The tricks or “cheats” in video games is a concept that has evolved a lot in the history of video games, almost changing its definition. Today, we could consider “cheat codes” as download codes that allow you to unlock new content in games (in games, for example, like Fortnite).

At least, in the sense of entering a code to get a reward, a code that you cannot find in the game, but you have to look for it yourself.

But, as we say, although the concept is similar, it is something else. The truth is that cheats, as we understood them in the past, have practically disappeared from modern games.

There are several reasons for their disappearance, and each one will have their opinion with more or less doses of nostalgia, although the reality is that video games have evolved to make them, generally, more accessible, direct and immediate.

And hiding such important things as difficulty levels, characters or modes behind awkward codes that only a few know is an absurd business decision, especially with games always connected to the Internet.

That does not mean that they have disappeared completely, although those that remain, understood as lifelong tricks, do so more as a tribute than anything else.

An example is the recent Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which includes modes to activate a bloody mode, unlock modes, or just fun cosmetic changes. Scott Pilgrim is a modern game (well, ten years ago, although recently relaunched) that mimics 16-bit beat ’em ups, the golden age when cheat codes proliferated.

In fact, the cheat to activate the gory mode in Scott Pilgrim (A, B, A, X, A, B, B in the Xbox version) is a clear tribute to one of the most famous cheats in history: ABACABB . That is, the code of the bloody mode of Mortal Kombat in the version of Mega Drive.

The players of the SEGA console could enter that combination of buttons to activate the blood, present in the arcade but disappeared from the console versions to adjust to the age rating. In SNES they did remove it, but in SEGA they only hid it, and you could activate it with this trick, which tipped the balance in favor of SEGA and was a huge blow to Nintendo in the “Console Wars”.

ABACABB, the “blood code”, is probably one of the most famous tricks in history.

But IDDQD, from the same year 1993, has nothing to envy. This code from the first DOOM made us invincible, which is why it is known as “god mode”. Other codes of the game, with the keys IDKFA, allowed to obtain all the weapons, and IDSPISPOPD allowed to cross the walls.

DOOM Eternal, the last installment of the saga released in 2020, pays tribute to the past of the saga, and maintains many of those tricks, although now it is different: they cannot be activated as codes, but they are extras that you have to find on the levels .

One of the most famous games in the history of videogames, Super Mario Bros. , also has secret tricks, such as the “Warp Zone” or pipes that allow you to skip worlds. Although perhaps the most famous arose from a “glitch”, or an ingenious way to take advantage of the Koopa’s shells to  get infinite lives  (which you can also do in the recent Super Mario 3D World ).

However, although Super Mario Bros. and Nintendo games on the NES, Game Boy or SNES did not usually have cheat codes, during this time the “Game Genie” proliferated, some cartridges that were placed on the cartridge and crumbled the game to charge you infinite lives or even remove all enemies from the game. Did you ever use them?

However, one of the Nintendo classics on the NES hides one of the most surprising tricks. At the end of Metroid (1986) Samus Aran takes off her armor and we discover that she is actually a woman.

However, if we enter the password JUSTIN BAILEY, we start the game with Samus without the suit but almost all the skills, and in a more advanced place on the map. And the most surprising: in pink tights and with green hair.

“Justin Bailey” has not been re-referenced in Metroid canon. There are several theories about that name, but the reality is that there was no “Justin Bailey” in the game development team or anything like that but the name is completely random, and coincidentally, it sounds like a real name.

Another game that had some of the most remembered tricks, especially for the laughs they offered for multiplayer, is Goldeneye 007 on Nintendo 64 . Many of the tricks are game modifiers, which are unlocked by beating levels with a certain difficulty level in a time limit, or by entering long combinations of buttons.

Beyond invincibility classics or unlocking weapons and characters, we remember things like DK Mode (which made the characters have giant heads and very long arms, like Donkey Kong) Tiny Bond (Bond gets much smaller and sees the enemies from below, as if it were a child) or Paintball mode (which replaces bullets with paintballs).

One of the “younger” sagas that has taken advantage of the tricks the most is Grand Theft AutoGTA III or San Andreas cheats are probably some of the most used in history.

And it is that, although graphically they have aged, making the kaffir with infinite weapons and ammunition (GUNSGUNSGUNS), with a tank (GIVEUSATANK) or with flying cars (CHITTYCHITTYBB), and activating the maximum search level (MOREPOLICEPLEASE) is still just as fun now than 20 years ago. Fortunately, Rockstar keeps alive the flame of GTA V tricks.

But perhaps the most famous button combination in gaming history is  Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A. This is the Konami Code, a trick introduced in the NES version of the 1986’s Gradius arcade  game , which unlocked all the Martian Killer weapons and power-ups.

According to Kazuhiso Hashimoto, the game’s programmer, he entered the code to use it himself in his development, as the game was too difficult. For whatever reason, he didn’t remove it from the final game, and the rest is history.

The Konami code, with that same combination (adapted to the buttons of each console) has been maintained in dozens of games since then. Contra, from 1988, was the one that popularized the code, which was shared in video game magazines of the time.

This also contributed to the character of “myth” of this class of codes and tricks, since they were not as easily disseminated as now with the Internet, and it also depended on “word of mouth” in playgrounds and arcades (along with many other urban legends).

Nowadays, although the tricks as such have gone to a side, the Konami Code has endured as a tribute in other games or even things that have nothing to do with it, Easter eggs hidden by geek programmers in the most unsuspected places.