Cheat Code Central is a whopping 20 years old this month, and we’re celebrating our anniversary. You should be too, especially if you’ve ever used a cheat code. After all, you probably found at least one here. For my piece, we’re talking a look at those cheat codes that managed to hang on and last in our memories, the ones that were attached to all-time classics or were so distinct we still remember them for one reason or another. Without further ado, let’s stop gushing about this website and take a look at the ten most iconic cheat codes of all time.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was weird in that cheat codes were entered by making specific choices in the sound test menu. Pick the right sounds and you’ll unlock the level select. Enter another code ( find the details on our site !) and you’ll start the game with all kinds of weirdness. That’s the game’s debug mode! From there you can do all sorts of stuff, including enabling Super Sonic and designing your own levels.
The Legend of Zelda
In the original The Legend of Zelda , restarting the game after beating it once will unlock a harder mode, known as The Second Quest. If you want to skip right to that, you can infamously enter your name at the beginning as “ZELDA,” in all caps. This will shoot you straight to the new mode. In subsequent The Legend of Zelda games, doing the same will reveal various easter eggs depending on the game.
In the original Mortal Kombat , sweat would come flying out of the characters instead of blood. This was a far cry from the bloodier, arcade version of the classic fighter. However, in the Sega Genesis version, a special code could be entered to change the sweat back to blood. All you had to do was press A, B, A, C, A, B, B at the story mode screen. This was something unavailable in the SNES version, which caused quite a rift in the 90’s console wars.
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil may or may not be a classic, depending on who you’re talking to. That said, anyone who played that game can never forget the cheat code to end all cheat codes. Typing “BEWAREOBLIVIONISATHAND” into the password screen unlocked literally everything, from invincibility, to all weapons, to the level select. To many, this was the one true way to experience Turok 2 , since that game was all about causing as much senseless dinosaur carnage as possible.
NBA Jam is one of the most endearing and enduring basketball games of all time. Attempts have been made to recapture the silly arcade action, and it still has yet to happen. Once of the best things about NBA Jam , besides the whole boomshakalaka thing, were the cheat codes. For whatever reason, the NBA Jam devs thought it would be hilarious to play as politicians and musicians like The Beastie Boys in the over the top basketball game. To their credit, they were totally right.
DOOM is DOOM , and God Mode is God Mode. Enter IDDQD at any time when playing DOOM , and Doomguy’s eyes will glow bright yellow as the powers of god itself begins to flow through his veins. The quest to rip and tear the legions of Hell becomes immediately easier as Doomguy becomes impervious to all damage. Referring to invulnerability as God Mode is now a storied tradition.
Grand Theft Auto
Cheat codes in the modern Grand Theft Auto games aren’t particularly distinct in design. Hold the shoulder buttons, snap in some inputs, and you’ll break the game by receiving a little bit of everything, depending on the code. Pretty standard stuff by the PlayStation 2 era, but what makes these so special is the cultural permeation. Everyone who played GTA had these bad boys memorized, and “everyone who played GTA ” is kind of a lot of people.
The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games didn’t shy away from having all kinds of ridiculous unlockables. Sure, you could get them all eventually through mastering the games, but why do that when you can get a list of inputs from Cheat Code Central and pick and choose what you want from the beginning? You haven’t truly lived until you’ve played a Tony Hawk game with moon physics on.
Metroid shocked the Nintendo-playing world when experts discovered Samus was a woman. After all, it wasn’t made obvious through the usual cheeseball video game means, and the game didn’t even say so until you could get through the game in record time. After that, you could enter the password “Justin Bailey,” and play through the game as Samus sans armor, in a bathing suit. Kind of weird for something as serious as Metroid , but video games gotta video game.
The Konami Code
Remember the Konami Code? Come on, you know what it is. It’s only printed on a million t-shirts and other bits of assorted memorabilia. Being able to beat Contra within a reasonable time frame was one thing, but Konami made this code memetic by using it over and over again in all its games. Even in games in which it didn’t really change anything, you’d still get some kind of goofy chime or fanfare when entering this, the most iconic cheat code of all time.