The Konami Code (コナミコマンド Konami Komando?, lit. "Konami Command") is a special combination of buttons that appears in several Konami games. It was widely popularized due to its inclusion in the NES home version of Contra (1988), where it allowed the player to obtain 30 free lives. Since then the code has become part of popular culture in general, even appearing in many non-Konami games and diverse media, such as clothing, advertisements and non-gaming related software.
The code was first used in the 1986 release of Gradius for the Nintendo Entertainment System but was popularized among North American players in the NES version of Contra, for which it was also dubbed both the "Contra Code" and "30 Lives Code", because of its nearly necessary use in the game.
The Konami Code was created by Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who was developing the home port of the 1985 arcade game Gradius, a horizontal scrolling shooter released on the NES in 1986. Finding the game too difficult to play through during testing, he created a cheat code to give the player a full set of power-ups (normally attained gradually throughout the game). The code was still present in the released version after Hashimoto forgot to remove it. Players discovered and shared the code. The Konami Code was thus included in the series' other sequels and spin-offs.
The code is usually entered during the title screen before the game demo begins, and the player must press the following sequence of buttons on the game controller to enable the cheat:
The original version of the cheat code was designed for the NES controller. The exact sequence varies from game to game and has been adapted to fit the button layouts of different video game consoles, mostly the A and B buttons. For example:
- Any code for a PlayStation controller, which uses shapes instead of letters, would use and instead of A and B respectively.
- In mobile phone games by Konami, the buttons are replaced by 5, 7, 3 on the numerical pad, which is the goroawase pronunciation for "Konami": 5 is pronounced go, 7 can be pronounced nana or just na for short, and the kanji for 3, 三, looks very much like the katakana sign for mi, namely ミ. Together, this becomes "go-na-mi".
- The code is usually followed by the press of a final button in order to activate it. This is generally assigned to the START button, but some games may change it for any other, like the SELECT button.
- Because the cursor ends at the same spot where it initially was before inputting the code, some games drop the press of the final button completely and the code is activated as soon as it is successfully entered, while starting the game at the same time.
- Some variations change some of the buttons pressed, like requiring to press the L and R bumper buttons instead of ← and →, or changing the order of how the final two buttons are pressed (i.e. A, B instead of B, A).
Usage in Konami franchises
- Contra (NES) - Entering the code at the title screen gives the player 30 lives. If the two-player option is chosen using the select button before or after entering the code, both players will have 30 lives. In the Japanese version, the 30 lives code can be used alongside a stage select code exclusive to that version.
- Operation C (GB) - Entering the code at the title screen (followed B and A again) will enable the Stage Select mode. Choose the desired stage by pressing select and then press start to begin. This code does not work in the Japanese version (Contra), since the Stage Select screen is a default feature.
- Contra: Hard Corps (Sega Genesis) - At the main menu, using controller 2, press C, B, A, RIGHT, LEFT, C, B, A, RIGHT, LEFT, C, B, A, RIGHT, LEFT. A confirmatory voice clip will be played (only works in the Japanese version).
- Contra: Shattered Soldier (PS2) - At the title screen, pressing Up, Up, Down, Down, L1, R1, L2, R2, L3, R3 on the second controller gives the player 30 lives upon starting the game.
- Neo Contra (PS2) - Same as Contra: Shattered Soldier
- Contra 4 (NDS) - There are two methods of entering the code that each result in a different outcome:
- At the start of a new game on Normal or Hard difficulty, tapping on the touch screen once the mission starts in the same way as the code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right) then hitting B, A, followed by tapping on the center of the screen before landing in the water gives the player extra lives upon starting the game.
- Entering the code during gameplay in the pause menu will power-up whatever weapons the player is currently carrying. The code can only be entered once per stage, as inputting it a second time will kill off the player, taking away a life. This code has no effect on the Easy setting, where all the weapons picked by the player are upgraded by default. The code also works on the unlockable emulated version of the NES Contra included with the game, with the A and B buttons being assigned to B and Y respectively.
- Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun (Family Computer) - Entering the code at the title screen will display a black screen with the text "There's nothing here!" in Japanese. In the unofficial translation hack of the game, this was reworded as "Sorry, that won't work!".
