The Evolution of Games Cheats

games cheats

When it comes to games, cheating can be a serious problem. In fact, a study by security firm Irdeto found that 59% of gamers have experienced other players cheating in multiplayer online games. Generally speaking, video game cheats are used to gain an unfair advantage over the competition or to complete the game more quickly than usual. Regardless of how they’re achieved, most game developers frown upon players using cheats to improve their performance and will implement anti-cheat measures to combat them.

The first gaming cheats were introduced as part of the development process, allowing developers to test and debug titles with ease. This practice eventually led to third-party cheat programs like the Game Genie that offered a user interface for performing POKEs (modifying game memory) on consoles and PC systems. However, despite being technically legal, the use of external hardware and software to cheat in video games raised several copyright legal issues. For example, modifying outbound network packets in order to modify game state is considered a form of digital circumvention and violates the terms of service for most popular games.

As the popularity of video game cheats grew in the ’80s, publishers began to include first-party cheat features within their releases. Some of these first-party cheats were designed to enhance the gameplay experience, while others allowed for the rapid completion of a game or added extra features that impacted the overall lore of the title. By the ’90s, some games even included cheat codes that let users teleport to any cave in a given map.

Most people who develop game cheats do so for one of two reasons; either a desire to be the top scorer on the leaderboard or an interest in how games are coded behind the scenes. However, some developers take their skillset further and progress into malware hacking. A National Crime Agency report on pathways into cybercrime cites examples of teens who became interested in gaming cheats before moving on to criminal hacking.

Developing a game cheat requires proficient knowledge of both computer programming and cryptanalysis. It’s important for cheat designers to be able to create and pack code into a small file that can be installed in the game without being detected by security defences. In addition, the designers of cheats must be able to modify the code of the game in a way that doesn’t violate its intellectual property rights.

Cheats are often sold on underground hacker forums in a subscription-based business model, just like many types of malware. This gives the creators of these cheats a steady source of income while offering updates and new services for their customers. As a result, the security community has come to view video game cheats as a significant threat similar to malware in that they both offer users an artificially enhanced experience, erode the integrity of the game’s coding, and can be used as a gateway into other types of illegal activity online.