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Cheating in video games

Cheating in video games
Cheating in video games involves a player of a video game creating an advantage beyond the bounds of normal gameplay, usually to make the game easier. Cheats include advantages such as invulnerability ("God mode") or an infinite amount of some resource such as ammunition. Cheats may also create unusual or interesting effects which do not necessarily make the game easier to play, such as making enemies tougher, or giving characters (including enemies) different appearances, such as large heads. Cheats often take the form of ’secrets’ placed by game developers, usually to reward dedicated players. Cheats may be activated from within the game itself (a cheat code implemented by the original game developers); or created by third-party software (a game trainer) or hardware (a cheat cartridge). freeze the running program, enter POKEs, and resume. Some games tried to detect the Multiface, and refused to load if it was present. The earliest models had no ability to "hide". Later revisions either included a switch, hid if you opened and closed the menu before loading the game, or automatically hid. For instance, with "POKE 47196,201" in Knight Lore for the ZX Spectrum, immunity is achieved. Magazines such as CRASH regularly featured lists of such POKE instructions for games. In order to find them a hacker had to interpret the machine code and locate the critical point where the number of lives is decreased, impacts detected, etc. Sometimes the term POKE was used with this specific meaning. Early cheating was largely exploited by technology-orientated players due to the difficulty of early cheats. However, a cheat industry quickly emerged as gaming systems evolved, through the packaging and selling of cheating as a product.[3] Cheat-enablers such as cheat books, game guides, cheat cartridges helped form a cheat industry and cemented cheating as part of gaming culture.[4] Cheating was not universally accepted in early gaming however. Gaming magazine Amiga Power took a very strong opinion on cheating, condemning cheaters. They took the stance that cheating was not part of their philosophy of fairness. They also applied this in reverse; games should not be allowed to cheat the player, either.

Cheating in video games has existed for almost their entire history. The first cheat codes were put in place for play testing purposes. Playtesters had to rigorously test the mechanics of a game and introduced cheat codes to make this process easier. An early cheat code can be found in Manic Miner, where typing "6031769" (the phone number of the developer, Matthew Smith)[1] enables the cheat mode.

Cheating on early home computers
In a computer game, all numerical values are stored ’as is’ in memory. Gamers could literally reprogram a small part of the game before launching it.[2] In the context of games for many 8-bit computers, it was a usual practice to load games into memory and, before launching them, modify specific memory addresses in order to cheat, getting an unlimited number of lives, immunity, invisibility, etc. Such modifications were performed through POKE sentences. The Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum also allowed players with the proper cartridges or Multiface add-on to

Cheating on modern home computers and consoles
Cheating is very popular in modern videogames, with several magazines dedicated to listing cheats and walkthroughs for consoles and computer systems. POKE cheats have disappeared and have been replaced by trainers and cheat codes. By and large, the majority of cheat codes on modern day systems are implemented not by gamers, but by game developers. The reasons for this are relatively clear:


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• The establishment of a cheating culture has created expectancy from gamers for video games to contain cheats. • Cheats in single player games increase a game’s replay value for the gamer. • Game developers understand that many people do not have the time to complete a video game on their own,[5] and therefore cheats make a game more accessible and appealing to a casual gamer. • An example of someone who doesn’t have time to complete a video game on their own is a game reviewer working to a tight deadline. Cheat codes will enable the reviewer to experience more of the game content in the limited time available, and therefore (hopefully) produce a better review. • With the rise in popularity of gaming, cheating using external software and hardware raises a number of copyright legal issues related to modifying game code.

Cheating in video games
really difficult, right? I never played it that much, and there was no way I could finish the game, so I inserted the so-called Konami code."[8] The term "cheat code" is a registered trademark of[9]

Modification of game code
Activation may take the approach of modifying existing game code.[10] In the case of Jet Set Willy on the ZX Spectrum computer, a popular cheat involved replacing a Z80 instruction DEC (HL) in the program (which was responsible for decrementing the number of lives by one) with a NOP, effectively granting the player infinite lives.[11]

