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How the Konami Code for video games works

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Lingfei Zhao, Syosset

In 1986, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games were selling. The company Konami made games for the NES.

Konami had a special code, Konami Code, which was invented by Kazuhisa Hashimoto in 1986. This code was for the game Gradius. When gamers had trouble on a level, they could use this code in the game to unleash an unfair reward such as 50 lives to help them with the game, but it would work only once. For example: Let’s say you’re playing Castlevania and you’re stuck on a level. Just use this code in the game to grant you 50 lives.

This code worked only for Konami Games such as Contra, Gradius and Castlevania. Konami makes more games today, and the code is still available to use. This code was also referenced in the movie “Wreck It Ralph.” The Konami Code goes by many names, including Contra Code and Thirty Lives Code.

Sometimes there are ways to cheat in a video game without this code. In Super Mario Bros., you can find a certain room to let you skip levels. In Mega Man X, you can unlock a secret attack that defeats bosses with one hit.

But it can sometimes backfire. When you have such an advantage, it does not make the game enjoyable or a real challenge, and it can sometimes break or cause a glitch in the game you are playing. So be careful when you cheat in a video game. I have tried this code out on my NES Classic. It has given me 50 lives — I know it works.

Mary Ralph’s fifth-grade class, South Oceanside Elementary School, School #4

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