all would like to skate as SPIDERMAN! But, after playing the game and making so many levels with the level editor it got a little dull. That is, until I got my hands on some cheat codes. After punching the buttons into place, the characters had large heads, slow motion, and were in wireframe mode. There were so many cheats for it that the playability of the game for me doubled.

Same goes for Twisted Metal: there were plenty of codes for that game, too. Robo-Pit was not as well-known, but it had its share of cheat codes, too. Almost 1/4 of every game in the second-to-last generation of gaming had some sort of cheat code system. Last generation games still kept the faith, too. Take Freedom Fighters for example. It had the classic special level cheats, but it also included a rare ragdoll mode, allowing you to kill people in a Havok physics engine style. Mix that with slow motion and you’ve got the most beautiful grenade kills ever. Cheat codes make every game twice, if not, three times more fun, but they have gone rogue this season. Face it; there may be easter eggs, there may be funny gaming innuendo, there may even be glitches if programmers are that bad these days, but cheats are a truly rare specialty to come by. The only game I’ve owned that still sticks to the cheat code roots is GTA 4. And thank goodness, because it’s one of the best games for such a feature. Unfortunately, most of the cheat codes involve spawning weapons, but it’s better than none at all. Halo 3 also can count, since you can make your gun disappear, but it wastes what could be cheat code hilarity into strange and uncanny easter eggs. At least Call of Duty 4 and World at War did the job in some ways. With the help of intel and Death Cards, the game would kindly hand over the cheats, but they only seemed to effect bullets and difficulty. Those don’t cut it for me, especially the cheats that are clearly just filters. They sound cool, but they’re only cheap propositions compared to slow motion and ragdoll physics. Games today are splendid at first glance, and they pack a powerful campaign/multiplayer punch, but whatever happened to giving the gamer full control of the game every once in a while? Only a select few games seem to care about cheats, and even so, they do a piss-poor job of making cheat codes. The strangest part is that no one seems to remember what cheat codes were. I bet that you haven’t looked up Cheat Code Central in a long time. I’m surprised those websites are still alive, but they’re mainly turning to game trailers to keep their community’s tastes satisfied. In fact, G4’s once loved show Cheat! disappeared a good while ago, only because cheat codes turned into special achievements and trophies. It stands today on Attack of The Show every time and again, but it never has cheat codes anymore, so why call it Cheat?

And what really makes things nonsensical is that they don’t affect the disc’s memory space. Unless they put real effort into making cheat codes and add a whole different style of gaming fun into the disc, making cheats for the game would take up little to no extra memory at all, but unfortunately people today don’t seem to understand the significance of the classic cheat code system. Instead, they stock it full of the same old stuff that we would expect. Present day games just focus on realism and cutting-edge graphics mixed with story, but once that game is on your “Finished Campaign List”, you’re out of playing options. You’ll have to deal with a $60 game that was worth only 3 days worth of fun because gaming companies today have lost touch with their own market. But, it’s not just they who have changed ways; it’s us as well. After they stopped providing us with cheat code input, we didn’t even notice they had disappeared. We just assumed that hidden easter eggs counted and we forgot about them. Those priceless memories faded away and we didn’t even catch on, at least until I became one of the few who noticed.

Cheat codes and special abilities in games are becoming a dying breed that’s soon nearing extinction. We might lose a key factor of our long forgotten childhood just because programmers don’t feel like adding a few more lines of code in their work. If I’m paying $10 more than the price really should be for a video game, then why do these titles seem to fare worse than the games I played as a kid? All the programmers need to do is input a developer console ideal in their games, like Valve. Let’s say if I complete the campaign of the game, it gives me the ability to use the developer console. Normally, PC gamers have this in the bag, but instead of making it something as simple as noclip, input passwords could be related to the game. Then the player could truly master the game, and that’s what every gamer wants to have; full control. Games are for giving the player a sense of supernatural prowess and amazement which can’t be provided through any other medium. So why not let cheats and special hidden tricks live again, so we can really be in control? We’re already psyched for the best graphics, the best story, and the best gameplay, but in the end, what we forget to look for is, a game.

--Ben Deckert

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