aka: Debug Mode
A Debug Room
is a location, menu or mode with options the programmers would have used for testing the game. It's usually not supposed to be accessed by the player; as such, it will either require a complicated code/password or be inaccessible without the help of a Game Shark
or the like. Often contains a Warp Zone
Not to be confused with Developer's Room
, which is a kind of Easter Egg
and doesn't have exploits included.
- Super Mario RPG has a debug room with limited functionality: it's speculated that most of its features were ripped out of the game before release. It also acts similarly to the Chris Houlihan room in Link to the Past, in that the player is sent there if the game runs into faulty map data, but otherwise it can only be accessed by patch codes.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3 and Knuckles all have debug modes which can be accessed by the player. In Sonic 2, it's done simply by playing the right sequence of sounds in the Sound Test (spelling out the game's release date, one digit at a time, in year-month-day order.) The debug mode in each lets Sonic turn into a variety of items (moved around with the d-pad), and place them onto the level. In Sonic 3, you could also use the item-turning feature to reach Knuckles' paths as Sonic and vice-versa.
- The PC version of Sonic CD allowed you to access its debug mode by adding a single line of text to one of the game's data files.
- Final Fantasy Tactics has debug menu items that, among other things, allow you to pit two teams of your characters against each other on any map in the game. It requires a Game Shark to access. This was eventually fixed up and released as a multiplayer mode in the PSP rerelease.
- Final Fantasy VII had a debug room that let you fight against pyramid-like test enemies, max out Materia, and the like. It also had several strange Easter Egg features such as changing your overworld model into a giant Aerith, and a section of the floor that complains when you walk on it. Fun fact: one of the NPCs (said giant Aerith) can send you to different places in the game world. When asked to be sent "to Hades", she replies that you're already there.
- EarthBound has a fairly elaborate debug menu. This menu contains, among other things, a Kirby sprite as the menu cursor - an artifact left by a HAL Laboratory programmer, perhaps. Although, another more well-known debug menu exists as well - one intended to be used during the game, similar to Super Mario RPG. This menu is also reachable via one of the options from the former... and is significantly trickier to figure out, since it remains untranslated from Japanese despite the lack of a Japanese font. Only a few words are recognizable as compressed garbled Engrish - "SUND" for Sound, "TRP-T" for Teleport, and "GtZStTI" for Goods Edit, for example.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has several separate debug rooms accessible through the console. Some of them are also named after specific devs.
- Oblivion has a whole series of them, accessible from a central hall. Including screwing around with some weird people designed to test the AI, you can stock up on some useful (and some useless) equipment, including some that was dummied out.
- Same engine, same developers, same test cells: the developers' rooms in Fallout 3 contain all items, a crapload of respawning mines, lots of locked safes and hackable computers, and a random guy with a gun. It's impossible to reach in normal gameplay; the only way to get in or out is via the console or plugins.
- The debug room in Ultima VII: The Black Gate, which contains a cache of plot-relevant items and teleports to plot-relevant locations in the game world, can be accessed by a player who uses a large number of crates to make a staircase, climb up onto the ceiling of a certain building in Trinsic, the starting town, and crawl down the chimney.
- Tales of Destiny also had its own debug room, which was weird in the fact that it was more or less completely translated and legible on its own: the main reason to visit it isn't to screw around with your stats and whatnot, but to talk to Cless and watch him randomly make South Park quotes while pretending to be Cartman's evil twin.
- A few cartridges of Super Mario All-Stars left the factory with a debug mode intact. Pressing select in a game of Super Mario Bros 3 in these carts allows you to cycle through all of the plumber's various forms at will. Press Y and select for the Kuribo's Shoe, though it's usually just a jumble of pixels.
- The original Super Mario Bros 3 had a debug mode in the form of the Game Genie Code KKKZSPIU, which has the power cycle and Kuribo's Shoe effect described above, as well as granting you one of every item and a level warp ability. In addition, the power cycle could be twisted into the ultimate Game Breaker by turning into a statue as Tanooki Mario, and cycling before the statue time limit ran out, giving you permanent statue status in any form OTHER THAN Tanooki.
- The very first Tenchu game also had a comprehensive debug mode that's accessed via a complicated button press code: unlike all other codes in the game which are changed between different versions of the game, the debug mode is the same for all versions of the game. Using it allows you to do a great many things, including but not limited to:
- Add as many items into your inventory as you want and make all of them infinite.
- Add, delete, change the patrol routes of and set the AI of enemies and save and load them to memory card, although it's not known how well the latter works.
- Become any character in the level and replace AI with the second controller. This can lead to hilarity such as confusing VS matches, ninjas that run like dogs and enemies (including animals) using ninja items.
- Ninjas losing the lower half of their torsos or becoming just floating swords.
- Unfortunately, none of the later games left the debug mode intact, and what was hyped to be the debug mode in Tenchu 3 just ended up being an enemy control cheat that didn't even work that well.
- The Sims 2: boolProp testingCheatsEnabled true, Fan Nicknamed "boolprop" by people who don't know what "boolprop" means. It allows you, among other things, to kill Sims, make them pregnant with their own Opposite-Sex Clone, or reveal their autonomous gender preference.
- All of the 3D Zelda games have debug modes that can be enabled via cheat codes, but only The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have actual rooms (the latter froma debug rom.) The most notable one in Wind Waker is like a playground, and is best known for having a gigantic tower that dwarfs anything seen in the game and takes upwards of 15 minutes to climb.
