Jump to content

- - - - -

How were cheat codes discovered back in the day?

#1 whataboutbob?   Thats what she said CAGiversary!   305 Posts   Joined 12.8 Years Ago  


Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:11 AM

Ive got a question ive always wondered and have never really been sure of the answer. How are/were cheat codes discovered for games? I just dont believe that someone really sat at the Contra title screen and figured out the Capcom code through sheer trial and error, or most cheat codes for that matter. Anybody have any insight, especially for the pre-internet days?

#2 R. Kasahara   The Artist Formerly Known as ブルー神羅 CAGiversary!   4154 Posts   Joined 12.0 Years Ago  

Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:13 AM

Game magazines typically had special cheat code sections (don't know if there's any that still do), which included contributions from both staff and readers. The "try everything" mentality that gives us GameFAQs guides nowadays was undoubtedly alive and well back then in such sections.

Aside from that, there were cheats in printed game guides, which were probably also written with such an approach in mind.
2018 Completed Games || My gaming blog

:-({|=  The Video Game Soundtrack Deals Thread ~ Where and how to buy game music online. Oh, and deals, too!

#3 Mega Man   SUPER FIGHTING ROBOT CAGiversary!   17190 Posts   Joined 8.5 Years Ago  

Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:16 AM

Nintendo power!


How were mortal kombat fatalities figured out?

#4 mrspicytacoman   Apply Ubik only as directed CAGiversary!   1900 Posts   Joined 7.0 Years Ago  


Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:58 AM

exclusively from codebooks sold only at elementary school bookfairs



#5 TalonsAlight   Oddball Hunter CAG in Training   14 Posts   Joined 5.1 Years Ago  


Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:52 AM

If I had to guess, I would say developers/publishers would send memos to gaming mags, and they'd print them.  Strikes me as a tactful way to get some publicity.  I'm guessing this happened more often than not.

#6 soonersfan60   Longing for retro CAG... CAGiversary!   4335 Posts   Joined 12.7 Years Ago  


Posted 08 July 2013 - 02:32 PM

The very first Easter Eggs (Atari 2600 era) were put in by programmers and not publicized because they feared losing their jobs. These were found by trial and error. Later, they were put in intentionally and leaked to get more publicity and interest in the games. The actual cheat codes that aided game play started as developers' means to bug test games (making them easier to complete with special helpful codes), and then these were given to magazine reviewers also sometimes so they could get deeper in games for review purposes. It's unclear whether the magazines leaked these out on their own to give themselves a scoop or with the blessing of the game companies, but eventually it became a tool to prolong interest in a game.

#7 MetalSlugger   :P CAGiversary!   2735 Posts   Joined 10.2 Years Ago  


Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:32 PM

Gaming magazines/strat guides were it unless you figured one out on your own.  I remember what a big deal it was when whatever magazine (Tips & Tricks IIRC?) first published the Goldeneye codes years after the game came out.  I miss the days of getting drugstore ice cream cones for a quarter and looking through all of the game mags for news/cheats.


Discovering GameFAQs in the late 90s was incredible.

#8 my2k2zx2   Molly, Rockin the Doggles CAGiversary!   1237 Posts   Joined 10.8 Years Ago  

Posted 18 July 2013 - 10:58 PM

Magazines and friends with magazines.  Nintendo Power, Gamepro, EGM, Tips & Tricks, Swat.  Had subscriptions to most of them.


I did buy a bookmark from some guy at an arcade fir $5that was a full MK2 move list.  Had to laminate that thing when it started to fall apart.

If its free, its for me!!

#9 Kerig   PSForsaken no longer! CAGiversary!   6126 Posts   Joined 12.9 Years Ago  

Posted 19 July 2013 - 12:58 AM

You could also call a 1-900 number back in the day for video game tips/tricks.  I can only imagine how expensive those phone bills would be after having to explain to an operator which part of Zelda you're stuck at.


#10 Billytwoshoes   Perpetually behind the times CAGiversary!   1824 Posts   Joined 5.8 Years Ago  


Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:24 PM

I never discovered a code on my own, just from friends, magazines, and code books back in the day.  The old Tips & Tricks code books were such fun to pour over.


Then you have Game Genies / Game Sharks and the like, but that's something else entirely.

#11 Maxx   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   232 Posts   Joined 13.9 Years Ago  

Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:44 PM

Nintendo power!


How were mortal kombat fatalities figured out?

I remember selling printouts of all mortal kombat 2 and 3 fatalities during middle school. A friend of mine found em somewhere and I would make copies and sell them at 2 bucks a pop.


#12 skiizim   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   9836 Posts   Joined 9.6 Years Ago  

Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:31 PM

^---- EDIT: LMAO, I didn't read the rest of the thread, I saw your post after I posted, good stuff!



