What Is “The Konami Code” And What Does It Do?


One of the most famous cheat codes in video game history that has also become a common reference of pop culture, the “Konami Code” is a 10-input code that often gives huge benefits to the player, triggers special effects in the game, or just serves as an Easter egg. What exactly is the code, you ask? When did the code first appear and why has it become such a staple in video games? We’ve got you covered right here.

What Is The Konami Code?

When it comes to Konami games, the Konami Code is almost always the same set of inputs. While the original code was made with the NES controller in mind, all variations after that still follow the 10-input code. The Konami Code is:

The inputs for the Konami Code

For Konami games, the inputs generally only work on the title screen, and there is some sort of sound or effect that notify the player that the code is activated.

What Are The Origins Of The Konami Code?

The Konami Code first appeared in the 1986 game Gradius. Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who was developing the NES port of the game, found that the game was far too difficult to play during the testing phase. As such, he created a code that gave the player access to all the power-ups that were usually acquired by playing through the game. The code wasn’t removed by developers before release, and Gradius became the first of many Konami games to feature the cheat.

In hindsight, the Konami Code was a fitting, almost necessary cheat for the style of games at the time; NES games were notorious for being brutally difficult to beat, as developers believed that a high-difficulty setting would prolong the game’s lifespan. The Konami Code’s status in video game history became solidified when Contra was released for the NES in 1988. The code would give players 30 lives; almost a necessity for how brutally hard the game was. Had the code not existed at the time, many players would’ve likely destroyed their copies of Contra with justified salt.

The Konami Code Today

The Konami Code can still be found in Konami games today, such as the Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania franchises, as well as popular non-Konami games such as Rocket League (the code will change the menu screen.) The code has also found its way into non-video game aspects of life. Some examples of the Konami Code in popular media include:

  • Using the code while logged into Netflix on certain devices will cause Netflix to reset.
  • Using the code on the BuzzFeed website will cause little floating balls to appear on the site.
  • Speaking the code to Google Assistant will cause it to say “Cheat mode enabled.” or “You destroyed the Vile Red Falcon and saved the universe. Consider yourself a hero”

Next time you fire up a game and see that Konami had a hand in making it, it’s worth trying that code on the title screen; you never know what might happen!