So when do you think cheats are acceptable?
March 31, 2019

Starcraft became something of an obsession when I finally owned a computer fast enough to run it in conjunction with the spare time to play it. I played through the first three campaigns without too much trouble, but Brood War stepped things up quite a bit. It may have been the complexity of the game that finally got to me in addition to the outright intensity of the last chapter.

But who am I kidding? I started using cheats in the fifth chapter when I was playing the Zerg. I'll be the first to admit I'm a mediocre Starcraft player, but I enjoy the lore and characters thanks to Blizzard's signature worldbuilding. I'm no fanboy, but I thought the World of Warcraft movie was pretty good.

Oh, I have cheated at other games, and sometimes I'll do it gleefully, especially when I'm just out for fun or the game itself feels particularly unfair. Here's a wrinkle though: I find overpowering game modifiers and cheats can be boring. It makes a lot of sense when you're playing a game strictly to build up a team to accomplish a goal - except for Final Fantasy Tactics, that one needs help.

For example, when Final Fantasy X landed on PC I took a chance and picked up the save editor. For a while it was fun building custom gear and giving myself everything under the sun, but then I grew bored of it all without the tension of combat. Contrast that to a year or so later when I finally toppled the game using the in-game cheats that gave me maximum items and money.

Even with those I still had to manually configure my characters and build up their sphere grids in addition to building custom "ultimate" weapons, not being a fan of Tidus' absurdly demanding final Chocobo Race. It's possible to build a more suitable weapon if you don't mind missing out on the benefits that the associated summon receives.

The difference was I had the goal of finally beating the game to see how it ended. My review spoke volumes about that, so it's enough to say that I wasn't pleased or impressed with the amoral result of that tale. Would I play the sequel just to see Squarenix' fan driven autocorrection in action?

Not when I know it wasn't the original intended ending. I've never been pleased with the idea that a creator corrects against their own canon story just to please fans, and besides X-2 is Charlie's Angels kind of cheese and that's pretty sickening in my book when the first story had such a different tone. The girls are pretty, but it bothers me when Japan just won't say no to fanservice - or anything else for that matter.

They don't know when to stop, that's a fact. Just ask the Ghost in the Shell reboot, but back to cheats... As I said, I don't have a problem cheating when a game seems poorly balanced. I do enjoy a challenge: I've played and beaten Megaman Zero on my own skills, but I'll admit I'm not up to task - or rather I choose not to invest the energy in building my reflexes and memory up to match the requirements of the sequels. Thus I had no problem when the Megaman Collection for DS gave me the chance to play through all four titles in easy mode.

I've done that a few times, just because it's entertaining.

So... where do you draw the line?

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honestgamer honestgamer - March 31, 2019 (02:21 PM)
Play the game in the manner that allows you to enjoy it most, as long as your play doesn't interfere with someone else's enjoyment. So online cheating is a no go for me. And cheating using external devices is something I don't care to do, either. But if a game has a cheat code and I'm just playing to relax, I won't worry about it. I can play it the right way later, if I want to review it or just challenge myself. I don't play games with challenging myself as a primary motivation anymore, though. I'm an adult with too little time for that.
hastypixels hastypixels - April 01, 2019 (08:37 AM)
I gotta agree completely with your levelheaded response, and I certainly feel as you do about the issue. Mind you that's a pretty bland response... my attitude about cheating hasn't changed so much as been ratified by my maturity as time as gone on. The saying goes, "We don't change as we get older, we just become more who we really are."
Masters Masters - April 01, 2019 (01:37 PM)
Cheating is fine. It makes games that are too tough, playable. Contra and the 30 men code, and any number of classics are now made much more palatable with save staves, which is a kind of cheating. Obviously, if you are busy hacking multiplayer FPS lobbies, then you're a loser and that's not what I'm talking about above.
hastypixels hastypixels - April 01, 2019 (02:26 PM)
I think we hit a milestone when Mario Maker acknowledged the sort of exploits that are in their games by adding the 100 man mode and others like it. Celeste has built in configurations that allow for all kinds of changes to in game behaviors that allow for all sorts of players. I'm always glad to see those sorts of things ... I mean I shamelessly used the armor boost in the Megaman Colelction 1 and don't regret it. I enjoyed the game and got what I paid for.
Masters Masters - April 02, 2019 (09:41 AM)
And I seem to recall Venter saying that Nintendo has re-released some of its classic NES games with an easy or trainer mode so that our diminished skills are up to the task. Wait, is that what you meant by Mario Maker?

