295: Sometimes, I'm a Cheater

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Sometimes, I'm a Cheater

You'd probably be happier if you cheated every now and again - just know when to say "when."

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I agree that sometimes a little bit of cheating can really improve the experience of a game. I forget whatever the first game I looked up on GameFAQs was, but their guides have helped me get through some of my favorite games ever. When I was younger I also loved to read Expert Gamer, they had great guides that were fairly compact and spoiler free.

I don't care about cheating in single player. It's when we cheat in multiplayer that I get pissed.

Unless it's a few friends in a TF2/CSS/L4D server with sv_cheats set to 1 so all of us can gang rape some AI. Then it's just hilarious lulzy violence. Like when Louis runs around literally shitting health, ammo and medpacks, or when we set the gravity in CSS To 1 and snipe the AI who all instantly jump and get stuck on the map ceiling.

Absolutely true. Cheating can tell you a LOT about yourself. Particularly your taste in Games.
I only ever cheat when the combat and usual going-ons of the game become mere drudgery and i can't wait to get to "better bits", in my case plot-progression and, in RPGs, Opportunities to Role-play.

I had to stop playing Dragon Age: Origins because the gameplay had become....boring, for lack of a better word, and I couldn't find a right and proper trainer anywhere. So i just quit, without finishing the story. I wish it didn't have to be that way, but what was i to do.

Fabulous article. It explores some of the many reasons I like to cheat in games. They can really help me experience everything the game has to offer.

Hard to beat that really.

Kudos to the writer; this article reflect my opinions as well, and is well written! On a personnal note, I usually cheats when I find the challenge unhealthy for my appreciation of the content.

I cheated so much in video games growing up, but I don't really think it ever spoiled my challenge-seeking nature. Most of the cheats I used were for entertainment purposes and were never employed until after I had already beaten the game without cheating. However, I see your point and admit to falling victim to the same kind of cheating seduction in more recent years. This is precisely the reason why I opt for Morrowind on the Xbox over the PC. If I play the PC version I can't keep myself from cheating D:

I love the existence of cheats in single player. Sometimes I've had a rough day and I don't want more challenge I just want fun. So depending on what game I'm playing I can either scale down the difficulty and feel like God of the wasteland (Fallout 3/vegas) or I can make the game silly by adding big heads, shooting paintballs etc.

I'm also not ashamed to admit that I will sometimes have been staring at a puzzle for hours before checking online to find that I just needed to hit a switch or something equally silly.

Multiplayer however is a different story. It's bad enough that due to reward systems a lot of multiplayer games are elitist and favour those who have been playing the longest even though those players are more likely to have memorised where everything spawns let alone having to deal with getting sniped from the whole map away through several walls.

p.s Right, Down, Left, Left, Down, Right, Right, Down, Left, X, Square, Triangle ~Ion Cannon!

I don't like using cheats that alter the game, unless they are just for fun but I do use walkthroughs. Even when I end up overusing them a bit they have never really ruined my experience of the game.

I did use them a bit when I was younger, on the PlayStation mostly.
I don't think they really ruined the experience then because I used to open levels I would otherwise have never made it to. Crash Bandicoot and Rayman where the main ones I did it with.

I've been guilty of overusing the walkthrough for games before. I ashamed to admit it, but I never actually "beat" Monkey Island 3. I got stuck early on and had the walkthrough guide sitting next to the computer, so I thought "Just this once will be ok." I ended up keeping that book open and doing everything exactly as it said. I know I missed out on a lot of opportunities and experiences that way and I wish I could go back and re-do it. The funny thing was, I knew I was cheating, but I wanted to get to the end so much that it didn't matter. Nowadays I try to limit my use of such things until I've already beaten the game and I'm trying to find all the hidden things that I missed the first time.

Or if I want to have some chaotic fun in GTA. No gravity mode, instant tank spawning and instant Army stars is SO much fun in Vice City. Good times, good times.

I rarely cheat to win. I prefer to cheat to have fun. I probably don't need extra lives in most games, but give me the option to screw around and I'm happy. That's why I love sandbox games so much. I use the free roam ability to blow off steam, and cheats help that greatly. But I don't use them in the story mode, unless they're unlockables like Saints Row 2's options. And then, it hardly feels like cheating to use unlimited ammo. I earned it and it's right there proudly listed in my crib. And some of those were a pain in the ass to earn.

I don't begrudge gamers, though, for cheatng anyway, long as it's not cheating in a way that harms others (multiplayer is a real good example). Games really shouldn't be all that frustrating. Not as a default, anyway. I mean, I like games like Super Meat Boy that sell themselves on challenge, but that should be the exception, not the rule.

