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Classic Games (Games)

The Rise and Fall of the Cheat Code 178

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the iddqd dept.
An anonymous reader writes A new feature published this week takes a deep-dive look at the history of the cheat code and its various manifestations over the years, from manual 'pokes' on cassettes to pass phrases with their own dedicated menus — as well as their rise from simple debug tool in the early days of bedroom development to a marketing tactic when game magazines dominated in the 1990s, followed by dedicated strategy guides. Today's era of online play has all but done away with them, but the need for a level playing field isn't the only reason for their decline: as one veteran coder points out, why give away cheats for free when you can charge for them as in-app purchases? "Bigger publishers have now realized you can actually sell these things to players as DLC. Want that special gun? Think you can unlock it with a cheat code? Nope! You've got to give us some money first!"
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The Rise and Fall of the Cheat Code

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  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @01:08PM (#47316431)

    That's why I used them. I'd play the original SimCity, Civilization, and Warcraft (before "World of") and I quite honestly stunk at them. Complex resource management in a game just felt like work to me. So I'd cheat. I'd build a city in SimCity, give myself a ton of cash, toss a few disasters through my city, and then rebuild. For Civilization, I'd give myself unlimited money and buy everything up. (At the time, I called it the "Bill Gates Strategy.") I'd use diplomats to buy other civilizations' cities and troops until only their home city was left. Then, I'd either crush them or keep them around so the game wouldn't end. In Warcraft, I'd make it a "good day to die" and send one peon wood-cutting orc against an army of humans. The humans would be blasting him like crazy, but he's just slowly work his way through them until they were all dead. Did I ruin the point of the games? Sure. Still, it turned them from past times that would have frustrated me until I tossed them aside to games I kept playing over and over.

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