Nintendo's NES Classic is now selling like hotcakes, even gone in minutes from Amazon but that does not stop me from reminiscing the good old days of 8-bit gaming. One part I bumped into memory land is that we had cheat codes back then. Those nifty codes and series of button pushes that give you hope in plummeting through various almost impossible game levels.
Now, kids probably today won't understand but cheating wasn't necessarily a bad moral when it comes to NES games in the 80s that are super hard but only gives you 3 lives to start with. So today, I'll go ahead and tackle the reasons why we needed those darn cheat codes to get thru a game. Here are the reasons why we needed codes.
No memory cards back then
Nowadays, especially with the introduction of the memory card in games, cheating isn't a necessary evil anymore. You can just enjoy dying without the worry of going thru the same game from scratch. Back then, you need to resort to something like '30 lives' to somehow survive the levels of an 8-bit game which makes today's games look a bit weak. Talking about extending your lives, the Konami code is probably the most famous cheat that everyone knows. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A (optional Select + Start hold), see I still remember.
Although for some games back then like Konami Wai Wai World and Megaman offer 'legal' ways to go back to certain levels by awarding you with passwords to input when you finish a set of levels. Other than that, there's nowhere to turn to than buy game Magazines or wait for it to be featured on a gaming show on TV and memorize or write down a game's cheat codes.
The games back then were simply challenging
I have to admit, if I weren't playing NES before I'd have a hard time using today's controllers. NES games trained me to enhance my reflexes for those challenging games that you need to dodge and fire at enemies at the same time. Although games were in 2D, a plethora of bullets flying at every direction requires you to pre-calculate their destination so that you can move your way through them without being hit, beat that Neo! For the young ones, try playing Resogun on a PS4 or Vita then set it at max difficulty, that's just half of how difficult the games were back then. If you think playing that pink cute character Kirby is easy, then you're wrong, it has difficult levels too.
Today, I'm glad games like Dark Souls and Lords of the Fallen are available for the modern gamer. It represents the challenges that are supposedly in a video game. Most games today are like watching a movie with some interactions, you just enjoy it without being challenged.
If you find yourself reading this article then you probably are searching for ways to cheat thru all the 30 games in the NES Classic because, it's still hard to do right? Need to convert those 3 lives into 30? Here is an article from IGN that posts a comprehensive list of cheat and level codes as well as legit strategies for the games that come with the NES Classic Edition. Here's someone from YouTube who supposedly have done the impossible, finishing Contra with just 3 lives and no power ups, except for Rapid.