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Submission + - The rise and fall of the cheat code (redbull.com) 1

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 realised 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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