Playing a video game as the developers intended is all kinds of fun, but sometimes, so is breaking the rules. Whipping out nuke troopers in Age of Empires and quadrupling your cash in The Sims was a rite of passage for many gamers, but recent years have seen a decline in cheat codes—almost to the point of nonexistence. So what happened? Why are so many modern games curiously lacking a cheat code chamber or the ability to skip levels with the right alphanumeric sequence?
To answer that question, we need to look at why cheats were invented in the first place. When developers make a game, bugs in the code are inevitable. Testing the game from the player’s perspective without cheats would take a whole lot more time, not to mention make eliminating bugs more difficult. Then again, there’s the fun side of cheats, like making your character’s head gigantic, or a slomo mode like in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. With that said, here’s what we think about why cheats aren’t as popular as they used to be.