Even way back in the good old days, I remember using level selects to continue games that didn't have continues, or see levels beyond where I'd died. Cheats are a boon. It serves you right if you exploit them though, like the guy who uses a level select to skip to the end and slaps on the invincibility code and walks through the last boss and then feels underwhelmed.
hastypixels hastypixels - April 02, 2019 (07:08 PM)
Well yeah. You get 100 1-ups, but you still have to do the work. Even using save states in Bomberman games doesn't make them automatically easier - it just tells me how balanced the game is. I still have to do the work, even with the powerups.

Before I bought Portal, I watched a longplay on Youtube, but that didn't actually make it much easier, and I enjoyed it every bit as much as I thought I would. I even bought the sequel and beat it a couple times. Yeah, I'll probably review it now that I've mentioned it.

Even a little boost still means you need to do the work - there just isn't the same sort of community to share tips with like there was when I was a kid. Now we rely on GameFAQs and their ilk for that sort of thing, and there's not a lot of "cheating" going on there. Players enjoy doing it themselves, legitimately.
Masters Masters - April 03, 2019 (11:33 AM)
I think it helps that on the whole, games are way easier than they used to be. Also, a lot of the challenge of today's games are in the 'what to do' rather than in 'the doing.' So finding walkthroughs online isn't cheating per se, but with a little elbow grease, you're going to see your way through with a roadmap. A game like NES Ninja Gaiden might prove beyond someone's abilities even once you know what to do.
Masters Masters - April 03, 2019 (11:34 AM)
Also, I wasn't giving you grief for using save states; I've used them a ton whenever it suited me. But! I do think that they make the game a lot easier: that's the point. Old games liked to punish by limiting continues and tossing you back to the start upon death. With save states, you avoid all of that, and that's half the battle won.
hastypixels hastypixels - April 03, 2019 (03:43 PM)
Oh I wasn't apologizing for using save states, either. I can't see any good reason to wait for a few screens to complete just so I can have another crack at a boss or whatnot, especially when the mechanic is punitive in nature. I agree - so much of early gaming mechanics are actual holdovers from arcades, where the devs would just substitute 'insert coin' for continues. I never understood having limited continues in an arcade port like Knights of the Round when you've paid for the product.

It's funny you should mention Ninja Gaiden, because it is one of those games I find to be legitimately impossible and purposely unfair. If it's bad design, whatever - that doesn't matter. In the end you've got a game you can't beat except by random happenstance, and that's not fun in my book.
Masters Masters - April 03, 2019 (05:44 PM)
Ninja Gaiden is definitely beatable, but I think people talking it up as a purely skill game might be overselling that; there's a ton of memorization required. To wit: I hadn't played it in like, ten years, and I powered it up and got to the end pretty easily because I remember what to do. I realize it sounds like I'm contradicting what I said above but this is also some false modesty: I happen to think the game is a pretty ideal meshing of twitch skill and planning outside of the terrible and unnecessary 6-4 back to 6-1 punishment.
hastypixels hastypixels - April 04, 2019 (06:17 PM)
I can attest to "difficult" games made easy; there are games I can beat almost with muscle memory alone. Megaman X is one of those, also TMNT: Turtles in Time. I'd have to push into speed running territory if I wanted to improve my proficiency any further. I chalk up your experience with Ninja Gaiden to the sort of skill one attains after years of ingrained practice.

It's the kind of things that pro gamers do, and possible for anyone, really, given enough practice and persistence. I don't doubt I could master Ninja Gaiden if I applied those two principles in adequate quantities, but then what would I do for food? Heh.

I don't do twitch skill like I did when I was younger, but... that's how things go.
CptRetroBlue CptRetroBlue - April 05, 2019 (12:22 AM)
I would use cheats when some games ask for outlandish methods to unlock features and characters after trying in futility to unlock them to be honest. I would also use cheats whenever I really want to finish a game just to complete it when said game is more of a challenge than I ever bargained for.
Masters Masters - April 05, 2019 (08:40 AM)
I would also use cheats if I discovered along the way that the game I'm playing is hard AND bad, because I'd want to just finish it and never return and not feel bad about 'breaking it.'
hastypixels hastypixels - April 05, 2019 (02:10 PM)
I've actually never been much of a fan of unlocking content. Either it's there for me to enjoy the first time or it's not.

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