Nintendo power!


How were mortal kombat fatalities figured out?


I remember these being leaked on the internet, I used to make my MK 2 and 3 arcade money that way. I used to have print outs of the fatalities and would charge $5.


I think back in the NES days there used to be a hotline you could call for .99 cents a minute and you could get codes and cheats.

#13 Vinny   Bang, bang... pew... CAGiversary!   22346 Posts   Joined 13.8 Years Ago  

Posted 20 July 2013 - 01:12 AM

*sigh* Those were the good old days... now you have buy cheat codes.

Currently playing: 

:3ds: Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology - :)

:ps4: God of War - :D 


║My Tradelists: Games, Guides & Game Related GoodiesWantlist

#14 RatedU4Ugly   I like lamp CAGiversary!   16 Posts   Joined 5.0 Years Ago  


Posted 31 July 2013 - 04:33 AM

I remember going to the magazine isle and reading the GamePro just so i could write down the cheat codes

#15 dothog   n ur race snakin mai kart CAGiversary!   2665 Posts   Joined 13.6 Years Ago  

Posted 08 August 2013 - 03:55 PM

Bus rides to and from school.  I remember associating certain buses with the "Contra Guy," "Tyson Guy," "Zelda Guy," "Mario Guy," so on. 


And those dudes wore those titles as an honor.  I remember the Mario Guy getting in a fight with a kid who got SMB3 before the Mario Guy did, and the kid started blabbing about the flutes.  The panic in the Mario Guy's face was real, that title was all he had.  So he threw down on the kid, shit got real.  That's some gangsta shit right there.


It's all on the heels of the arcades, when certain people would be associated with certain cabinets.  I'm fuckin old.

#16 Maxx   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   232 Posts   Joined 13.9 Years Ago  

Posted 13 August 2013 - 08:14 PM

Gotta love the money we made from Mortal Kombat printouts.


#17 djbooba   Superficial Hitman CAGiversary!   1367 Posts   Joined 11.9 Years Ago  

Posted 17 August 2013 - 09:40 PM

Yeah, a lot of codes were debug codes to test stuff in later levels without spending the time getting to said level. Having tested video games at various points in my life, debug saves tons of time. One of the bugs I was testing a few years back only occurred after 6 hours of play. I would set up the bug on 6 different PCs at spaced intervals so I could catch the bug a few times before I left for the day.  Now most debug stuff I removed from the final version of the game.

#18 Navex   The Media Jerk CAGiversary!   1184 Posts   Joined 5.7 Years Ago  

Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:56 PM

I kid you not there is still a cheat code book at a local Wa;-Mart here mixed in with the strategy guides. Sure it has a nice layer of dust on it by now lol.

#19 Síocháin Zum Subete   Banned Banned   1929 Posts   Joined 5.2 Years Ago  

Síocháin Zum Subete

Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:39 AM

You can ruin your gaming experience in a split second now, google the game your playing and expect to see a spoiler. And all of those easter eggs now? On the internet the first day of said games release.

#20 draven1089   Why So Serious ? CAGiversary!   774 Posts   Joined 9.7 Years Ago  


Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:23 PM

A neat little device called Game Genie.

Posted Image

Many Fall, Few Rise

#21 Síocháin Zum Subete   Banned Banned   1929 Posts   Joined 5.2 Years Ago  

Síocháin Zum Subete

Posted 27 August 2013 - 01:52 PM

I still remember Prima and other Magazines that I used to see in stores, now I don't see them anywhere.

#22 Rodimus   I'm Different CAGiversary!   12737 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:43 PM


#23 skiizim   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   9836 Posts   Joined 9.6 Years Ago  

Posted 28 August 2013 - 07:42 AM

How many of you guys remember this?


#24 Síocháin Zum Subete   Banned Banned   1929 Posts   Joined 5.2 Years Ago  

Síocháin Zum Subete

Posted 29 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

Woah 1990's flashbacks lol

#25 Rodimus   I'm Different CAGiversary!   12737 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:08 PM

That clip reminded me of The Club Mario show I used to watch back in the 90's. All it did was take the Mario Bros. cartoon, edit out the live action sitcom segments and add in these asshole kids talking about video games & xtreme sports or something else. I haven't thought about this show in years. Talk about the perfect representation of the 90's:


#26 Kevlar281   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   578 Posts   Joined 11.2 Years Ago  


Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:22 AM

Word of mouth was pretty much how I found out about everything until I got my first copy of Nintendo Power.


I still remember hearing about the Justin Bailey code for the first time. Oddly enough it was from my friend Justin.