In this day and age of achievements and online leaderboards, the cheat code is a dying aspect of console gaming. However, back in the day, secret codes were king. Whether it was a debug mode for Sonic, a stage select for Vice: Project Doom, or a sound test in Ninja Gaiden, discovering a cheat code was like opening a Christmas gift. However, there was one code that more than any other, would be remembered by everyone.
The most famous use of this code is in Contra. Why go through the game on it’s default 3 lives like a man when you can blitz through it in 30? On that note, is it even possible to complete it on 3 lives? It would become associated with the Gradius series as it would either give you a full powerup or kill you instantly in nearly every game it is used in. Several other Konami games made use of it. In Silent Hill 3, it caused a supporting character to appear in his underwear during the game’s cinemas. Entering it on controller 2 in the SNES version of Batman Returns allows you to adjust the number of Batman’s lives. It went through an adjustment on the Playstation (where in most cases B and A were replaced with X and O), but it still left its mark. Plenty of other games that were not made by Konami also made use of the code. Using it in Zombie Nation caused it to refill your health bar, and in Rainbow Six 3, it turned on god mode. For a while, you could even use it in the ESPn website to make Unicorns and rainbows appear!
Any gamer worth their salt knows about the Konami code, and can name you anywhere from 2 to 10 games which use it depending on how old they are, and how much of a gamer they are. Even some non-gamers will recognize it. Not only is the Konami code part of gaming lexicon, it’s also part of pop culture. This isn’t just some cheat code, it’s a gaming landmark.