Konami code creator Kazuhisa Hashimoto has died but his legacy lives on
The creator of gaming’s most famous cheat code has passed away, as the video game world remembers the iconic hack.
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. If you’ve ever entered that sequence in a video game, or noticed it being referenced in a movie or on a T-shirt, then it’s all due to a Konami developer named Kazuhisa Hashimoto.
Hashimoto had a long and illustrious career at Konami, but the code’s creation dates back to his work creating the 1986 NES version of arcade classic Gradius (aka Nemesis).
The conversion was much admired, but Hashimoto found the game too difficult and so added the code so that he could beat it.
In Gradius the code instantly activates most of the available power-ups but its function in other games can range from extra lives (as in Contra) to a joke message saying it doesn’t work (in Castlevania spin-off Kid Dracula).
The code has also turned up in more modern games, most notably the Metal Gear Solid series, as well as games that have nothing to do with Konami, ranging from Rocket League to Fortnite: Battle Royale.
Meanwhile, a variation of the code is used to reset Netflix on many devices, it’s a plot point in the Disney film Wreck-It Ralph, and it became an Easter egg on the 2016 Marks & Spencer Christmas food website.
As translated by GlitterBerri in 2003, Hashimoto said: ‘I had one guy under me, and he played through the coin-op version [of Gradius]. That one’s really tough. I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami Code!’
The news of Hashimoto’s death came from composer, and one-time Konami employee, Yuji Takenouchi on Twitter, with many Japanese developers now taking to social media to express their sadness at his passing.
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