5 Games You Can Use the Konami Code in This Weekend

The Konami Code written on a Tapper's napkin
Disney

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the creator of the now-famous “Konami Code,” passed away recently, much to the sadness of gamers everywhere. So this weekend, why not honor him by playing a few of your favorite games and throwing the Konami code at them? You’d be surprised how often it will work. We have five suggestions if you aren’t sure where to start.

What is the Konami Code?

Just in case you aren’t aware, here’s an abbreviated history. In the late ’80’s, Kazuhisa Hashimoto had an issue. He needed to port Gradius to the NES, which meant extensive playtesting. But the game was too hard. So he added a cheat code. Up, up, down down, left, right, left, right B, A, Start.

That sequence activated all the game’s powerups, which let the developer playtest the game. But he forgot to take the code out before the game made its way to consumers. Somehow word spread, and the rest is history. You’ll find the code in many video games, even from publishers other than Konami. Like Rocket League for instance:

Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars (or Rocket League)

The Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars title screen.

If you haven’t played Rocket League, you’re missing out. The concept is pretty forward—what if soccer, but with physics-defying rocket-powered cars?

It’s not the entry in the series, however. The original is known as Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, which is probably too long a name. In Rocket League, you can enter the Konami Code at the title screen. When you do, the music and name revert to the original game’s music and name.

You’ll also get a Maoi antenna you can equip to your car. It doesn’t do much, but it’s fun. If you want more something more helpful, break out Contra.

Extra lives in Contra

Believe it or not, you can still buy Contra and play it on Xbox, Playstation, Switch, and PC. Thanks to the Contra Collection, you can relieve the glory days of games designed to destroy all your lives before the end of level two.

If you always thought Contra was too hard, give the Konami code a go. As seen in the video above, it’ll add 30 lives, which might be enough to get you to level three. Maybe. Contra started the Konami Code revolution (even if Gradius came first), so playing this game just feels right.

Activate 1999 Mode in Bioshock Infinite

A woman looking off into the distance in a Steampunk setting.
2K Games

If you haven’t played Bioshock Infinite we have to wonder what you’ve done with your gaming years. But, now’s as good a time as any to correct the problem.

And if you have played the game but you thought it was too easy, this Konami Code entry is just the ticket. See, instead of making the game easier (as it did in Contra), the Konami Code makes the game harder. It’s called 1999 Mode and normally you have to play through the whole game to unlock it.

1999 Mode does make the game much more difficult, so maybe you shouldn’t activate it unless you like a challenge.

Unlock the Wubs in Borderlands 2

The Zer0 vault character fighting off large insect-like monsters.
2K Games

At one point or another, it seems like every service from Xbox Live Gold to Twitch gave away Borderlands 2, so there’s a decent chance you own a copy. You, and a bunch of other psychopathic murderers, are making your way through Pandora to find a vault when—well, I don’t want to tell you more.

Borderlands 2 should be experienced, not described. And while you’re playing, go ahead and hit that Konami Code. But, in this case, we won’t spoil what it does. Let’s just say it fits the theme of the game perfectly.

Get All the Weapons in Retro City Rampage

A 8-bit style game with a man holding a gun crossing the street.
VBLANK Entertainment

Retro City Rampage feels like it started as a simple question—what if Grand Theft Auto, but on the NES? You’d think that premise be enough on its own, but someone else came along and asked, “What if we added a time-traveling Delorean?” And the game evolved from there. You can play the game on Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Android, iOS, and even DOS for some reason.

It’s hard to decide if Retro City Rampage is a parody of ’80’s NES games (like Manian Mansion) or ’80’s movies like Batman and Back to the Future. Either way, it’s thoroughly enjoyable. But you know what makes it better? The Konami code, which unlocks every weapon in the game. Perfection.


If none of these tickle your fancy (or if you don’t own them), you’re not out of luck. You’ll find the Konami Code in dozens of games, and if you are an avid gamer, odds are something you have on hand uses the code. You could give it a whirl, or check out Wikipedia’s extensive list of Konami Code enabled games. Have fun!

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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