Video game cheats are a great way to skip ahead in a game, increase your health or money, or just make the game easier. Cheats are typically created by modifying the game software and ignoring any EULA or 3rd party protection systems that might be in place. These modifications can be as simple as altering a single number on a game cartridge, or as complicated as using a dedicated PC or console hacking software to rewrite the games original code and allow for new features such as god mode.
While it is not uncommon for cheat codes to be developed by hackers, they are also often created by the game developers themselves. Developers are not always able to beat their own games, so creating codes that give them an advantage over the player can help speed up development and testing. Examples include the “go to level 5” code in the original Doom or the infinite ammo and god mode codes in the old GTA series. Once these codes are found by the players they are often passed along through word of mouth or shared online. This often leads to a huge community of gamers that spend their free time creating and sharing cheats for their favourite games.
It is these players that have helped shift the perception of cheating in video games. While many see it as a negative, others have begun to embrace the culture of cheating as an integral part of gaming and are happy to use the many available resources that can be used to improve their gameplay. Some even go as far as to create and share their own cheats or’scripts’ that can be applied to the game to gain an advantage.
With the rise of the global professional gaming industry, or esports, cheating has become an important issue for the gaming world. With huge prize pools and a huge audience, companies are incentivized to make their games controllable, and to remove the ability for players to ‘cheat’ by exploiting bugs or modifying game software. This has caused a huge shift away from the open and user friendly coding of the past that welcomed alterations.
This has been further exacerbated by the proliferation of third-party cheat programs that are designed to detect and modify game software. While many of these have been banned by the game publishers, this does not deter the creators from creating and distributing new versions. As a result, there is now a large and active underground market for these third-party cheat programs that are being sold to unsuspecting gamers who want to get an edge in competitive online multiplayer games such as CS:GO or Call of Duty. This is not something that has gone unnoticed by the major players in the gaming industry, and many are working hard to develop anti-cheat systems and patch holes in their games that cheaters can exploit. Despite these efforts, it is still a difficult balance to keep the gaming experience fair and enjoyable for the most amount of people.