Game trainers are programs made to modify behaviour of a computer game, usually using addresses and values, in order to allow cheating[12]. It can "freeze" a memory address disallowing the game from lowering or changing the information stored at that memory address e.g. health meter. It simply manipulates the data at the memory addresses specified to suit the needs of the person cheating at the game. These methods of cheating are often less reliable than cheat codes included into a game by its creators; certain programming styles or quirks of internal game logic, different release versions of a game, or even using the same game at different times or on different hardware, may result in different memory usage and hence the trainer program might have no effect, or stop the game from running altogether. In the 1980s and 1990s, trainers were generally integrated straight into the actual game by cracking groups. When the game was first started, the trainer loaded first, asking the player if he/she wished to cheat. Then the code would proceed to the actual game. In the cracker group release lists and intros, trained games were marked with one or more plus signs after them, one for each option in the trainer, for example: "the Mega Krew presents: Ms. Astro Chicken++". Modern trainers append their titles with a single + and a number, as many have several functions. The number used represents the number of modifications the trainer has available[12]. Examples include "Final Fantasy VII - Ultima Edition +50 Trainer" or "Halo +15

Cheating methods
Cheat code
A cheat code is a key sequence, password, or series of steps to be entered within a video game that will provide the player some object, ability, or access to a level or location within the game that is secret, hidden, or that would have otherwise been unobtainable or unavailable to the player.[6] Activation methods for cheat codes might include entering a code at a password prompt or a pressing a combination of game controller buttons.[7] Effects might include unlocking a character or improving a character’s performance (providing a car with greater acceleration, for example.)[7] Other entry points may be a developer console, a code entry dialog, at title screens, or ingame. Unlike other cheating methods, cheat codes are implemented by the game developers themselves,[6] often as a tool to playtest certain aspects of the game without difficulty. One of the earliest known examples of this type of cheat is the Konami Code, created in 1986 by Konami developer Kazuhisa Hashimoto as he worked on porting the 1985 arcade game Gradius for use on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Hashimoto is quoted as saying "The arcade version of Gradius is


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Trainer", which would have 50 or 15 different effects respectively. Modern trainers also come as separately downloadable programs; instead of modifying the game’s programming directly, values stored in memory are changed. There are also universal trainers, such as ArtMoney or GameWiz32, that users can use to modify customized values in their games. Almost all game-specified trainers only work on a specific version of the game as addresses varies with the version advancing.

Cheating in video games
Emulators such as MAME take this a step further, by introducing menus specifically for cheating on a particular game. One huge advantage of emulators over unaugmented authentic hardware is that they are often able to save the state of the entire emulated machine at any point, effectively allowing saving at any point in a game even where no facility for saving and restoring progress is provided by the game itself; additional hardware "instant replay" devices for some consoles also allow such behaviour.


Saved game editors
Programs exist that offer the facility to change attributes held within a game’s save profile. It can allow someone to uncover secrets, discover things cut from games and modify characters.[13] For example, on the game Elite, utilities exist that allow the number of in-game credits to be modified, or additional equipment to be acquired. Hex editors were formerly quite a popular means of editing saved game files (e.g. to give the player a large sum of money in strategy games such as Dune II). However, with the rise of dedicated game-editing utilities, hex editing as a means of cheating in games has become comparatively unpopular. There is also a similar method for cheating in online games, which involves editing packets leaving, changing the state of the game.

Game Genie cartridge for the Mega Drive/ Genesis. A cheat cartridge is attached to an interface port on a home computer or console. It allows a user to modify the game code either before or during its execution. An early example is the Multiface for the ZX Spectrum, and almost every format since has had a cheat cartridge created for it; such as Datel’s range of Action Replay devices. Another popular example of this is Game Genie for NES, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, and Game Gear game consoles. Modern disc-based cheat hardware include GameShark and Code Breaker which modify game code from a large database of cheats.

Strategy guides
Strategy guides are instruction books that contain hints or complete solutions to specific video games. The exact meaning of a "strategy guide" these days is very vague, as most could be easily ranked as "walkthroughs" or "hint collections". Strategy guides reveal the answers to puzzles and give hints on how to pass certain scenes in a game. Some guides include a list of cheat codes for the game.

Typical effects of cheats
Invulnerability ("God mode") is a state wherein the player character is invulnerable to damage. A variation of this is "Buddha mode" where the player character gets damaged or hurt but cannot die (health stops decreasing when it reaches 1).

Some emulators such as VisualBoyAdvance, Nestopia, Snes9x, NO$GBA, and Project64 allow players to modify game code as the game is running to cheat. Some even emulate cheating hardware such as Game Genie.


