Video game programmer Kazuhisa Hashimoto who created the famous ‘Konami Code’ that lets players cheat in games dies aged 61

  • Konami confirmed the death of the legendary game developer at the age of 61
  • Hashimoto developed the iconic ‘Konami Code’ that heralded gaming cheats 
  • The code was even used in non-Konami games and is now part of popular culture

The creator of the legendary ‘Konami Code’ cheat, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, has died.

The Japanese video game developer, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 61, created the legendary cheat code that is still used by game developers today. 

The Konami Code – up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start – gives gamers benefits such as extra lives or power-ups when entered on the keypad.

Hashimoto’s passing was confirmed by his former employer and gaming giant Konami on Wednesday night.

The cause of his death was undisclosed.  

Konami tweeted this image of the Konami Code on Wednesday night in tribute to its creator, Kazuhisa Hashimoto

‘We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the ”Konami Code”,’ the official Konomi Twitter account said.

WHAT IS THE KONAMI CODE? 

The Konami Code is a cheat code developed by Kazuhisa Hashimoto in 1986.

The code – up, up, down, down, left right, left right, B, A, Start – was designed to give players of Gradius on the SNES an extra 30 lives.

It was kept in the game upon its release and was subsequently included in other Konami games.

It is also still used today to access hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ on websites and has been referenced in popular culture, including films and TV. 

‘Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san’s family and friends at this time. Rest In Peace.’

The news was first reported by sound designer Yuji Takenouchi, who also worked on Konami games.

‘Programmer Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the creator of the Konami command “Top, Bottom, Left, Right, Left, and Right B, A”, died last night. We pray for the souls,’ he said.

The Konami Code first appeared in Konami’s Gradius video game released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1986.

Hashimoto, who had worked to develop the original arcade game for the SNES, decided to create the code because he found the game so hard.

The code was originally developed to activate most power-ups on Gradius, a horizontally-scrolling shooting game.

‘Because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember,’ Hashimoto said in an interview in 2003.

A shot of the original Gradius video game, for which Hashimoto developed the Konami Code. The player’s ship, the Vic Viper, left, exchanges shots with enemy Moai

‘Gradius was something we were ordered to port. That one’s really tough. I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami Code.’ 

The cheat code allowed him to more easily test SNES version of Gradius – however, it was never intended to be part of the final game.

The presence of the code was spotted only after its release, but Konami decided against removing it from future versions in case doing so caused bugs or glitches.

The thought was that the code would be easy enough to remember for people who were aware of it, but highly unlikely to be accidentally entered by those who weren’t.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=hhvUhCb-1sg%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

Konami decided to include it in future SNES games, including Castlevania, Contra, and Metal Gear Solid, and the code started to gain notoriety as more gamers became aware of its existence.

Using the code on 1987 shoot ’em up game Contra gave gamers an extra 30 lives, while a variety of different cheats were developed for subsequent Konami games.

The code has since been used in a number of non-Konami games, from the Nintendo 64’s Mario Party in the late 1990s, to Rocket League, where gamers play football with cars.

Reciting the code to smart assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant will also unlock a range of unique responses.

Hashimoto joined Konami, a Japanese gaming company, as a recent college graduate back in 1981.

‘When I first joined, there were about 30 other recent graduates and the company was making circuit boards for coin-operated games,’ Hashimoto said. 

‘Though I was put to work developing coin-operated titles when I first joined the company, it was only two or three years till we started developing for the Nintendo Entertainment System.’

Hashimoto continued to work at Konami through the rest of his life and has credits on at least nine games, including Gradius and Gradius III and ISS Pro Evolution, a precursor to today’s ‘Pro Evo’ soccer series. 

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