Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is it Cheating or Self-Help ?

While socializing with friends on XBL, I began to talk about how close I was to unlocking every achievement in a game. I had completed most of the challenges naturally including finding every single collectible item without using the internet like I usually do. Then, to my complete shock, someone in the party had the nerve to say "Of course you found them naturally, otherwise you would be a cheater". ..... Ouch.

What exactly constitutes cheating in a video game ? Its a really hard to break it all down. There are different types of "cheating". Players have access to strategy guides, codes, and forums. They kind of remind me of that excuse you used in high school when you told a teacher you were "utilizing my resources" as code for everyone copying each others' homework. There are so many ways to make it through a game, but what is considered legit?

First, is a cheat code actually cheating ? If a code is intentionally built into software, then someone on the design team obviously intends people to use it. And if it is suppose to be used, how can that be cheating ? I understand that playing a game from beginning to end in God mode is less difficult than playing it without the code. But I equate it with playing a game on Rookie versus Hardcore difficulty settings. Playing with infinite health or endless ammo is just another level of play.

Strategy guides and walkthroughs are actually sold by publishers. I'm sure they do it as another avenue to make money. But they are so prevalent, it is again expected that they are used. This is pretty close to cheat codes in that using this provides a special aspect of game play. But I only use strategy guides for when I get stuck in a game or if I don't understand something. Especially RPG games like Fallout and Final Fantasy have such intricate menus and leveling system that it can be intimidating and confusing for gamers new to the genre. Guides can help with that.

There are other ways to cheat like boosting and mods, but cheating or altering the play in a public lobby is a whole different beast. But as far as single player games go, I think it is up to the individual player. You might risk losing a few of your bragging rights if you use these extra aides, but I feel like the integrity of the gamer remains intact. How much do you use "outside resources"?


Linz said...

I have never bought a game guide, but I have totally used internet resources. Sometimes in these huge games I just need an extra map or guide in the right direction. Or help finding something to complete an achievement - like the skulls in Halo 3.

I think it's pretty clear that if you're typing in a "cheat code", you are cheating. I'm not down with least not for me. I can see playing on God-Mode in a subsequent playthrough or something...but not the first time! That wouldn't seem like a true game experience to me.

Heretic said...

I use "walk-throughs" like it's my Bible when playing games I can't figure out. Yeah it's cheating, but it will also save me from frustration of not being able to figure out why I can't get Mario to jump over that darned wall without falling into the fire pit!