The most famous cheat code of all time

Posted by Jack on Jan. 28th, 2021

Up - Up - Down - Down - Left - Right - Left - Right - B - A - Start

This series of inputs used on a Nintendo Entertainment System game pad is one of the earliest known examples of a video game cheat code. The "Konami code" is now one of the most recognizable cheat codes of all time. 

While most retro gamers know the code from the NES classic "Contra", the code was a product of a different game a year prior to its release. Konami and developer Kazuhisa Hashimoto were converting an arcade space-shooter to the NES called Gradius in 1986. Unable to complete the game he was building, Hashimoto designed a code that would power up his ship enough to blast his way through the game. 

The code was meant to be removed before the release of Gradius, but oversight allowed the code to enter the market. The threat of creating bugs and issues when trying to remove the code from the game lead the team to leave the code active. 

When Contra hit the market in 1987, it set a new standard for video game difficulty on home systems. Luckily, a Konami developer decided to keep the code alive and include it in the smash hit game. The Konami code is often called the "Contra Code" because of its ties to the action shooter. The code's rhythm and simple inputs keeps it locked in the minds of gamers.

The code has been included in hundreds of retro and new-era games. Try it next time you boot up a game and watch the different ways  the code lives on.

See it in action

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