I admit i cheated in rpgs using strategy guides. At some point you have to if you want to get everything. Then again I may stop now. I recently went for a throwback and started playing final fantasy X. I had the guide and i got so incredibly bored because i was grinding using the guide. I wanted to find out why i had so much fun in the past. so, i threw out the guide except the item sections and winged it. I began having fun again, not having that sense of clairvoyance actually brought back the mystery in the world i was playing in. I feel now i may need to still look at guides, but only item sections. Item section because these bloody fuckers who make games now say that if you open "this/these" chest in the game now you won't get something way better earlier.

I remember the rosebud cheat on the original Sims. The first few times I played I made so much money that I built crazy houses and did anything I wanted...until I realized how freaking bored I was. Since then I never used the cheat and built up from the very bottom. Despite a bad encounter with a clown the game was much more fun. Personally I think all cheats should be difficult to find. I know I found the starcraft campaign incredibly difficult the first time I played through, but until I played it without cheats I got almost no feeling of accomplishment for the game. On the other hand, I may not have had the same sense had I not used the cheats in the first place.

It really depends on the game. If your stuck and cant get pass a certian boss or area, its fine. Or a sandbox game you beat and just want to have fun in. But cheating in a multiplayer game is just not right.

GrizzlerBorno:
Absolutely true. Cheating can tell you a LOT about yourself. Particularly your taste in Games.
I only ever cheat when the combat and usual going-ons of the game become mere drudgery and i can't wait to get to "better bits", in my case plot-progression and, in RPGs, Opportunities to Role-play.

I had to stop playing Dragon Age: Origins because the gameplay had become....boring, for lack of a better word, and I couldn't find a right and proper trainer anywhere. So i just quit, without finishing the story. I wish it didn't have to be that way, but what was i to do.

This. I, too, quit Dragon Age (and Mass Effect). Honestly, I like finding out the story without having to drudge through hours of (sometimes) pointless running back and forth to slowly progress the story. This is why I've been watching a lot of walkthroughs on youtube. I can fast forward through some of the boring parts to get to the cut scenes.

Right now I'd love a money cheat for Gran Turismo 5. I work a 56 hour week and have a career to worry about. I really don't have enough time to spend hours and hours grinding credits on GT5 just to be able to unlock the final 2 or 3 cars that I want to have a test drive of for historical/sentimental reasons.

I don't want to cheat online, or to show people how l33t I am. I simply want to be able to access content (in a product that I paid good money for) that I personally am unlikely to get a shot at otherwise.

Walkthroughs and cheat codes are there for when other people fail at game design. Sadly, this happens a lot.

(Hat tip to Machinarium for being the first adventure game in a long time which didn't require this.)

In regards to using FAQs and Walkthroughs, I really take no shame in using a guide for games I simply just don't get. Plus, most walkthroughs have (or should have) a getting started guide complete with controls and how to play the game, plus any tips or tricks that the game may not otherwise directly point out. This is doubly beneficial in your complicated JRPGs, where battle systems are typically written in a more simplified or summarized form. They also do wonders for games that involve a lot of crafting. I don't really consider it cheating in that case, since I'm only using the guide to reference back to things I already know.

maddog015:

This. I, too, quit Dragon Age (and Mass Effect)

Mass Effect? Really? It had good combat. Inventory management was a right pain in the ass, but I never felt that the combat lacked much especially if you play tactically (use that pause thing a lot to micro-manage) against Hard opponents with Biotics! Fuck yeah for Biotics!

But, oh well, different strokes.

I use walkthroughs quite a lot. Sometimes it's to help me when I'm stuck and other times to simply save me from having to do paperwork. For example I'm playing through Muramasa: The Demon Blade atm and there's no way I'm writing down where the enemy lairs are when I can just bring the guide up on my phone.

Cheating I don't really do although I understand the feeling of wanting to get revenge on a game. Take Resident Evil 4 - I take my time playing through the game, death seems to be coming from everywhere and I'm scared sh*tless (hey, I scare easy). Enter New Game + and suddenly it's payback time. Oh joy, it's the village, I can't wait to show the Dr. Salvador my Broken Butterfly. Oh hey Mr. Garrador, unfortunately I bought the Chicago Typewriter with the spoils from my last playthrough and... oh your dead. Oh hey Mr. Iron Maiden, nice keycard. Would you mind if I borrowed that for a... you see where this is going.

TheKruzdawg:
... I ended up keeping that book open and doing everything exactly as it said...

Absolutely what I was going for, there. I can't even count how many games I've done that with, only to get to the end and say, "Okay... when does the fun start?" And then I realize I just flew past it. It's the difference between assembling a bike (where you follow the instructions in a detached way, not really thinking too hard), or building and painting a model from a kit (There are instructions, but there's also your own creativity at work).

