On February 25, 2020, the video game industry lost Kazuhisa Hashimoto. While many aren’t familiar with the name, they are familiar with his contribution to the industry.
Hashimoto worked as a programmer and producer for Konami from the late ‘80s to the early 2000s. During his time with Konami, Hashimoto worked on the likes of Track & Field, The Goonies, and Gradius.
Despite being a key figure during Konami’s early days in game development, Hashimoto’s greatest contribution to video games came in the form of a simple string of inputs: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A. Known as the Konami Code, this string of inputs was first used to test the NES port of Gradius before going on to be used in future games — not all made by Konami.
In honor of Hashimoto’s passing, let’s take a look at the coolest uses of the Konami Code in and out of video games.
We can’t have a rundown of the coolest uses of the Konami Code without highlighting the most famous use.
Back in the late ‘80s, Contra was infamous for its difficulty. You needed ungodly hand-eye coordination to get through the game with the default three lives provided.
Fortunately for those without inhuman reflexes, entering the Konami Code at Contra’s title screen would gift them 30 lives. The surplus of lives gave players, either on their own or with a co-op partner, a fighting chance or just enough lives to survive the first level.
Normally, entering the Konami Code into the Gradius games would give the player’s Vic Viper access to all power-ups. However, that doesn’t happen when entering the code into Gradius III. The tricksters on Gradius III’s development team made the code instantly kill those who dare enter it.
Despite this cruel prank, there is a way to unlock all power-ups. Players just need to replace the left and right inputs of the Konami Code with the SNES’s L and R buttons.
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
Over the years, the Konami Code has been in a handful of Castlevanias. From showing a special message to unlocking a secret minigame, the effects of the code vary from game to game.
The coolest use of the code found in the Castlevania series can be found in the often-overlooked Harmony of Dissonance.
If you enter the code when the Konami logo appears and choose Boss Rush Mode from the main menu, you will get to play as the 8-bit Simon Belmont from the first Castlevania. Simon plays exactly as he did in the NES original, which will make things harder for those used to Juste Belmont’s smooth movements. Despite the limited movement, Simon hits much harder than his descendant.
While the Konami Code has found its way into countless games, its appearances outside of video games show the code’s endurance in popular culture. Even if the code is used in some silly situations.
On April 27, 2009, gaming site Kotaku received a tip that entering the Konami Code on ESPN.com would lead to some magical results. After entering the code, images of ponies covered the page, all while changing the text into Comic Sans.
Sadly, this cute redesign of ESPN.com did not last long. Later in the day, the code ceased to work.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
Be it the original graphic novels or the movie adaptation, Scott Pilgrim is filled to the brim with video game references. So, when Ubisoft made a game to coincide with the release of the movie, there was no doubt that it would follow suit.
In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, players can enter the Konami Code at any time to make their brawler explode into a pile of Canadian $2 coins. Although this may seem like a waste of a life when playing solo, some enterprising players have used the code to make money fast when playing co-op.
Bank of Canada
The Konami Code seems to have a thing for Canada’s currency.
For Canada’s 150th birthday, the Bank of Canada introduced a brand-new $10 bill to commemorate the country’s history. However, hidden on the webpage describing the bill is a patriotic treat. Inputting the Konami Code will cause a synthesized version of the Canadian national anthem to play as miniature $10 bills rain down the page like confetti.
In all honesty, there is no better way to celebrate the birth of a country.
Zone of the Enders 2: The Second Runner
Despite Hideo Kojima’s best efforts, Zone of the Enders never caught on like Konami’s other franchises. Despite those failings, Zone of the Enders — specifically Zone of the Enders 2: The Second Runner — can lay claim to the coolest use of the Konami Code. One that honors the game which gave birth to said code.
If the player enters the Konami Code during the Vic Viper boss fight, they will unlock the hidden game Zoradius. Zoradius is a 3D tribute to the original Gradius. This one level game has players blasting waves of enemies and collecting power-ups much like the game it honors.