Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A . It is called the Konami code and it often meant the difference between life and death in a video game in the 1
Perform those button strokes in the correct order and you will unlock cheats that will help you win. But recently the code has become a broader reference to pop culture and you may be curious about how it started. Let's take a look.
Contra made it famous
The Konami code originated as a cheat code – a series of buttons that unlock secret functions in a video game, usually making it easier is to play.
The very first game with the Konami code was Gradius for the NES, published by the Japanese external developer Konami in 1986. If you pause the game and enter the code, there will be some useful power-ups.
Gradius is a difficult game and the inventor of the Konami code, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, said in an interview in 2003 that he made the code to make testing the game easier for him. (Unfortunately, Hashimoto died in February 2020 .)
The Konami code became legendary thanks to another Konami game called Contra, released in 1988 for the NES. This run-and-gun shooter has great graphics and a satisfying cooperative game, but it is punishment difficult. Entering the Konami code on the Contra title screen just before the game starts gives the player 30 extra lives, helping non-experts to live long enough to play at least beyond the first phase.
Cheat codes that help you get more fun out of the game a game was a major problem in the late 1980s, at a time when every NES game was sold for around $ 40 each (today about $ 87 corrected for inflation ). Many children only received a handful of new games per year; If you got stuck with a game that was too difficult to play, it could be a frustrating situation.
Fortunately, hint books and magazines often came to the rescue. Nintendo Power, a widely distributed video magazine owned by Nintendo itself, introduced Contra & # 39; s Konami Code to a large American audience as part of the & # 39; Classified Information & # 39; in his first issue in 1988, and gamers are never forgotten
Examples of the Konami code in gaming
The Konami code is not limited to NES games . Dozens of titles have supported the Konami code (or references to it) over the past three decades.
As a general rule, games that use the code on non-Nintendo systems (such as Sony PlayStation) are a minor modification to the Konami code. Replace the buttons for canceling or confirming that system for B or A. For example, in the United States on the PlayStation, O is often canceled and X is usually confirmed. The Konami code in PlayStation style would therefore be up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, O, X.
To give you an idea of the breadth of Konami Code support in games over the decades, let's take a few examples.
- Gradius (NES): Pause the game while playing and go up, up, down, left, right, left, right, B, A. Your ship will get all power-ups except Laser, Double and Speed Up.
- Contra (NES): Enter Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A and start (or Select Start for two players) on the title screen and you get 30 extra lives.
- Gyruss (NES): If you enter the Konami code in reverse order on the title screen (A, B, Right, Left, Right, Left, Down, Down, Up, Up), you get 30 extra lives.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (GB): Pause the game and enter up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A. Your health will fully complement , but you can only use it once per game.
- Gradius III (SNES): In this game you have to replace the left and right directions with the shoulder buttons. Pause the game and go up, up, down, down, left shoulder, right shoulder, left shoulder, right shoulder, B, A and your ship will start.
- Mario Party (N64): During player 1 & # 39; s turn, pause the game with controller 2. Then enter with controller 1 Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B , A in and you will hear Toad & # 39; s screams. Then press C-Left and a debug menu will appear.
- Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA): When the Konami logo appears, enter Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A and then choose Boss Rush mode . You can play as Simon Belmont from the NES version of Castlevania.
- Bioshock Infinite (PS3): Enter up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, O, X in the main menu. You unlock the challenging "1999 Mode".
Wikipedia & # 39; s Konami Code page contains an extensive list of games that support variations of the Konami code if you want to explore further.
The Konami Code in Popular Culture and Beyond
Because a generation of gamers grew up with the stored Konami code, it makes sense that the code has become a broader reference for pop culture in recent years. It is printed on t-shirts and merchandise and referred to in films such as Wreck-It Ralph. A recent Fisher-Price baby toy called the Game & Learn controller also supports the code: Upon entry, the lights blink and a voice says, "You win!"
Around 2013, a version of via the Netflix website, users could access a screen with hidden settings by entering a modified version of the Konami code on their remote controls. And on various prominent websites (hint, hint), entering the code can activate an Easter egg.
It is clear that the Konami code has unlocked a secret place in our hearts, and I suspect it will find its way to various forms of media for years to come.