The Konami Code is a specific version of the Classic Cheat Code, and is one of the most popular variants in video game history.
While the code first appeared in the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Gradius, it became famous for its use in Contra. Largely because it's generally considered a necessity to even have a chance at winning in that game.
The typical form is the directional combination followed by two buttons and then start and/or select, though most of the time, start is just pressed to start the game and not part of the cheat code proper. As the code is used on Konami games of various systems, the actual buttons will vary. For the examples listed below that include a select before the start, in Contra, select was used to select a 2-player game after entering the code.
Named for Konami, the video game company that made it. Although games from other companies will give a Shout-Out.
The weird thing was that for such a universally well-known code, it's hardly been seen at all since the NES, and most of the time it just gives the player a little easter egg or even does something harmful. And of course, it won't work on any game that doesn't use a standard controller (which rules out everything under the Bemani label); consoles that don't have an A or B button (PlayStation line), however, do sometimes have the code anyway, even if it doesn't really do anything.
The NES version of Gradius was the first game to use the code. Entering the code while the game is on pause powers-up the player's ship. In later Gradius games, this code instantly killed you, but variant versions of it would provide the original benefits.
In the SNES version of Gradius III, replacing Left and Right with L and R (the shoulder buttons) would grant the ship four options and the selected ? powerup. The original version, with thirty lives, is also in the game - it's activated by pausing, then pressing B, B, X, X, A, Y, A, Y, Up, Left, and Start. The observant will note that this is the button sequence you'd hit on the SNES controller if you held it upside down while entering the original code.
Gradius V accepts both the left-right-left-right and shoulder trigger versions (in the case of the latter, L1, R1, L1, R1). One version gives you full power with Laser, the other is full power with Double.
Oddly enough, none of the Contra sequels featured the code until Contra: Shattered Soldier for the PlayStation 2 (they used different cheat codes). For the code to work in Shattered Soldier, the player must input the code using the second controller and substitute the left and the right on the d-pad with each successive L and R button (L1, R1, L2, R2, L3, and R3). Of course, all this did was make it really easy to get the worst ending.
It's used again in the semi Spin-OffHard Corps: Uprising. Inputting the code during the loading screen of the first stage replaces the music of that stage with a metal remix of the first stage music from the original Contra. Inputting a different version of it with LS and RS replacing B and A in the title screen unlocks the ability to buy an upgrade that gives you 30 lives without beating the game with that character first.
The NES version of Life Force, a spinoff of Gradius, uses the Konami Code as a 30-live cheat similar to Contra.
Using it in either Yu-Gi-Oh Tag Force games would unlock a Konami themed booster pack, featuring Gradius cards, which was carried over in the second and third games. A nice nod, but fairly impractical, as the cards themselves aren't that great, and the cost for just one pack is several times that of the others.
It got a revival and then some in Tag Force 5. To unlock the Konami pack, input Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, L, R, L, R, Square, Triangle, Square, Triangle.
Anime got in on this too. Episode 129. Kaiba's code to control one of Yugi's monsters went as follows: Left right A B. It has been said to be an homage, but it's possible the connection was unintentional. Word of God hasn't confirmed whether it was a coincidence or if Kaiba's input was designed as a Shout-Out to Konami.
Later, in Kaiba's duel with Jonouchi, Jonouchi uses his Graverobber Trap Card to take the the card from Kaiba's Graveyard, and then inputs a different code to use its other effect: "Up, Left, Down, Right, A." (Note that the effect was not consistent with the second effect of the OCG/TCG version of the card.)
Using this code in a certain room in a certain bonus dungeon was the only way to get 100% Completion in the first Boktai game.
A recent using of the code was in Silent Hill Origins, where one of the bonus costumes has to be unlocked in this way. The game itself refers to the cheat as "an ancient and powerful spell".
On Normal or less difficulty mode, the notoriously tricky boss The End in Metal Gear Solid 3 could be seen on the Map screen with the help of the code (with Square and Triangle substituing for B and A). When your rank is displayed in Metal Gear Solid 2 after you beat the game, enter the code and Solid Snake'll make fun of you for trying to cheat so late. Entering UUDDLRLRAB as your name on the Dog Tag has an interesting effect, too.
