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Cheat Codes

Video Game Codes & Cheats
Question: What are they and what do they want with my console?

Video games developed from basic two dimensional shooters (remember Asteroids?) to 3D universes controlled and created by the player. In the world of electronic video games, godlike potential and promise looms ever the closer. All good stuff in my opinion.

In fact, realism has amplified to such a degree that it’s often hard to tell the difference between programmed images within a video game to the ‘real thing’, whatever that may be. At this juncture, all that’s missing is a digital leap of faith and a practiced suspension of disbelief. I do it all the time and I assure you, it’s quite safe.

However, one constant remains within the world of gaming - codes, cheats, and Easter eggs. But what exactly do these esoteric terms mean?

What’s the function of a Cheat Code - and what’s it doing in my living room?

A cheat code is a (usually swift) button combination tapped into a hand-held controller; or password, triggering an event or affect within the video game itself. These affects can be as crude as adding ammo to a gun, or, in a more godlike tap of your controller’s buttons, augment a character's physical condition. You can even go so far as to change your character to a completely different organism. Sound weird? Sure it is, but players just love that ‘out-there’ possibility to alter their universe. Don’t we all? Hey, pass me that beer.

Easter eggs on the other hand are a hidden interlude, or bonus sequence, stashed within a game or DVD – you’ve just got to find them. An account of the very first Easter egg is unknown, but game developers continue to include them into their projects and players seem to take pleasure in the pursuit.

Easter eggs have even extended into the film industry. It’s the same hunt, but using the movie’s title screens and directional handset movements to do the job. These codes could even be described as ‘powerful’ in the real sense, as in many cases, a DVD player code can be used to make your equipment ‘region free’ – in short, allowing you to play discs from any country in the world.

Tell me then – what’s a Cheat Device?

In addition to the cheats we’ve discussed (entered through a handset controller or keyboard) there are also cheat devices on the market. These are pieces of hardware or software allowing players to enter a cheat code to adjust the game's contents - you just have to pay for it. Popular examples of these devices are Game Shark, Code Breaker and Action Replay.

It goes to show you the length individuals will go to modify their games. We’ll stop to ask a brief, but not particularly deep question here. Is there any ‘meaning’ in all this? Well, you could say it boils down to ‘control’ itself, control of a person’s environment and perception of it. On the flipside – let’s nail in a few cheats and get all we can for our money! If they game has a hidden sequence tucked away and activated somewhere up a chimney, I’ve paid for it and I want to see it - now!   

Stupid question - Are Cheat Codes Safe to Use?

The described cheats, DVD codes and Easter eggs are time-worn by a worldwide community of gamers, and ‘in general’ are utterly safe to the system and game. Tapping in a simple cheat code, simply prompts the software to run an adapted program sequence - allowing the desired affect to be achieved, for instance – God Mode! (Invincibility)

However there ‘can’ be occasion to use caution when activating a cheat. Codes that require the use of a downloadable and thus ‘executable’ file can be particularly risky. This is down to the morality of the tech-head that designed the program. Only he or she knows exactly what’s being unleashed when the file is opened. You hear few stories regarding cheats reducing a system to ashes, so you're quite safe, probably.  

At this point, it’s essential to note that the use of any code, either by manual input or by using a software patch, may cause a game to become unstable. The most likely affect of this will be the inability to save your game down. It’s not Armageddon, but it’s hugely annoying after blasting your way through to the last level of your latest game.

What Systems have Cheats, DVD Codes or Easter Eggs?

Pretty well every video game system can use a cheat code in one form or another, covering the most popular consoles and handhelds you can buy. We’re talking Sony PlayStation PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Wii and PSP - the list goes on.

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