Why do Games Have Cheats in Them?

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Photo by CC user Yoppy on Flickr.

Whether you are a gamer now, or haven’t really played anything since you were a kid, you are probably all too familiar with the concept of cheats. Cheats come in many different forms, from those that allow you to get through a game far more easily by giving you things like invincibility or unlimited ammo, to those that unlock extra fun features or content that may not make the game easier, but can make it a bit more interesting.

Some people love cheats, and seek out cheats on the web like the Shattered Skies aimbot hack at https://www.iwantcheats.net/shattered-skies-aimbot-hack/ as soon as they get a new game, whereas others only look for cheats if they get stuck or have already finished the game and want to see if they missed anything cool. Others still don’t like cheats at all and think they ruin the challenge.

But why are cheats in games at all?

The Origin of Game Cheats

These days, cheats are intentionally included in a game’s design, and developers are well aware that thanks to the internet, players who want them will definitely be able to get their hands on intentional cheats. Some ‘cheats’ included on purpose are not so much cheats as what are known in the software industry as ‘Easter eggs’ – hidden features put in to make a game more fun.

However, cheats were not always part of a game’s design. In the early days of video games, cheats existed as back doors used to test the games. If a game was difficult, then it would be hard for testers to be able to adequately test the later levels (considering that saves were not possible on early consoles), or the win conditions of fighting a tough boss.

Backdoors

To ensure they could always get to the point of the game they needed to test and could test thoroughly, they needed a way to bypass some of the conditions that made the game hard, so things like invincibility, infinite resources, and so on were coded into the games for testers to access using secret codes. These ‘backdoors’ were left in the finished games, and through various means people would find out about them, enabling normal players to cheat.

A Part of Gaming Culture

In the pre-internet age, people tended to find out cheats from things like gaming and computing magazines and TV shows, and they’d be shared between friends. Finding out the secrets of a game was part of its charm. Nowadays, cheats remain a part of gaming culture, and while they are still used for testing purposes, the majority of games have ‘cheats’ that aren’t leftovers from a test phase but are actually planned features. Not all developers want their players to be able to cheat, but many see it as a part of gaming culture that is actually quite important to making a game intriguing and fun.

As you can see, cheats have quite a long history in the gaming industry, and at this point are actually part of a game’s final design!

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