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February 2020 Retro Gaming Article


February 26, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the creator of the famous Konami Code, passed away at age 61

Konami Code
The legacy of Kazuhisa Hashimoto's code lives on in many video games!
There is often some disagreement as to the purpose of the Konami Code. Some say it was a development tool allowing testers to navigate the game more easily as they QA'd the game. Others say it was a mechanism to make difficult games easier for gamers. One could say both are true, but I've always heard it was a development feature.

Some folks counter this by asking why the "code" was left in the final version of game if it was only to be used for development and had no function for consumers.

Game development today is worlds apart from what it was back in the cartridge days of the 70s and 80s. There was a finality to a game as it went to market. Once it was on store shelves, that was it. There weren't any online online updates or fixes. The final state of the game was how it live on forever! OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic.

Code was often "delicate" shall we say for lack of a better term. Thus when it was deemed complete and ready to ship, the last thing you'd want to do is alter the code. Removing the Konami Code would be such an alteration. Removing the ability to use the code, for cheating or otherwise, might cause an issue somewhere in the game. The smart thing to do was leave it alone once the game was signed off on.

There are many codes similar to the Konami Code and they all have a common element. They are long and complex - not the sort of thing one might accidentally enter. No one ever expected gamers to find these codes, but times change and tools allow for a lot more intrusion by almost than anyone.

Originally used in the NES version of Gradius, the Konami Code is most known for it's 30-lives in Contra. I first heard it called the Contra Code. As time passed, gamers were amazed to discover this magical code worked in several games and it took on the name, Konami Code. Kazuhisa Hashimoto legacy will live on forever in the beloved titles carrying his dev tool, that's helped many gamers get farther than expected in some really tough games.

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