Wolfenstein 3D - PC

This is a toughy to pinpoint, but we had to start somewhere, so we chose the very first, first person shooter on the PC: id software's Wolfenstein 3D.

Wolfenstein 3D introduced proud PC owners to the world of 3D gaming. But we're not here to discuss the origins of todays FPS games, which really aren't that far removed from Wolfenstein. We're here to discuss cheats.

The most popular cheat borne from within the FPS genre is of course, God Mode - which when typed in via the console command allows the player to become invincible. God mode doesn't really have it's origins in Wolfenstein 3D though and so things get a little shaky.

God Mode first appeared in a game called Moria, which was a very old PC game based on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The codes for Moria consisted of a Wizard Mode and God Mode (both of which you had to find the correct passwords to enter while playing the game). God Mode allowed you to be incredibly powerful so you could go on to defeat the Balrog at the bottom of the Moria Maze.

I have no historical documentation that suggests Wolfenstein's invincibility mode was called "God Mode". The cheat for invincibility isn't "God" or "Godmode", so it might not be completely accurate to suggest this mode was called God Mode in the early 90's when Wolfenstein 3D was released.

In December of 1994, The Rise of the Triad was released by Apogee using an enhanced version of the Wolfenstein engine. The game is credited with having an authentic God Mode as well as a Dog Mode which would make the player smaller and less powerful. However the God Mode in Rise of the Triad was more literal than figurative. Players would be changed into a God within the game, growing to 10 feet tall and possessing the power to shoot firebolts out of their hands. It's necessary to point out that God Mode only allowed temporary invincibility and if a player wanted lasting health, they were required to enter another code.

The term God Mode for invincibility became synonymous with FPS in the mid 90's, but it wasn't until id Software released Quake that the term "GOD" was actually used as a cheat code to turn on infinite health. We do know that the term for the ability to become completely invincible within a FPS was already recognized in pop culture as God Mode before Quake arrived, so we thought we'd just give it up to Wolfenstein 3D who paved the way for every FPS everafter.

What would lazy gamers do without God Mode? We aren't sure, but we do know that FPS fanatics do love their cheats - when someone isn't using them to kick their ass online of course.


The Konami Code - NES

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A (Start)

If that sequence of events brings back memories, consider yourself a lifer. A gamer's gamer. Some people call this the Konami Command or the Contra Code, but most of us know it as the Konami Code. If you guessed that Konami had something to do with it, you're smarter than I would have guessed.

Although its mostly associated with the Contra game on the NES, the code originally appeared in a 1986 port of Konami's arcade game Gradius also for the NES. The code was specifically designed for NES controller - hence the directional inputs and button commands. When Contra was released it was discovered that, indeed, the Konami code worked - instantly rewarding players with 30 lives. Since Contra was a difficult game for many players, the code became ingrained in the minds of NES owners who had to enter it over and over again just to beat the game.

Over the years, Konami recycled the code into their games - mostly as a nod or injoke to the players who know about the infamous command. Other developers also began to implement the code into their games as well. The code can be found in countless games over the last two decades and as a cheater, you would be well advised to test that code first when hunting for cool extras. You just never know....

The Konami Code has become a fixture of pop gaming culture but remains obviously unknown outside of the hobby, although various merchandising efforts such as hats and t-shirts with the code emblazoned on various items threatens to open the secret up to a much wider audience.

The Konami Code earns our Top 3 spot as one of the best cheat codes ever because it changed the face of cheating. Where most codes up to that point provided a little something extra - if at all - the Konami Code was an absolute necessity. The repetition of having to input the code each time you wanted 30 extra lives in Contra, helped spread the culture of cheating. Given that the code was also very easy to remember, it could easily be passed on without need for implicit instruction.


Super Mario Bros. - NES

Oh Mario, where would we be without you? I'm guessing I'd probably have a better job, be far more educated, perhaps even rich. Thanks for forcing me to waste my life Mario. I appreciate it.

But nevermind me and my selfish aspirations, where would gamers be without Mario? That's a question that is simply too disquieting a thought, especially for those who are emotionally challenged and tend to burst into tears when some dude's girlfriend reveals she's been sleeping with the mailman's brother's cousin's uncle's neighbor's son on Jerry Springer. "How COULD she do that?..Sob Whine..." Yeah, videogame life without Mario would be scary, but on the plus side, we would be playing Pong 30 right about now.

Super Mario Bros. on the NES not only refined the sidescrolling videogame, but it introduced NES gamers to a world of secrets, hidden within the game itself. Creator Shigeru Miyamoto was far more interested in letting the player explore the game world and discover the hidden elements and he has never changed his philosophy.

Who could forget the first time they discovered the ability to jump on top of the wall near the end of Level 1-2, which lead to warp pipes? Or the hidden vines that lead to other warp pipes in later stages? Even though the game was linear, Miyamoto pushed the limits of gamers imaginations and each new discovery was like a cool Christmas present in July.

The only known "cheat" code in Super Mario Bros. was the ability to start at the beginning of the level you had reached by holding A, B and pressing start at the Menu Screen.

Of course, the warp pipes and vines weren't the only secrets gamers found. They also discovered some game "glitches" that allowed almost infinite lives (the turtle stair jump exploit located in World 3-1) as well as the -1 looping water world (accessed from Level 2-1), the fireball small Mario and other cool extras not originally intended by the designers.

Once again, back in the mid 80's, these cheats were usually demonstrated by one gamer to the next as the instructions couldn't be explained over the phone (and the Internet wouldn't be accessible for a few more years). Every so often, word would hit the streets that another secret area had been found or another cool game exploit was discovered and gamers all over the world would attempt to find it.

The secrets hidden with Super Mario Bros. NES game are without a doubt one of the most important events in cheat code culture - it not only generated excitement for gamers of all ages (I learned most of the SMB secrets and exploits from adult gamers!) but it was instrumental in putting videogames back on the road to recovery. The fledgling videogame industry had suffered a crippling crash due to the over abundance of crappy games and too many systems vying for consumer dollars only two years before the NES launched in North America.

Hidden extras within the game have become a staple of Nintendo products (they don't believe in push button codes) and gamers have delighted in the knowledge that they will be rewarded with exploring every inch of their favorite titles. Developers over the years have adopted many of these same game enhancements and were clearly influenced by Shigeru Miyamoto's imagination which only attempted to outdo itself with Super Mario Bros. 2 and perhaps the finest side-scrolling game ever, Super Mario Bros. 3, and subsequent sequels ever after.



Gamers love secrets and that's never going to change. But would we even have secrets today if one man didn't take a stand against the videogame industry?

Click Here For The Number #1 Best Cheat Ever

By Vaughn