Every gamer worth their salt will likely have had some experience with cheat codes before. They are the time-savers of video games, a method of instant gratification that is provided in a format that already offers instant gratification. Back when games were still in their ‘young’ phase (entirely dependent on the current time), cheat codes were plentiful in them, common taking the form of a certain chain of controller inputs. Now though, it has become a rarity to see them in most games, especially triple-A releases. Inversely, it is now a pleasant surprise to see them incorporated into games.
Gone are the days of old where a player could press a certain sequence of buttons to spawn a tank that would take them hours to unlock through traditional means. Gone is the unlimited health cheat which gamers could activate to feel like a god for a short time. Just why did developers stop implementing mechanics that could offer such enjoyment? The simple answer (and perhaps most likely) would be money. It is understood that cheat codes take away the time that a player is supposed to invest in the game, which will likely shorten the total amount of time a player will pick that game up for. In games where an active player base is required to generate revenue, this can prove extremely damaging. But this assertion does not consider the case of single-player games where there are no extra purchases. For the publisher, the money is secured upon purchase and is not dependent on the player playing the game for a long time or a short time.
In the face of this, it is also likely that cheat codes have slowly begun to be phased out for the benefit of us. Some developers began to see cheat codes as a way of circumventing gameplay that they had taken the time to create, and players would essentially miss out on some of their work. When speaking of cheat codes, Dan Amrich, a notable writer of video games said, “I had issues with that approach: ‘I can’t wait to play this game so I can not play the game.'”. This attitude was mirrored by the developers who created video games, and so it is easy to understand why they were gradually phased out.
However, some developers have rested somewhere in the middle of the debate. These companies allow cheat codes in their games that only serve to increase the fun in a way that does not give an inherent advantage in the game. This can be seen in games like Grand Theft Auto V, where cheats are allowed in free play, but not in missions. During the lockdown, millions of gamers took advantage of cheat codes like these to have fun in place of traditional entertainment. Similarly, codes were also used for online betting like this Ladbrokes code, showing that the code form has passed to other industries from gaming.
Cheat codes are slowly beginning to see more implementation in blockbuster critical games, something that should be encouraged by the community as if they are done in the right way, they can only benefit the player and the developers.
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