Enter it as your name before starting a VR Missions save on Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, and it will unlock all the characters and their missions for you, so that you can skip tricky levels and come back to them later.
Enter it on the title screen in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (with Circle and X substituing for B and A; Circle and X are the Western PlayStation game menu equivalents of B and A) to unlock Very Hard and Revengeance difficulty levels without beating the game on lower difficulty levels first.
In the PC version unlocks Jetstream, Bladewolf, and all codecs and cutscenes,
In the NES version of Gyruss, you had to enter the Konami code backward (A, B, A, B, right, left, right, left, down, down, up, up) in order for it to work properly.
Dance Dance Revolution has never used the Konami Code as a cheat, but the directional portions of the code has appeared as part of the steps on several songs, such as "30 Lives" (a pop song making references to the Contra example), "Twinbee ~Generation X~" and "Make A Jam!" (which is in fact, a remix of the classic 90's Konami jingle too)
The original versions of DDR (not including the American PS1 version, which was based on 3rdMIX) require directional codes to turn on other difficulty levels and options. Sure enough, the eight directions of the Konami Code make up one of them (Double Basic).
In the PS1 version of Dance Dance Revolution 5th Mix, highlighting the correct picture in the gallery and entering the code, replacing B and A with X and O (which are in the same respective positions on the PS1 controller as the B and A buttons on the SNES controller), unlocks the last four pictures in the gallery.
In Zone of the Enders the Second Runner, it was possible to get Zoradius mode by entering a shortened version of the cheat code: Up Down Left Right Start at the pause menu during the boss battle with Vic Viper. Entering the code again in the minigame itself gave you full powerups just like a real Gradius game.
In the first game, entering the full code in reverse at the title screen would unlock Versus mode without needing to complete the game.
The second Game Boy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game had one of the code's least useful appearances - it refills your health meter, essentially giving you an extra life on command, but can only be used once per playthrough.
The International Superstar Soccer series uses this code in several of its games, although some require the second controller while others switch the up/down and left/right commands (in the case of the N64 version, C-triggers). The original gives you "happy players," Deluxe gives you a dog referee, and the 3d games give the players big heads.
A villager in Legend Of The Mystical Ninja helpfully informs you, "If you press Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A, it will do nothing."
Insaniquarium Deluxe uses this code to open up the Sandbox, which not only lets the player do whatever the hell they want within said Sandbox, but also gives him/her/it a shiny new trophy and lets them put a whole batch of extra pets into their Virtual Tank.
In the English version of the game Hyperdimension Neptunia, Neptune invokes her EX-Skill with the quote "Up, Up, down, down, left, right—aww, whatever... Secret Code entered!"
The game Gundam Seed Destiny: Generation of C.E. features the "SEED Sense" effect, where starting to watch an attack animation had the chance to prompt you to push one of the PS2 controller face buttons. Doing so had the chance to improve any number of things, and even prevent death automatically at low health an unlimited number of times, as long as you hit the right button. However, starting an attack animation locked you into viewing it, so the game took longer to play and got stale more quickly. How do you get out of the attack animations after using your "SEED Sense," you ask? Push Down, Down, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right, Left, R3, L3, and Start. An inverted Konami code.
Tengen's NES version of Tetris uses the Konami code to activate a precursor to later Tetris games' "hold piece" feature. Inputting the code while the game is paused replaces your current piece with an I piece, as seen in this video. It only works once per 30-line section.
Star Ocean Till The End Of Time does a weird thing with this. Somewhere in the middle of the game, you can pick up a special trophy if you allowed Roger to join your party. Entering the code with it equipped on someone killed that character and dealt damage in a large area equivalent to one-half the HP of that person. Upgrading the effect merely swapped the last two buttons (X and Circle) that would do this.
8ing/Raizing's shooters (particularly Battle Garegga, Armed Police Batrider, and Battle Bakraid) have a variant of this: entering Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, B, C at the title screen after inserting your coins will trigger extra features, usually Guest Ships and Characters from past Raizing games (in Garegga and Batrider) or all-new ships (in Bakraid, and you must input the code at a rate of 1 button press per second).