- Castlevania: Bloodlines (Mega Drive/Genesis) - Entering the code at the title screen (a sound will confirm it) enables the selection of the Expert difficulty in the option screen. The code also gives the player the possibility of starting the game with 9 lives if it is entered at the title screen after the music settings in the option screen have been set to BGM 05 and SE 073.
- Castlevania Chronicles (PS) - Entering Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, Circle on the title screen will take the player to a hidden options menu that allows them to adjust the "system time" and turn on/off the transparency of the status bar in Original mode. The system time affects small things in the game, like the hands on the clock tower.
- Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) - Entering the code when the Konami logo appears and choose Boss Rush to play as the original Simon Belmont, with the music and animations from the original Castlevania for NES. While significantly harder due to the limited movement of Simon Belmont, the player can do more damage with this character and collect far more hearts to fuel sub-weapon use against the bosses than the other two characters. Simon is also limited to special weapons from the first game: Holy Water, Knife, Axe, and Cross. (Additionally, the Holy Water weapon gives the "static flame" from the original Castlevania, not the moving flame from when Juste uses it.)
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (Xbox360/PS3) - Entering it at the Load Screen of a Level (With Analog Sticks) and you get a Cheat Menu at the Extras Point.
The Konami Code has been referenced in routines for some songs on Konami's Dance Dance Revolution series, and has also been an unlock mechanism on some versions:
- Dance Dance Revolution 2ndMix (arcade, PS) - The Single steps on Basic difficulty for the song "Make A Jam!" include the directional portion of the code (i.e. without B or A) five times throughout the song. A faint chime is heard in the music after each such pattern. The song was also a remix of a jingle played behind the "walking" Konami logo animation contained in some older games.
- Dance Dance Revolution 2ndRemix (PS) - Entering the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right on the Mode Selection Screen will unlock Super Mode.
- Dance Dance Revolution 3rdMix (arcade) - The Single steps on Basic difficulty for the song "It Only Takes a Minute" begin with the directional portion of the code.
- Dance Dance Revolution 5thMix (PS) - The last 5 pictures in the Gallery are unlocked by highlighting #224 and entering the code, replacing B and A with X and O, respectively. (This is because the X and O buttons are on the same locations on the PSX controller as the B and A buttons are on the SNES controller.)
- Dance Dance Revolution Extreme (arcade, PS2) - All charts for the song TwinBee ~Generation X~ contain the directional portion of the Konami Code as part of their charts, and the doubles charts all contain the sequence on the left pad, a reference to the code traditionally being entered by player 1.
- Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix (Xbox) - If a gamepad is plugged in to the fourth controller port, and the code is entered during the credits, all of the game's hidden songs will be instantly unlocked.
- Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 (Xbox) - While in the credits screen, entering the code in sequence then in reverse unlocks all content.
- Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova 2 (PS2) - While in the controller setup menu on the Japanese version of the game, using the Konami Code will unlock the alternate outfit for each of the dancers and makes them available in the shop.
- Dance Dance Revolution X (arcade, PS2) - The song 30 Lives (Up-Up-Down-Dance Mix) by The Motion Sick, is directly about the Konami Code itself.
- Gradius (NES) - The first game ever use of the code. Pausing the game and then entering the code activates all powerups except for Speed Up, Double, and Laser.
- Gradius (PC Engine) - Pausing the game and then entering the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, II, and I activates full options, missile, and shield.
- Life Force/Salamander (NES) - Enter the code at the title screen for 30 lives.
- Gradius II: GOFER no Yabou (Family Computer) - Entering the code at the title screen starts the player with thirty lives. Alternatively, the code can also be used during the game like in the first Gradius to activate every powerup.
- Gradius II (PC Engine) - Pausing the game and then entering the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, II, and I activates full power. This code works more than once on Easy mode.
- Nemesis (GB) - Pausing the game and entering the code will give the player full options.
- Gradius III (SNES) - Normally entering the code while paused activates all powerups, but the player's ship is instantly destroyed upon unpausing. The player must enter the code by substituting Left and Right on the control pad with the L and R shoulder buttons to apply the power-ups without penalty.
