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A dumb question about cheat codes

JesterPoetJesterPoet Registered User regular
edited July 2007 in Games and Technology
...but one that I'm sure the hardcore gamers on here can answer. I've wondered for years how people learned the "cheat codes" for games (and also, the "special moves" in fighting games.... i.e. the fatalities in Mortal Kombat). I'm particularly curious how this worked before the internet.

Did people really push enough coins into the machines trying out different combinations of movement until they chanced on something that worked, or have "moves" and "codes" been secrets released discreetly (or indiscreetly) by developers since the dawn of time?

Anyway... just curious. And it occurred to me today that I could probably get an answer here.

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    InzignaInzigna Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    This will be interesting.

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    capable heartcapable heart Registered User regular
    edited September 2021
    deleted

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    Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Games magazines. The whole cheat code thing was pretty much intended to sell games magazines.

    Jam Warrior on
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    Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    JesterPoet wrote: »
    have "moves" and "codes" been secrets released discreetly (or indiscreetly) by developers since the dawn of time?

    ding ding ding ding!

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    RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    That, and the Action Replay cartridge for the C64, which allowed you to freeze the game, and have a poke through it's memory.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

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    ZephyrZephyr Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Games magazines. The whole cheat code thing was pretty much intended to sell games magazines.

    and then the internets came along and everyone could get their cheat codes free, just like porn.

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    Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Zephyr wrote: »
    Games magazines. The whole cheat code thing was pretty much intended to sell games magazines.

    and then the internets came along and everyone could get their cheat codes free, just like porn.

    And there was much rejoicing!

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    InzignaInzigna Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    And there was much rejoicing!
    I lol'ed.

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    jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Rohan wrote: »
    That, and the Action Replay cartridge for the C64, which allowed you to freeze the game, and have a poke through it's memory.

    That's not so much cheat codes as register hacks, unless you mean bruteforcing the memory for combinations of inputs that yield unusual results.

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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2007
    Indeed, some cheats actually involved hacking saved games and other files via a hexdec editor. They weren't built in at all. You could open a save game file for a DOS game where, for example, you knew you had a certain amount of money and then scan through the file for occurrences of that number in hex decimal, alter the number, load the game and see if you'd given yourself more money (or if you'd just broken your saved game).

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    jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I didn't stumble upon much. I remember some arcade games would throw you a few special moves on the side of the cabinet. I just tried similar movements on the listed character or the same movement on different characters.

    Games like Street Fighter II were easy to figure out the moves.

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    RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    jothki wrote: »
    Rohan wrote: »
    That, and the Action Replay cartridge for the C64, which allowed you to freeze the game, and have a poke through it's memory.

    That's not so much cheat codes as register hacks, unless you mean bruteforcing the memory for combinations of inputs that yield unusual results.

    As far as I remember (and I remember a lot from reading all those C64 magazines back in the day), both the contributors and the magazine staff themselves used the Action Replay cartridge to probe the memory, thus giving them the large type-in's that were cheat codes back in the day. All the programs consisted of were of the POKE command, for example -

    10 POKE 44535,35432;POKE54342,35454
    20 POKE 63347,34653;POKE28962,45727
    30 POKE 54892,35467;POKE54284,98622;PEEK 45433,54655

    ...and so on and on. Yep folks, that's how they did the non-developer-released cheats back in them days.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
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    yalborapyalborap Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Indeed, some cheats actually involved hacking saved games and other files via a hexdec editor. They weren't built in at all. You could open a save game file for a DOS game where, for example, you knew you had a certain amount of money and then scan through the file for occurrences of that number in hex decimal, alter the number, load the game and see if you'd given yourself more money (or if you'd just broken your saved game).

    Man, messing around with those sorts of tricks is endless fun if you can get into it. I rarely dig into it myself, but once other people have figured things out, I love mucking around with the various cheats and such. Can really mess up the games, though.

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    UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I wonder how many were actually discovered by gamers and not leaked.

    "Justin Bailey" in Metroid, for example, isn't a hardcoded cheat code (unlike "Narpas sword") so somebody must've just typed in his name and spread the result through word of mouth.

    One modern example I just took part in: Sim City DS comes with a password to unlock a landmark, with different passwords depending on where you bought it (unlock Washington Monument at Wal-Mart, etc.). People at GFAQs got together and realized all the passwords were names of famous people, artists, musicians (Beethoven etc.) and everyone just guessed at famous names until we unlocked everything.

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    Squirminator2kSquirminator2k they/them North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Back when I was glued to The Settlers on the Amiga I used a Save Game editor - EdSet, I think it was called - to max out my resources, as well as max out the natural resources within my boundaries. For some reason I thought this was fun.

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