Entering the Konami Code in the main menu of Reset Generation opens up a Space Invaders-esque minigame.
Seen in the console versions of Quake IV, where the Konami code gives you all weapons, armor, and health.
Seen in a slightly truncated form in the arcade game Manx TT, entering Gear Up, Gear Up, Gear Down, Gear Down, Left, Right, Brake Accelerate would allow you to... ride a sheep instead of a motorbike.
A puzzle in Tales of Phantasia has the party hitting floor switches in a precise order. The order is "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right"
If you enter the code on the title screen of Viva Piņata Party Animals on the Xbox 360, you will get the Classic Gamer achievement. The instruction manual even has the code spread out over most of the pages.
Borderlands: Mad Moxxi's first husband was a cheat. No points for guessing what Visual Pun appears in the background when she says this.
In Borderlands 2, entering the code on the start screen activates the ability to toggle "Extra Wubs". As the game itself states, it does absolutely nothing.
Burai Fighter Deluxe on the original Game Boy used this code.
Used by Mylandah in Battle Athletes to confuse a robot in a three-legged race.
Used by 3D Dot Game Heroes to make your shield invisible.
Entering the code on the title screen of the Homestar Runner game TROGDOR! will give the player 30 lives instead of 3.
The LittleBigPlanet 2 Beta has an easter egg where if you use a Controllinator to enter the Konami code on a seemingly broken arcade game, it will explode displaying an 8 digit code on the wall behind where it was.
As well as this being in the fullgame, there is also a level where you ride a camel shooting at enemies. Inputting the Konami Code early in the level makes disco mucic play and makes the camel wear sunglasses.
One player-made level recreates the first stage of Contra, and has stickers with images of the buttons involved in the code hidden throughout. Finding them all and affixing them to a board at the start activates infinite lives.
In Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, holding L2 and R2 (or the two triggers in the Xbox 360 version) and entering the code will cause your character to explode into a pile of coins.
Using the code on the title screen of Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd you steal our garbage? activates Pen Ward's "secret screen".
In Billy Vs SNAKEMAN there's a 1 in 10 chance executing these movements will save you from an otherwise fatal Phase attack (Phases are the Kaiju which attack villages, fought one on one in their home ground). Knowing this sequence in-universe is the reward for the quest "Thirty Lives", which consists of supporting the rooftop concert of several female NPCs, whose instructions to the crowd reference it.
Entering the Konami Code in Mari0 activates the cheat codes without having to complete the Super Mario Bros. levels first.
The Konami Code is used as the input code for Luna's Reiki skill in Pony Fantasy VI.
Order Of Twilight has the Ascend spell, which is activated by inputting the directional part of the Konami Code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right). It just gives Twilight wings that she can't even use. Since you can't use this spell until after you finish the game, this is somewhat of a Bragging Rights Reward.
In Just Dance 3 for the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, Barbra Streisand Extreme Mode is unlocked by using the directional part of the Konami Code.
In Grandia, a character mistakenly quotes the directions of the Code when trying to remember a password to open a necessary door in the enemy fortress and progress in the game. The actual password is a slightly reshuffled version. Entering the correct code without finding the password in-game results in a brief scene where a flustered Justin tells the others he was just pushing random buttons.
One type of loading screen in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier shows a diagram of your controller which, when any buttons are pressed, will list all the actions performed by that button in gameplay. Enter the Konami Code on this screen and the loading icon in the corner will spin around in place.
Entering the code from the title screen of Bravely Default will unlock the Sequel Hook video (although much of it won't make sense until well past halfway through the plot).
In Hyperdimension Neptunia, when using Neptune's most powerful skill, she says "Up, up, down, down, left... ah, whatever. Secret code activated."
The band The Motion Sick created a song, "30 Lives", inspired by the Konami Code. The music video features a cheerleader and a polar bear mascot (it's set in a high school) doing a cheer based on the Konami Code. As noted above, the song was recognized by Konami, who put it in Dance Dance Revolution X.
Linkin Park has a fake DVD menu that looks like the the main menu on their oldest DVD. Entering the Konami Code (the directional part, anyway) unlocks a secret chapter.
