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Up, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, left, right, B, A, Start’. This sequence went from being a simple trick that would help players to have more lives in some video games, to become a pop culture symbol that is still relevant today.
How did a button sequence become the most famous in the history of video games? To answer this we must go back to the 1980s, when a young Kazuhisa Hashimoto was recruited by Konami where he was in charge of developing and programming boards for roulette and slot games.
Konami’s success with these types of games led to an unprecedented success, which made it possible to make the leap to Arcade games. Konami’s first big success was ‘Track & Field’ in 1983, a sports video game whose popularity in the United States came thanks to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. This game was the first Konami game to feature an easter egg, which was programmed by Hashimoto.
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The Konami Code would give against players about thirty extra lives. Considering the difficulty against i.e. those lives allowed to survive significantly longer the game until you do not have one. Since then, the code has become world famous and has been used in many games.
Such was the case of Gradius, a 2D shoot-em-up (or schmup) released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1986. Although it was originally an arcade game, Konami wanted to bring Gradius to platforming as well. One of the game’s owners was a man named Kazuhisa Hashimoto, known as the father of the Konami Code.
In Gradius, the code would give players all the power-up available. The original intention was to remove the code before release, but it was accidentally left in and, unlike today, games could no longer be patched.
The developers assumed that the code was not left behind by accident. Of course, the code was soon discovered and gained enough acclaim that it was retained in other Konami titles. However, the true popularity of the Konami Code came into effect with the runaway success of contra.
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The Konami Code (Konami Code, also known as Konami Command or Contra Code) is a cheat that can be used in certain Konami video games, which usually activates some secret option. The code was first used in the 1986 version of Gradius for the NES game console. In the game, the player presses the following sequence of buttons on the controller:
Probably the best known example of the Konami code is in Contra for NES in 1988, where using the cheat increases the player’s lives from 3 to 30. Due to the high difficulty of the game, many players came to rely on the cheat to finish the game, earning the title “the Contra code”.
A new easter egg appears on the official Yandere Simulator page, in the source code a message appears saying “try the Konami code ↑ ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A”. If used on normal pages the background will change, but if used on the “Characters” page, the secret character “Fun Girl” will appear.
In the song “30 lives (up-up-down-dance-mix)” performed by The Motion Sick, in the middle of the song a visual and sung interpretation of the code can be seen in the background video clip. This may (or may not) be coincidental, as the Dance Dance Dance Revolution dance game saga is created by Konami, so as an “expert” level the player has to enter the steps ↑ ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → in the sequence at the same point where they are sung. Commands that should be B, A, Select, Start, are replaced by jumps.
Konami code vs.
Kazuhisa Hashimoto was the first to introduce the world to the ‘Konami code’, a sequence (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, left, right, B, A) first introduced in 1986 in the NES game Gradius.
By pressing the controller buttons in that order, users accessed help when playing a title that was considered complicated. Subsequently, it was extended to other titles, such as Contra, where it increased lives from three to 30, or even in games on other platforms, such as Silent Hill 3, Metal Gear Solid 2 or Plants vs.