Whether you are an avid gamer or not. The Konami code is most likely something you’ve encountered at least once in your life. It’s become popularised in today’s society both in gaming and in pop culture. But how did it all start?
What is the Konami Code?
The Konami Code is a commonly used button sequence – that when pressed activates either a cheat code or an easter egg. This button sequence has become common in many games. As well as being popularized outside of video games by a large handful of websites and businesses from around the world. Companies such as Facebook and Buzzfeed to name a couple. This Sequence is Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A.
What Are Other Names for the Konami Code?
The Konami Code, although the most popular name for this cheat sequence, Is not the only Name that it goes by. Other names include ‘Contra Code‘ and ‘the 30 Lives Code‘
The History of the Konami Code
So we’ve established what the Konami Code is. But where did it come from? And why?
What Was the First Game to Include the Konami Code?
The first game to use the Code was a NES Game called Gradius. A side-scrolling spaceflight shoot ’em up game.(Would recommend to also read this article here) Where the concept was that over the duration of the game you would collect capsules to upgrade your ship. Making killing scores of alien attackers a whole lot easier.
The Player would enter the Code(Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A) from the pause menu. Thus Upgrading the players’ ship to the maximum upgrade available from the start. Alternatively, the user could enter this in reverse, adding 30 lives to the player.
Why Was the Konami Code Invented?
The Cheat code was first added by a man called Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who was part of a small team who had been given the job of porting Gradius to the Nintendo Entertainment System(NES).
The reason the code was added was because the game was very difficult. And unfortunately for Hashimoto, he just wasn’t very good at it. He needed to be able to play through the entire game to ensure the game was up to release standard and there weren’t any damaging bugs. But he didn’t have the ability to complete it without help.
To resolve this problem the Konami Code was added into the game. Making the game a whole lot easier for him to play through. Breezing it through the development stages. So much so Hashimoto “forgot” to remove this cheat from the released product.
Once the other Konami developers found out about this code, They loved the idea. Thus incorporating this sequence into their own projects and developments. Leading to the majority of titles containing the Konami Code to some degree.
Who is Kazuhisa Hashimoto?
Kazuhisa Hashimoto joined Konami in 1981. As Konami was predominantly making coin-operated machines at this point, Hashimoto started off as part of a team working on the circuit boards for these machines.
With Konami’s popularity growing, they transitioned onto new ventures. With Hashimoto remaining on the companies payroll, aiding them in part as they hit success after success with their Arcade machine games, Super Cobra and Scramble.
These successes resulted in Konami branching out once again, this time into the newly evolving home entertainment systems. Where Hashimoto worked on a number of titles. before finally being given the Job that would bring his code to light – Porting Contra over to the NES system in 1987.
Hashimoto remained at Konami for the rest of his life. Until he sadly passed away on February 25, 2020.
The Discovery of the Konami Code
The Konami code remained a secret until 1988, 3 years after the cheat codes initial creation. With the NES hit Contra, A game famous for being incredibly difficult to beat.
The ‘Contra Code‘, when entered, would extend the players lives from 3 lives to 30. giving even the very worst gamers a fighting chance at completing this famously difficult title.
Despite the game’s success, the Cheat code was never discovered organically from the player base. Instead, it was unveiled by Nintendo in an edition of their Magazine at the time ‘Nintendo Power‘. in a section titled ‘Classified Information’.
What Made the Konami Code so Popular?
Due to the difficulty of Contra. The news of a cheat code making it beatable blew up. Word of mouth spreading the Konami Code like wildfire around the world.
People were now trying it on other Konami titles. entering the Konami Code and being surprised that the majority of titles since 1985 had in fact included the cheat to some degree.
This great unveiling played a huge part in the code’s popularity, as well as the sequences repetition lead to many gamers remembering it off by heart.
Konami Code Most Notable Games
The most notable examples of games series by Konami that have included the Konami Code are:
- Gradius series
- Contra series
- Castlevania series
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series
- Dance Dance Revolution series
- Metal Gear series
- Yu-Gi-Oh Series
- Pro Evolution Series
- At least 51 other games
Konami Code in Third Party Games
As well as Konami‘s Games incorporating the code for cheats/easter eggs, Other companies have also jumped on the bandwagon. Paying homage to the first popular in-game cheat. Notable Games such as:
- BioShock Infinite
- Borderlands 2
- Final Fantasy VI: Brave New World
- Fortnite Battle Royale
- Friday the 13th: The Game
- Grand Theft Auto Online
- Just Dance 3
- League of Legends
- LittleBigPlanet 2
- The Escapists
- The Incredibles
- Mario Party
- Ninja Raiden
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
- Rocket League
- Street Fighter II Turbo
The Konami Code’s Lasting Impact on Gaming
As is evident by the sheer list of games that have included the Konami Code, both new and old. The Simple Sequence of up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A has truly left its mark on history. With developers in their masses paying homage to the creation by Hashimoto in 1985.
The inclusion of the Konami Code has become somewhat of a running Joke among developers in more recent times. With many games using it to unlock easter eggs as opposed to Cheat Codes to help you along the way.
An example of this is Rocket League. Which upon tapping in the sequence the user is simply given a Title screen representing psyonix’s original title ‘Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars‘. This gives the player no real advantage. But instead a trip back through time to the games roots. Something that the Konami Code has grown to symbolise.
Konami Code in Pop Culture
The Konami Code‘s outreach didn’t just go as far as gaming and then stop. It has also been used in many places outside of gaming as well. Including an easter egg where Entering the Konami Code on the Bank of Canada‘s website for the special edition $10 dollar bill plays a version of the Canadian national anthem alongside the $10 notes raining down the screen.
The Movie industry also took the concept and ran, with the Konami code playing a major role in the film ‘Wreck-It Ralph‘.
To conclude this article. The Konami Code shot to fame in 1988. Resulting in the world discovering the wonders of video game cheats and hidden easter eggs. To this day this simple sequences of button presses have become something that creators worldwide, indiscriminate of trade, Joke about and pays homage to. Hashimoto, may of himself run out of lives, But in the cheat code, he lives on – Immortalised.
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