The Sims – “Rosebud”
Our first iconic video game cheat code is none other than “Rosebud.” With the amount of people, tasks, health bars, and quite literally everything else you have to keep track of, we can’t blame you if you’ve thrown a cheat code or two into the mix to help ease the burden.
Though, playing The Sims entirely legit is a momentous achievement altogether. I honestly don’t think I ever have.
A lot of the time, one of the main obstacles of the game is your lack of money which keeps you from doing quite a lot of things. However, typing “Rosebud” into the console will instantly throw 1,000 Simoleons your way.
Doing this a few times will net you some lovely cash that you can use for whatever you so choose like the design of your dream house. Though, let’s be honest. That’s probably where all of your money went in the first place.
Doom – God Mode
Doom is a game where everything is out to kill you. Granted, you’re quite literally traversing through Hell but that’s beside the point. There’s rarely any moment to take a break in the carnage unless you type in “IDDQD” which grants you invulnerability for the foreseeable future.
Now, you can strut through Hell brushing off every measly attack without a care in the world. The monsters might still look scary, creepy, and downright nightmarish but your health bar’s looking fantastic.
Whether it was for business or for pleasure, people who’ve played the O.G. Doom have probably given this iconic cheat code a try and we won’t tell anyone if you’ve used it to actually skirt by a few monsters. What happens in Hell stays in Hell.
Mortal Kombat – Blood Code
Back when The Man™ tried to tone down all of the blood and gore video games love to produce, 1992’s Mortal Kombat was censored to have no blood at all which made fatalities look kinda weird. However, for all the young gamers sitting in front of their TVs, there was a sneaky way to turn it back on.
From the Code of Honor screen, you could press “A, B, A, C, A, B, B” to bring back the game’s wonderful pixelated gore which, honestly, made the game make a lot more sense.
Nowadays, they’ve essentially stopped censoring video games so the Mortal Kombat games have gotten more and more bloody and violent as the years have gone on. The fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11 are particularly creative in their gore.
But the memory of hitting that iconic video game cheat code as little kids who shouldn’t have been playing fighting games in the first place will forever lovingly stay in our minds.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Debug Mode
Even though it wasn’t our favorite hedgehog’s first video game appearance, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Genesis was a fun little adventure through Green Hill Zone and plenty of other places as we chased after Dr. Robotnik.
However, that wasn’t all there was to the game. Hitting a sequence of sounds on the level select menu would enable Debug Mode which allowed you to essentially be a little game dev yourself. You could pick up any sprite on the screen and put it wherever your heart so desired.
Now that Sonic has a fancy new movie coming out, it’s nice to think about how far Sonic has come from his humble, pixelated beginnings on the Genesis.
Age of Empires II – “How Do You Turn This On”
Age of Empires II is a wonderful real-time strategy game full of historic lore, a punishing AI, and plenty of difficult tasks to complete. Since you need resources to help keep your empire alive, a good chunk of the game’s cheat codes spawn in-game items like wood or stone.
However, typing in “How Do You Turn This On” into the in-game text box allows you to spawn in a Cobra Car unit that drives around just like a real car. This cheat is entirely repeatable so you can amass an army of cars that you can use to lay waste to your enemies.
Age of Empires II easily goes from history simulator to Fast and Furious at the drop of a hat and it’s no wonder this particular cheat has become a sort of meme in the gaming community.
Granted, many other Age of Empires II cheats are humorous like “furious the monkey boy” or “alpaca simulator” which spawn their own fun little units but nothing beats driving around a muscle car in the 1200s.
GTA Series – Weapon Cheats
Technically, this isn’t a single cheat code but the GTA games all have some sort of weapon cheat that we’ve all probably used at some point in our lives. Whether it’s with a phone number or a button sequence, the GTA series loves letting you go on a rampage with some free guns.
The true fun in the GTA games comes from its open world and the fact that you can do whatever your heart desires. If that means killing a bunch of people and going fast and furious across town in a sports car, then so be it.
I never thought I would ever say this but going on a gun-filled rampage in GTA is like building a house in The Sims. You rarely ever do it legitimately and you spend absolutely way to much time doing it.
NBA Jam – Big Head Mode
The NBA Jam series has been around since the good old days of 1993. Whether it was in an arcade or on your Genesis, you could play as and against a number of famous basketball players. Without this game paving the way, the NBA 2K series we know now may not have been the same.
Perhaps the best part of NBA Jam is it’s over-the-top realism and exaggerated player movements. We all knew you couldn’t actually jump that high in real life but it still looked really cool. One of the game’s cheat codes, Big Head Mode, made that exaggerated realism all the more apparent.
Holding up, the Turbo, and Steal buttons before Tip-Off enlarged every player’s head. So, it looked like you were pretty much playing a game with bobbleheads.
With it being so popular, the future NBA Jam games all have their own versions of Big Head Mode for players to mess around with. I honestly have no idea why Big Head Mode even became a thing in the first place but there’s no doubt it has become a staple in video game cheat code history.
The Konami Code
Of course, in a list of iconic video game cheat codes, it is practically required for the famous Konami Code to make an appearance. Every gamer knows about it and many of us know it by heart. I may not remember what I ate for breakfast but I can absolutely recite “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start” to you at the drop of a hat.
Made popular by Contra for North Americans, the Konami Code actually first appeared in the 1986 game Gradius. Since then, it has shown up in dozens of other games both Konami and non-Konami alike.
It says a lot about a cheat code if it has evolved into an Easter egg that even shows up on controllers.
The Konami Code is an essential part of video game history and without it, the cheat codes we know and love could have been very different. It may not have been the first-ever video game cheat code but it is absolutely one of the most important.