How Do Cheat Codes Work?

Cheat codes in video games enable the player to access different features and functions by entering in a series of characters or button commands into the game, which activates a secret action within the game's code. Such commands are often only accessible through the code rather than playing the game.

Video game cheat codes often give the player special powers or advantages that would otherwise need to be gathered through continuous game play. Some codes provide additional lives or infinite ammunition, unlock special vehicles or change game physics. Some games feature a special cheat code menu, where the player enters an exact phrase or series of numbers and letters to trigger the code. Other games require the player to press the controller buttons in a certain order on a Pause or Start screen in order to activate the code.

One popular example of a video game cheat code is the Konami Code, which appears in games such as "Gradius" and "Contra." To activate this code, the player must access the game's Start screen and press "Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start" on the controller before the demo plays. In most games, the code gives the player 30 additional lives. Another common purpose of cheat codes is to give the player access to special content on demand, such as rare vehicles or weapons.