Gaming My Way

12 Oct

Cheating in Video Games

As a gamer, it’s inevitable that I have my own philosophy about when cheating in video games is and isn’t ok. Most gamers do, and the opinions vary from “it’s always ok” to “it’s never ok.”

Now, just so we’re on the same page, a cheat is either a code you can enter in the game that modifies it to be different in some way that is beneficial to one or more person playing the game, or an advantage gained through third party devices or programs like trainers or a Gameshark. A cheat is not looking at a walkthrough or unlocking a new character in a game through accomplishing some sort of objective… though using a code to unlock said character could be a cheat. Of course, some people will say looking at a walkthrough is cheating, but that’s outside the scope of what I want to cover.

So, onto when and when not to cheat. First off, I will posit it’s never ok to cheat in an online game that is played with more than just a group of friends who agree it’s ok to cheat. So if you’re playing an MMORPG, it’s never ok, since you’ll always be playing with other people, and many of them want to play the game legitimately, and without others getting an unfair advantage. And while some people may counter that by saying they want an unfair advantage, the game was designed such that people should not have those advantages, and most people would prefer to play within the rules of the game.

Now, in other online games, such as Diablo, in which you can choose to play with friends or strangers, cheat til your heart’s content as long as the characters you cheat with are played only with other people who are ok with cheating. This means not to enter any games with legit players, ever, with a character you are cheating with. That way, everyone gets the experience they’re looking for. Also, cheating in single player is a-ok, though I have my own thoughts on that. Which I’ll elaborate on soon.

Under no circumstances is it appropriate to cheat in competition, but most tournaments have their own rules anyway, which cover that much better than I will. Outside of a tournament setting, if you’re having a serious match for boasting rights, cheating is still in very poor taste, and will likely cost you your boasting rights anyway.

Now then, single player games. First off, to each his own, as you aren’t harming my fun at all by cheating as you play a game. However, if you cheat to win a game, I really don’t care that you finished it. Play it legit if you want to talk about how awesome you are.

For myself, I almost always play a game legitimately the first time through. I want to actually have the feeling of accomplishment that comes through perseverance and finishing the game with skill. It’s no fun if there’s no risk of failure. And I don’t want to cheat myself out of the experience I could have by playing the game as it’s intended to be played. After the first time through, I can use cheats to replay my favorite levels, see what it’s like to have a character at maximum level in a game I never intend to actually go that far with, or just experiment with crazy new situations only made possible through cheating. At this point, it’s just getting more out of the game.

There are, of course, exceptions. Some games just aren’t all that much fun, and I might mess around with some codes, both in game and through third party devices, to try and spice it up a bit, or just skip through the levels to see what’s there. Perhaps there will even be something that makes me want to go back and play the game legitimately once I know about it. In either case, the codes let me get a little more enjoyment out of the game, or make me realize it would be a bad idea to toss the game just yet. Some games are just so horrible that no codes can save them. Like Soul Fighter on the Dreamcast. Absolutely not to be confused with Soul Calibur, a very fine fighting game indeed.

Then, there are the games that get patched. On a PC, no problem. On a console, this is a problem, as I have no internet connection on my consoles. Probably easily fixed, but I just don’t care enough to do the wiring until I get my own place and settle into it, as all my gaming consoles are quite far away from an ethernet port. In this case, I find it acceptable to use a cheat device to get whatever is missing at or after a point in the game where you could typically obtain it.

For instance, I would find it acceptable in Skies of Arcadia for the Dreamcast to use a code to get Final Cupil once I had all 29 other Chams and all 3 Abirik Chams. In order to get Final Cupil, you in fact need a 30th Cham that can only be obtained from an island that the developers forgot to place into the game. A patch was released to fix this issue, but without internet access on my Dreamcast, the patch was of no use to me. I never bothered to find or use a code to do so anyway, and have no idea if such a code exists. I would not take issue with someone saying they legitimately beat the game if they used a code in this manner, as it’s only fixing a pre-existing issue with the game. Though I would appreciate them saying they used such a code for said legitimate purpose.

Also, if a fighting game provides a code to unlock all the characters… why not use it? I personally don’t, but for anyone who does, power to them. If they want to play a fighting game with all the characters available from the start, I’m not going to begrudge them that… unless they try to say how awesome they were at unlocking those characters in record time or something. But that goes back to my point on bragging rights anyway.

In general, it’s a pretty simple set of rules to follow though. Under no circumstances is it ok to cheat if doing so is going to mess up someone else’s play experience, even in ways you might not intend, such as inflation to an in game economy. If it doesn’t effect someone else, cheat all you want. If you want bragging rights, play the game legitimately the first time through, and if you want bragging rights for other achievements, perform those legitimately the first time as well. Aside from that, have fun cheating all you want. It’s a great way to get more from the game after the first playthrough.

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