No Game Shame – Just Cheat!

Shovel Knight 2

My name is Jake, and I use cheat codes. I’ve even used walk-throughs, wikis, and strategy guides. To some, this is seen as missing out on the true gaming experience. I may even be seen as a lesser gamer. I say, there’s no shame in my game. I would even go so far as to draw a direct correlation between me using cheats and there not being a fist-sized hole in my TV.

Let’s just face it, not all games are equal. Even more than that, not everyone who plays games is the same. One game’s difficulty might be just right for one person, and completely unbeatable for someone else. This occurs as a result of both the person playing and the game design. Sometimes the two just don’t click. That doesn’t have to be the end of it though. All you need is a little help from your friends anonymous strangers on the internet.

I almost quit playing Shovel Knight recently. I was stuck on the world map between an unbeatable roaming enemy and an unbeatable level. I just kept dying and losing more and more of my coins. I just stopped playing. The game wasn’t fun anymore. The only problem was that I freaking love Shovel Knight. The art, animation, and music are all so good. I just couldn’t get a handle on the controls. I wanted to keep playing, but I just wasn’t able to.

While lamenting no longer being able to play Shovel Knight to my wife, she asked if there were cheat codes for the game I could use. The idea was so simple, but I hadn’t thought of it. My initial reaction was to not use them, but once I began thinking about it, I couldn’t think of a good reason not to. There’s a general stigma against using cheat codes to get further in a game. If they’re just for fun, it’s no problem, but using them to get past a difficult part of a game is seen as a sign of defeat. The thing is, I’ve realized that I don’t care about admitting defeat in a game.

Games are a personal experience; we control the characters and guide them through the levels based on our ability and choices. Because of that, it doesn’t matter how you play a game. You’re only playing it for yourself. Your experience with a game will not be increased by conforming to a perceived “right” way of playing.

If your goal for playing video games is to enjoy them, then you should just cheat. I have had to use a walkthrough for numerous point-n-click adventure games. I still had a blast playing them, and I got to see all of their content. If I had refused to look up something when I got stuck, I would have stayed stuck. I don’t have endless time to try every combination of inventory items and interactive objects. That also just sucks the fun out of playing. I would imagine that the people who made the game don’t want you to spend an hour in one room clicking on everything in sight and cursing under your breath. They want you to have a good experience and see the whole game.

Grim Play

When I got stuck in Grim Fandango, I looked up a walk-through. Even with “spoiling” a puzzle here and there, that is hands down one of my favorite games of all time. I had no personal pride tied up in solving the puzzles in that game. I was far too invested in what was happening on the screen to care about my own performance. I cared more about seeing the story to its conclusion and listening to all of the great dialogue than figuring out how to get past demon beavers on my own.

Figuring out solutions on your own is definitely fun and finally beating a tough boss is always a great feeling, but giving up on a good game just isn’t fair to the game or yourself. If you are at a point where your options are give up or cheat, then just cheat. Don’t hold yourself to some false standards for what a gamer is. Just have fun.

Note: Cheating in multiplayer games is not cool. That’s a situation where you are detracting from others’ enjoyment. So just don’t do it. Those people suck.

Follow me on Twitter @jakecrump

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