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.
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.
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.
Choose video games that will help your child learn how to be responsible, polite and well-educated. https://t.co/MlqzXnQUMV
— Tina Marie Griffin (@TinaMGriffin) March 30, 2015
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.