Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start
…and that’s how you get 30 lives instead of three. Wuss.
The Konami code needs little introduction to the hordes of gamers, old and new, that have benefited from its ‘special gifts’. It’s been casually ascertained that 98% of Contra players would never have seen the full game without the benefit of extra lives; it’s also been said that the game is at least as well-known for the code as it is for any of its other characteristic elements.
I’d like to be able to get on my high horse and claim that I never used it, but if I did that I’d never get into heaven. The truth is, I (like nearly everyone I knew who played Contra at the time) probably wouldn’t have finished Contra the first time without it.
Actually, after dozens of frustrating games that ended at level five, I probably wouldn’t have played it ever again without the code…that horrible snowplow thingy probably caused more pre-adolescent swearing in the 80′s than NWA and Eddie Murphy combined.
Now because I am a big dumb Mr. Know-it-All, I have to mention that the so-called “Contra Code” actually arrived two years earlier in a little game called Gradius (not Gladius, that’s a turn-based Xbox strategy RPG from much later). Gradius was seriously hard, so the developer had to put in a cheat for himself. And yet, Contra was even harder…
Contra, however, was the game that became forever attached to the code. To this day, sneaky little references crop up; Google, Facebook. Marvel Comics, and even mobile operating systems all do fun and secret things when you type it in. Bands write songs about it, and wrestlers pattern moves after it. That’s what you call a meme, I guess…it has yet to be as annoyingly ubiquitous and past-its-prime as “All your base are belong to us”, but I suppose it’s only a matter of time…