The Top 10 Video Game Cheat Codes Of All Time
Nowadays, video games do not use cheat codes. It's really easy to mod games, and with the internet there isn't a reliance on secrecy to make a game more interesting than it really is. Everyone just spills the beans as soon as they can, and you can probably look up spoilers for a game that hasn't even come out yet, let alone watch a live stream of it before launch day. But we love to look back at a time when where was more of an emphasis to hide and find Easter eggs, and find out what cool cheats the developers snuck into the games. So we give you our updated, new list of what were the greatest cheat codes of all time.
10.) Unlimited grenade launcher ammo in Resident Evil (GameCube/PC)
We love unlimited ammo in all games, they just make everything more fun. Being overpowered intentionally and blasting through a game is better than being underpowered and overwhelmed. And while we wanted to champion Resident Evil 4, the best game in the series for its unlimited ammo tommy gun you can unlock, that wasn't a cheat code. You just bought that gun. In the remake of the original Resident Evil, you could enter an elaborate cheat to get as many grenades to launch into zombie's faces as you damn well please.
9.) Make Lara Croft explode spontaneously in Tomb Raider II (PlayStation)
The fictional and juvenile rumors of a nude code for Tomb Raider have spread throughout '90s playgrounds for years. And while that didn't exist, by the sequel, there was a cheat code that you could give your friends to mess with them! But instead of making Lara Croft take her clothes off, it made her explode into a bunch of pieces, which is hilarious. This isn't intended to make the game easier or more fun, it's just for a great laugh. And we appreciate that level of trolling.
8.) Flying cars in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
The Grand Theft Auto games have had a long history of great cheat codes, but our favorite by far is the ability to make all cars fly in San Andreas. That game introduced a ton of helicopters, planes, and jets, but now you could make anything fly! A bicycle, an ambulance, or even a tank! It was exhilarating to fly around such a gigantic map back then, something more games need now. Mobility is an underrated tool in making games more fun, and we want more things like jetpacks in games. If San Andreas, a game about hardcore realism and petty crime could give us jetpacks, why can't more appropriate games do the same? Jetpacks are awesome.
7.) Playing as Samus without the suit in Metroid (NES)
A few people were blown away by the fact that Samus Aran was – gasp! – a woman in the original Metroid game. However, if you had the Justin Bailey code, you would've known it right from the start. Enter "Justin Bailey" on the top half of the password screen, and all spaces on the bottom, and you'll play through the game without her helmet. It's a neat little trick that is oddly empowering and progressive, even today. Is that a space bikini on the right? Who knows! With or without the suit, Samus is a badass and we need Nintendo to please release a new Metroid game with her. Soon. Thank you.
6.) Debug mode in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)
Debug modes are things that have been around for a very long time. Going into the code, messing around with the game internally, it's how games are made and perfected, and how cheat codes begin their lives. This was the earliest and biggest profile example of a debug code we can remember, and it got really wacky and out of hand very quickly. It was eye opening, to find out what is going on behind the scenes of your favorite old games, and it gave us access to ramp up enemies, skip stages, and edit the number of rings you had. It was fantastic and fun, and for consoles games without mods, this is the closest we ever got to that level of godlike powers.
5.) Street Fighter costumes in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (PS2)
This is maybe the most underrated cheat code of all time, and really blows us away now, considering that all costumes in games have to be bought either with in-game currency or real world money. But back in the golden era of PS2 gems, you could play as Ryu, Ken, Cammy, Chun-Li, or Guile in Onimusha, and that is mind blowing. This is cross promotion as its finest, and really set the stage for similar acts now, like using Amiibos to unlock costumes in Super Mario Maker.
4.) Big Head Mode in NBA Jam (Arcade)
Out of all the games to include big head mode, which is a video game creation through and through, NBA Jam is our pick for the best. Sorry Goldeneye fans, that game does not hold up. NBA Jam does though, and we cannot picture that game in our minds without thinking of the announcer and having a gigantic Scotty Pippen head. It's inseparable to our memories of that game, and having to mash on the buttons to get any chat codes to activate. But this one was the best of them all, and we really miss big head mode in games today. That makes us sad just thinking about it.
3.) The "ID" cheat codes in Doom (PC)
IDDQD, IDKFA, IDBEHOLDI. Those might not make sense to you, but they are in order: god mode, full health and ammo and armor and keys, and invisibility. The pinnacle of first person shooters, PC games, and games with secrets and cheat codes, Doom still holds up today as an all-time classic. And back in the early '90s, finding out about these cheat codes only made the game exponentially more fun. These cheat codes are the backbone, the cornerstone of all modern cheat codes (the few that are left) but all PC mods sort of stem from these early Doom codes. If I could get them tattooed on my arm, I would.
2.) The blood cheat code in Mortal Kombat (Genesis)
When Mortal Kombat arrived for SNES and Sega Genesis, it came without the glorious blood and carnage the arcade game was known for. While the SNES version had a ton of sweat added (lame substitute), the Genesis version had the ability to get back the fatalities and bloodshed we craved so much as kids. ABACABB was how you got around the censors, and it's also a reference to the Genesis album "Abacab", which is clever word play by Ed Boon. This was a controversial, but incredibly cool, cheat code that led to a widespread investigation by the government to put ratings on video games, which is how the ESRB came to exist. See, a little bit of history to go along with the image of Johnny Cage punching Sonya Blade's head clean off. They're married in the story, too, which is brutal.
1.) The Konami Code in Contra (NES)
It could not be anything else. While Konami might be done making video games, they did make the most famous cheat code of all time, used by many other games and websites, and became an in-joke, then a meme, then a part of gaming history. The famous Konami code first appeared in the original NES game Contra, and made cameos in other games over the years, providing extra lives and power-ups in a variety of titles. How does it work? Simple. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A and start. That'll give you 30 lives in Contra, and so much more in other games. Try it in Gradius as well. Oh, and watch for it in Wreck-It Ralph.