Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the programmer of the famous Konami code, died this week at the age of 61. His code, ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B, A, Start, has lived for more than three decades and remains a comic Easter egg in many games today.
Hashimoto’s former employer, Konami, issued a statement today confirming his death and sending condolences to the Hashimoto family: “We are sad to hear about the death of Kazuhisa Hashimoto,” Konami said and called him a “very talented producer.”
We are sad to hear about the death of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a very talented producer who first introduced the world in the “Konami Code”.
Our thoughts are currently with the family and friends of Hashimoto-san. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/vQijEQ8lU2
– Konami (@Konami) February 26, 2020
The Konami code first appeared in 1986 in the NES port of Gradius. The code gave players access to a number of power-ups, making the game easier to play. Hashimoto originally created the cheat code because he thought the game was too difficult to play during the development cycle.
Of course, Gradius is probably not the game that has introduced most people to the famous cheat code. It was later popularized by the NES run-and-gun game of 1988 against, in which the code gives players 30 extra lives when they enter it on the title screen. The code later appeared in other Konami games, including 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, various entries in the Dance Dance Revolution series, 2001’s Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and 2010s Castlevania: Lords of Shadows.
The code is also used in games that go beyond Konami, such as the first Mario party. It continued to appear in other games such as BioShock Infinite and Borderlands 2 as well as more recent titles such as Hymn, in which entering the code on the title screen slightly changes the soundtrack of the game. In Fortnite, the code gave a Space Invadersstyle mini game for a limited time prior to the release of Chapter 2.