- Gradius III (PS2) - Pausing the game and then entering the code activates all powerups except for Speed Up and Double.
- Parodius Da! －Shinwa kara Owarai e－ (GB) - Pausing the game and then entering the code activates all powerups except for Speed Up and Double. Entering the code when the Konami Logo appears enables the Sound Test mode.
- Parodius Da! －Shinwa kara Owarai e－ (Super Famicom/SNES) - Pausing the game and then entering the code destroys the player upon unpausing. However, entering B, B, X, X, A, Y, A, Y, Up, Left and unpausing will fully power up the player. The second code uses the same finger-movements when the SNES controller is held upside-down.
- Gradius Deluxe Pack (Saturn) - Pausing the game then entering the code will give full weapons only on Saturn Easy and Saturn Hard difficulty levels.
- Gradius Gaiden (PS) - Pausing the game then entering the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, Circle will result in a power up.
- Gradius Galaxies (GBA) - Normally entering the code while paused activates all powerups, but the player is instantly destroyed upon unpausing. However, if the player enters the code and substitutes the L and R buttons for Left and Right, the powerups are applied without penalty. Entering Down, Down, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right, Left, A, B will result in full powerups, but subtracts one life per use. Down, Down, Up, Up, R, L, R, L, A, B gives full powerups followed shortly by self destruction.
- Gradius IV Fukkatsu (PS2, PSP) - Pausing the game and then entering the code activates all powerups except for Speed Up and Double.
- Gradius V (PS2) - Pressing Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, L1, R1 while paused gives full powerups, including the Laser weapon. Using L2 and R2 for the final two buttons gives the Double Shot instead.
- Gradius ReBirth (Wii) - Pausing the game and then entering this code will give the player's ship four options.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (GB) - Pausing the game and entering the code will replenish the player's energy. This code will only work once per game.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (NES) - Entering the code at the title screen with the A and B buttons reversed gives access to a stage select mode. In the Japanese Famicom version (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2), the game will simply display a message from Konami saying "Thank You for Purchasing This Game" in Japanese. In order for the code to work properly, the functions of each button must be reversed (Down, Down, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right, Left, A, B).
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game (NES) - Entering a variation of the code (Up, Right, Right, Down, Down, Down, Left, Left, Left, Left, B, A, Start) at the Player Select screen will trigger the sound "Cowabunga!" and start the player off with 99 lives (doesn't work). Entering another variation of the code (B, A, B, A, Up, Down, B, A, Left, Right, B, A, Start) at the title screen will send you to a level select screen after you choose your character.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (Super Famicom/SNES) - Entering the code at the title screen on controller 2 allows the selection of 10 lives in the Options menu.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Super NES) - Entering the code at the title screen on controller 2 will unlock Speed Level 3 in Options menu.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PS2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PC) - Entering the code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, Circle on the PS2 version) on the title screen will give the characters silly noises while walking.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA) - Entering the code at the title screen unlocks Very Hard Mode.
Other Konami games (in alphabetical order)
- Batman Returns (Super NES) — In options, use controller 2 and press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A. Use controller 1 to adjust the number of lives. When finished, the player can retype the code but instead of the second down press up twice.
- Beatmania GB (GBC) — Entering the password UUDDLRLRBA unlocks all songs and play modes.
- Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand (GBA) — In a certain room the player will find a sign with the Konami Code. Entering the code will reveal a hidden chest.
- Crisis Force (Famcom) — When the code is entered at the title screen, the player will start with 15 lives.
- Deadly Arts (Nintendo 64) — Entering the code on the title screen unlocks Gouriki as a playable character. Entering the code backwards unlocks Reiji.
- Death Jr. (PSP) — On the pause menu, holding L and pressing up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, X, O provides the player with all weapons and weapon upgrades.
- Death Jr. II: Root of Evil (PSP) — On the pause menu, holding L and pressing up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, X, O provides the player with all weapons and weapon upgrades.
