Poll Question 018 – Does using Cheat Codes spoil a game?

16th February 2007

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
Introduction

This week’s poll question is about cheat codes and was suggested by Goddess Alyria.

Does using Cheat Codes spoil a game?

A Quick Memory-Clouded History Lesson

Many years ago, when games were simply levels, after levels, after levels somebody decided that it would be cool if you could save your progress instead of having to start from the complete beginning again. The first implementation I can remember was having to type in a predefined set of letters. Later you were able to choose the letters yourself.

Some games allowed you to enter special codes that either jumped you to a much higher level and or gave you powerups (Stronger weapons and or other abilities).

These codes, or should I say the discovery and publication of the codes became a big part of any gamers life. I fondly remember being seen as a hero because I knew the codes regarding some now forgotten features in Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega’s Megadrive.

Jump forward to 2007 and you will see that we haven’t really changed much. The difference is we enter these “cheats” through a fancy console!

Non-Valid Reasons?

The reasons for using codes in maps and mods are many but I believe they fall into a number of categories.

  • Because I Get Stuck
    Sometimes no matter how hard you search you simply cannot find the end of a level. Occasionally this is due to poor level design, more often (In my case anyway!) it’s due to player stupidity. There’s a fine line between making a puzzle too hard and making it challenging. I also believe that how much you have played these types of games is important. I don’t believe anything is really intuitive, just easier to understand if you have experienced something similar.
  • Because I Get Bored
    May be the level design is not to your liking or perhaps you started on too high a difficulty level. There could be many reasons, the point is that you no longer have the motivation to continue. I certainly felt like this when I was playing the underwater levels in Chaser, which I consider high on my list of Hall of Shame Levels. However, whilst you may lack the motivation to finish the level, you are curious to know what comes next.
  • To Look for Hidden Areas
    Level designers are a crafty group of people and they are always looking for ways to hide areas etc. I recently played a Half-Life map where a wall was visible but not solid. Behind this wall were a few more enemies and a powerful weapon. I can’t remember how I happened to find out about it but I am sure it was luck not skill.
Valid Reasons?

Only you can truly decide if a use is valid or not but below are uses that I feel are much clearer.

  • Jumping Buggy Areas
    Occasionally a level has a big enough bug that it stops you from playing. You have two choices here: to either stop playing the map/mod completely or to jump to the next level (Or maybe move around the problem). This has happened to me a few times regarding different versions of the GoldSource (Half-Life) engine. There seems to be little else you can do except cheat.
  • Development Issues
    Mappers and beta testers need to access certain areas again and again. Sometimes the best way is to simply jump to the required area. If you need to test a particular event or scene then clearly you can’t be expected to play through the game each time. OF course you could use save points but it depends on what you are trying to achieve.
  • Screenshots
    I use cheat codes to take screenshots because I may wish to use a view that is not normally visible from the players perspective or perhaps because playing and taking good screenshots can be difficult.
Conclusion

I have only mentioned maps and mods in this post because I believe players are more likely to use them here than in full games. Perhaps you disagree but I feel that full games have generally been more rigorously tested and therefore should not require the codes.

Personally I hate using cheat codes because I feel as though I have failed in some way. Perhaps it’s a lack of playing skill or perhaps it’s a failing of my puzzle-solving intelligence, either way I dislike using them.

Final Results
  • Yes: 66%
  • No: 34%
  • Total votes: 61

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21 Comments

  1. Mike S

    I’m with you on this, Phillip — I wouldn’t cheat in a “proper” commercial release as it spoils the satisfaction of completing it. Likewise I don’t permit myself to drop the difficulty level to Easy. I’m reluctant even to look at a walkthrough.

    But there have been a few times in HL2 maps and mods where I have engaged Buddha mode. The most recent example was Leon’s C to A, the bit near the end where the goal is to shut down the reactor(I think) and Elite Combine continually respawn. I wasted all my ammo and health before I realised the swines were respawning! But once I engaged Buddha mode the mod felt despoiled and I didn’t bother finishing it. So near so far…

    I’d enjoyed the mod up tyo that point but cheating ruined the overall experience for me.

