To cheat, or not to cheat. That is the question. There are gamers today that literally spend hours trying to find ways to cheat in video games or to find exploits they can take advantage of.

Besides looking to get ahead, back in my day besides walking uphill both ways through snow to school (said in my best old man voice), game developers also purposely put cheats and exploits in their games. Sometimes they were an easter egg for players to find. Sometimes they were there in place of the ability to save your progress in a game. We had no hard drives or memory sticks. Everything was hard coded into a cartridge.

Whatever your reason in looking for a way to get ahead in a game, I wanted to put together my list of my favorite cheats and exploits.

The Konami Code

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.

This is perhaps the granddaddy of all cheat codes. It was most notable in the game Contra where it gave you 30 extra lives. That’s where I first came across it and never would have beat the game without it.

The story have how it made it into gaming is interesting.

For you younger kids, you have to understand that this was long before the idea of hacks, gaming mods, and things like game trainers existed in video games.

In 1985, Kazuhisa Hashimoto was working on the game Gradius. He did not want to play the whole game during testing, so he programmed in a shortcut that gave him a full set of power-ups. This allowed him to easily get to where he needed in the game without dying. When the game launched the next year, the code was still programmed in it.

The code caught on and was a part of many Konami games in the future. It has numerous references throughout pop culture.

For example, if you go to the Google Search bar and say, “Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right,” (without the B A) in voice search you will get a surprise from Google.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out was a game that was released at the height of Tyson’s dominance in the boxing world. It was a fun and challenging game. You would fight through a string of opponents leading to your epic clash with the man himself.

The early fighters were pretty easy to get through, but as you progressed further and further, the fighters had different patterns and moves you had to learn to fight them effectively. For example, Great Tiger would do this teleport thing around the ring and punch you repeatedly. You had to learn to block it. Once you figured it out, he was easy to beat.

It took awhile to get through all the fighters to face Tyson, and much like his real-life in ring self, he was a beast to deal with. If he connected with one punch, you went down. After losing, you would get knocked back down a few fighters, have to fight your way back to Tyson, and then get knocked out again in just a few seconds. After 3 losses, the game was over and you had to start from the beginning again.

This made it tough to get much time against Tyson to learn his moves and figure out how to beat him. This is where the cheat code came in. If you entered the password 007 373 5963 it would take you right to Mike Tyson.

Super Mario Brothers – Turtle Tipping

Sticking with Nintendo, this was another favorite. Super Mario Brothers is a great game with a lot of hidden sewers, and warp zones, and all kinds of goodies. The problem was that you only had a few lives with which to explore and look for all these secrets.

That was until someone figured out how to get unlimited lives.

It was known as Turtle Tipping. If you could kick over a turtle and kick it into a wall, you could jump on it again to stop it and send it back into the wall. You could do this over and over again which would give you rewards, including extra lives.

The trick was easiest to perform at the end of World 3-1. This video shows how it was done.

The Destiny Loot Cave

Early in the release of the original Destiny, it was not uncommon to come across a band of guardians shooting into a cave outside the Cosmodrome. The reason for their unleashing fury into the cave was because it was an endless spawn of easy to kill enemies that dropped loot for everyone around, including legendary engrams.

It was such a popular farming spot that a Reddit thread even popped up about proper loot cave farming etiquette.

It eventually got shut down by Bungie, but another location was quickly discovered by players. Bungie shut that one down and issued a fix that would prevent further ones from popping up.

All Hail The Bullet King!

This was definitely one of my favorite farming experiences. When The Division first launched, Phoenix credits rarely dropped. Not like they do in the game now. Named enemies would drop them, but it was limited to only 1 or 2 credits at a time. There were no real good ways to farm lots of Phoenix credits quickly.

Enter the Bullet King.

If you went to the Autumn’s Hope safehouse in the Times Square district, you could run out of the safehouse, turn right, then turn left and you would run into a named NPC, Bullet King, and his entourage. Bullet King would drop Phoenix credits, regular cash, purple items, and the Caduceus, one of the few named weapons at launch.

The trick was you could not kill all of his entourage. You had to let them live and kill you. Then you would respawn in the safehouse, and could do it all over again.

Of course, a few idiot gamers had to blast this exploit all over YouTube. Word came down that a fix was being pushed out in 48 hours.

The clock was ticking.

A group of us spent hours farming the Bullet King exploit. I was up until 2:00 in the morning the first night, and 4:00 the next night. I stayed at it so long mostly because I could not get the damn Caduceus drop. Some of the people I was playing with got it 3 and 4 times. It became an obsession.

I finally did get it on my last run.

At different times we had 8-12 of us running in multiple groups on party chat on Xbox Live. We met new people in the safe house looking to farm. Some of them are still gaming friends today. The conversations were hilarious as people became almost delirious from murdering Bullet King for 6 straight hours.

My not getting a Caduceus drop became a running joke for the group. People would leave and come back a few hours later.

“Hey did you get a Caduceus yet?”


“Bwahahahaha… I just got my 4th one.”

It became more than just farming. It was a gaming and bonding experience that I still remember and probably always will.

Long live the Bullet King.

The Bullet King