After two decades of game play I think I’ve identified three distinctive phases to the use of game cheat codes. The last point is most recent and has been the most utilitarian.
When starting our we’re all young, playing games of any type any time we can is all we want to do. When we come across and use a cheat code, it just makes the game more interesting. We can get to places and levels never before seen. We can replay through the game quickly. For us in our 3nd or 4th decade we probably didn’t have as easy access to cheat codes in those early DOS and NES games. We just wanted to play all we could as kids, so we played through the game once normally, then used cheat codes to relive. The first game I really remember this happening for me was the Commander Keen series. Holding down G-O-D let you go through anything, so then the challenge was to get through as quick as possible without falling into a pit.
Then there comes a turning point where you realize that using cheat codes actually, really, takes away the fun of the game. Phase 1 above tends to lead to using cheat codes wherever and whenever. But as we mature we realize the fun of the game comes in the challenge. So we start playing a new game thinking “I won’t use cheat codes this time!”. Maybe we slip and use a code to unblock that one thing really annoying in a game, like unlimited ammo, but we make a conscious decision not to go overboard. The game that made this turning point for me was Civ II.
3. Apply for the Kill
After really getting the hang of not using any cheat codes, I recently discovered this (hopefully) last phase of cheat code use. I was playing Minecraft for like 8 hrs a night a few months back. I then set up a craftbucket server for friends and family to play together. Well in that process I realized there was an admin command to give unlimited resources. At first I was like ‘nope, not going to touch it’, but it was right there. After using it for a bit, it really killed all the joy and challenge of the game. About that time I was kicking myself for spending so much time on the game. It was getting addicting. Using the admin unlimited resources command killed the game for me. It’s not the same anymore to go back and play even without the admin mode. Since then I’ve learned that if I’m spending too much time playing a game, to make a conscious choice to go ahead and look up a cheat code. Applying cheat codes to effectively kill obsessing about the game and move on. They’re a useful tool now. I still get plenty of fun from the game before, then when realizing other duties or games are being put off, just find and use a cheat code to finish the apply the kill. May work for kids too. Know a kid playing a game way too much? Try giving them some killer cheat codes.