Seattle Geek Rock band Kirby Krackle has a song called "Up, Up, Down Down" which uses the code as part of the chorus. It's about a geek guy flirting with a girl who looks to share his interests She turns out to be a Humanoid Abomination and eats him though.
While this is more of an Easter Egg, the Google Reader recognizes the Contra Code and unlocks a ninja theme when it is used.
The Konami Code is quoted in Disgaea 3, known for its many references; in need of power, the main character tries it.
Mao: Games have cheat codes, too! What was it already? Up, up, down, down...
For reasons that are as yet unexplained, entering the code on espn.com causes unicorns to appear every time you hit enter, and inserts adjectives like 'sparkly' and 'wonderful' into all the story titles. Quite possibly their web designer is about to get fired. This started, so far as we can tell, on the 27th April 2009. No idea how long it'll last.
It was fixed later the same day, unfortunately. A website with similar code is here ("enter", then the code through A, then "enter" again).
Believe it or not, this used to work on Facebook of all things: entering the code finishing with Enter enabled lens flare.
Elder Xelpud in La-Mulana makes a reference to the Konami Code in one of his 'guy ranting about old video games' dialogues. He doesn't know what it is, though, as he's an NES-hating MSX fanboy, and MSX games don't use the Konami code.
Used in Houshin Engi as an order from Taikoubou to his steed, Suupuushan. At first, Suupuu doesn't understand it and does nothing. Many chapters later, after Suupuu's upgrade to a dragon, Taikoubou says the command again and Suupuu executes a very complex evasive maneuver that would make Guld Bowman proud.
Hellsing references the Konami code in its usual fashion. During the first attack on the Hellsing manor, Jan Valentine finds himself at a four-way hallway intersection with Hellsing troops coming from each direction. His response?
Jan: Up Up! (fires both machine guns down north hallway) Down Down! (fires both machine guns down south hallway) Left Right Left Right! (points one machine gun down the east and west hallways respectively and alternately fires them)Bringin' the motherfuckin' death by Konami!Aaah, I'm so hard right now... Mwahahahaha... AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Ep 1 of the Umineko no Naku Koro ni has what is most probably a reference to it as when Rudolf pulls Battler's ear exactly as the code (except "a, b, start" which would be difficult to do with an ear).
Just because we use cheats doesn't mean we're not smart
Netflix uses a variant to reset Instant Play on the Nintendo Wii. Lacking some buttons, they use U U D D L R L R U U U U
The same code is used for a number of other Netflix-capable devices, including game consoles, smart TVs, and set top boxes.
In the anime Pani Poni Dash!, an ancient civilization's language is deciphered as this code. A news bulletin mentions that "Professor Tokimemo" believes that it is incomplete and will cause an explosion.
In the Choose Your Own Adventure book Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier, you at one point fight off a zombie at Comic Con using an old NES - smashing the console up into the zombie's jaws twice, then down on his head twice, then two quick left-right combinations. You then give yourself a B for originality and an A for execution before starting to push the Zapper through the zombie's brain. You still die. Cheaters never win.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, you can see the Konami code on a post-it on a door, just in passing, in Fuery's cache (vol. 11 or 12)
When they were up they were up, and when they were down they were down, and when they were left they were right, left, right, B, A. Sorry.
Entering the code (with Enter instead of Start) on the comedy site The Eggplant will bring up a modified version of the Contra NES main screen
The official website for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has the code scribbled in the upper right corner. Entering it and hitting enter will make the images on the page wobble for a second, and then the user is allowed to make every last item on the page explode in a cheesy gif fireball by clicking on it. See for yourself.
Like the Team Fortress 2 wiki, the MS Paint Adventureswiki employs ENTER as a substitute for START. Typing the code redirects the reader to the article on Problem Sleuth's Code Machine.
The Ataris have a song titled "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start" on their 2001 album End Is Forever.
Referenced and shown on the music video "Geek and Gamer Girls" by Team Unicorn.
Referenced in MLB The Show: If you strike out a batter with two pitches up and then two pitches down, color commentator Dave Campbell may remark: "Up, Up, Down, Down...my producer is telling me that sounds a bit like a video game code!"