- Detana!! TwinBee (PC Engine) — At the title screen press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, II, and I to select up to 9 credits in the options menu. Pressing Up, Up, Down, Down, Right, Left, Right, Left, I, II on the second controller (a multi-tap is required) will allow the selection of up to ten ships in the options menu. Reversing the code, on the title screen press I, II, Right, Left, Right, Left, Down, Down, Up, and Up on controller three to unlock 'Vmode' (Arcade Mode) in the options menu.
- Detana TwinBee Yahho! Deluxe Pack (PS, Saturn) — In the PS version, pause the game in Arcade Mode and press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, Circle to unlock Dark Play. In the Saturn version, substitute X and Circle with the B and A buttons.
- DrumMania (arcade) — On the first "mix" of this game, the drum pads and bass pedals are used to activate the Expert Real difficulty level. The code to do so is the Konami code, using the hi-hat, snare, hi-tom, and lo-tom for up, down, left, and right, respectively, and the bass pedal for both B and A.
- International Superstar Soccer Deluxe / Fighting Eleven (Super NES) — This code replaces the referee with a dog.
- Flame of Recca: Final Burning (PS2) — At the title screen, hold L1 and R1 button and enter the Konami Code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, Circle) to unlock Joker.
- Frogger (Xbox 360) — When selecting to play 1 or 2 players, input the directions of the code on the D-pad of the controller, then B and A, this will make Frogger bigger. This code does not work when playing with the original graphics.
- Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Dōchū: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake (Super Famicom) — At the end of Sasuke's world, he races a giant robot in the Goemon Impact. During this event, the player has to press the D-Pad in the directions marked on the metal walls that block their progress to raise them. The first pattern is ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → which is the Konami Code without the ending "B, A" sequence.
- Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru! (GB) — After having a Game Over, the screen then switches to the Continue Screen. Inputting the Konami Code (↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A) here gives the player access to the Sound Test Mode, where they can listen to all the music tracks in the game.
- Goemon: Shin Sedai Shūmei! (PS) — Pausing the game and then entering the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, and Circle Goemon's Weapon Level is MAX.
- Gyruss (NES) — The code must be entered in reverse order. Entering A, B, Right, Left, Right, Left, Down, Down, Up, Up at the title screen will give the player 30 lives.
- Hayate no Gotoku! Boku ga Romeo de Romeo ga Boku de (DS) — Inputting the directions of the code after completing the game will unlock voices in Omake Mode.
- Hellboy: The Science of Evil (PSP) — Pausing the game and then entering the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, Circle will give the player two grenades of each grenade type.
- International Superstar Soccer Deluxe (Super NES, PS) — When used, it turns the referee into a dog. In the PS version, A and B corresponds with Circle and X.
- International Superstar Soccer 98 (Nintendo 64) — There are two Konami—type codes in this game:
- To unlock all six hidden teams, press C-Up, Up, C-Up, Up, C-Down, Down, C-Down, Down, C-Left, Left, C-Right, Right, C-Left, Left, C-Right, Right, B, A, hold Z and press Start(voice:"World Class")
- To activate the big head mode, a reverse Konami code has to be put in with the C-Button, being: C-Down, C-Down, C-Up, C-Up, C-Right, C-Left, C-Right, C-Left, B, A, hold Z and press Start (crowd:*laughs*)
- International Track & Field 2000 (PS) — On the Select Event screen choose the event you want. Then input the code by pressing Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Circle, X. A zap will confirm the code if entered correctly. Your athlete will be dressed as Konami Man (male) and Konami Woman (female), two superhero-type characters from early Konami Famicom games.
- Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced (GBA) — When the code is entered on any main menu of a game, a version of the game with enhanced graphics and/or additional features or extra lives will be made available.
- The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Super NES) — A villager will reference the code by telling the player "If you press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, it will do nothing."
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2) — After finishing the game, when the clear code is presented onscreen, pressing Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X and Circle will cause Snake to remark "STOP FOOLIN' AROUND KID!", confirming the code. It cannot be used again once the clear data has been saved, since the code is already confirmed.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (PS2, Xbox, PC) — In addition to the usage in the original Sons of Liberty, entering "UUDDLRLRBA" as the player's username in Missions mode will unlock all missions and characters.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2) — This game (along with its upgraded counterpart, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Subsistence) features several usages of the code.
