Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the man behind the Konami Code, dies at 61
If you grew up playing brutally difficult games like Contra or Gradius, there’s a good chance you only got to the end because of a memorable string of controller inputs: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. Better known as the Konami Code, this code quickly grew beyond the confines of its code and firmly planted itself into the zeitgeist of nerd culture. Sadly, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the creator of the Konami Code, has passed away. He was 61-years-old.
First announced on Twitter by his friend, sound designer Yuji Takenouchi, Hashimoto’s death has been mourned globally. Konami posted a statement to Twitter earlier today, stating:
We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the "Konami Code". Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san's family and friends at this time. Rest In Peace.
Hashimoto first programmed the Konami Code when porting the arcade game Gradius to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The side-scrolling shooter, notorious for its difficulty, proved to be too much of a challenge for Hashimoto. As a result, he programmed in the code to grant himself all power-ups when entered so he could finish the port. The code was unknowingly left in the game after development, but Konami decided to leave it in to help in testing.
The Code (or slight variations of it) has since been used in 126 games in some way, shape, or form. The Code will often activate a cheat, trigger an Easter Egg, or unlock new game modes. Even games outside of Konami’s umbrella have made use of the familiar code.
The Konami Code has made several appearances in other media as well. Most notably, the Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph features the Code as the combination a character punches on a giant NES controller to open a lock. The Code has even migrated into real life, appearing as a method of resetting some physical IT hardware, making the text on iFixit’s homepage flash brilliant colors, and more.
What is your favorite memory of the Konami Code? Let us know in the comments.