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Cheating in video games
the complete opposite of the desired effect (instant death instead of invulnerability; stripping weapons instead of providing them, etc). Other unusual cheats found regularly in games include "big-head mode" (in GoldenEye 007[14] or Oni, for example), switching weapons for other objects, and codes to change the colors of characters. Some games allow the player to enter a code to change what the character is wearing or to change the character itself, but not enhance the progress of the game. For example, most of the Grand Theft Auto games allow the player to enter a code to make the character change into an NPC. Another unusual cheat code in the Grand Theft Auto games is the ability to make the people of the town start rioting, or hold weapons.[15] In games such as Sonic Adventure 2,the user can use characters that were in Multiplayer Mode. Easter eggs are a related feature, although such hidden content has no impact on gameplay.

Invisibility in a video game causes enemies to not see the player character, in order to avoid being attacked by them, such as the "notarget" code in some first-person shooters.

No-Clip disables collision detection so the player character can pass through walls or objects, imparting a rather ethereal quality to playing the game.

Usually allows the player to levitate or fly. This ability sometimes includes the No-Clip feature though this does vary in different games.

Infinite resources
An infinite amount of some resource such as ammunition, lives, or money. Some cheat codes allow the user to increase the amount of such resources to the maximum amount the player is permitted to carry, but without giving them infinite amounts (Quake Engine can give 999 ammo, for example); however generally the code may be repeated at any time, in some cases, even while using the resource, essentially giving unlimited amounts of the resource, e.g. being able to keep reloading while shooting, giving the close equivalent of unlimited ammo.

Inability to attain high scores/ achievements
In games having attainable achievements and/or high score records, cheats by nature allow the player to attain the achievements too easily or unrealistic scores which a noncheating player cannot obtain. To prevent this, a few PC games like Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Xbox games do not record the player’s achievements whenever cheat mode is activated. Developer commentary can also have the same effect as activating a code renders the player invulnerable to damage. Also, when the game is saved with cheats activated, the game will record that info in the save file, causing subsequent reloads from that save file to reactivate cheat mode[16]. Some games will even admonish the player for using cheats either during the game or at the end of the level; Portal will display "CHEATED!" above the panel showing how well the player did upon completing a chamber in Challenge mode with cheats activated.

Unusual effects
Cheats may create unusual or interesting effects which don’t necessarily make the game easier to play. For example, one cheat in Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis makes dinosaurs appear ’undead’. In other games, a cheat may make the game harder to play; for instance one could give the enemy special abilities, add a harder difficulty, make neutral bystanders attack the player or give the player a disadvantage such as low health points or cause instant death. In a few games the player is humorously penalized if they use cheat codes originally for another game; for example, using cheat codes from Doom in Descent would result in a sarcastic message from the programmers on screen. Similar effects also occurred if codes from Descent were attempted to be used in its sequels. The game Heretic played on Doom’s codes gives

Cheating in online games
Cheating exists in many multiplayer online computer games. While there have always been cheat codes and other ways to make single player games easier, developers often


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attempt to prevent it in multiplayer games. With the release of the first popular internet multiplayer games cheating took on new dimensions. Previously it was rather easy to see if the other players cheated, as most games were played on local networks or consoles. The Internet changed that by increasing the popularity of multiplayer games, giving the players anonymity, and giving people an avenue to communicate cheats.

Cheating in video games
conjunction with in-game macros to perform complex or repetitive tasks.

Sale of online currency
The prevalence of massively multiplayer online games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Guild Wars, and RuneScape has resulted in the trading of in-game currency for real world currency.[17] This can lead to virtual economies. The rise of virtual economies has led to cheating where a gamer will cheat to gain large amounts of ingame money which the player will then trade for real cash. One common method of doing so is through macroing, where a player will write a script to automate an action which generates cash.[18] The Terms of Service of most modern online games now specifically prohibit the transfer of accounts and/or sale of in-game items for ’real-world’ money.

An aimbot, sometimes called "auto-aim", is software used in online multiplayer first-person shooter games that assists the player in aiming at the target. Since it gives the user an advantage over unaided players, it is considered a cheat.

Twinking is the practice of passing on valuable items not normally available at player’s character’s level. Such activity is often employed by "power levellers" in games such as EverQuest in order to quickly increase the rate at which experience points can be accumulated and therefore the corresponding progression within the game. However, in some cases, this may not necessarily be a cheat as it can be done without breaking any game rules, as in World of Warcraft, where high level players can easily mail money and equipment to their lower level characters. In Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 this is possible; if a lower-leveled player takes another high-level player’s gun after killing him/her it stays in the player’s inventory, with the ability of using it the next match.