  2. I thought about it, but eventually went for no, the only time I think it “spoils” things are when people look for them the minute they touch the game or reach a hard spot, but that’s their problem.

    For people not pre-disposed to cheating I think they can actually help a game/mod NOT be spoiled when used right. For instance, if you are stuck for a while in a mod with absolutely no idea what to do to get further (and you’re not even sure whether the mod has bugged and you’re stuck anyway), then a quick noclip further can make things flow far better than going back a long way to redo that section or spending an hour on something that turns out to be completely inane. The same if you encounter a section in a mod that’s ridiculously hard (though I don’t think I’ve had to god more than once or twice in the hundreds of maps I’ve played).

    Cheats are also good for getting less experienced or younger players into games, for instance, Half-Life(2) probably would not have become one of my brother’s favorite games if cheats had not existed, and now he seems to be moving on from cheating (which is pretty much the same as what I did when I was younger).

  3. i’m not using cheat a lot, sometime in duke maps that when they are pretty big I cheat to see the entire map or when a boss is to challenging to defeat same turn…I recently look arround internet to use cheat for FarCry…I started the game a long time ago but find it quite hard so I gave it a second try and this time on easy it was ok with several challenging spot (in easy)…and especially the last one where I used everything to past but died more than a hundred times I deciced then that it was better for me to finish it using cheating (even if I don’t like to this) you have no honor to finish or win something if you cheat…but if in someway devellopers make a game quite challenging even on the easy way the I don’t understand the way of making games…

  4. I cheat because I don’t get satisfaction from completing games. I’m there to have fun, not work. Often, I will forego cheats in order to attempt a satisfactory victory. Unfortuantly, after the difficulty ramps up and the frustration floods in, cheats are my way to go.

    There are, of course, exceptions to this. Half-Life 1, I never cheated. I beat every single game of the Half-Life series at least six times on multiple difficulties. Deus Ex (PC and PS2 versions), I never cheated, and beat the game four times. Dungeon Siege, I never cheated, despite playing the game for nearly a full five years.

    I suppose what is said here is the use of cheats can and possibly will improve the entertainment of the game. If that game already provides enough entertainment, then cheats probably won’t be used except for utility purposes.

    Another purpose for cheats is spawning enemies and allies. Many times have I completed games just by spawning allies to battle every enemy.

  5. Anonymous

    “Does using Cheat Codes spoil a game?”

    Unless it’s a terrible game, yes. Yes it does.

  6. Darth Marsden

    I try my hardest not to cheat. I really do. And yet I do. Not always, but I still do it sometimes. Why?

    Bad Game. This is the exact reason I had to God-mode my way through Far Cry. It wasn’t fun and I was constantly being killed by enemies so far away I didn’t even know they were there. So I cheated so I could finish the game (wasn’t worth it, but that’s a different rant).

    Flawed Game. I’m currently playing Unreal through Unreal Tournament using the Old Skool mod, and every time I go through a map change, I loose one of my dual enforcers (grr). So I edited my user.ini to read “p=summon enforcer’. Problem solved.

    Clipping Issue. More then once I’ve played through a map and found myself somehow getting stuck in the scenery. A quick “noclip” usually takes care of this, but I’m always irritated whenever I have to do it.

    So yeah, I cheat. But I hate doing it. It makes me feel like there’s something wrong, either with me or the game.
    But it doesn’t tend to spoil a game unless you’re god-moding it, “cause then your tactics change. You stop being careul and start charging straight at the enemy, not caring if they hit you or not. Strategy goes out the window.
    So to answer your question, I think the answer is, generally, yes.

  7. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    You’ve already stated the valid reasons that I agree with. But in my opinion, if a map or mod has something in there where you have to cheat just to be able to pass it makes it not worth playing at all. If you’re being forced to cheat then what’s the point? Probably already mentioned but I’m not much in a reading mood when typing this.

  8. I admit to having cheated on games, but I’m talking about years ago, when I was about ten years old when DOOM and DOOM 2 ruled the FPS genre. Hell, it ruled the entire gaming culture. DOOM on the PC is the first ever game I consistently cheated on. I don’t know why, but I did. I still tried to dodge the demons” fireballs and rockets, for some reason. Maybe I was subconsciously thinking I was good at the game because I wasn’t dying!

