Konami Code measurements

Many people are familiar with The Konami Code. For those that are unfamiliar, please read the Wikipedia entry on it before you read any further.

I’ve been asking multiple people what they think of when the hear the words “Konami Code.” Some people have no idea what I’m talking about. Others immediately rattle off one of a few variations of the code:

  1. ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A START
  2. ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A SELECT START
  3. ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A B A START
  4. ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A B A SELECT START

Of these four responses you will notice that there are 2 sets of code types; those that use the extra “B A” and those that use “SELECT.” The code itself (that is, #1 and #2) works fine without entering the second “B A.” This leads me to a few conclusions. My first thought is that people are remembering incorrectly and since the other commands are doubled, they are thinking that the “B A” is doubled. My second idea is that people always thought the code actually contained the extra characters and the games were just forgiving by ignoring the extra characters after the original code was successfully entered. The third possibility (and the most likely) is that the code was inconsistent across the NES Konami games.

One last thing to mention: most people that I asked included “SELECT” in their response. This indicates that they were playing in two player mode. I have never included “SELECT” when I recite the code. Therefore, the only logical conclusion that any sane person could come to… is that I clearly had no friends. Game Over.

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3 Responses to Konami Code measurements

  1. Scott says:

    We always called it the Contra Code. I would recite it with the single “B A” and no “SELECT,” even though I almost always played in two player mode.

    The games were probably forgiving because applying the cheat immediately after the code is entered was probably easier to code than looking for the optional select to switch to two player mode.

  2. Mike S. says:

    While I never had a specific name for “the code”, I could certainly repeat it if you asked for the code for extra lives in Contra. I follow the Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, Select, Start mantra. I never realized the final 2 B-A combination was unnecessary.

    Since my parents refused to buy me a Nintendo until I received a 90% in both Math and English during the SAME semester, I never received a Nintendo until I was a senior in high school, at which point, Contra was no longer popular. Hence, when I played Contra, it was always at a friends house in 2 player mode, so I indeed would add the select.

  3. Richard says:

    I mostly only used the code for contra and it was usually with two players (contra wasn’t nearly as fun by yourself). I always used the B A B A version. But when I recite it for those few interested parties, I never include select- it just breaks up the rhythm of saying the code. I know I’ve used the code for life force and there was a code for Super Contra but it was different. Ah memories.

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