Iridul:
Right now I'd love a money cheat for Gran Turismo 5. I work a 56 hour week and have a career to worry about. I really don't have enough time to spend hours and hours grinding credits on GT5 just to be able to unlock the final 2 or 3 cars that I want to have a test drive of for historical/sentimental reasons.

And that's exactly the "dessert first" angle that cheat codes should give us. I think even having a trade-off (like disabling multiplayer or saving while the cheat is active) can be fair, if it allows your customers to skip to the parts they want without compromising the overall game experience for others.

Dom Camus:
Walkthroughs and cheat codes are there for when other people fail at game design. Sadly, this happens a lot.

(Hat tip to Machinarium for being the first adventure game in a long time which didn't require this.)

I want so much to agree... but it might be a little unfair. You don't want a game to be so chock-full of hints and arrows that it's like reading a walkthrough while you play... but sometimes the designer and the player are just in two different frames of mind. An outside source of a small hint can get you back on track.

When it comes to difficulty problems, I'd agree that a good tutorial is more valuable than any cheat code. If you teach the player how to meet the challenge, they won't need the cheat. At the same time, sometimes it's more fun just to cheat your way through the level, create your own gameplan, and then try it again without the cheat.

But not all cheats are there to make up for the inadequacies of the game (or the player). Some just add some fun (like sandbox games allowing flight, or something). Others do what the gentleman above you was looking for--they allow you to bypass the "chores" of the game and skip straight to the parts you want. Cheats can allow for a more user-directed experience.

And that's what it's about, right? Us. The users. When I go to a restaurant and order a steak, I don't want to be told I have to eat it a certain way. If I want to pick it up and eat it from the center, then let me--as long as I keep my angry food noises down and don't throw bits on my neighbors.

I agree with a lot of this article. I wish there was a way to play Smash Bros Brawl without a victory screen at the end to show who won and who lost, because then my friends and I would be able to play without getting mad at the game.

I also agree that there are ways to completely ruin the experience of a game. I played Civilization V a lot when I first got it, beating the game as different leaders each time. But then I discovered the SDK and I was able to make my own maps-- giving myself 10 cities right from the start with plenty of water nearby with fish and luxuries, and 100 of every resource. After I'd played even a single match of that, I found I was completely incapable of playing the game after that.

I use walkthroughs and faQs so i know what i am going into but i prefer the absence of that information when i start a game.
As for minecraft i simply enjoy exploring underground passages to use inventory editors o map my cave systems. I will map my surface after i gather materials because if their is a good spot to build i want to build on it.

You missed a couple of little details.

Cheating in obnoxiously restrictive games can actually improve the experience. Let's use Fallout New Vegas as an example:

Obsidian decreed that you can't hike up that mountain because they were too lazy to bake the terrain properly, so using a little something called Toggle Collision you can actually climb up that hill to get the vantage point on the Legionnaires bellow, or even to escape from an annoying bug, which all Bethesda based games seem to have which is little depressions with incorrect collision detectors, which leave you stuck, the only chance would be to reload and we all know how frustrating it is to reload when the nearest save was 20mins ago at the start of ‹ber Dungeon of Effing Hardship, or you could simply use the "cheat" to remove yourself from such hole and disable it as soon as you're out.

I think there is a missed area to discuss about this topic and how there is an utter lack of cheats in modern console games.

If you look at modern games the cheat selection is weak to say the least. Take Halo, the Golden eye of the modern age, has no cheat codes at all. Some of the most fun I had in that series was going into an illegal modded room and playing with smgs that fired sticky grenades and all sorts of nonsense.

Cod's cheats felt wrong to me as the combat in single player fells like shooting paper targets more than anything.

Lastly, my main issue is it seems a lot of cheat worthy content has been whisked away to the realm of paid for DLC, unlockable cars and weapons, Experience points and money. For the xbox any way as they have yet to clear the hurdle of letting you cheat in a game without it permanently locking out earning achievements.

I think the best time to use cheats is when an obstacle is between you and fun. I suck fantastically at RTSs. Still, I loved starcraft...the feel of building things, the story, the units... so I put on invincibility and played through the game. And I do not regret it at all. I was able to experience the story, I could build and play with units at my leisure, and I got to experience the game without constantly starting over from scratch. I got everything I wanted out of that game in a way that I never would have been able to without cheats.

It's more of a "what kind of cheating," "dose it affect others" and "dose it change the game"

In bracket ball, you done run around with the ball, knock people down, and climb a latter to the hoop, because that's not basket ball. But you can study the other teams way of playing, trash talk then into messing up, and convince the ref to favor you.

