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What is the Konami Code?

by | Aug 23, 2021 | Miscellaneous, MyTek Blog


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Have you heard of this combination: Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-Select-Start? If you have, there are good chances that you grew up in the 80s or you were raised by someone who grew up in the 80s. This famous combination is called the Konami Code, which is a cheat code used in many video games, websites, and software. It first appeared in 1986 and has been used since. But, where did the Konami Code come from and how has it been used since then?

Where Did the Konami Code Come From?

In 1986, the video game company called Konami released a home version of their arcade game Gradius, which was playable on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). To test the game out, the game needed to be played all the way through, all the way through in every stage. The developer, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, found this to be very frustrating and he decided to create a cheat code to make this process more simple. This cheat code gave the player every power-up that they otherwise would have had to earn throughout gameplay, and this made it easier and faster to play through the game each time.

But when the game was ready for release, the code was never removed like it should have been and it wasn’t caught until far too late. Luckily, the long combination wasn’t one that users would often be using, so they hoped it wouldn’t be found out. But, it was quickly discovered and since then this exact code has been used in so many other games. But, beyond games, it has appeared elsewhere as well.

Other Places the Konami Code Has Since Emerged

Another popular video game that the code appeared in was Contra, in which the code would grant the player 30 additional lives. This is just one example of the many games that adapted the code into their gameplay. 

The Konami Code has also been referenced in pop culture so much, even outside of the video game world. It was a major plot point in the movie Wreck-It Ralph, was encoded into the background of an episode of the TV show Archer and has been discussed in shows like Family Guy.

It has also been used on many websites as an Easter egg. Saying it to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa will trigger funny responses, and entering into a Discord 404 page will begin a  game of snake. 

So, if you’re ever wondering what the Konami code is, you now know exactly where it came from and how it has been used. Let us know what other tech history you’d like us to cover in the comments below!


Tim - Team

Tim Tiller, LMSW

Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.


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