According to a former colleague of Programmer Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the Konami Code creator passed away yesterday. Hashimoto’s lengthy tenure at Konami during the 1980s and 1990s, wherein he worked on the likes of Snatcher and ISS, served as nothing short of an incredible contribution to the gaming industry. However, the programmer’s legacy is most notably cemented in his creation of the famous Konami code, which involves the “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A” input. The NES version of Gradius (1986) represented the first game to make use of the iconic button input sequence.
Essentially, the special Konami command was a cheat code, since Hashimoto found the game too difficult during the testing phase. After finishing this particular sequence of button commands, the player would be given Gradius‘ complete set of power-ups, typically earned over the course of the game. The Hashimoto-created Konami Code was later popularized for North American audiences by Contra’s NES release. When entering the cheat code on the run and gun’s start screen, players were quickly rewarded with a total of 30 lives, as opposed to the standard three.
The Konami Code went on to feature in dozens of games afterwards, including several more Gradius and Contra releases, quite a few Castlevania entries, a number of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, among countless others.
Games beyond those created by Konami teams have made use of variations of the famous input, as well. BioShock Infinite, Fortnite, Friday the 13th: The Game, LittleBigPlanet 2, Rocket League, and UFC 2 count as but a handful. Hashimoto’s iconic cheat code is a staple of popular culture, too, receiving mention in the likes of Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, for example.