    On the Mega Drive, I sometimes used cheats, but not as often as the PC, but it was usually just to have some random fun (like accessing the hidden ‘mania” difficulty on Streets of Rage 2) since I’d played the games to death.

    I gradually moved away from cheating and I hardly ever do it, anymore. Sometimes I’ll fire up ol” DOOM, put cheats on and jump into the middle of a snarling pack of demons and undead zombies. Then, I take out the rocket launcher……

    By the way, does anyone remember when Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was first released? People were phoning game hotlines and magazines asking for cheats before they’d even got the game out of the box! Why cheat on a game you’ve not even played, yet!?

    On the subject of cheats spoiling a game — yes. There are many times I wished I hadn’t cheated on DOOM all those years ago…

  9. Arque

    Lightweights and lamebrains. Not very P.C. but that’s the way I feel. A game too hard? What? On very, very, EASY. Can’t find a solution? Lost the ability to communicate? All you have to do is ask. That’s what the net is for surely? Oh, and Planetphillip of course. I can proudly claim, I have never cheated. Why trash someones hard work and effort. Miss the point and, miss the reward.

  10. can’t find a solution? Lost the ability to communicate? All you have to do is ask.

    Yes, but is asking cheating? Don’t answer that because it’s next week’s poll!

    Oh, and Planetphillip

    Please, call me Phillip.

    Why trash someones hard work and effort. Miss the point and, miss the reward.

    A commendable claim, well done.

  11. shungokusatsu

    I will only use cheats such as “god” after I have finished the game, but cheating before you have finished the game just spoils it entirely. However, sometimes I had to cheat during half-life; for example noclip was needed to escape the freezing lift bug.

  12. Ezequielhl

    Talking about commercial games-mods:

    I remember my first FPS, Quake II. I was in the Drilling Area, in the mines. I had to search for an entrance to the factory. YADA YADA…

    I fell from a bridge, and suddendly, faster than a newbie can react, two mutants attacked me. Hell, that was one of the scariest moment in my gamer experience; so scared I was that I reacted using GODMODE when I was “3” of health (And I was playing in easy).

    Where’s the point? well. I hate cheats, and cheaters (even in single player games like GTA III). I ranted things like: “use the EASY setting, use the Walktroght, play the games of windows cuz this piece of electronic art is to hardcore for your n00b ass”. But this article and the opinions opened my eyes: I was wrong; I was a lil” cheater before.

    Yes, the cheats spoil the game. I must admit, I had the same nostalgia like Skul and his DOOM moments. But is up to you to use cheats. It’s normal to use them when you start in the genre. I done this in RTS category, too.

    But, if you use cheats every time to beat any existing game and you have been played too much games, my diagnostic is this: you are a casual player and deserve to die (hehehe, bad habits never die).

    In free mods:
    Yes, I used the noclip thing for bugging maps of these free products. Or Walktroughts some times, in comeercial productos sometimes I must admit. God mod? nah! I hide “inner walls” XD.

    Conclussion: I’m very reluctlant too use cheats in games, it’s spoils the challenge, the strategies: the game itself!. I think I can beat every game if I try hard (or not very hard, half life 2) with the time I been playing them. Of course, I have to stand chossing the right difficulty level.

  13. Yes, it spoils a game. Not only does it spoil the game, it soils (yes, soils) the authors/creators aritistic & intelligent efforts. So much time is spent making these games that we love to play, love to pick apart, love to brag about, love to review on & a vast majority just zip right through it as soon as they find out how to use the cheat codes. It’s like they’re afraid of the challenge or something. I hate having to use cheats for any reason at all. Sadly, the only time I ever resort to them are when I am physically stuck in part of a structure or just stuck period & can’t move. Other than that, I rarely use them. If (big IF), I can’t for the life of me figure out what to do next or where to go, I am not so impatient as to stop for a while and try to find a solution. Even if this entails a little research on my part by going to a forum or the creators website for guidance (which apparently Phillip will be polling us on soon – but keep in mind asking for guidance or help is expected and often encouraged in reality rather then resorting to actual cheating). But, even in doing that, I find new things about other games, or more of a detailed story if I’d never taken the time to visit the sites. I think it hinders the creative process for makers & players alike. Please don’t take my comments personal just because I picked yours out. They are just some points & counter-points from both sides of the fence.

    the only time I think it “spoils” things are when people look for them the minute they touch the game or reach a hard spot, but that’s their problem.

