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Are you a cheater?

3 min read
Can we agree that cheating at games is lame?  Back in the day, my brother got a Game Genie and would play Contra with infinite lives, but I just didn’t see the point.  If you’re not going to struggle, die, restart, get better, and eventually emerge victorious, why bother?

Now, games have changed so much.  You can save just about anytime you want, and even at times when it’s unnecessary; auto save seems to have entered almost every game.  Life seems to magically regenerate in plenty of games – as long as you don’t get hit – and quests are dumbed down to placate all the prepubescent moaners on forums.  Walkthrough are available on places like GameFAQs  online before games are officially released, and you can search on YouTube to see solutions to just about any problem.

So, how do we get to struggle and emerge victorious?  And where do we draw the line with cheating?

I’m old enough to remember phoning the Nintendo hotline.  Yup, back in the 80s/90s, if you were stuck on a game, you’d call that paid hotline to get someone to help.  In my house, we had a rule – I think as long as the bill was under $10 my mom would cover it but anything over and my brother and I were out of pocket for the full cost.  We had to be REALLY desperate to phone for help.  However, they could only help you over the phone, and you still had to do it yourself.  With the new consoles coming, you’ll be able to just ask one of your 2000 friends to get you through the hard part.  Are we all just going to end up cheating and depriving ourself of satisfaction?

I used to see using guides, walkthroughs and online FAQs as cheating, but  I’ll never forget the first time they actually helped me.  After my early gaming days, I played everything myself, discovering treasures (or not), and working my way through games myself.  Then came Suikoden 3.  I loved the Suikoden franchise.  In fact, I wish they would bring that franchise back because it was awesome.  In any event, I didn’t know how to get all the characters, and my OCD was in overdrive.  I didn’t even have to check the FAQ myself – my future husband did it for me.  It was fantastic – I got everyone!  Sure, I felt a little dirty for using it, but technically, I hadn’t looked up the info myself.  It was a slippery slope after that.

Sometimes, bosses are just so hard, or quests so confusing, it stops being enjoyable to figure them out yourself.  Sure, with enough deaths I could probably find that sweet spot to kill the Hydra in Dark Souls, but it sure saves time to watch the YouTube video.  Still plenty of opportunities to die, but at least I sort of know what needs to be done; and I only check quest or boss help if I’ve already tried and failed a few times.  I still play games myself, and often I never even touch walkthroughs.  I certainly would never let someone else play a section of a game for me – I want to savour my own success.

So, where do you draw the line with cheating?  Do you use walkthroughs and guides?  Are YouTube videos a sign of defeat?  Will you help other people through tough sections of games, or is that just enabling?

Last Updated: August 1, 2013