For many, cheating isn’t just a method for getting past that one stage in a difficult NES game; it’s also a way to make our games much more fun. Whether you dream of acquiring your favorite weapons early, saving time by teleporting to the final boss, or simply opening up parts of the game you didn’t know existed, we recommend you set aside whatever reservations you have for cheating, if you haven’t already, and see what crazy things you can do in your favorite games. If necessary, then consider our top 10 cheats as a starting point.
DOOM II: Weapons and God Mode
The space station on Mars has been surrounded by demons, and you are the only marine capable of destroying all of the demons. This is a tall order for a soldier, so how can you even the odds against Hell’s soldiers? Why, by practically becoming God, of course. In Doom II, you can enter several codes that aid you in your quest to smite demons. Among the most useful codes are invincibility (iddqd) and obtaining all weapons, keys, and armor (idkfa).
Mortal Kombat: Blood and Gore Galore
Mortal Kombat distinguished itself from its rival Street Fighter with its use of blood and gore. However, in the first game, players didn’t immediately have access to the viscera. To gain access, all they had to do was enter the code (A, B, A, C, A, B, B on the Sega Genesis controller) at the code of honor screen. You’ll hear the instantly recognizable voice of Scorpion yelling “Get over here,” bringing you into a tournament that’s more deadly and, more importantly, bloodier than before. Too bad for SNES owners, though; this is the reason they went over to their Sega Genesis-owning friends’ houses.
Super Mario Bros Warp Pipes and Warp Whistles
Who knew that a sidescroller could hide such useful secrets as the warp pipes and warp whistles? In the original Super Mario Bros. , players discovered the first set of warp pipes by reaching and then walking on the top of the ceiling in the second level. The secret set of warp pipes lay just past the normal pipe that would otherwise lead them to the next level. In Super Mario Bros. 3 , players only had to duck for a few seconds on a white platform in the first world, transporting them to the background where they would find the warp whistle.
Learning these secrets not only helped players breeze through the game but it also gave them tools for speedrunning. Of course, speedrunners have moved on to learning how to move economically while exploiting glitches, but there’s no reason to play through every level of either game unless you’re really that into them.
The Legend of Zelda: The Second Quest
After beating The Legend of Zelda once, players can access the second quest, which rearranges the dungeons. Chances are that gamers found this cheat code by accident simply because they confused Link for the title character. If they happen to enter in Zelda’s name at the start, then they’ll be treated to a surprise: the second quest. It’s a neat extra that creates a new challenge and world for gamers to explore, even though the original quest itself refused to hold their hands.
Metroid: Justin Bailey
To everyone’s surprise, the silent space bounty hunter Samus Aran is actually a woman. Samus is covered in armor for about 99.9% of Metroid , which explains the shock. Turns out the creators left a code for players to enter that allows them to play as the character without the armor – in its place, Samus wears a pink bathing suit. This is possible by entering the code Justin Bailey. Why Justin Bailey? We’re not sure, but we’re thankful it exists.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! Code Gives You a Fighting Chance
Mike Tyson is one of the best boxers of all time, so naturally he’d become one of the most NES-hard bosses, as seen in Mike Tyson’s Puchout!! The problem is that Tyson’s 8-bit doppelgänger is too tough for his own good, as he’s capable of knocking out players with a single punch and sending them back to the beginning of the game. Obviously, it’s disheartening to go through every boss whose patterns you’ve memorized again; however, thankfully there’s a code (007 373 5963) that takes you straight to the champ himself. Tyson won’t be any easier, but at least you’ll have more time to analyze his devastatingly quick attack patterns.
Sonic 2 Debug Mode
Being the fastest thing alive, Sonic doesn’t have many limitations apart from Dr. Robotnik’s minions and reality. In order to break said reality and give players the option to mess with the game, the developers left in a code that accesses debug mode. At the sound test menu, players have to play songs in a certain order (1, 9, 9, 2, 1, 1, 2, 4), which is a neat idea for implementing cheats. In return, players can break Sonic 2’s reality as they know it, including suddenly being able to fly or transforming Sonic into a television. It’s worth a try if only to experience complete freedom.
Banjo Kazooie: Stop N’ Swap Items Acquired Early
Banjo Kazooie has several, enigmatic items that lie tantalizingly out of reach, including several giant eggs and a key made of ice. Turns out Rare had planned for players to legitimately acquire these items once they released the sequel, Banjo Tooie . The idea was that players would acquire the items in Banjo Kazooie , then pause the game, and then quickly swap out the Banjo Kazooie cartridge with the Banjo Tooie cartridge while the N64 remained on. This was scrapped due to technical issues, and all the gaming community could do about the items was speculate on their purposes. However, some hackers eventually dove into the code and discovered several legit cheat codes that could unlock the items. Way to band together and solve the mystery, gaming community!
Grand Theft Auto: Anything You Want, Any Time You Want Them
Although the Grand Theft Auto series expands the things you can do with each new entry, the games really open up thanks to certain cheat codes that unlock all of the amazing weapons. For instance, in Grand Theft Auto 3, you can unlock all of the weapons (R2, R2, L1, R2, left, down, right, up, left, down, right, and up), acquire a freaking tank to cause as much six-star damage as possible (L1, L1, square, R2, triangle, L1, triangle), and, if desired, the ability to raise your wanted level to raise the challenge (R2, R2, L1, R2, left, right, left, right, left). These are just a sample of the ridiculous cheats – all of which are perfectly suited for open-world sociopathy.
Contra and Beyond: The Konami Code
While it doesn’t allow you the most outlandish of weapons of abilities, the Konami Code is known for being as functional as it is popular. Gamers first used the code in Contra , a difficult game where the protagonists die after being hit with just one bullet. As if Konami was trying to pour salt onto a wound, players had only a few lives, and death meant starting over; however, with the help of a specific combination of buttons (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start), players unlock 30 extra lives, giving them a fighting chance.
Gamers etched code into their memories because Konami incorporated it into many of their games. Since then, the code continues to be referenced in different manifestations of popular culture, and is likely to be found on most tech and gaming sites, which alters them in some cool way. The Konami Code is not just a way to help you beat the game; it’s a collective memory of the gaming community.