Why are cheat codes missing from games? (Topic)

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Why are cheat codes missing from games?


Have you noticed that cheat codes have disappeared from games too? I would not like to breed nostalgia, but it's hard not to indulge in it, remembering such a topic as cheats in video games. We're talking about the times when each game had its own set of codes that gave us an edge.

Hey, do you have codes for San Andreas?

Previously, when the Internet was just a part of our everyday life, you could get cheat codes from your classmates or from some guy from the next yard. Another way is to look for them in gaming magazines, which cost money and often sold out quickly. I will never forget my pursuit of leaflets with codes for GTA Vice City and San Andreas [I don’t know why, but my friends and I called cheats for GTA just codes', with an emphasis on the last letter]. I am sure that many people today still have this artifact somewhere in their table. I don't even know if these two games would have been so popular with us if it weren't for things like "hesoyam" or "livemealone", etc.


At the same time, there was a time of epic legends about how someone introduced a cheat in the first Mafia and he got a minigun, or thanks to the codes passed Mortal Kombat 2 for Shao Kahn.


For gamers of the late nineties and zero, for whom the Konami code was akin to a prayer, cheat codes were a kind of bonus that expands your possibilities. Someone constantly used them to complete a difficult mission, and someone just had fun. It was the norm, and not something shameful, as it is now.


In the States, for example, users themselves sent cheating combinations to magazines. Sometimes [but rarely] developers sent game publications copies of games with cheats so that they could write reviews faster, and instead, cunning journalists published them. Or vice versa, cheats were sent after several issues to get the game coverage in the press a second time.


In our country, the industry developed later than in America, and those games for the NES or Sega that came out there a long time ago only appeared in the post-Soviet space. In this regard, whole domestic collections of cheats were released, where there were 50 codes per game. And yes, most of them certainly didn't work.

Later, when the Internet became more accessible, there was no such gamer who would not use the CheMax service, where you could find reliable codes for a fresh game. Alas, over time it all disappeared, but why?

Up, up, down, down ... what's next?

First, let's go through the fake items that answer this question.

Games have become easier. Not. It's not even about whether the games have become harder or easier. Difficulty has never been an indicator of their presence in the game. The complexity mechanic works regardless of whether they give you the opportunity to cheat or not, we discussed it in detail here.

Games have become more accessible. It may seem that cheats were created so that people who cannot play can make it easier for themselves to play. And now that games have become popular mass phenomena, the need for cheats has disappeared. Interesting thought, but no. It was rather difficult to search for codes, because they were not indicated anywhere, and in principle were not disclosed by the developers, so they cannot be called publicly available.

Rather, you need to figure out why they are needed at all. This is where the problem lies. The codes were created for testers and developers to find bugs. Their absence would equate developers with the end user who needs to confront enemies.

It would be difficult to check, for example, if the walls in the game are fulfilling their purpose when you are constantly being attacked. It is much easier to just inject a command into the game code that would give you immortality. Or, on the contrary, if there are about 50 weapons hidden in the game world, it would be foolish to make the tester constantly look for them to check whether they work or not. It is easier to give access to them immediately with a cheat.

Cheats existed only for debugging and finding bugs, but no more.

But why then they were not simply removed from the game before the release? The problem is that the debugging system was too deeply embedded in the source code, and if the developers removed it, the game could break or get even more bugs.

Just imagine, the game was fully tested, cleaned and prepared for release, and what, again to recycle it just to pull out the cheat code? No, it's a bad idea, it took too much effort to make it work the way it is. In addition, in those days it was impossible to simply release a post-release patch that would remove the consequences of bringing the debugging system out.

It was especially difficult to remove them from console projects. On the same NES, games were written not in modular codes, but often in linear ones, which made it difficult to find cheats by time.

When the games moved to the PC, everything became easier, because the command console was used to find bugs. So, cheats became commands that you enter on the console line, which was called by a tilde.

Other times

Today, the game code is written in more layered languages, which allows you to pull out cheats more safely. The parameters of checking the project for quality have increased, and for the same reason, the testing systems have become much more advanced, which do not imply the introduction of a cheat into lines of code in principle. After all, if the game has triggers that activate various events, why give the player the opportunity, for example, to go through a wall and skip one of such important plot triggers.

Also, some codes make the game too easy. And if the project is weak in the plot, but good in gameplay, it makes sense to make this gameplay even easier with the help of cheats, because then the game may not be liked by anyone. Although, this is a reason to constantly make a great story in the game ...

Online games: MOBA, MMORPG and online shooters have had a significant impact on the disappearance of cheats. The presence of cheats in such games would have led to a total imbalance, so they were not introduced. You can say: "hey smart guy, there are so many cheaters in online games!" Yes, it is, only these people are using cheats written by someone after hours of digging into the game code for the purpose of selling. But such players are usually fought by a ban.

We've also contributed to the achievements that encourage you to play fair and overcome difficulties in order to get them. After all, if you cheat, the very essence of achievements is lost.

Cheats among us

But no one says that cheats were never added for the player in advance, but now this is done in order to nostalgize or give the player some fun. Remember the code for big heads in different games, Rage 2, where we will be given the opportunity to enter a cheat so that a commentator appears in the game describing all our actions.


We can say that cheats have disappeared from games in the classical sense. We no longer have the ability to enter codes that give access to the debugging system, but today they live in the form of bonuses, in order to diversify the game when replaying, and somewhere so that working or busy gamers bypass the time threshold, as in the recent Resident Evil 2.


But then again, the gaming industry has changed too much to treat cheat codes in games the way it did 10 years ago, when we could introduce "idclip" in the first Diablo to run through walls and enjoy life. They are like retro - something that is long gone, but remains in the soul of many of us.


The Topic of Article: Why are cheat codes missing from games?.
Author: Jake Pinkman