Geek Confessions: I Could Never Remember the Konami Code

Konami Code

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, START.

The Konami Code, also known as the Contra Code, is one of the most famous cheat codes in the history of gaming. Originally introduced in Gradius, but most famous for its function as the 30-lives code in Contra, it helped thousands, if not millions of gamers play through th famous side-scrolling shooter.

The code is so famous that a lot of games from other gaming companies have used it. It doesn’t end there either, major websites across the internet implemented easter eggs that would unlock upon entering the Konami Code on their main page.

There’s T-shirts with the code on them. There are people who have the Code on their body as a tattoo. It’s the one geek code that pretty much everyone knows by heart.

Two years ago I decided to play through Contra. The first thing I did was enter the code on the title screen.

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, B, START.

Nothing happened.

Restart the game, try it again. Maybe I got it wrong.

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, B, START.

Nothing. Let’s try it differently.

Down, Down, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right Left, B, A, START.

Still nothing. Screw it. I don’t know the code, let’s just play it anyway.

That’s pretty much how it went down. I forgot the Konami Code, couldn’t remember it, so I just played the game normally to see how far I’d get.

Surprisingly, I made it to the end of the game on my first try. It was a lot easier than I expected it to be. What gives?

The thing with most old games is that their difficulty comes from the dated control schemes, and the many mistakes in terms of gameplay mechanics and level design that the developers who worked on those games have since learned from. You have Double Dragon with platforming elements halfway through, platforming elements the game clearly wasn’t designer for. Ghouls and Ghosts with respawning enemies in positions that can actually get you stuck and make it impossible to get further without just dying and restarting. Delayed jumping animations like in the original Prince of Persia. That awkward floating feeling like you’re not grounded and keep sliding across the floor, something that most games designed in flash still suffer from, like Binding of Isaac.

Contra has none of these problems. The controls are near perfect. It wasn’t until gaming reached the 16-bit generation that this level of control over your character became the standard.

With controls as smooth as Contra’s, all you need to do to make it to the end is simply not die. Don’t rush into the game, pay attention, make dodging bullets a higher priority than killing enemies and getting to the end.

The Code though… I still cannot remember it. To this day I have to look up what the code actually is on Google whenever I want to reference it, or use it. The Konami Code is the answer to a riddle near the end of The Kingdom of Loathing, and despite having beaten the game 15 times now, I still have to look up how the code went every single time I reach that part of the game.

Maybe remembering cheat codes is just not in me. Maybe I’m just too honest to be a cheater.

Beware oblivion is at hand.

Or maybe I’m just full of it.

Note: I actually wrote the code down wrongly when I first wrote this post before looking it up.


One thought on “Geek Confessions: I Could Never Remember the Konami Code

  1. Pingback: The Bigger DS Overview « Remy van Ruiten

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