Creator of the Konami Code Dies

Kazuhisa Hashimoto dies at 61 years old

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Matthew Jones, Contributing Reporter

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the creator of the famous Konami Code, died last Wednesday at the age of 61. His code- Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start, has lived on for over three decades and continues to be portrayed in many games today.

Hashimoto’s former employer, Konami, released a statement confirming his death and sending condolences to Hashimoto’s family: “We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto,” Konami said, calling him a “deeply talented producer.”

The Konami Code was first used in the 1986 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) port of “Gradius”. This code gave the player access to a number of power-ups, making it easier to play the game. Hashimoto originally created the cheat code because he felt the game was too challenging to play during its development cycle. “I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami Code,” Hashimoto said in a 2003 interview. “Because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember.”

Even though “Gradius” was the first game to use this code it is not the game that most people relate the famous cheat code to. It was later popularized by the 1988 NES run-and-gun game “Contra”, in this game the code grants the player 30 additional lives if they enter it at the title screen. The code later appeared in other Konami games, including 1991’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project”, multiple titles in the “Dance Dance Revolution” series, 2001’s “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty”, and 2010’s “Castlevania: Lords of Shadows”.

The code has also been used in games that were not made by Konami such as the first “Mario Party”. It continued to be used in other games like “BioShock Infinite” and “Borderlands 2”. The code is still being used today in more recent titles such as “Anthem”, in which if you enter the code at the title screen, the game’s soundtrack will be slightly changed. In “Fortnite”, the code provided a Space Invaders-style mini-game for a limited time ahead of the release of Chapter 2.

With all of the history behind the Konami code, it is easy to see that the death of Hashimoto is very impactful for both the people who grew up playing the Konami games as well as those who knew of the code through references in other games.