Ever since the release of the original Game Genie back in the NES days, cheating has become mainstream. These plug and play devices offer to give you unlimited lives, extra weapons, and a myriad assortment of other ways to make your games easier to beat. The biggest market for cheat devices is by and large the younger crowd. Children have very short attention spans; we all did, so don’t deny it. Kids aren’t going to want to spend months on end working on a game, especially trying to make it past that one difficult boss they can’t beat. They’re just going to cheat, beat the game, and move on.
Gaming purists despise cheat devices, and rightfully so: if you’re going to play a game, enjoy it for what it is, rather than cheating and ruining the experience. But…is cheating ever “okay”?
There’s something I like to call the “SOL (Shit Outta Luck) Clause.” This is where you cheat because if you do not, there’s simply no feasible way for you to get the most out of your game. Where would something like this ever apply? In a word, PokÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©mon. With all of the dual versions and such of each core title, to get every single item, creature, and so on, you’re forced to trade with friends. But what if no one else nearby even plays the game? That’s a situation I find myself in. If I wanted a complete PokÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©Dex, I’d have to use a cheat device to add in the PokÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©mon I can’t get without trading. It should be mentioned that if you use a cheat device on a PokÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©mon game, you run the risk of corrupting your save file if you ever bring the cart to an official PokÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©mon event and try to download anything. Some people also use cheat devices in order to secure PokÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©mon that can only be acquired through special events; most people don’t live close enough to NYC or wherever to snag them.
As you can see, cheat devices do have a legitimate use in this case, as there’s really nothing else you can do. (I suppose you could physically mail your cartridge to faraway friends to trade with, but that’s a crapshoot, not to mention expensive after a while.)
Cheat devices of all forms show no signs of slowing down, even though games nowadays are generally much easier than those in the past. With short attention spans ruling the roost, companies like Datel (makers of the Action Replay) are assured continued success, while the rest of us actually try to beat games on our own merits. Unless, of course, we’re shit outta luck…