- Super Smash Bros.. Melee had a particularly awesome debug menu. Some of the features included changing your appearance to options normally not available, spawning any item you desire, accessing a huge test level, a more complete Sound Test, the ability to play as a wireframe, the sandbag, Giga Bowser, and Master or Crazy Hand. Be careful though, there is one feature on the debug menu that tests memory card features, which will allow you to wipe your memory card clean or delete Smash Bros. save data. Nonetheless, the debug mode made the game even more fun than it was already, especially in combination with other Action Replay codes (i.e. Super/Poison Mushrooms having stacking, permanent effects or always having bunny ears). To boot, you could use debug view modes, such as showing the names of currently playing character animation, showing character hitboxes (even going so far as to differentiate invincibility frames, attack hit ranges, grabbable objects, and the regular hitboxes with different colors, which looks awesome). Fun times were had indeed.
- The fairly bad and nearly forgotten Nintendo 64 game Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire had a very comprehensive debug mode that allows you to control almost everything in the game down to minute detail. It was accessed by pressing almost every button on the controller and then holding the joystick halfway alternating left and right until you hear a confirmation sound. Most gamers had to use their nose, chin, feet, or another gamer in order to enter this code.
- Nearly all Mortal Kombat games had a debug menu.
- A secret cheat code in SimCity 2000 gave the player access to the Debug menu, which included options for everything from millions of dollars of free money to new and terrible disasters.
- It's possible to access Debug Island in the second game in Shadow Hearts series with one of the two known patch codes (either after the intro cutscenes or by entering a location on the World Map immediately after entering the screen, without moving the cursor). After gaining access to it player can enter a huge menu in Japanese with lots of subsections and options. It's extremely easy to crash the game though (and the Sea of Woods area seems to be wiped from the game, even though it's still listed in the warp menu and you can unlock some of the other Director's Cut features).
- Using the Konami Code in the computer game Insaniquarium after you win grants you access to a "sandbox mode" where you can add anything you want.
- Breath of Fire has the Dr. Warp debugging tool, which can be acessed by ROM hacking and allows you to warp to any location, including several Dummied Out areas.
- Rooms 0007 and 00A8 in Kirby's Adventure.
- A really weird one in Golden Sun. It has all the main characters in the game standing in an empty void arranged into a grid, each one with a different function (giving items, sound effects, etc.) Naturally, they don't have their usual characterization, but respond in a stilted mechanically precise way. The effect's rather eerie, to say the least.
- Devil May Cry 4 contains a debug mode in the PC version which can directly accessed in certain international versions or by using a modified .exe file. The debug mode allows for numerous options, including invincibility, allowing Dante to be played on Nero's levels, infinite jumps, max mission rankings, one hit kills, etc.
- The Super Star Wars SNES trilogy has a robust debug feature which offers, amongst other things, invulnerability, infinite thermal detonators, stage select and the ability to choose who you want to play as (Up to and including all forms of Leia in Super Return of the Jedi).
- The GBA entries to the Super Robot Wars franchise had a debug mode that could only be accessed through codes. They usually included a test stage where hero and villain units fought, an attack viewer and a sprite viewer. Super Robot Wars Judgment's Debug mode ended up revealing an attack for the Justice Gundam that the unit didn't have in the original (a self-destruct attack that was given to Boss Borot instead).
- Clive Barker's Undying features two testing levels "playground" and "smoketest" (only accesible using the game cheats), featuring, among other things, objects left out of normal gameplay and tiles with labels that tell what type of ground you're stepping on.
- World of Warcraft vanilla had "GM Island" that was the default spawn point of every in game GM, to allow them to check if they're invisible before teleporting themselves to check on claims of botting or glitches. There's a boat and a shack. it exists in its own instance, and is now only accessable to the GMs (A player can only find their way there if they hack the game, or are sent there into a small prison cell which is rumored to be a "time out" corner).
- Every Humongous Entertainment game released after Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo has a debug room that can be enabled by adding an INI option into the hegames.ini file. They let you go to any room in the game, pick up any item, and even change up the paths. Some of the games even let you put the game in "fast mode" or execute a script at any time.
- Knights of the Old Republic has the "Galaxy Droid," which can only be accessed through a glitch at a specific point in the game (After completing the third required story mission). The Galaxy Droid allows instant access to every map of the game, including levels which have been rendered inaccessible, and skips loading screens, cinematic sequences, and the minigame that occasionally appears when traveling between planets.
- The Object Testing Arena added to Dwarf Fortress is a Debug Room that's accessible right from the in-game menu, to be used for debugging GameMods.
- The original Japanese release of Bloody Roar 3 left in a debug mode that allowed players to deform player models and environments like a proto-Garry's Mod. Sadly, some people abused it to create somewhat pornographic images, and the feature was then pulled from the US version and all subsequent re-releases.
- In the "Developer Mode" of the 2012 Updated Re-release of Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga, the debug mode is easily accessible right from the word "go", to the point of being one of the much-touted features of the Developer's Cut.
- Accessible only through a level select mode, Trespasser has a debug level that has several strange objects, most of the game's firearms, a domino-inspired physics test and a button that spawns a raptor, presumably for weapons testing purposes.
- Earthworm Jim 1 and 2 have this, and the latter also has a Sound Test.
- Several Roguelikes have "wizard mode", which let you ignore Perma Death and (at minimum) let you create any items you want, but locks you out of any Meta Multiplayer features (for example, your game won't be included in the high-scores list).
- Zap Dramatic's Sir Basil Pike Public School has a debug menu allowing one to skip around the storyline and alter their Persuasion Power at will.
- Both EccoTheDolphin games have debug menus accessible by pausing Ecco mid-turn and pressing a button sequence.
- The game of The Lion King had one accessible with a button sequence from the title screen.