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video game cheat codes

What Are Video Game Cheat Codes?

Many non gamers don’t know what video game cheat codes are, let alone how it’s used and what it reveals once applied. Here’s the 101 on cheat codes.

“What in the world is a cheat code?” has been a frequent question parents have asked me over the years. Cheat codes were new to me too, even though I’ve worked over 9 years at conventions like E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) for various clients like Nintendo, Panasonic and Sony.

Friend Jennifer Bailey, Charles Martinet (voice for Mario & Luigi) and I at the E3 trade show in 2006. I got an inside look at video game content before it hit the shelves. Read this to get scoop on video game cheat code info.

Friend Jennifer Bailey, Charles Martinet (voice for Mario & Luigi) and I at the E3 trade show in 2006.

These events gave me an inside scoop on what video games would be released in the upcoming year. Cheat codes, however, were never talked about during these shows – and for good reason. The game developers like to keep these “secrets” for the gamers. However, as a parent, I think it’s critical we know all we can about video game cheat codes and how they effect our kids (or spouse) who use them.

So what is a cheat code? A cheat code makes the game easier, giving an advantage to the gamer, as in getting more lives or more advanced weapons. The codes are implemented by the original video game developer, third-party software or through the actual game cartridge and are activated from within the game itself. A person applies the codes through either pressing the controller buttons in a certain sequence or entering secret passwords.

Some gamers think cheat codes cause unfairness and others think they’re great for casual gamers. Regardless, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act explains that there are no laws against modifying software a person already owns. Most parents are not aware that these cheat codes even exist in the first place, let alone what they allow their kids to modify and experience once the codes are activated.

Codes used to add more lives are one thing. If they are being used to promote a negative behavior, this can lead to disaster. For example, codes for the Grand Theft Auto video game series, can be used to make your player act drunk. Others allow the gamer to use more advanced weapons like grenades, baseball bats, pistols, etc. to mangle and kill victims, as if the ‘normal’ weapons being used weren’t gruesome enough. I grew up playing Pac Man and remember telling my mom, “Check out the graphics! This is sooooo cool!” So I have a hard time seeing so many young people simulating violent acts repetitively in these video games.

video game cheat codes

Grand Theft Auto V strip club scene

Here’s where things get even more alarming. In games like Grand Theft Auto, when gamers enter unique codes, an in-game message board pops up, containing maps of secret locations within the game’s levels. The issue? Some of them lead the gamer to strip clubs where countless topless women wearing thongs, are dancing on poles, on laps (yes, that bad) and more which is too graphic to describe. The newly released Grand Theft Auto V has 1st-person hooker and strip club scenes galore. The photos alone are very alarming.

With the advancement in technology, these 3D images are hard to differentiate between virtual and the real thing. People being exposed to this behavior (killing prostitutes) would be imprisoned if they tried emulating this in real life. The argument that it’s just a video game is not applicable. My point is how will young people gain experience doing something constructive in order to get a job someday, if they spend hours filling their minds with this? This also promotes a major facade of how women should be treated. If a 10 year old isn’t allowed in a strip club, what damage is being done when kids see these images in video games?

We must have our guard up parents! Here are some quick tips on how to keep your kids cheat code free.

  • Purchase only video games that fall within the ratings for your child’s age. Discard any games that are for the older audience.
  • Check out Plugged In to look up all of your child’s video games to see what each game entails for language, violence, etc.
  • Inform other family members who might purchase games for your kids, to get your approval first to see if the game is appropriate for your child.
  • Preview any gaming magazines your children read to see if it advertises cheat codes that include graphic images/scenes.
  • Talk to your kids about not applying any cheat codes to their video games.

The best thing you can do is be aware of what is in your child’s bedroom or gaming location.

These games won’t entail cheat codes that will change your cute little munchkin into a monster.

Question: What tips can you share regarding your children’s video gaming rules at home? Share your answer by clicking here.


  • Bryan
    Posted at 09:11h, 30 March Reply

    Hey Tina,

    Hope you’re doing well. From a youth perspective, they will probably just do a google search to look for cheat codes. I remember I used to spend the mornings before school and the lunch hour in grade school sometime looking up different codes (for Goldeneye specifically). Now back then they didn’t have the GTA stuff in games though I’ve played my fair share of that back then. Now they will just look it up on their phone or lap top or friends phone.

    Parents will have to be preemptive in terms of limiting the games they buy by making sure the added content isn’t offensive… Because once they get it, it’s too late… And telling them not to use the codes will just make them want to do it even more… Plus they will still play GTA at their friends house probably… Which could be difficult to protect against…

    I used to be a hardcore gamer but stopped like 5 years ago out of moral conviction and the time it was draining from me not too long after i became a missionary… Though through the Lord and a great church I turned out all right lol… I guess the key is active involvement in a child’s life and teaching him right and wrong.

    Hope this is helpful!



    • Tina
      Posted at 09:18h, 30 March Reply

      Great comments coming from an avid post gamer 🙂 It’s so tough to watch where your kids are and who they’re with and what they are doing. You’re so right on parents needing to watch what their kids are into and what games should be allowed inside the home. As for other people’s homes, it’s critical people know what the other family’s stance is on gaming and what is played under their roof. My main reason for informing kids that they shouldn’t load cheat codes, would be to tell them why. Usually when I explain why my kids should do or not do something they realize it’s the best choice – usually. Thank you for your thoughts on this and your honesty on why you quit playing the games. Good choice Bryan and look where and what God has you doing now! Keep up the awesome work!

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