Cheat codes aren't much of a 'thing' these days, but back in the '80s and '90s, they were a big deal. These little hidden hacks were used by developers to test portions of the game but often made their way into the final code by accident or design.
In the case of the famous 'Konami code' – Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A and then Start – it was a case of a hack being accidentally left in a game and then becoming something more intentional. The story goes that the developer of the Famicom port of Gradius found the game so hard that he decided to create the code so he could test the entire game.
The presence of the code in the final game wasn't spotted until after it was released, but Konami decided against removing it from future revisions in case it caused issues with other parts of the game. With western players, it became a must-have cheat for games like Contra, which enjoyed incredible success during the NES era. Since that time, it has been used in numerous Konami (and non-Konami) titles, becoming the most famous cheat code of all time.
Why are we telling you all of this? Well, today brings us the sad news that Kazuhisa Hashimoto – the aforementioned developer of the Famicom port of Gradius who created the code – has passed away. The news was shared by one-time Konami composer Yuji Takenouchi on his Twitter account.
Speaking about the creation of the code in 2003, Hashimoto said:
I had one guy under me, and he played through the coin-op version. That one’s really tough. I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami Code. [laughs]
While it might not come as much of a consolation, it's amazing to think that a simple hack created to make a person's job easier has become such a major part of video game folklore – and that's quite a cool legacy to leave behind, if you ask us.
Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san's family and friends at this difficult time.