    I couldn’t agree with you more, but then you go on to say:

    For people not pre-disposed to cheating I think they can actually help a game/mod NOT be spoiled when used right. For instance, if you are stuck for a while in a mod with absolutely no idea what to do to get further (and you’re not even sure whether the mod has bugged and you’re stuck anyway), then a quick noclip further can make things flow far better than going back a long way to redo that section or spending an hour on something that turns out to be completely inane.

    If you do indeed find out it’s not a bug, and just can’t find your way around because it’s something you overlooked, spent an hour going back & redoing just to find out it was inane, is that not the players problem as well?

    Further:

    Cheats are also good for getting less experienced or younger players into games,

    This I really must disagree on. How can that possibly be good for starting out? I think it sets a poor moral standard and reflection to try something new and automatically cheat at it. It also only reflects more of the younger society today who feel they are “priveleged” & should have everything handed to them & are more detached from reality. That’s like me telling a child or encouraging them to cheat to get into college or during college & then when they’re ready to strike out on their own, they think it’s acceptable behavior (which in reality is not). Gaming can be an awesome educational tool.

    I cheat because I don’t get satisfaction from completing games. I’m there to have fun, not work.

    Then why play at all if you feel it’s all work & no play? That really defeats the whole puprose.

    Lightweights and lamebrains. Not very P.C. but that’s the way I feel. A game too hard? What? On very, very, EASY. Can’t find a solution? Lost the ability to communicate? All you have to do is ask. That’s what the net is for surely? Oh, and Planetphillip of course. I can proudly claim, I have never cheated. Why trash someones hard work and effort. Miss the point and, miss the reward.

    Very well put & right on the money.

    But, if you use cheats every time to beat any existing game and you have been played too much games, my diagnostic is this: you are a casual player and deserve to die (hehehe, bad habits never die).

    Absolutely! It becomes a moral issue. If you get caught stealing, you run a very high risk of going to jail. If you get caught cheating at something, you run the risk of being expelled from school, being fired from your job, etc. I can say from personal experience working in accounting that if somebody fudges numbers & then thinks “oh, nobody will notice this thousand here or this million there missing or gained” – boy, are you out of a job & possibly facing criminal charges. That is a form of cheating. Just look at Enron & the aftermath it created. While this doesn’t directly tie into gaming, it does tie in to the moral standards society has placed upon us. It shouldn’t matter if it’s only an FPS game (which is why we’re all here anyway), but it should matter to you.

    I don’t intentionally mean to step on any toes here and tried to pull both positive & negative responses. Out of 58 total votes at this posting, I’m surprised to see only 12 comments. Since Phillip was kind enough to use my idea for a poll question, I thought I would wait to see what reaction was given before posting my thoughts (which of course, will go completely ignored & hey, that’s okay). At least I know I’m not cheater! Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!!!

  14. Nothing is ignored here, just occasionally avoided!

    Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether one is tuck because you can’t find a solution or because it’s a bug. The next poll (tomorrow) will look at a possible solution but it’s always a delicate balance between using time to find out whether it’s a bug or just noclip and enjoy the game.

    Of course a bug might also be called a feature. For me the perfect example is Doom 3. I personally think that the developers decision to not have a flashlight connected to a weapon was incredibly stupid (And I use that word carefully). Who would walk around in that sort of environment with EITHER a weapon OR a flashlight? Only a fool. By using a cheat (And I accept that a gameplay mod is not considered a cheat by everybody) I made the game more enjoyable. I would happily soil the artists” vision in this case because I play games to enjoy myself. If I am not enjoying myself then I have two choices: stop playing or do something that allows me to enjoy it.

