Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the producer credited with creating the most famous and memorized cheat in video game history, has died at the age of 61.
Video game maker Konami confirmed the death of Hashimoto, who entered the “Konami Code” command – “Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start” – into both the video game and pop culture lexicon.
“We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the ‘Konami Code,’” Konami tweeted Wednesday. “Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san’s family and friends at this time. Rest In Peace.”
Created by Hashimoto as a backdoor to assist testers on Konami’s exceedingly difficult 1985 arcade game Gradius — “I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami code,” he said of Gradius in a 2003 interview, “because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember” — “The Konami Code” became a secret staple of the company’s output and an indispensable cheat code for an entire generation of gamers who grew up on titles like Contra, Castlevania and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
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In the case of Contra, the Konami Code would start the player with 30 lives instead of the usual three, making that side-scrolling shooting game somewhat beatable as opposed to impossible.
“The Konami Code” extended well beyond video games: Tech companies like Google and social media giants like Facebook have both tied easter eggs to the legendary cheat code, and even the Bank of Canada paid ode to the Konami Code in 2017 while promoting their then-new $10 bills. Newer video games like Fortnite and League of Legends have also rewarded gamers who inputted the Konami Code.
We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the "Konami Code".
Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san's family and friends at this time. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/vQijEQ8lU2
— Konami (@Konami) February 26, 2020