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Cheat Codes in Games

Updated: Nov 20, 2022


Recently, I was playing Fallout 4 and I downloaded a Mod (Modifying a game) that allowed me to use cheat codes on my XBOX One. That got me thinking, is it ok to use cheat codes in games?

One of my first websites in the 1990's was a site that had various cheat codes for games. This included, Doom, Doom II, Duke Nukem 3D and Wolfenstein 3D.

Some of my first PC games that I remember playing like Doom or Duke Nukem 3D, had PC cheat codes. I would play on God Mode all the time.. No one cared as I was not playing online.

What is the definition of cheating in games?

Cheating, in the strictest sense, means not playing by the rules of a game, and benefiting from your actions as a result.

Let us look at the pro's and cons of video game cheating.



E-sports have become a very lucrative business. In case that you do not know what an e-sport is, the definition is as follows:

A multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.

Since this is a competitive competition between players, getting caught with any kind of cheating is considered bad and the player can be kicked out from matches, fined or even banned in some cases. I guess it is the same mentality as doping in sports.

The Experience

Some would argue that it takes away from the experience of the game. The way to play is without any cheat codes and should be played the way the developers intended for players to play.

As I am writing this, I am remembering the first FPS's that were out in the 1990's like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. The internet was very limited back then. It was a luxury that not everyone had. So looking for walkthrough's and cheat codes was not easy. The only way to obtain some cheats would be to buy a cheat book from Scholastic or Troll book clubs.

I agree that especially now with first person shooters and stories that cheating could take away from the raw experience of the game. However, when I was growing up, sometimes a cheat code was necessary. For example, for Ninja Gaiden, I absolutely needed more continues, as the game was unforgiving. This could only be achieved if I used a Game Genie or had cheat code books.

Online Play

In conjunction with e-sports, nowadays, it seems that every game has a multiplayer aspect. From the likes of Fortnite, Call of Duty or even Overwatch, every game has either an online component or is completely online.

With the years developers have made cheating in these games more and more difficult. I completely understand why. There are always players out there that are ready to risk getting caught so that they can have an advantage over other players.

In these situations, it is very frowned upon to cheat in any way, shape or form. Even if you are not playing e-sports, you can get banned from the game's servers and then you will never really be able to play again. Is it worth the risk?


Console Cheats

One of my first consoles was the NES and it came with a copy of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. On the NES a save state (ability to save a game during active gameplay) did not exist. Sometimes you could have been stuck in a world for days. Although it would suck to have to play the whole game just to get killed in 10 minutes in World 7-4 in Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo was pretty cool about it as they added the idea of warps. This allowed the player to go to any world or level in about 5 minutes. These were hidden within the game. Back then, it made the player feel like they unlocked a secret passage within the game. It also allowed the player to not have to play the whole game just to die at a certain area.

The same could apply to Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!! They added cheat codes that led you right to Mike Tyson. That was awesome as I did not have to go through all the fighters again to get to the final heavyweight fight.

This was a way to combat the lack of save states for games. You were able to go through the various levels of a game. It was a really smart way of doing it and it did not compromise the gameplay.


In most of these games, the cheat codes found were not there for the player to discover but were there for the developers to troubleshoot and debug the games. They actually served a purpose.

I would have to say that back then a lot of the games came out with very little bugs compared to today's games. A day one patch for a game did not exist as most people did not have internet in the early days of computer gaming or even console gaming.


So what is my verdict? I think that if you are playing a game with other people like an online multiplayer, I think that cheating is not ok. It will give you an unfair advantage and it is not the way that online games were meant to play.

if on the other hand, you are playing a single player game like Fallout 4 or the original Doom, it is fine in my eyes. It may be frowned upon by other players, but you play the game the way that you want to. I have never thought twice about it.

What do you think? Are you for, against or both? Let me know below.

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