- Pressing Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Square, and Triangle when the Konami logo first appears will cause it to flash, confirming the code. This will change the staff in the game's opening title sequence to display the "Opening Title Staff" - the staff who produced the title sequence.
- When fighting The End, entering Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Square, and Triangle in the map viewer will expose his location. The code needs to be entered each time the player looks at the map viewer. This only works on Normal difficulty setting or below.
- Although not an actual cheat, using CQC to interrogate EVA near the end of the game will sometimes make her recite part of the Konami Code.
- After finishing the game, when the Game Clear message is presented onscreen pressing Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, X, O will make Snake remark "One More to Go...".
- MLB Power Pros (PS2), (Wii) — Entering the code on the "View or Delete Custom Players" display unlocks the ability to view MLB players in the Custom Players Menu.
- Nagano Winter Olympics '98 (PS, N64) — In the freestyle aerials event, one of the jumps (bDfDf) requires inputting the Konami code quickly to complete successfully. Additionally, after the player receives a medal in each event, using the code on the Achievements screen will start the credits sequence.
- NBA Give 'n Go (Famicom/NES) — Press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A on title screen to unlock “Super Difficulty Level” in the Options menu.
- Pop'n TwinBee (Super NES) — Entering the code will unlock an extra difficulty level. Entering the code in-game while paused crashes the player's ship.
- Raging Fighter (Game Boy) — Entering the code at the title screen will enable mirror matches in the Normal 1-Player Mode. Switching the order of the A and B buttons will do the same thing for in the Normal Versus Mode. To enable the code in 1-Player Mania, the B button must be pressed twice instead of B and A. To enable the code in Versus Mania, the same thing must be done but with the A button.
- Rocket Knight (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Steam) — Entering the code at the main menu will temporarily unlock the two bonus character skins. Quitting and restarting the game will reset the locks on the skins.
- Saw II: Flesh & Blood (PS3, PC, 360) The code can be entered at the main menu while holding R
- Silent Hill 3 (PS2, PC) — Beating the game once, then entering the code in the title screen will cause Douglas Cartland, a supporting character, to appear in his underwear in each cutscene.
- Silent Hill: Homecoming (PS3, 360) — Entering the code during the main menu will unlock the costume young Alex. This version of him appears in the game during flashback cutscenes.
- Silent Hill: Origins (PSP, PS2) — On the second playthrough and up, entering the code during gameplay will unlock the "Codebreaker" costume, which makes Travis look identical to Vincent from Silent Hill 3.
- Sunday VS Magazine: Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen!
- Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge, (GB) — If the code is entered at the title screen, a level select feature becomes available.
- Top Gun: The Second Mission (NES) — To receive three additional planes for every 20,000 points. Go to the title screen and enter the code to begin.
- Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai Taisen Puzzle Dama (Super NES) — Entering the code at the title screen will unlock two characters for the VS mode.
- TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventure (Super NES) — Pausing the game and entering the code will allow a player to switch characters. Replacing Left and Right with L and R respectively will give the player full health and all power-ups.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force (PSP) — Entering the Konami Code at the card shop will unlock a booster pack with cards based on other Konami games, such as Gradius and Ganbare Goemon.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 2 (PSP) — Entering the Konami Code at the card shop will unlock a booster pack with cards based on other Konami games, such as Gradius and Ganbare Goemon.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 3 (PSP) — Entering the Konami Code at the card shop will unlock a booster pack with cards based on other Konami games, such as Gradius and Ganbare Goemon.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Falsebound Kingdom (Nintendo GameCube) — Entering the code during a battle gives the player extra money.
- Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (PS2) — While fighting the Vic Viper boss in Extra Missions Mode, entering the code with L1 and R1 instead of A and B activates the "Zoradius" mini-game. Entering the same code again in "Zoradius" while paused gives the player full powerups.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 https://dmarket.com/blog/cracking-konami-code/
- ↑ Tweet by Konami announcing Mr. Hashimoto's passing. February 26, 2020.