In Video games it's very similar, you can cheat, but as long as you don't change the game, it doesn't matter as much. It's the differences between Me playing WoW and getting my character to lv80, and someone stealing that character and pretending that they got it to Lv80. Part of the fun of WoW was going from Lv1 to Lv80, after that I started to loos interest and then my laptop burst into flames. But for the person who took a year later, I can see that it was not about having fun, it was just a cheats way of getting what they want now, like sealing a car.

So ya, moderation is the key, for if all you do is cheat, you forget how to have fun.

CitySquirrel:
I think the best time to use cheats is when an obstacle is between you and fun. I suck fantastically at RTSs. Still, I loved starcraft...the feel of building things, the story, the units... so I put on invincibility and played through the game. And I do not regret it at all. I was able to experience the story, I could build and play with units at my leisure, and I got to experience the game without constantly starting over from scratch. I got everything I wanted out of that game in a way that I never would have been able to without cheats.

true, just don't cheat agents other people. I once played a game with someone, two rounds in a tactual strategy game. The fist found he stacked the odd in his favor and wiped the floor with me, the second round was an even match, and I still sucked but the round lasted three times longer, and even though he was winning, he gave up in the end.

Dice Warwick:
true, just don't cheat agents other people. I once played a game with someone, two rounds in a tactual strategy game. The fist found he stacked the odd in his favor and wiped the floor with me, the second round was an even match, and I still sucked but the round lasted three times longer, and even though he was winning, he gave up in the end.

I assumed it was obvious that I was playing the campaign. I never played much multiplayer because...well...I sucked. I only bought the game for the single player campaign.

I love cheating after i already beat the game. It makes me want to play the game again. I hate cheating in multiplayer as it can ruin the experience of others, but i really dont get all the hate for single player cheating. Everyone uses faqs and guides once in awhile.

I seldom cheat to complete, but will do it at every opportunity to give me a feeling of omnipotence. Stat-tricking my Chao in Sonic Adventure to give them godly stats?? You know it. Item-duping in Dragon Age? Sign me up (it also removes the feeling that I might be "leveling wrong"). Crafting exploit in Resonance of Fate? Hells yeah.

I'm one of those people where "God mode" actually gives me some fun since I can now go through the game and wreck everything I come across. Good times.

I bought a Roomba to cheat at vacuuming. That tells you something about me, right?

Iridul:
Right now I'd love a money cheat for Gran Turismo 5. I work a 56 hour week and have a career to worry about. I really don't have enough time to spend hours and hours grinding credits on GT5 just to be able to unlock the final 2 or 3 cars that I want to have a test drive of for historical/sentimental reasons.

I don't want to cheat online, or to show people how l33t I am. I simply want to be able to access content (in a product that I paid good money for) that I personally am unlikely to get a shot at otherwise.

Agreed with this...played GT4 to 97% completion, and that is so many hours of racing I don't even want to know (there are 24 hr endurance races in the damn thing, even though you can use a B-drive who does them for you).

OT: I've only cheated when I'm truly stuck, but I give most games a pretty fair go. The cheating only extends to the 'soft side' though, as in using walkthrus, to either get me through a really tough section, or remove a bit of extra exploring and trial-error (perhaps in character creation). I have hacked Minecraft inventory, but man, that's because I've easily thrown down 100+ hrs of mining and that's just not conducive to living a fulfilling life anymore. However, I still enjoy building massive projects every now and then.

As for online cheating, anyone trying to pwn n00bs or make the game unfair deserve to be burned at the stake.

Without waxing philosophical, I consider cheating to be a failure of game design. A game should hint at you what to do next without you needing to consult a walkthrough (although, an adventure game might be partially exempt since it should be hard to figure out what to do next, but there's a different between 'having to look up a walkthrough after you get stuck' and 'have to constantly consult a walkthrough because otherwise you constantly miss what you can interact with' so there's still a distinction). A game should be challenging enough that you don't feel like putting in an all weapons cheat, either because it's too hard to complete it with the tools you are given or because it's so easy you want to go overkill. A game that goads you with cheats that allow you to explore the gameworld quickly is a game that doesn't lay the gameworld before you in an interesting fashion. The best games are not known for what you do with cheats on, they're known for what the simple game puts on the table.

Of course the most egregious example of this is GTAIV, in which its bad 'menu in gameplay' design decision even made the cheats that might make it more enjoyable harder to access.

Ah, saints row 2 with low gravity, evil cars, pedestrian wars, raining pedestrians, heaven bound and infinite ammo all turned on is a lot of fun.

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