Up-up-down-down-left ... Right, you know where this is headed. We've all got those moments in games when the frustration is too great, the temptation is too much, and we enter those magic keystrokes that give us the edge we need (and a little extra).


It's easy to condemn cheating as, well, cheating. But truthfully, who among us hasn't used a cheat code, or even just a hint guide or walkthrough, at some point in our gaming? Let's put the "right" and "wrong" of it aside. There's a reason we cheat. Actually, there are as many different reasons as there are methods.

Understanding why we cheat the way we do, looking into what we really get out of it, can lead us to discover a lot about ourselves we may not have known. We can start to see the impact cheating has on us (and our gaming), and we may even be surprised to find some of that impact can be positive.

Here are a few of the lessons I've learned - from and about myself - as a big, dirty cheater:

Sometimes the Problem Is Just Perspective

We've all come across those puzzles we can't seem to solve or those spots where we just get completely stuck. Maybe we missed a clue somewhere, or we're lacking experience, or maybe we're just looking at the problem the wrong way. We need a walkthrough. (Yeah, walkthroughs are a kind of cheat. It's that soft, winked-at cheating, like when everyone in science lab copied the answers of the smartest kid in the group, but let's be honest: Cheaters.)

My first experience being hopelessly lost was with The Legend of Zelda (NES). I was a young kid, and I lost the manual, as many of us did. Now, I'm standing in the middle of the woods looking for, well ... I managed to find a sword, but then what? So I found a hint guide. Suddenly, I was moving forward, beating dungeons and collecting untold riches. I was also learning how to think in this type of game. It hadn't even occurred to me before to draw a map! I had no perspective on this type of game, and I needed help building one.

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