• » History of the Konami Code

    August 3, 2012 HandsomeTom Articles

    A new feature on GH, we will be getting articles from David G. This weeks is the History of the Konami Code.


    Any self respecting gamer knows about the Konami Code. It has been memorized and used countless times for titles like Gradius and Contra to make beating them a lot easier. Do you know how or why this famous code started? What other applications does it have even to this day?

    Game developer Kazuhisa Hashimoto is credited as the creator of the Konami Code. In 1986, he was working on the NES port of the plane shooter Gradius. The game was considered too hard to play through during the testing process. In order to help with this, Hashimoto created a cheat code that granted full power-ups from the beginning that would normally be gained as you play through the game. Upon the home console release, however, the code was still present and discovered. It was then shared by gamers everywhere which made it grow in popularity. Hashimoto had this to say on the use of the famously dubbed Konami Code

    “The arcade version of Gradius is really difficult, right? I never played it that much, and there was no way I could finish the game, so I inserted the so-called Konami code.”

    Since its inception, the code has been used in Gradius sequels and in another popular Konami franchise, Contra. It was the original Contra on the NES that made the Konami Code popular amongst North American gamers which resulted in giving it other names like the “Contra Code” and “30 Lives Code”. The code could be entered to grant the player 30 lives or, if adding in the select button, give 30 lives each during a 2 player game. It has been present in Contra sequels since including the recently released Hard Corps: Uprising which, upon entering, changes the first level’s music to the jungle theme in the original NES game.

    The Konami Code has since been used in many other popular Konami titles like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle beat-’em-ups and Dance Dance Revolution. Even many non-Konami games have implemented the well known code over the years such as Resident Evil 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Half Life 2, Plants vs Zombies, and even Tetris. You can find a list of games that use the code, how it’s entered, and what it does by clicking†here

    Influence of the code can even be recognized outside of gaming. If used on a Palm OS device, the code puts the device into “developer mode”. Netflix uses a variation of the code to reset your account on the PlayStation 3 application. The Konami Code has even found its way into politics! French presidential candidate Francois Bayrou had his campaign website set up to show an 8-bit styled election video when the code was entered. A compiled list of other websites that use the code can be found by clicking here