Kazuhisa Hashimoto may not have been a household name, but every child of the '80s was intimately aware of his work. As a producer at Konami Hashimoto was the person responsible for the iconic Konami Code. Hashimoto passed away on Tuesday at the age of 61, according to a statement from Konami.
The Konami Code was likely the most well-known cheat code during the Nintendo Entertainment System era of video games. Whereas most cheat codes are game-specific, the Konami Code could be used in over 30 games with varying rewards. The way it would work for most games is that as the game loaded you'd punch in the code—Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. Then you'd start the game with a reward.
The game that this was most useful for was "Contra." The makers at Konami were diabolical in that they made it so a single shot would kill your character in this side-scrolling shooter. With a paltry three lives at your disposal, there is no way a child could possibly defeat the villainous Red Falcon! But thanks to Hashimoto's amazing code the impossible became possible—instead of three lives you would now have 30!
The code was first created for "Gradius." During testing, Hashimoto found the game too difficult to play all the way through, so he created the code to make sure that he had the tools he needed to get to the end. In "Gradius," the code granted the player all of the available power-ups.
Over the years, gamers have chosen to get tattoos of the Konami Code. Perhaps it's so that they never forget the code, but something tells me they'd already had it memorized for years. More likely it was to pay tribute to a silly bit of gamer culture from the '80s and '90s.
Cheers to Kazuhisa Hashimoto for creating the code that helped so many of us mediocre gamers achieve success. May he rest in peace.