Video game cheat codes can make you never die, turn you invisible, or hand you magic weapons that never run out of ammo. Sometimes it’s just as simple as giving you 27 extra lives in shit-fuck-hard Contra. Point is, they’re meant to help you get ahead in some way. (Except for things like “Big Head Mode”, which is freaking everywhere and quite possibly the lamest secret you can include in a game. Has anyone in history ever actually used and enjoyed a game’s big head mode? It probably only takes the developers five minutes to toss it in and no one really gives a crap about it.)
Anyway, there are also the following, which aren’t just lame, but actively terrible, like the developer who included them hates you and fun as well. Woe be unto you if you use codes like…
1) Zoo Tycoon: We Bought a (Terrible) Zoo
In Zoo Tycoon, you are a business tycoon who runs a zoo. Go figure. (Just once, there needs to be a Tycoon game where you’re some schmoe who has nothing to do with businesses or the tycooning thereof.)
So, as a business tycoon who’s not afraid to cut corners to make the best zoo, you can cheat yourself all kinds of money and upgrades and animals you haven’t earned. But then, bizarrely, you can also use cheats to do things like make your visitors barf all over the place.They must have gotten too close to the elephant enclosure. They’ll sure be itching to come back.
Even better, you can change any visitor’s name (why is that even an option?) to “Alfred H” and make swarms of birds attack your zoo.
Finally, you can use the simplest money cheat ever (just hold down shift + 4… or $, in other words), but every few times you use it, it destroys your animal enclosures and lets them free. Have fun getting all your guests mauled, you business mogul, you!
2) Silent Hill 3: The Worst Nude Code Ever
Silent Hill isn’t the kind of game that generally has cheat codes or anything, because the developers insist you face those mangled Hell-monsters all by your lonesome. Maybe you get a shotgun. Maybe. (Probably you just get a lead pipe.)
But fun news! Silent Hill 3 has a cheat code that strips a certain character down to their underwear! Bad news — It’s no one you wanted to see in their underwear in the first place. In fact, there’s probably not anyone in the Silent Hill universe you’d like to see in their underwear, since they all have that dead-eyed look, but we digress.
If you enter the famous Konami code when starting a New Game Plus, you can see P.I. Douglas Cartland in his boxers for the entirety of the game. In fact, considering Heather is about sixteen years old, that’s actually pretty creepy (which is saying something for this game).
3) The Lion King (Sega Genesis): Go Directly to Level 2, Do Not Pass Go
Believe it or not, the Disney games back in the 16-bit era were pretty freaking great. Aladdin, for example, was a really solid platformer, and since voice synthesis wasn’t such a big deal then, you didn’t have to worry about Robin Williams or Gilbert Gottfried yelling at you. Similarly, The Lion King was fun and didn’t have Matthew Broderick. Bonus!
But it did have a pretty evil cheat mode. You could enable invincibility (wuss) or you could do a level select. Skip that obnoxious section that’s pissing you off… but do it at your own peril, because once you beat the level you’ve selected, the game immediately kicks you back to level two. It does this no matter which level you pick. You’re always taken back to (nearly) the beginning of the game.
Why? Because Walt Disney’s big head doesn’t have time for your bullshit, that’s why.
4) Grand Theft Auto III: The Unstoppable Riots
Everyone knows that the missions in GTA games are pretty cool, but the real fun is just rolling around causing trouble, preferably while listening to a ridiculous talk radio station. Grand Theft Auto III pioneered this approach to chaos-based gaming, and it’s even more fun when you turn on the “Crazy Pedestrians” and “Pedestrians Have Weapons” cheats, which basically starts a full-fledged riot in the streets of Liberty City.
There’s just one problem: You can never, ever turn it off. You better not save your game after you start some anarchy in Liberty City, because if you do, things will literally never be the same. Turning off the game, dying, anything of the sort, won’t quell the bloodlust of the citizens of Liberty City, so if you want to keep doing missions (or anything at all, really) you’ll have to go around all of them. They’ll keep tearing shit up for eternity. There’s just no stopping an angry mob, it seems.