    I’d also like to defend the idea that it can make it easier for less experienced players. The very first FPS game I played was a demo of Klingon Honor Guard. I couldn’t even get out of the shuttle right at the beginning. I tried for an hour before I finally gave up. It was almost a year before I loaded the Ureal Tournament Demo (By accident I might add) and tried again. This time it was so easy and so much fun that I was instantly hooked. If a new player has trouble controlling a weapon or character then it is setting a mindset that can be difficult to change. Perhaps the FPS gaming industry might not get another chance. In my case it was just luck and I might have a website about a completely different aspect of gaming instead of FPS.

    However, I do agree that by promoting cheating we are setting a bad example and perhaps developers need to include more difficulty levels, starting with “Complete Beginner”.

  15. I like it when they include traning levels so you can learn how to play before you actually play and think all developers should include one. I also agree with what you said about Doom 3. However, using modifications isn’t quite regarded as cheating – just improvisation! I’m not sure I totally agree with that either though.

  16. Darth Marsden

    I’m playing through SiN again – right after finishing it. Why? Because, rather irratitingly, I’d had to cheat my way through the first time. This time I’m playing through with it’s add-on, which fixes some of the big issues (People not dying when you shoot them in the head, clipping problems, someone you’re supposed to follow not actually spawning where they should), as well as having the uber-cool duel-pistols that’s more powerful then the machine gun and twice as accurate. 😀

    I have yet to cheat. And it feels so much better for it.

  17. I like it when they include traning levels so you can learn how to play before you actually play and think all developers should include one.

    I agree but for somebody very very new to FPS gaming that may not be enough!

    However, using modifications isn’t quite regarded as cheating – just improvisation!

    Sounds like another possible poll!

  18. yeah, if a game is developed properly, then enjoying it properly should really only be possible by not using cheat codes the first time. I remember pretty much ruining my first time playing Zelda Ocarina of Time because my aunts got me the strategy guide when they got me the game for christmas. I enjoyed it, but I LOVED Majora’s Mask which I did entirely without any kind of strategy guide or help at all.

    Now, after you beat it the first time, using codes is entirely acceptable, but only after you’ve beaten it once the normal way.

  19. I think they do if you use them for the wrong reason. I use them if I get stuck. I have become wedged between things in the games. And now and then if I am lost I may use the SV_ to get a bids eye view top and bottom to see where the heck I am.. It depends… If they are used to just be “god” then yes they spoil the game, but to each their own..

  20. Unknown

    Recording: Being able to have the ability to launch each map in Half-Life 2 ect is also good in terms of recording. Say for example your video becomes corrupt and you need to record an entire map from the part you left off, so in that sense it is useful as well.

    It is almost the same as saying “Let’s get rid of the auto-save” and then you find out one of your saved files has been corrupted, but the auto-save picked up close enough.

    Don’t Play The Mod: If you want to play a mod or game just too finish it and not actually listen to the story-line or dialogue or in-game elements why waste your time anyways? Unfortunately, websites that stream such as YouTube have made this more of an issue in the sense Let’s Players not all but some want to push out the walk-through as fast as possible.

    Whoever posts it first gets the majority of views which of course equals more money for Let’s Player or Uploader. If you wait a month or even a year to upload a popular video game people’s interest will fade and you may end-up wasting your time, so that may also be a factor.

    Steam Updates: Due to the fact that Steam may “break” certain mods I feel cheats should be used in order to find out if the mod has been broken depending on certain events. Sometimes the cut-scenes don’t work or perhaps sometimes someone may have not provided a walk-through.

    I do think people should try to refrain from using cheats since completing the mod is based on “one’s own abilities to complete the mod.” I mean sure you could finish the mod that way, but really “do you want to know for the rest of your life you needed to cheat to compete that mod?” you may feel bitter about your decision knowing you can’t reverse your decision. Well…this depends on your memory span you can wait a few years and hope you will have forgotten the mod or game and then try the game or mod almost like “a fresh start.”

    It Should Be The Player’s Choice: I think ultimately it should be in your own hands “not the developer’s”. That is like me playing Black Mesa Source and the developer yelling at me to use a Bazooka on a head-crab when the crowbar works just fine. How much fun would the mod become if you always had the developer telling you how to enjoy his or her product?

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