Question Weekend Question: Have you ever been a dirty dang cheat in a game?

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PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: Have you ever been a dirty dang cheat in a game?

Surely most of us have screen-peeked at some point in our lives. Or maybe in a desperate moment you've gone further and downloaded an aimbot or wallhack or the like? Maybe you just cheat in singleplayer games thanks to Cheat Engine or console commands or IDSPISPOPD?
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Why I would nev... oh, actually yeah, and recently. I was playing Troubleshooter: Advent Children and got a mission where two of my characters had to fight the other seven. Rough odds but you're given a really good position and I was sure I could play my characters way better than some AI. See, look at that! Stupid AI is sending cute little Anne, our expert healer, out in front of everyone else!

So, naturally, I gunned her down. Then I got reminded of a skill I slotted for her called Vengeful Spirit. Anyone that KO's Anne becomes possessed so I can control them just like any of my other characters for three turns. Except now Anne is under AI control and the power I put in to punish any miserable cretin that would attack an innocent, young girl has now turned one of my two characters against the other - leading to a quick end and making me miserable. Worse yet, there's no straightforward defense against the Vengeful Spirit power. There's probably a way to confuse somebody on the other team and trick them into KO'ing Anne, or maybe I could send a pet out then un-summon the pet when it got possessed. I didn't bother, though. I just switched Anne's skill board to one that was currently empty.

Got an achievement for beating the mission on hard difficulty. It tasted like ash. (Mental note: stop eating achievements.)
 

OsaX Nymloth

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Jan 29, 2020
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Never ever cheated in online games, so every few times I got called a "hax" it was one of the proudest moments in gaming life.

I don't remember every one of those, but I am sure I was called a hacker or dirty cheat bag (or any other form of such wonderful sweary word) in F.E.A.R. 2 multiplayer, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and StarCraft II. Notice the trend of "2" in those games? Yeah it makes me wonder too!

The second one was most confusing as my opponent and I were back then in rather low league (platinum or low diamond?) and it was probably during last months of Wings of Liberty, shortly before new expansion arrived. Somehow I used so many cloaked invisible units (Dark Templars) that my opponent decided there's no way I could have made so many of them with the resources I have, thus he called me a resources hacker and said he will report me. Even if he did, obviously I was clear and I just had awful macro. x]

The FPS ones were always great. In F.E.A.R. 2 I was in a clan that was one of the strongest in the whole scene - not on the numbers side, as there were only few of us, but every one of us was worth a dozen of enemies. And it showed. The only enemies who would takes us on and be able to win where either other clan from North America that demanded we play on their host (thus with awful ping) and Russian one, that we strongly suspected had cheaters in them. Or maybe they were just so good? At this point I may never know.

And lastly for the Bad Company 2, still in same clan as before and well, let's just say some of us had to play incognito - quite a big list of public servers straight up banned everybody with our clan tag approaching. Guess they were really sick of [clan_tag_here] player always being on the top of the list. And gods forbid if we showed up as a group. Instant kicks from admins. And yet none of us hacked. We were just spending awful lot of time playing together for years, we had no problem dealing with anything outside of the other elite players. In Clan Wars one of our "normal" strats was releasing our top player, let him charge enemies and just pick up any kills he may have left for us. Or not.

Damn those were good times. We started playing in ESL events, but shortly after starting them, the owner and foundator of the clan had to start studies and that cut his game time so much we were left in disarray and then promptly split up.
 
I've used a lot of cheats when I was a kid, but only in single player games. The only exception was when I was on a computer camp (a week of playing computer games and doing outdoor activities with other kids) and we were being taught how to play Starcraft. I had only played RTS games on easy or with cheats so far and one of the camp leaders was really good at it and would (playfully) boast he could take on all of us at the same time. So my friend and I thought it would be funny if we challenged him two vs one and use cheats to beat him.

They figured out pretty quickly we cheated and did think it was pretty funny, but also asked us and everyone else not to download cheat programs because they had no interest spending several hours scrubbing viruses from their network. Which they ended up having to do anyway that week, though I'm not sure that was because of us.
 

SWard

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Nov 25, 2019
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One could argue if you've ever used a guidebook, googled a clue online or had a sofa buddy tell you to "Check that weird rock over there" that it is, in some form cheating. There's also several norms in games you could consider cheating if they were not commonplace or built in(save points, pausing the game before big battles, being able to start again).

In reality of course, developing a good new player experience, having bandwidth for decent in-game tutorials and budgets for voiceover clue prompts on 2nd/3rd tries of things - "We need to try the other boxes!" is actually newer then we think it is, and is so much harder to do well so googling clues online is now the norm. I adored the age of being able to faun over instruction booklets, themed physical accessories and manuals, but they seem like rare gems nowadays.

The other side to this, is some designers want their games to be challenging. Some designers want you to try things over and over and over again with no easy mode to get that incredible feeling when something is mastered (Through The Fire and Flames on Guitar Hero anyone?) but it also limits the amount of people who can enjoy and complete the thing you've made.

For example games with incredibly hard time limits on things, difficult keybindings and long combos although designed with good intentions, can be incredibly frustrating for neurodiverse folks or folks with physical disabilities and in these instances being able to modify the games, have cheats online and in game tweaks and hardness/ accesibility settings (Like the amazing work Specialeffect do to modify games for people with physical disabilities or colourblind settings built in by developers) are super important and should be considered by every company before they lock features.

You could also argue that if the developer provides you with clues be they online or elsewhere, it is indeed part of the game itself. Until games are more able to flexibly adapt their hardness level and accessibility to truly and intuitively make their games fun AND challenging for a wide group of people, I think this will always be the case.

The main crux of this being, that if the tools you are using are done against the intentions of the developer (illegal hacks, tournament fixing, server hassle against the terms of service to throw fleet fights or matches) it's likely that these mods either hurt the user experience for others (especially if the game is a live online multiplayer) or in some ways take away from the experience intended for you. If the developers have really taken into consideration who "You" are. :)
 
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Apr 4, 2020
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Never in online games. In SP games...oh boy. A lot. Anyone here who completed a Gobliiinsgame without using walkthroughs? Older adventuregames could be hard.

Others:

Diablo 2: itemgenerator (played it hours and hours, but some items were just too rare).
Doom 2: because...offcourse...We all wanted to see Romero's head.
 
Nov 27, 2020
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Never played an online game, so no to that. Single player games, mostly never, especially in the last few years. Only used the console once to enable "god mode" for Duke Nukem 3D many years ago, as I just couldn't get past the end game boss.

View: https://i.imgur.com/FXNWGF6.jpg



One could argue if you've ever used a guidebook, googled a clue online or had a sofa buddy tell you to "Check that weird rock over there" that it is, in some form cheating. There's also several norms in games you could consider cheating if they were not commonplace or built in(save points, pausing the game before big battles, being able to start again).
What SWard is true also, especially about clue books, and googling for a solution to a specific puzzle. I have to admit that I've used Google for the occasional solution to a particular puzzle (especially some of the more complex Astarium Constellation puzzles in Dragon Age Origins.

And many years ago, there used to be 1-900 Hint Line Numbers you could call for help in certain games, and I admit to using those occasionally. The one that comes to mind here was the Ravenloft Strahd's Possession game from SSI. There was a certain massive dungeon that was driving me crazy, and I just couldn't get through it without help (this was in the days where there was no Google to the rescue).

View: https://i.imgur.com/qS1H8GG.jpg


View: https://i.imgur.com/0pF7mih.jpg
 
To me, the concept or "spirit" of cheating only applies when you're competing with others, whether that is in a multiplayer game, or comparing notes in a singleplayer game. So in that sense, it is technically possible to "cheat" in a single-player game, if you're telling someone "Yeah, I reached the end boss, have you?" But then fail to tell them that you used a clipping hack to slip into his fortress at the start of the game, or what have you.

Anyway, I don't recall ever cheating in a multiplayer game, which probably* means I haven't, as my brain is adept at not letting go of guilt, and I would definitely feel guilt about it. However, in a lot of singleplayer games I'll sometimes use "cheats", especially if it's a game where I'm not playing it for the challenge of memorization or repetition or whatever less-than-fun obstacle I'm looking to bypass. Since I grew up in an age where you couldn't really "game" for a living (unless it was chess, poker or some form of billiards), I never looked at singleplayer games as an ethical dilemma. I had no qualms asking my friend Tim how to get past the Babel Fish puzzle in the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy text adventure. Nor do I feel any remorse over not figuring out that stupid, stupid cat/moustache puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3 on my own. So if that makes me a "dirty dang cheat," then so be it, as long as it's understood that I'd never do that to win against another human.

(* - I say "probably" because I've been playing multiplayer games since the first Atari Combat cartridge, so that's a lot of ground to cover. And I can't swear that I never glanced to the left of my screen quarter in Goldeneye.)

Is there a special sort of pride in making it through a difficult game with zero assistance or clues? Sure. Is it an absolutely necessary part of gaming? No. Not for everyone, at least. Maybe it is for you, and that's fine. But games are just that, games. It's not real life, so if you want to give Bella Goth 5,000 Simoleons that she didn't earn, go for it. If you want everyone to have giant bobbleheads, have fun. If you're not having fun, what's the point?

"If The Great Gamemaster In The Sky didn't intend for us to cheat, they wouldn't have given us Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A."

Sincerely,

A Super Mario Bros. fan who ALWAYS used the warp zones.
 
Feb 2, 2020
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I remember using a Gameshark in cheating on a PS game. Also, played Warcraft III with different cheat codes such as greedisgood and whosyourdaddy. hahaha
 

Frindis

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Jan 14, 2020
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I look around nervously as I type "IDDQD and IDFKA" on my keyboard. The PC Gamer thread on my screen is flickering red and I am starting to sweat profusely. Suddenly a claw rips through the computer screen and I am dragged into it. For a short moment, I see the sneering faces of hellish creatures as I scream out loud...
 
Mar 7, 2021
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Except now Anne is under AI control and the power I put in to punish any miserable cretin that would attack an innocent, young girl has now turned one of my two characters against the other - leading to a quick end and making me miserable. Worse yet, there's no straightforward defense against the Vengeful Spirit power.

Got an achievement for beating the mission on hard difficulty. It tasted like ash. (Mental note: stop eating achievements.)
lol, I had a similar experience when re-doing that mission with post-game builds. First time was fine, Giselle was my most optimized character and Anne was a White Mage. Then when I revisited I had her as a Witch with Hellgate (which expands Vindicative Spirit to everyone within range six) and Second Heart (which revives her), cue everyone in the tower switching sides. Had to run to the corners with my remaining cops to wait that out. I guess in a way Hellgate helped, since it meant my team wasn't actively shooting at each other.

Thankfully it is not something that normal enemies ever field, but I think the counters to that are... Anne as a White Mage and the aura that removes mental conditions. Any mastery that removes debuffs probably works too, like Cauterize or Mutant. Finally, there is the option of using a Drone, as they are immune to mental debuffs.

Anyways, a great game. Seriously underrated mix of JRPG and XCOM.

To contribute to the conversation at hand. Never cheated in MP or tabletop, but I often cheat away in games with a lot of grind involved to skip the parts I find boring. The Sims 4 is probably where I am most guilty of in contemporary titles, but I did cheat to free build some stuff in Subnautica despite loving the exploration in that beautiful beautiful game.
 
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Sep 5, 2020
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Well I'm 61 and to say I am cheating would be a stretch! I have a backlog of games that I couldn't finish as I don't have many years left or not enuff time left!! So "God" cheats or one hit kills move the game along for me....plus I hate to lose!! JK LOL
 
OMG, I forgot, i think i used an exploit!
Oh, I didn't even think of exploits. I've exploited the AI in all sorts of games. It's not my fault they suck. In Age of Empires 2, I build a wall and then bust a hole in it so the AI can "sneak in" via the hole, but it's actually a long hall-like abattoir and by the time they reach the end of it they're dead.

Also water. AoE2 & AoE3 AI seem to struggle with the concept of staking a claim on multiple tracts of land.
 

Rogue Leader

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Dec 10, 2019
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Never actively cheated in an online game however back in the day was playing Diablo online (as in the original game) and someone I was playing with was like "here take all this gold and armor" and just started dumping tons of gold and rare armor and weapons in front of me. I was naive and didn't realize it was all cloned or whatever the exploit was. I used it. I still wasn't great at the game.

SP wise, if I get totally jammed on a puzzle or something in a game to the point I am just fully frustrated I will look up the answer online. At that point its not fun.
 
Oh, I didn't even think of exploits. I've exploited the AI in all sorts of games. It's not my fault they suck. In Age of Empires 2, I build a wall and then bust a hole in it so the AI can "sneak in" via the hole, but it's actually a long hall-like abattoir and by the time they reach the end of it they're dead.

Also water. AoE2 & AoE3 AI seem to struggle with the concept of staking a claim on multiple tracts of land.
What a difference a week makes! So, karma seems to have bitten me in the butt with this game's latest update/patch. I don't know what they did, or changed, with the AI, but even the MODERATE difficulty was handing me and my friend's @$$ to us on a regular basis this weekend, quickly outpacing us both economically and militarily, which was... unusual. Not sure if the AI is cheating, or just got smarter, or we've lost our knack, but... yeah. It was humbling. I apparently can no longer gloat about exploiting that AI. =T
 
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