Impossibility of prevention of cheating
Whilst games cannot prevent cheating in single-player modes, cheating in online games is common on public game servers. Some online games, such as Battlefield 1942, include specific features to counter cheating exploits, by incorporating tools such as PunkBuster, nProtect GameGuard, or VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat). However, much like antivirus companies; anti-cheat tools are constantly and consistently bypassed until further updates force cheat creators to find new methods to bypass the protection.

Cheating on consoles
Since modifying a game’s code is much harder on a console game than on a computer game, cheating on a console mainly appears in the form of cheat codes and cheat cartridges. Cheat codes in console games are usually activated in a slightly different manner than computer games, owing to the different forms of input (game controller vs. keyboard and mouse). Therefore, console cheat codes are usually activated by a certain combination of button presses on the game controller. Cheat cartridges are also popular on consoles. For example cheat cartridges (or CDs) were and are available for all the major sixth generation consoles.

Macroing is when a player uses a script called a macro, which automates player actions, to automatically find items or defeat enemies for the player’s advantage. This is common in online multiplayer games such as RuneScape, Guild Wars, RF Online, or World of Warcraft, despite being against the rules of the video game. Many games have their own macro system, though they’re limited in some way; for example, Guild Wars limits the commands to less than 300 letters, and City of Heroes allows only one in-game action to be executed per macro button. Often, external utilities such as MacroMaker are used in


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Cheating in video games
GOD-MODES: CHEATING IN INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES. p. 8. papers/sezen_isikoglu.pdf. Retrieved on 2009-01-24. [7] ^ Stevens, Reed, Tom Satwicz, and Laurie McCarthy. "In-Game, In-Room, InWorld: Reconnecting Video Game Play to the Rest of Kids’ Lives.". in Katie Salen. The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning, Pages. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. pp. 41-46. doi:10.1162/ dmal.9780262693646.041. 10.1162/dmal.9780262693646.041. [8] "Cracking the Code: The Konami Code". feature?cId=3108751&did=1. [9] Trademark Reg. No. 3,503,531 (2008-10-23). "United States Patent and Trademark Office". [10] "Hacking Away: "Jump To It"". Your Spectrum. Future. ~jg27paw4/yr06/yr06_21.htm. Retrieved on 2007-01-01. [11] "So You Want To Be A Hacker". NoNowt eZine X Magazine. NoNowt. hacking.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. [12] ^ "Trainers" at’s Video Game Strategies [13] "Saved Game Editors". VGWS. Retrieved on 2007-01-07. [14] "GoldenEye 007 Cheats". IGN. 001991.html. Retrieved on 2008-12-29. [15] "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Cheat Codes". Gamespot UK. hints.html. Retrieved on 2007-08-12. [16] FAQs Mailbag - September 1, 2006 [17] "Game exchange dispute goes to court". CNET. 2100-1040-832347.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. [18] "Eternal Lands’ MMORPG Postmortem: Mistakes and Lessons, Part II". DevMaster.

Legality of cheating
Cheating in a game usually involves cheat codes, where the manufacturer has implemented a certain code that grants the player some advantage like beating the game by adding a cheat code to expand the entertainment of the game when players have managed to finish it. However, some cheats involve the use of an external program, most commonly a trainer, and this raises a number of copyright related legal issues. These issues were brought up in the case Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc., where Nintendo unsuccessfully sued Lewis Galoob Toys stating that its cheating device, the Game Genie, created derivative works of games and violated copyright law.

See also
• • • • • Cheating POKEs as cheats Mod (computer gaming) Difficulty level God mode

[1] "Hacking Away & Rumbles". Your Spectrum. ~jg27paw4/yr08/yr08_05.htm. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. [2] "Hardcore retro-speccy cheating code". gnome. 2006/03/hardcore-retro-speccy-cheatingcode.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. [3] "Antic Magazine, February 1989, Review of Cheat! software". productreviews.html. [4] Mia Consalvo. "Cheating:Gaining Advantage in Videogames". MIT. default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11153. Retrieved on 2007-01-03. [5] Jason Rybka. "Why Use Cheats and Codes for Console and PC Games?". The New York Times Company. basicgamingtipstricks/a/ whyusecheats.htm. Retrieved on 2007-01-03. [6] ^ Sezen, Tonguc Ibrahim; Isikoglu, Digdem (2007-04-27). FROM OZANS TO


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articles/mmorpg-postmortem/part2.php. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.

Cheating in video games

External links
• Cheats and Hints at

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