27 November 2012

Cheats, Hacks, and Walkthroughs

Ever wonder how some people seem to breeze through a game with little to no frustrations? One day the gaming industry will wise up and stop creating difficult games and then providing solutions to "get around" the difficult obstacles. I mean, what's the point, right?

I work all day long analyzing, creating, problem solving, and debugging technical glitches. My mind is literally exhausted when I get off work. The last thing I want to do is sit down and play an online RPG and struggle with the logic of the story and the technical mechanics of the game play. Forget that it sucks when you die. It’s worse when some kid reaches level 100, dons a cape of invisibility and kills you with one thrust of his triple action bullwhip all the while screaming, "Die old lady!" This is the society we've created.

Well, I'm fighting back! I'm going to educate all those people like me who want to get back at these little cheaters, fight them at their own game. We need to take back our pride, show them we can do it too! Grab your walking canes, ladies and gents. So here goes.

First, you need to know the difference between 3 universal terms you'll find almost everywhere in the gaming world. Do not use them lightly. They are each very specific.


Cheats are special instruction codes shared amongst an elite group of players who, by way of leaks, receive them from those designers "in the know".

Scenario #1

I'm a software developer and I create a game called Diane's Dungeon, and I decide I'm going to create a special command or a group of commands which do special things. It could be anything from creating a crap load of gold or doubling your experience points so you can level up faster. On release day, I whisper to my friends who are aching to exact revenge on the kid down the road for kicking their asses in Diablanco III, a game created by my arch nemesis (who also made cheats for his game).

My friends tell their friends, who in turn tell their friends. Before you know it, everyone is a millionaire level 100 who beat the game already. It's not the end for the designer though, no worries. The gamers who really enjoy figuring things out on their own will take a leisurely stroll through the game world and request some assistance along the way until they are about 90 years old and still haven't beat the game, but we'll learn about walkthroughs shortly. I want to talk a little about hacks.


Hacks are designed by third party people who are not responsible for the game itself. These persons may have an awareness of unique features of a game and they utilize those features to enhance the user experience (I like the sound of that).

This is all client side stuff, so if you connect to a multi-user server and expect to keep your new enhancements, think again. Not all is lost though. You can seek out any number of hacker havens, places where you and other "enhancement seeking" players can log in and duke it out with your new hacked uber powers.

Scenario #2

If I’m lucky, I might get to level 100 by the time I'm 90 years old. Gaming is unbelievably time-consuming! But being the true hacker that I am, I want to see just how skilled I would be using my magic at level 100. I log into one of my hacker havens, perform the hack steps and increase my levels, TA DA! Uber fighter dude does the same thing.

Now we battle it out, a level 100 mage and a level 100 fighter. The fighter wins because he took additional steps in hacking room C, which got him unlimited amounts of healing potion. Silly me! I'll be ready next time. Just have to remember the healing hack.

Neither one of those scenarios ever got me too excited. I got bored too easily. Once you hit the maximum level, there’s nothing left to do! Cheat codes to get the most powerful weapons are no good when you’re in the newbie area. What are you going to do? Maul a tiny rat with a 3-skull, flaming flail? When you get to be my age, all that desire for the fancy stuff sort of dies, but you don’t want to stop discovering the fun, cool things by doing it the right way, the way game experience is intended. That’s why when I get stuck anymore, I use a walkthrough, or better yet, the Universal Hint System.


A walkthrough is the simplest form of cheating which does not harm the integrity of the game code or your PC. It is nothing more than a step by step instruction on what actions to take in order to beat a foe, clear an area, find a stone, or enter a secret passage. You name it and it will be covered in a walkthrough.

Scenario #3

Up until a point in the game, everything had been easy. You’re a level 10 warrior, but every time you try to enter the “Cave of Untouchables” a giant tarantula comes crushing through the wall and eats you. You’re at your wit’s end, it’s 2:00 a.m. and you have to go to work in the morning.

Google: Planet of Aros Cave of Untouchables tarantula walkthrough

VoilĂ ! The step by step instructions lead you to the entrance, but before you enter the cave, you must click on the ninth point of the chandelier hanging above a pile of stones. Really. Isn’t it enough to make you want to strangle the programmer who came up with that logic? I’m not making this up either. No wonder kids need cheats and hacks!

And there you have it, in simplest terms and no techie talk, just good old fashioned English. Now, let’s go find us a game to play.  My favorite of all time was Baldur’s Gate. Do you have a favorite game? Multiplayer or single player?


  1. Awesome post! I don't do MMOs but I do a lot of RPGs (not online) and causal games. I try really hard not to check the Walkthrough but its like I get stuck and I get irritated. When I check the Walkthrough I'm thinking, "How was I supposed to figure that out!" But, the game wouldn't be as much fun if it was too easy.

    1. Thanks Auden! You would love the Universal Hint System then. It's a layered approach to learning more. The top layer link is a very general answer which you explore. If you still aren't getting it, you have several other links to explore in more detail until you figure it out. Sometimes you only need the top layer and then the rest isn't ruined for you.

  2. I'm not a gamer, but man there are a lot of ways to beat a game! Doesn't that take all the fun out of it though?

    1. It does, but you know kids. They all want to best each other faster than the next guy. lol

  3. Hacks! We used to throw that word around all the time on FF (usually when one of us was jealous that another one of us hit 75 or found +1 armour...)

    My cousin is a Call of Duty kid and you should hear the things that come out of his mouth! He has mercy for no one, that guy.

    IMO the best "cheat" there is in online gaming is to pretend to be a single sixteen-year-old girl. PTing, EXPing and getting help solving quests seem to be so much easier for the guys posing as young chicks!!

    1. We call them gender benders. I go the other way around (chick playing a dude) so other players don't try and chat me. I am a strictly in character only, no cheats. :D

      You'd be surprised the folks who are helping those guys though. I don't accept much help, because you never know when the big bad wolf is out who will lead you to your own demise. MWAHAHAHAHAH.

  4. Has anyone ever called you a geek? Just kidding. I love you Diane and your mind is fascinating. Too bad I don't play some of the games you play. I'd love to kick your....Btw, just downloaded your scary sounding story and I can't wait to read it. Hope it doesn't give me nightmares. Oh and BTW number 2 is that one time I tried getting on one of your game suggestions and it had a long registration process that almost killed me. While registering--I kid you not--we had an earthquake and of course I ran from the house. When I came back they had signed me out. LOL

    1. LOL Eve!!! Born and raised a geek, I was!


      Glad you love me. I hope you still do after you read my story. Remember that it is fiction.

  5. Admittedly, I'm not a gamer. I feel out of my depth!

  6. Fun post! I game here and there, and while I'll use walkthroughs when I have to, I was never a fan of cheats and/or hacks.

    Your bit about the point of the chandelier made me think about the Kings Quest series. (Now I'm dating myself....) Some games were better/more fun than others, but they were filled with those "REALLY?!" moments. There's a great video out there with someone's reaction to the yeti/pie moment in KQ5....

    1. Speak of dating oneself...I wish I'd had a walkthrough back when I was playing the 1992 Star Trek game. THAT was a hard game for me.


I welcome feedback, so please leave your thoughts.

Contact Diane


Email *

Message *