5) GoldenEye 007: We Ran Out of Ideas for Cheats, You Guys
One of the must-haves for the Nintendo 64, GoldenEye 007 was wildly popular and still has a huge cult following, despite it not aging very gracefully. (Come on: Bond hardly looks human, much less like Pierce Brosnan.) But some of the most fun and replayability came from the cheats (the rest came from the ridiculously addictive multiplayer) that you could unlock from doing well in the single-player levels, which itself was a pretty innovative design decision at the time.
Unfortunately, for the effort you put in for some of the cheats, they’re just dumb, like Paintball Mode, which causes your gun to shoot tie-dye splatters instead of, you know, bullets. It’s colorful, we’ll give it that, but it’s kind of weird to kill people with paintballs. They’re not getting back up, James. You killed those guys.
Then there’s Line Mode, which turns the entire game into an A-ha video. It also has the fun side effects of making it fucking impossible to tell what’s going on and giving you migraines. Thanks, MI6.
6) Battlefield 1942: Rambo That Shit
There are probably a depressingly large chunk of Battlefield and Call of Duty fans who don’t know that both franchises began as World War II shooters. There was no Battlefield 1, just Battlefield 1942 (and also Battlefield Vietnam, but we don’t talk about that one).
Being a multiplayer-focused game (none of the titles in the series had a story mode until Battlefield 3), you wouldn’t think that Battlefield 1942 even had cheats, since it’s an online game. But it does! (And you can only use them offline.)
Most of them just allow you to tweak the computer-controlled bots, but there is one that actually helps you: Invincibility. Hell yes, you can grab a jeep and run it into anything you want! Well, sort of, anyway. As soon as you use the cheat, the game drops your team’s remaining tickets down by about 75% (or more), meaning that while you’re now invincible, the rest of your team will probably be dead in a few minutes and then you’ll be all alone, slowly and painstakingly fighting those dirty Nazis all by yourself. Bummer.
7) SimCity and SimCity 2000: F-U-N-D It!
City-building games (or anything-building games, for that matter) are like real life, in that they’re approximately 5,000x more fun if you have lots of money. Luckily, the original 1989 SimCity will totally hook you up. You can hold shift and type FUND and it’ll give you free cash… but woe unto you if you use it more than a few times, because each time you do, there’s a greater and greater chance that the Gods of your city’s SimUniverse will come down and wreck your shit with all kinds of natural disasters.
SimCity 2000 takes its own spin on this. While the ordinary money cheats will still cause natural disasters, just like the original, if you try to use that same FUND cheat (minus holding shift), it just gives you the money… but at a 25% interest rate. You can repeat it as much as you like, but you still have to pay it back (and then some). The game totally loansharks you.
8) Banjo-Kazooie: Cheaters Never Prosper. Seriously.
This is the second game on this list developed by Rare (the other being GoldenEye 007), but this time for a far different reason: The cheat system is just a straight-up asshole.
Instead of having just being able to input a code with your controller, Banjo-Kazooie makes you go all the way out to a specific spot in the game world, Treasure Trove Cove, which is a couple of levels into the game, to access the cheat menu. That’s pretty annoying.
And then, when you get there, you have to spell out the cheat codes using a keypad on the floor that you can’t see all of at once. Also, several of the cheats are 40+ letters long (the longest is 55). Oh, and the letters on the keypad are in some crazy order. And, if you misspell the cheat (which is easy, because it doesn’t output the letters you enter anywhere, you just have to keep up with them in your head), you have to leave the area completely and come back to start over. That’s really shitty.
Finally, most of the cheats are considered by the game to be “illegal” cheats (including stuff like infinite lives). If you use two, the game’s final boss warns you that she’ll delete your save if you use any more. In fairness, she’s not the only character in the game who threatens to do that. Unlike the rest, though, she actually will. If you use a third cheat, the game actually deletes your save. If you try to save anyway, it doesn’t work. Next time you turn the game back on, you start over from the beginning. Now, that is completely fucked up.
Previously by Asher Cantrell: