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No Fair Cheating
In Soviet Russia, The Player Is A Cheating Bastard!

"Don't even think about using auto-fire, or I'll know."
Revolver Ocelot, Metal Gear Solid

Many video games have measures built in to punish the player for cheating (whether by built-in cheat codes or external cheating/hacking devices).

These countermeasures can vary from simple messages and reminders that constantly remind (and hopefully embarrass) the player about not playing by the game's intended rules, to more serious measures like denying access to certain features (bonus content, achievements, etc.) while cheats are in effect. In extreme cases, the game can permanently 'brand' the player's save file with some kind of designation to indicate the use of cheat codes (some games can erase their save file outright).

Of course, the game's own AI is never penalized for cheating, because everybody knows The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.

Subtrope of Earn Your Fun. Compare Easy-Mode Mockery, where the game just doesn't like you making it easier for yourself. Also related to some examples of Copy Protection, where the game punishes the player for pirating seemingly at random.


  • Parappa The Rapper is a game series that is based on rhythm and timing. Any kind of stoppage would defeat this purpose. As a result, pausing a level means having to start over, and it is impossible to play the game in slow motion.
  • In PlayStation 3 games with the introduction of the Trophies. In games that allow cheat codes will disable the ability to gain the trophies if activated, unable to reverse this unless you start a new game, and will also mark said save game as Cheat.
  • Older Than the NES: This dates back to electromechanical pinball machines with the famous "TILT" error message, indicating that the table had been, well, tilted at an unusual angle to influence the path of the ball; TILT causes all controls and targets to shut down until the current ball is removed from play. It has been referenced and parodied frequently throughout media, such as Looney Tunes.
    • The first tilt was invented by Harry Williams and used in Signal to prevent players from lifting the cabinet to make the game easier. The original mechanism was a ball resting on top of a post inside a cup, mounted within the player's view. If the ball was shaken off during play, the score was considered invalid. It was changed to a metal pendulum and ring soon afterward to allow mounting inside the cabinet.
      • The "Tilt" name came when Williams overheard a spectator warning an aggressive player, "Watch out, you'll tilt the game!"
    • The tilt sensors actually have a certain amount of tolerance to avoid the error being triggered by the normal shakes and vibrations that occur during the machine's operation; skilled players can successfully "nudge" the machine, influencing the ball by a small degree (not enough to be considered cheating) without triggering a TILT. And since some pinball tables are very Nintendo Hard, nudging may be necessary to achieve certain high scores. Some machines are even programed to detect small tilts and may even warn a player they're getting a bit too rough before finally throwing the game-ending TILT at them. PC pinball simulators frequently provide "nudge" commands that the player may use for a similar effect, but using it too frequently will trigger a TILT message, costing players the current ball.
    • Even earlier pinball tables were made of wood frames, and one method of cheating was to pound the underside of the cabinet; this was quickly discouraged by manufacturers hammering nails through the bottom surface. Ouch.
    • A now-obsolete variant is the Slam Tilt, which would detect dishonest players trying to cheat the machine's coin mechanism into thinking a coin had been inserted when it actually hadn't, or trying to steal the coin box outright. Whereas a TILT would only cost you your current ball, a Slam Tilt results in a Nonstandard Game Over for all players and voids any credits in the machine (new games don't void credits in the game). However, modern pinball machines usually won't Slam Tilt, since modern coin mechanisms aren't vulnerable to the old exploits that Slam Tilt guards against and the slam tilt is not installed by default any more.
      • Slam Tilt can also trigger if the player is grossly violent with the machine, such as lifting it up and slamming it to the floor. No, the pinball machine is not an Apple III computer. And forget what the machine thinks, arcade owners dislike people damaging their very expensive equipment, and getting a Slam Tilt in any shape or form is a good way of getting yourself ejected from the establishment.
    • Safe Cracker puts an interesting twist on this concept: since you can't lose your ball normally, tilting instead starts Sudden Death early. If you're already in Sudden Death, though, you lose your ball as normal.
    • Averted in Crüe Ball — no matter how much you shake the (virtual) table, it won't tilt.
  • Whenever you enter a cheat code in Psychonauts, you'll hear a voice shouting "Yooouuu cheated!". The clip is taken from one of the characters in the final level who accuses Raz of cheating, regardless of whether or not you did so, since all psychics are no-good cheaters.
  • In Battlefield 1942, you can enter cheatcodes through the console. If you enter it wrong, even by one letter, the console says "Trying to cheat? Shame on you. Feel my wrath." Such a result ends in an instant failure for your team. Even if you type it correctly, you are still reduced to about five death tickets instantly. However, once the round ends and you begin another one in the same match, the cheatcode still lies in effect.
  • In Impossible Creatures, whenever a player uses a cheat, you hear a message saying, "Somebody's cheatin'!" and an icon appears on the left side of the screen for all players to see that says, "Player X has cheated".
  • If you win Turok 3: Shadows of Oblivion using cheats, at the end of the credits it will say something along the lines of "Congratulations, you won! But you also cheated... Try again?".
    • Turok 2, if you used the level skip to reach the final boss, would not allow you to see the ending movie. However using the all artifacts cheat and manually opening the door to the final level would.
  • Mr. Resetti in Animal Crossing. If you turn off the game without saving he shows up to lecture you once you turn it back on. Keep doing it, and his rants get progressively longer and angrier.
    • In Wild World and City Folk this presents a disadvantage to those who pull off an emergency power off because they caught one of their visitors trying to grief them by means of a bricking seed.
    • He doesn't appear if you reset while in someone else's town, but you still get punished in the Gamecube version; your face turns into a Gyroid and all the items in your inventory disappear.
    • Also, if you use a Gameshark in the GameCube version supposedly you will get a message from the wishing well saying there is "great sadness" in your town, and you'll never be able to get the golden axe. Of course, since you have a Gameshark, you can just cheat for it, but...
      • The wishing well further punishes you by refusing to let you dump deliveries you don't care to finish. This means that if the recipient of the delivery should move away before you have a chance to give them their package, then you'll have no way of getting the package out of your inventory unless you reset in someone else's town.
    • You can also get punished for time traveling, that is, changing the time or date by large amounts. All your turnips will rot, and stalk market prices will plummet. This is also the case in the DS game.
    • The GameCube version allegedly has a custom crash handler (not the standard "On Error Freeze And Screech Incessantly" crash handler) to prevent players from getting a Resetti lecture if the game crashes.
      • Unfortunately, that doesn't happen if your house suffers from a power outage or if you accidentally knock out the power cable. It hurts enough that you lost all of your progress. It hurt even more that you have to sit though that lecture afterwards.
    • In New Leaf, Resetti shows up if you reset your game... but only once, and his rant trails of into lamenting how he was put out of a job since they closed the Reset Surveillance Center. You get the option to build a new Reset Surveillance Center in town afterwards, but it's optional, and if you don't build it you can reset with no more than a mild scolding from your assistant Isabelle.
  • In the original version of Banjo-Kazooie, if you enter too many of the secret codes that unlock levels (but not the ones you find in-game that increase your item capacities or transform you, or the ones that get you the Stop 'N Swop items), Grunty erases your save file, though Bottles warns you ahead of time. In the Xbox Live Arcade version, entering any code not from Cheato will disable saving, achievements and leaderboards.
    • The XBLA version of Banjo-Tooie did the same thing with any cheats not obtained normally, even though there was no such penalty in the original version.
    • What makes this even worse in Banjo-Kazooie is that early on in the game, you have the opportunity to refuse Bottles' tutorial. If you then pester him in Spiral Mountain enough, he threatens to delete your save file. He doesn't go through with it. Players who've seen this may well assume that Grunty's similar threat is fake too...
  • Donkey Kong Country 3 featured this. If you use certain cheat codes to make the game easier, you receive the title "Cheating Chump". (That said, using cheat codes to make the game HARDER, without using any to make the game easier, allow you to get higher percentages and better ratings, and cheat codes that don't impact the game's difficulty also don't impact your rating.)
    • Using any Gameshark code in Donkey Kong 64 will cause DK to spasm uncontrollably throughout the game. Even in the opening. Also your cartridge will be permanently damaged if you save. Your file will be permanently corrupted so that you die in one hit and cannot pick up items.
  • Grand Theft Auto routinely prevents you from get 100% Completion should you cheat, at least in the later games (Grand Theft Auto III onwards). (Although nobody's sure if that was a coding error or deliberately put there.)
    • The game gives you a "criminal ranking" - a numeric score and associated title. Cheating gives you a negative score, and a title like "Total Liar".
    • If you activate the cheat that causes every NPC in the game to become an active combatant in San Andreas, the mission to prevent Madd Dogg's suicide becomes impossible and the game Unwinnable. Quite harsh considering it happens in the final third of the game.
      • There's no way to disable the cheat once it's activated, so if you activate it and then save...
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, cheats are entered via the cellphone. After you enter it, but before it's executed, it will provide a confirmation screen where it explicitly states that using the cheat would prevent the player from earning certain achievements (which it may also state).
      • More specifically, some cheats, like to recover health or get all guns, will not allow you to get two achievements: "One Man Army" and "Clean the Mean Streets".
    • Interestingly, none of the pre-GTA IV games has a problem with you using the easier "abusing saves to keep your weapons" cheat.
    • Also in San Andreas: In the middle of a certain mission where you're in a car chase being shot at, if you use a cheat which repairs your vehicle and makes it invulnerable to damage, the car blows up instead and you fail the mission.
    • Not exactly programmed, but in III, there is one mission (or two, not sure) where you need the timer to run out, and if you use any cheat to stop the timer, it will not end. You can avoid that, though, if you know which mission it is, and don't use the cheat on it (either by saving and restarting the console [on the console versions], or deactivating it on whichever trainer you're using [PC version]).
      • And you have invulnerability cheats, but on III and Vice City they can be fatal: Your character can't swim, but it's not instant death, you will only die when your health reaches zero (which it won't, if you're cheating). Again, there's a way around it, on the PC you can deactivate the code easily, and both on consoles and the PC you can use a suicide cheat, or just use an Unlimited Armor cheat instead (which is not what you lose on water, thus allowing you to die).
  • The Saints Row series prevents you from earning achievements and disables auto-saving should you enable cheats. It's not that much of a disincentive, since regular saving is still permitted and few of the cheats are really all that game-breaking to start with (God Mode is not a selectable cheat, for instance, but you can buy legitimate upgrades to make you practically invincible anyway). Most cheats are there just to increase the wackiness and mayhem you can dish out, so it makes sense not to punish the player too harshly for wanting to mess around with them.
    • Using certain cheats for driving missions in Saints Row The Third seems to wildly screw with your partners' AI when they're controlling a vehicle and cause other glitches even if you're behind the wheel.
  • Warcraft II had a ranking system to measure the capabilities of the player. Cheating players only got Cheater rank.
    • Thankfully, there was a ridiculously easy way around this. It could only tell if you entered a code if you did so in your current session. So if you saved your game after completing all your objectives but before getting the mission completed screen, you could exit, reload, then see the rank that was due you.
  • Angband also recorded cheat attempts in the Hall of Fame.
  • The Civilization games often have a cheat menu which the player can use at any time, but use of which instantly means that your high score gets recorded as "Cheat Mode".
    • Some (most likely unintentional) other drawbacks would sometimes occur as well. For example, one of the cheats had a side effect of also mass spawning roving barbarians near your city.
  • In several installments of Tomb Raider, performing a cheat code incorrectly would result in Lara Croft exploding. The cheat codes also varied slightly from game to game, to discourage you from attempting the older games' cheat codes in the sequels.
  • Count the number of Super NES-and-later games by Konami that punish the player for even thinking about "up up down down left right left right B A". The first example was probably Gradius III; to make the code work there, you have to swap "left right" for "L-button R-button", and if you entered the older version, your ship would self-destruct.
    • Or, less well known, note that the ABXY buttons form a pseudo-D-pad, and turn the controller upside down.
  • In the strategy RPG Fire Emblem, when a character dies in battle, they stay dead. If you try to avoid this by resetting right after, when you start your game up, the game will pick up right when the character is dying. Very cruel.
    • This is due to the autosaving system in the GBA versions of the games and isn't the case in other versions.
    • That said, the GBA Fire Emblems do keep track of every time your characters have died, marking them as a "loss" in their status screen, even if you restart the chapter.
    • In Fire Emblem Thracia 776 if you use a cheat to obtain the Gungnir, its description is "You shouldn't cheat!".
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, it was possible to pick up an item from a store's shelf, run around the shopkeeper very quickly until he couldn't see you (he tries to face you all the time but can't always keep up) and then run out the door with it. Players thinking they had managed to cheat the game were very surprised when a) everyone started referring to them as "THIEF" instead of their chosen name in dialogue and b) they re-entered the shop and the shopkeeper killed them with a laser.
    • In the DX version, though, you were actually required to steal from the shop to get one of the photos in the game. Most people chose to save this one for the end of the game when they didn't need to go into the shop again anyway.
    • In Ocarina of Time's Biggoron Sword quest, there are several items that must be delivered to their recipients within a time limit. If you play a teleport song and decide to teleport, upon reaching your destination the time limit will be reduced to a few seconds.
    • In Phantom Hourglass, you can play a minigame where you dig for treasures. However, you are told to stop digging and leave the minigame area after you have obtained ten treasures. If you choose to ignore this and attempt to dig up an 11th treasure, you'll be given a warning. Attempting to dig up another one will result in a 100-Rupee fine, and yet another one will have all of your Rupees taken away. If you continue to dig for more treasure after you're broke, you'll be banned from the minigame. How do you get unbanned? By apologizing and paying a 300-Rupee reinitiation fee.
    • In Twilight Princess, the store kept by a bird has this: you can just fill your lantern/bottle, but if you walk out, it yells at you and once you come back, it attacks you. Fortunately, you can stop him by putting even just one Rupee in the box (but then he calls you a cheapskate when you leave).
      • Also, attempting to roll jump the ball over a close gap in the rollgoal game will make Hena accuse you for cheating and have to restart the stage.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, trying to 'cheat' the racing mini game by using Irene's Flying Broomstick as a Warp Whistle causes the guy at the finish line to disqualify you from the race for flying to the finish. However, the game does give you an in game way to still 'cheat' the system, just warp to Lorule via the dimension crack placed right next to the start, teleport to Skull Woods in there (where the racing organisers can't see your actions) and exit back at Rosso's House via the second crack right next to the finish line.
  • In Golden Eye 1997 and Perfect Dark, winning a level with a cheat active prevents the player from unlocking the next level, or that level's cheat. This includes using cheats that make the game harder, for some reason. Also, in the level-ending score card for Perfect Dark, the mission's status is "Cheated" and the agent's is "Dishonored". (Contrast to "Mission Complete, Agent Active", "Mission Failed, Agent Deceased", and "Mission Aborted, Agent Disavowed", the possible statuses if you don't cheat.) However, this can be subverted in Golden Eye 1997 as there are certain cheats that can be entered in the cheat menu, which will still allow a player to progress to the next level.
  • In both Knights of the Old Republic games, inputting a single cheat code means all saves involving that character will have 'Cheats Used' superimposed over them in bright yellow letters.
    • Glitch exploitation, however, is another matter entirely... and both games feature some VERY exploitable (and awesomely fun) glitches.
  • Theme Hospital: The public address system voice would start talking about it when you entered a cheat code. "Hospital administrator is cheating".
  • Typing in a cheat for 3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride will open a message saying that you won't be able to get into the high scores for that game.
  • During the torture resistance minigame in Metal Gear Solid, Revolver Ocelot warns the player not to use autofire "...or I'll know." And he's not bluffing. Auto fire might get unnoticed, but if it does detect it, it's an automatic game over.
    • In the PC version of MGS, activating the "Invincibility" cheat during the minigame only made it LOOK like your health wasn't decreasing, even though it not only continued to decrease, but did NOT accept button presses to recover the health. Oddly enough, auto-fire appears to work in the PC version.
    • If one uses a cheat device to obtain the PSG 1 sniper rifle before you encounter Sniper Wolf, said character will shoot Meryl instead of you when you first encounter her and it means Meryl will die since you can't kill Sniper Wolf fast enough to prevent Meryl dying.
    • If you input 'UUDDLRLRBA' as your name on the terminal in Metal Gear Solid 2, the game mocks you. The only other time you can use the Konami Code is on your Ranking screen - where it performs no function other than to make Snake laugh at you. Also, during the Mind Screw sequence in Arsenal Gear, one of the No Fourth Wall insane rants is the Colonel accusing you of using a cheating device, regardless of whether you're actually doing that or not. Amusingly enough, triggering this conversation automatically refills all your weapons to full ammo afterwards.
    • Also, in Metal Gear Solid 2's ending screen, where the player's rank is given, entering the Konami Code causes Snake to say "What do you think you're doing?", but nothing else happens.
    • In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, you can unlock special characters (such as most of the cast of Metal Gear Solid 3) via in-game Guide Dang It achievements, or via inputting a password. If you unlock the characters via the password, they learn slower and the cap for how high their stats can improve is made lower.
    • With only three exceptions (the XM8, Jehuty and Viper), the password-unlockable bonus cards in Metal Gear AC!D are actively harmful to play. And, even then, Viper is fairly useless and Jehuty is more damaging to you than to your opponent except in a few specific circumstances. Two of the other cards let you draw three cards in exchange for forcing your partner to discard two (useless, since cards that let you draw three cards with no drawback are readily available), and the other four are gravure model cards which do nothing but give Snake a Nose Bleed which saps his health for a few turns. (They have no effect on Teliko.)
  • In one mission in Space Quest 6, the player needs to go through a series of tasks to determine which file to search for information needed to beat the game, which happens to be the same each time. If you try to open the file without going through the motions, the game chastises you and takes away all your points... then relents and gives them back shortly afterward.
  • In the original Sierra version of Quest for Glory 2, using the cheat code for the first game ("razzle dazzle root beer") drops all your stats to the single digits. In AGD Interactive's remake, using the original QFG2 cheat code ("suck blue frog") first gives you a warning, then lowers your stats AND disqualifies you from obtaining paladinhood.
  • Entering the Konami Code in Super Monkey Ball Jr. at the title screen will change the title to Super Nice Try.
  • To unlock Lulu's ultimate weapon in Final Fantasy X, you must dodge 200 consecutive bolts of lightning by pressing a button just before a bolt hits. If a player decided to smash the button (or use the autofire feature on their controller), the game would automatically blast you with a bolt.
    • You can, however, use a Gameshark code to make the game think you're at 199 dodges already.
  • The Doom series disables most of the cheats when you're playing on Nightmare mode. The only ones that work are "iddt" and "idclev".
    • Duke Nukem 3D does exactly this in "Damn I'm Good" mode, with the message "You're too good to be cheating!"
    • In the Doom mod Aeons of Death, if you give yourself weapons through the console without turning off the anti-cheat mechanism in the game options, the world turns pink and girly music starts playing.
    • Heretic, which used the same engine as Doom, punishes you for trying to use the Doom cheat codes. The God Mode cheat (iddqd) kills you immediately, while the cheat to give you every weapon (idkfa) takes away your weapons instead and leaves you with just the staff.
      • In the demo version of the sequel, Hexen, typing in the first game's invincibility code (quicken) gives you a warning the first two times and then kills you immediately the third time.
      • The LucasArts game Dark Forces also punished the player for attempting to use Doom cheat codes.
  • Cheating in Descent would permanently reset your score to zero for the game. In the sequel, Descent II using the cheat codes from the first Descent would set your shields to 1 (out of 200).
    • Also every time you pick up a hostage or do anything else that would increment your score, instead it flashes "CHEATER" in the space where the score is displayed before displaying all zeroes again.
  • In the True Lies game for the SNES, if you use the infinite lives cheat code, every time you die, a picture of Aziz appears saying "You're lucky you're a cheat, Tasker!"
  • If you use cheat codes to skip to the final level of Battletoads and Double Dragon and finish it, you'll get a message saying "Well done, but even the Dark Queen doesn't cheat. Try again without the warps." The Dark Queen herself chastises you in the original.
  • In Super Mario 64, if you try to use shortcuts when racing either Koopa the Quick or the Penguin, sure you'll win the race, but they'll complain about your cheating and you won't get the star you were racing for.
    • In the first level you still are able to use the teleport in the middle of the flower circle and the teleports in the holes in the mountain, even though these would be considered "shortcuts".
    • If you throw the Big Bob-Omb off the mountain, he'll jump back on and admonish you for breaking the rules. "It is against the royal rules to throw the king out of his ring." Not that that stops him from doing the same to you, of course.
    • In the Good Egg Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy, there's an asteroid planet that can only be reached in the third mission. If you have a flying hack or something and go to that planet beforehand, the warp pipe that usually leads to a Power Star leads to a bottomless hole that kills you. An unorthodox method, but effective, as it sets up the illusion that this can happen often if you use hacks.
  • Winning the Vectorman games after using any cheat codes would make the game call you on it, and tell you to try again without them.
    "Congratulations! Now do it without cheating."
  • In Age of Empires II, using any cheat codes would give your opponent(s) the same advantage (excepting, obviously, the "instantly win or lose" codes).
    • The codes that give you extra units (like Furious the Monkey Boy and the car with a built-in machine gun) are also exempt. However god forbid if a priest gets them, well due to AI being a natural cheat, he now sends it to your base snickering as he rips you a new one.
  • Similarly, the old RTS Blood And Magic allowed cheats, but cheating to get extra monsters would also give your opponent the same monsters (except under very specific circumstances).
  • May not be intentional, but StarCraft's quick-build (operation cwal), map reveal (black sheep wall) and resource cheats (show me the money) works for the computer as well. Additionally, the invincibility cheat (power overwhelming) does not actually make you invincible, it just reduces enemy damage to zero, meaning that two opposing computers can duke it out forever. Most players choose to just use the instant win cheat (there is no cow level), which carries no drawbacks.
    • Though the game doesn't chastise you directly, the Prima Official Strategy Guide warns against using cheats, or even reading how to beat the (ridiculously open-ended) levels, essentially saying "It ruins the fun of the game". Except for radio free zerg. (It changes the background music to the greatest song on a computer game ever, the "Zerg Rap.") Break it down, Cerebrate.
    • The strategy guide says that using even one cheat ever in the campaigns won't allow you to visit a bonus map. This, however, is false. Even cheating on the level that provide access to the bonus level works, though you do have to complete said level in the required parameters to get it.
    • Certain missions change the mission after depending on your performance, including the Secret Mission which requires you to finish a timed level in 25 minutes or less. Using "there is no cow level" to automatically complete these levels results in you not getting any of the bonuses you could get by completing the mission fairly.
    • Warcraft 2 does the same thing. The exception may (possibly) be the invincibility cheat, since it makes you invincible to everything but magic and lets you kill almost anything in 1 hit (The only exception being key buildings in campaign mode and gold mines, which still take a while to kill).
      • Perhaps as an unintentional last-laugh, if the computer uses Polymorph on your characters with the invincibility cheat on, they're rendered useless and can't die. Unless you restart the map, it's effectively an unwinnable situation.
  • Supreme Commander works similarly, except the invincibility cheat actually does make units invincible - all the units in the game. How do you win when both sides might as well be tossing grass clippings at each other?
  • Captain Claw, a Funny Animal PC Platformer, refuses to save your progress or let you use checkpoints while you have cheats on. You are still able to unlock new levels, though.
  • In SimCity, if you used the FUND code to get free money too often, a disaster would strike your city almost immediately after (though not immediately enough to save, and the disaster would not happen after you reloaded). SimCity 2000 also supported the FUND code, but instead of free money it gave you a loan... at 25% interest.
    • But a bug lets players overflow the interest counter and get loans at negative interest this way. Right away, get two FUND bonds then one normal bond - the latter will have a negative interest rate. Accidental subversion? You be the judge!
    • Similarly, in the Windows 3.1 (floppy disk) version of SimCity 2000, "buddamus" was the code to get $500,000 and all of the buildings (including rewards). In the Windows 95 (CD) version, it caused a spontaneous nuclear meltdown.
    • Typing "CASS" gave you $250, but using it too often caused a firestorm. And don't type swear words such as "Darn" or "Heck".
  • In Burning Monkey Solitaire, games that use cheats get tagged so on the high score list. However, the real penalty is that the monkeys will see it, and mock you.
    "He cheats! He cheats! The naked monkey cheats!"
    "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."
  • Using "Undo" in the Solitaire game that came with the iMac caused the spectators to mock you. "So that's how you win - by CHEATING!"
  • If you use a Gameshark or Action Replay on your Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum game even once, you will be forever unable to use that game cartridge in Official Nintendo Game League Tournaments.
    • If you cheat to get Deoxys or Mew in Pokémon's third generation games, at worst, you will get a data-corrupting Bad Egg. At best, it won't obey you... without an additional code.
      • You can just do it by teleporting to the island where they appear, if they aren't there you just use a code to force them to appear.
    • Use either one on D/P/Pt too much and you'll never be able to use the GTS. It's more of a punishment if you use the GTS to get hard/impossible (without a Nintendo event) Pokemon and you are trying to complete the whole Pokédex.
    • Several other cheat codes will permanently screw up other parts of the game. For example, using an Action Replay to get all Berries causes the game to crash every time you go to the TM pocket of your bag.
      • This is probably just the result of a faulty code.
      • If you hacked to get your Mons' EVs up in any way using the statbreaker glitch, your Pokémon will turn into Bad Eggs if you boot them up to Pokémon Battle Revolution. The same happens in Revolution if, during a transfer from a DS game, any sort of obviously-hacked Pokémon exists on the cartridge (hacks which don't look like hacks don't do this). They go away once the offending Pokémon has left the DS game and its stock is reuploaded.
      • The irony of this is that the top Pokémon players use Pokésav to create their Pokémon; however, they checksum the Pokémon to make sure they still show up as "legitimate". Another site, Pokecheck, lets players check for hacks and ensure those Pokesav hacks can pass (though Pokesav doesn't condone hacking and won't help you do it.)
    • Later Pokémon games implement methods to keep players from either transferring severely hacked (as in modified stats and illegitimate Abilities) Pokémon between games or from using them in things like Colosseums and the Battle Frontier. They don't seem to have found a way to do this for illegitimate move sets yet, though.
      • Probably because certain in-game trainers are very fond of doing so themselves(we're looking at you, Lance).
      • It's deliberate - the movesets are illegitimate at that time. Nintendo frequently gives out Pokémon with moves they can't usually have, and new games also usually have new ways to get certain moves on certain Pokémon that the old games didn't. Checking movesets in-game would make this impossible. However, Nintendo's servers do perform this check when you try to do anything online, as they can update these servers when they need to.
    • Another cheat-block in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum: the attack Fire Fang bypasses the Wonder Guard ability, which would ordinarily block all but super-effective attacks. This is to deal with players who would hack Wonder Guard onto something with no weaknesses, like Spiritomb; the only Pokemon that's supposed to have Wonder Guard is Shedinja, which is weak to Fire anyway.
      • It was a glitch, this has been fixed in Black and White.
    • Many event hacks in Gen V won't work because of the Wondercard system; they have to be triggered by a flag in the data before they'll work. So, the 900 Liberty passes you get with the '900 of all items' Action Replay code are useless. Hacking event Pokemon usually does the same thing, since the game won't recognize them as the Pokemon they're supposed to be.
      • Despite all Pokemon being released now, using a code to fill in your Pokedex will still block you from the Global Link in Gen V.
    • Even way back in Gen I, hacking things like Missingno or 'M-block could crash your game. The Mew glitch worked, but get a Game Boy or emulator and just try inputting a shark code to catch Mew or whatever Pokemon in your next battle. The sprite's a glitched up mess. (though if you catch the 'mon, it'll be normal when you check your party/PC.)
      • Not if you use the right encounter code.. (The one that glitches up the sprite modifies the encounter type at C 8 DF. The RIGHT one sets D059, the same value in RAM that the Mew/Ditto trick (and encountering Legendaries) does)
    • Then there's the "walk through walls" glitch. Use it right and you can see 'Glitch City' or catch rare Pokemon without event items in later games. Use it the wrong way and save when you shouldn't, and you'll get trapped and have to reset your game, costing you your save file.
  • Got caught cheating in Nethack? You get a death by Trickery. Time to make a new character.
  • If you use codes in Persona 3 to get dummied out items, skills, persona, or the ability to have the main character use his allies' personas, Mitsuru (or Fuuka) would scold you for cheating.
  • Use the "Unlock Everything" cheat in Guitar Hero and the save system disables itself.
    • Using almost any cheat, save for Hyper Speed, prevents you from recording high scores. Speaking of Hyper Speed...
    • Using the Quickplay songs cheat (which vastly expands your song choices in quickplay mode) does NOT unlock Dream Theater's "Pull Me Under". You HAVE to clear career mode (solo or coop) to be able to play "Pull Me Under" in quickplay mode. Additionally, the two cheats that actually affect how the game is played (All-slide and Auto-Kick) are the only ones that disable high scores, money accumulation, and (where applicable) achievements. Everything else is fair game for use.
  • In the LucasArts Heaven/Hell simulator Afterlife, excessive cheating makes a Death Star appear and start destroying your buildings.
  • Attempting to cheat the (realtime) daily lottery in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door by setting the GameCube's internal clock ahead will result in the Bob-Omb who runs the lottery calling you a cheater and forcing you to buy another ticket. At 500 coins.
    • Cheating twice will actually cause you to have a game over.
  • In Crusader: No Regret entering the cheat code (jassica16) from the first game, instead of the new cheat code (loosecannon16) caused a message to appear saying, "Of course we changed the cheats. Duh", while the final boss's voice taunts you, "I've been waiting a long time for this!". You are then teleported to a large room with no cover and exactly eight copies of the final boss, Chairman Draygan in his mech suit, though there is a grenade launcher and some ammo to help you fight back. While it is possible to win the fight if you're fast enough, by running in circles and getting the bosses to shoot through each other, the game still gets the last laugh. The moment the last boss dies, the Silencer turns to face the screen, and then, if the Random Number God is not on your side, blows up in flaming chunks (otherwise the game just exits).
  • Mech Warrior 2: 31st Century Combat had a built in cheat mode (separate from the real cheat codes) called "Altered Reality" that you could turn on at will from the Clan hall mission briefing. These states of altered reality included invincibility and infinite ammo. While these cheats were on, you gained zero honor points and were not allowed to advance to the next mission, as punishment for cheating. Switching off heat tracking via the same menu, however, merely caused you not to get any points.
    • Additionally, Mech Warrior 2 used some of the original Doom's cheat codes for various effects. If you entered 'idkfa', which in Doom gave you all weapons and keys with full ammo, the screen turned white, the console returned "THIS AIN'T NO DOOM", and your 'mech immediately exploded.
    • In Mech Warrior 3 and its Pirates Moon expansion, turning on any cheat would display a red "DISHONORABLE" above your mech's damage display, you wouldn't be able to progress in the campaign after completing the mission akin to Mech Warrior 2.
      • Which presents some Fridge Logic. In 3, You aren't playing as a Clanner that fights for "Honor". Even worse is that the Clanners you fight actually attempted some less honorable and more pragmatic attempts to off the player's lance by, for example, destroying a waste storage tank to flood a cave with a corrosive gas.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, if you cheated your stats higher than possible, before meeting Jack for the first time, he will comment on this and tells you to redo the character creation process fairly; however, you can tell him that it's part of a mod.
    • One item, The Sheriff Sword can only be obtained by cheating. The item description is "You shouldn't have this."
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri plasters your score with a huge "CHEATED!" in bold red if you use the in-game scenario editor to tweak the game to your advantage.
    • Plus the ending for that scenario will always reveal that the whole thing was just your faction acting out a wargame and that they haven't actually achieved anything, irrespective of your method of victory.
  • In The Impossible Quiz, if you press the Tab key (which normally highlights a clickable object in a Flash file), you get an instant Game Over. In The Impossible Quiz 2, this is accompanied by a screen that reads, "CHEATER! Tabbing is for TWATS!" with a screen showing a tab key getting X-ed out. Worse yet, one question attempts to trick you into pressing Tab with a message saying, "Press Tab 50 times!", complete with a timer. But the timer is actually a dud; if you wait long enough, the message changes to "Actually, don't do it, you'll die!" and you simply advance to the next question.
    • Not to mention that the game will know if you're lying after a Shoop Da Whoop question.
  • The original F-Zero has, in at least one course, a massive shortcut you can take by hitting a jump pad at full speed and turning hard right to land on the track opposite of you. And then a flying saucer takes your machine and drops it off at where it's supposed to be, thereby negating your progress. And in F-Zero GX, taking such a shortcut without some clever exploitation of the course's hidden checkpoints will cause your machine to simply explode.
    • Justified in that the instructions specifically say that taking massive shortcuts is prohibited (the only thing that is, in fact).
  • If you use the Arkanoid DS Paddle Controller with Space Invaders Extreme, your high scores will be marked to show that you used it. Additionally, it can't be used for Ranking Mode.
    • Space Invaders Extreme 2 lifts the Ranking Mode ban. Paddle users will have a "P" shown next to their scores, but there is no way to separate ranking by input method. However, in versus mode, there is an option that prevents the game from matching you up with paddle players.
  • If you're playing Battletanx, you can never complete Campaign mode if you activate the infinite health cheat. You'll get stuck on the bonus levels where your objective is to destroy as many enemy tanks before you get destroyed ... You can't turn cheats off and you've now ensured that you will never be destroyed (unless you press all the C-buttons, which automatically destroys your tank, even when invincible).
  • In some versions of Beatmania IIDX, if you use the 5 Keys and/or Autoscratch modifiers, your score for the song will not be saved. Somewhat aggravating is that on the PS2 version of IIDX 13 DistorteD, there are several songs from the original 5-key beatmania that come with both 7- and 5-key charts (the latter of which can be accessed via the 5 Keys modifier), yet game still won't save your scores for the 5-key charts.
    • Currently, the policy is that if you use Assist mods to clear a song, and you have not cleared the song before you will get an "Assist Clear" status for the song. Scores with Assist mods, however, will be saved anyway. Why? Because while Assist mods will help you clear the chart, they can only hurt your score by reducing the number of playable notes.
  • Cheating in Spore gives you the Joker Badge. And also stops you from gaining achievements with that savegame. However, there's an achievement for getting the Joker Badge 50 times.
  • Rez 's Beyond mode has the "Immortal" and "Overdrive Infinity" cheats; the former grants you permanent invincibility, and the latter grants you unlimited Overdrives. If you highlight either of these in the Beyond options menu, you will get a box saying that scores will not be saved if these cheats are turned on.
  • Tachyon: The Fringe. If you input any cheat codes into this game, Bruce Campbell (who also voices the character you play) will admonish you for cheating with phrases like "Oh, so now you're gonna cheat huh? Ya know what, you're pathetic, you know that. Just play the game!"
  • Spaceward Ho! will rat you out to your opponents if you've hacked the game to cheat at multiplayer.
  • Most of CAVE's console ports automatically save state at the start of each level and allow you to restart the level from that save state, but doing so disables just about everything for the rest of your run, including saving replays, records, and achievements (in games that have them).
    • In Mushihime-sama, restarting a level also yields a slightly different Game Over screen that has the subtitle "Let's challenge without the restart."
    • The iOS ports of Mushihime-sama Futari and DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou combine this with Bribing Your Way to Victory. You can pay extra money to unlock options that make the game easier, but you can't save or upload any scores you get while playing with any of those options active.
    • To unlock Hibachi as a playable character in the smartphone-exclusive arrange modes of DoDonPachi Resurrection, you can defeat him, which requires completing both loops of the game on a single credit while fulfilling some difficult requirements, or you can input a cheat code. Unlocking him the hard way keeps him unlocked permanently, while using the cheat code causes Hibachi to be locked back up when you exit the game.
  • In Wolfenstein 3D, cheating resets your score to zero.
    • The "ILM" (holding down I, L, and M at the same time) cheat, which gave you full health, ammo, weapons, and keys, resets your score to zero and adds 10 minutes to your time (to prevent getting a par time bonus), the more difficult to activate debug mode cheats had no penalty at all. However, many Wolfenstein 3D addons change the engine code so that using debug mode resets your score to zero permanently.
  • When playing against the Jester chess program, you are warned upfront that the computer opponent will cheat if you abuse the Undo Move option. The computer won't retaliate every time you use Undo Move (aside from a "Tsss!" displayed in the computer dialog box), but it's highly likely to do so when you try undoing a move that granted it a decisive advantage.
  • A different chess program - the Kasparov Talking Chess Set, an electronic chessboard that mocked you incessantly as it beat the living shit out of you - included a Take Back Move option. If you use it, the game spits mockery at you in a sulky voice, usually "Cheater" or "Scared of a program?" at you in a sulky manner. If you then happen to win the game after taking back a move, it says "You win, but you took back moves. Maybe you'd like to try it again without cheating this time?"
  • Sub Terra has numerous cheat codes, but using one to complete a level simply doesn't register on your progress or high score table. Except for the cheat that lets you play levels out of order.
  • The debug menu in Ultima VII can mostly be used without repercussions, but if you teleport to a certain set of coordinates, Lord British will appear, call you a "thieving scoundrel bastard" and sentence you to death by lightning bolt. Should you somehow survive, there's no point in continuing the game - all life has been wiped from the planet as though you cast the Armageddon spell, and all text in both the debug menu and every clickable object has been replaced with "Oink".
  • Ultima VII Part II has a few "cheat zones" which are really just extremely-well-hidden areas with lots of goodies, several of which contain chastising signs.
  • Need for Speed: Undercover lets you unlock cars early by paying real money for them, cheating in all but name. But for plot reasons, many story missions force you to use a specific, non-tuned car on par with what you "should" have at that point in the game.
  • In .Hack//Quarantine, using a Gameshark to cheat in virus cores (avoiding the long dungeon slogs required to earn them legitimately), results in the game becoming Unwinnable, via a bug in one of the later boss fights.
  • Entering the infinite time cheat in the old ZX Spectrum game Spindizzy (not part of the Dizzy series) would remove one of the jewels, rendering the game Unwinnable and basically relegating it to one giant explore-em-up.
  • Gruntz had an odd variation on this where cheat codes worked perfectly, but if you used any of them, you could no longer save your game.
  • One of the easiest ways to get through particularly difficult courtroom sections in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series is to take advantage of Save Scumming to keep you "health bar" at comfortable levels. One section in the third game's second case, however, is deliberately set up to trip you up if you do that. You are only allowed to press one statement in the current testimony: a wrong press results in a game over. The problem? Every result starts with the exact same line from Godot, which is about all you think you need to see to know that you have to reset the game again.
    • The final case on the second game used a similar trick when presenting a decisive witness and piece of evidence: every input would net the first identical lines from the Judge and Edgeworth, only to change if you got it right and kept reading.
    • The very last evidence-presentation of the third game will, similarly, begin with the same lines, even going straight up to an close-up on your adversary before he waits for your rebuttal.
    • In Investigations 2, a lot of the "presenting evidence" parts come out of nowhere when you least expect it leaving you no time to save and Edgeworth himself actually mentions how he despises people who cheat at things.
    • The most striking example of the above is in case 3 where you must present two things to a single testimony. You have to present one, then it goes back to the testimony and you present the other. However if you save the game after you've present the first one yet before you've presented the second one, the game saves the data so that it registers you've erased the first contradiction yet it doesn't save the fact that you Objected. You are therefore stuck in a situation where you can't preside and must start again from the chapter start. This was confirmed by Word of God as a Take That at "save cheaters".
  • The amateur RMXP RPG Phylomortis: Avante Guarde would scramble the data on all your save files and boot you out of the game if you tried to cheat by editing any of the game's data files through the editor. Needless to say, the creator looked down on cheating.
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia deletes the save files when it detects an Action Replay has been used. Mostly to do when the stats are modified, but can happen even when using codes that give you items. The error message at the beginning says your files were "corrupted", but they're deleted intentionally. Konami just didn't want to say "you cheated so we're deleting your stuff", so that's what they went with.
    • But think for a second: Action Replay, Game Shark, Game Genie and many other ways of hacking (sans Code Breaksr for most cases) aren't very accurate, thus trying to change one address will require MANY addresses to change as well, and might disrupt a vital address. So it CAN be corruption, because it may have altered a "file signature" that defines it as a save file.
  • World of Warcraft had The Cleaner, a level 73 demon whose only purpose is to show up and slaughter people who get help during certain quests that are supposed to be done alone.
    • There's also a third-party add-on known as High Roller, which supposedly lets you influence the Random Number God in your favor whenever you type /roll. Not surprisingly, it Rickrolls you instead.
    • Another early 3rd party add-on for the same game promised to permit you to be able to hack your own character, inflating its stats to incredibly high levels, permitting you to one-shot bosses and take on cities' worth of enemy players by yourself. Also not surprisingly, this turned out to be nothing more than a dressed-up 'keylogger', a program designed to record and steal password information, thus rendering the potential cheater's account forfeit in the most satisfying Karmic Bitchslap manner.
    • From back in Wrath Of The Lich King, a mistake in restoring a hacked player's gear accidentally left him with a 'GM item', called Martin Fury. GMs are Game Moderators, Blizzard employees whose purpose is to... well, moderate the game. GM items are typically used for testing and some of them, as can be expected, boast ludicrous powers. Martin Fury in particular was a tabard - a vanity item that drapes over your armor - that had the On Use effect of killing any hostile mob within a certain range, instantly. The player in question handed this item over to his own Guild Master, 'Karatechop' who chose to use it. In a raid. Against a currently unbeaten boss, the Hard Mode of 'Flame Leviathan'. Thus giving his guild a Server First (possibly also world first) and immediately attracting GM attention. To make a long story short, Blizzard came down on the now notorious Karatechop like the fucking hammer of Thor. The account of every single person in that raid was closed. Every single player in that guild who was even online at the time - even if they were not in the raid - had his account locked for a day. Some of those accounts may have later been restored but Karatechop himself was permabanned and his name became synonymous with idiocy. Granted, part of the blame falls on the GM for accidentally sending the item, but it remains impossible to imagine any logical, clear-minded person who would ever assume using the clearly-a-GM-item wouldn't have repercussions. Story here.
      • Blizzard has since changed the item, effectively ending possible future re-enactments of genesis. The new effect? Use: The caster commits suicide, instantly killing themself. When given forbidden fruit few can resist.
    • WoW also has the "No Man's Land" debuff, which shows up if you glitch or otherwise exploit your way into a not-yet-implemented zone, such as Hyjal. With the release of Cataclysm, the full opening of Azeroth, it is likely that this debuff will be retired, but it is still legendary; it would teleport players out of the zone! There are also rumors (albeit, unverified) that getting the debuff automatically reported you to a GM.
  • The classic text only adventure game Zork would mock the player if they typed either of the two magic words from the earlier Colossal Cave Adventure. Xyzzy, one of the two words in question, has a long history of producing strange responses in games later than Colossal Cave Adventure—-rarely (if ever) beneficial. Due to the frequency of the response, "Nothing happens," in such contexts, typing xyzzy in Diablo II produced no result whatsoever. Not even an error message.
  • The RTS Rise of Nations doesn't penalize you for cheating at a skirmish. If you ever cheat in the Conquer the World Risk-type mode, though, your faction will become known as "The Cheaters".
  • Descent: FreeSpace disallowed the player from advancing to the next mission if cheats were activated during the mission. However, either due to a bug or an undocumented function the infinite ammo cheat remains activated on subsequent missions if it isn't deactivated. This allows the player to activate the cheats and choose to replay the mission at the debriefing (or simply restart it upon activating the cheat) and play the newly started mission (and all subsequent missions) with infinite missiles and primary weapons energy without having to activate cheats. Note however that this is (somewhat) balanced by the fact that the AI also gets the same cheat - there are two versions of the infinite ammo cheat, and the one that "remains" is the infinite ammo for ALL cheat. In fact if the player had activated the cheat, quit to the main menu, switched to a multiplayer profile and then hosted a multiplayer game ALL players who join will get unlimited ammo!
    • FreeSpace 2 had the same bug/feature with the infinite ammo cheat, but it also allowed the player to advance to the next mission even after activating any cheats at all.
    • You'll get a message asking you to stop cheating upon reaching high-ranks on the first FreeSpace game. In the end, you'll get a message about you deserving the fact of becoming admiral and having to read boring books.
  • Deus Ex saves have "-CHEATS ENABLED-" in big white letters superimposed on screenshots of save files that have cheats activated. However deactivating the cheats by reversing the state of the console command that enabled them will also get rid of the message.
    • Trying to save a game with an abundance of skill points crashes the game because of a buffer overflow. This was never fixed and probably intentionally.
  • Entering a cheat code in Superman Returns for the 360 will earn you the "Not So Super" achievement, worth zero points, and will prevent you from getting any more achievements, either.
  • In Tetris Attack, you can set an AI controller for either player in the options menu. The idea is to let a player enjoy vs. matches when they don't have another player around, but you can also use them in the single-player mode and beat the game easy with a high-level AI. However, instead of the ending, you'll get a "Hey! Quit trying to cheat!" message.
    • This is pretty easily circumvented though because you get sent back to the main menu right after getting that message so you can disable the AI, go right back to single player mode, and immediately continue where the game left off, which would be right before the last fight (which it is depends on difficulty level). So, if you're feeling particularly lazy (or if you're having a hard time getting through the game on very hard difficulty and you REALLY want to see that ending) then this is a good way to do it anyways. Obviously though you still have to do the last fight yourself to get the ending so if you're not very good at the game then this isn't very helpful.
  • Super Punch-Out supposedly prevented you from accessing the fourth and final circuit with a career/save file if you used a Game Genie or Pro Action Replay (not sure this still applies to modern emulators). Of course, you also had to not be defeated in the first three circuits as well, which is likely why you were cheating in the first place...
    • There are a few unofficial codes that will not trigger this glitch. Emulators won't remove the glitch, but they can make the game easier via reduced speed, save states, and rewind, which is plenty enough. And once you've unlocked the Special Circuit on cartridge or emulator, you can use as many codes as you want without fear. This is more Unwinnable by Mistake than anything.
  • In newer console versions of Pop N Music, there are cheats that unlock hidden songs. Entering these cheats will disable score saving, and they wear off once you turn off the system.
  • In The Suffering, you occasionally get random horror images flashing up on the screen complete with a mix of sounds; if you use any cheats, these flashes become a LOT more common.
  • In the Wing Commander compilation "Kilrathi Saga" (1-3), the launcher program gives you the option of making yourself invincible, in the first two games, akin to the old "origin -k" command line switch, but changes your callsign to "CHEATER".
    • In Privateer and its addon Righteous Fire, with invulnerability activated at any time during a mission, whether random or plot, you can't get credit for completing it.
  • In Yume Nikki's useless minigame NASU, you can activate a cheat using a variation of the Konami Code (<- <- -> -> ^ v ^ v) which replaces the playing character's head with an eggplant and makes 300 points eggplants appear more often. However, it also prevents you from saving your score.
  • Red Faction 2 actually doesn't screw you over for cheating... with the sole exception of the Rapid Rails cheat (which makes the Rail Gun the only weapon you will ever need), which, if enabled while fighting Molov, will be given to him as well. Thank god that on Hard difficulty, Molov still misses fairly frequently, or else the game would most definitely be Unwinnable. Yes, this claim does factor in Super Regen, which doesn't help when the Rail Gun takes out 90% of your health bar each hit.
  • In Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (and possibly other games in that series), using any cheat will result in your picture (next to your score) being stamped with the word "POSEUR". It doesn't appear to do anything else, though.
  • Adom added a checksum in 0.9.9 Gamma 10; modifying the saved game causes enemies to become ridiculously powerful and causes you to lose your equipment periodically.
  • Editing saved games in Rise of the Triad opens a prompt saying that this saved game is shall we say "corrupted", and prompts to continue. All it does is reset the score.
  • Police Quest: Use the cheat guide to find the name of a random scumbag you'll need to track down in the second part of the game. Enter that name into the police computer in the game's first chapter. The computer will spit out, "Hey! You're not supposed to know that yet!'
  • The NES version of Solomon's Key has warps to help you get to the end of the game — a good thing because there are no saves and no continues and the difficulty is punishing. Of course, using even a single warp means you'll skip one of the levels with mandatory hidden objects, forcing you into the Bad Ending.
  • Zone of the Enders has a cheat code that will give you maximum health and maximum ammo for every weapon in the game. It also sets you back a level every time you use it. You don't level very quickly in Zone of the Enders.
  • Iji does not appreciate the player entering the Konami Code.
    • The Null Driver gives you 99 stat points, which lets you level up all stats to their maximum and still have points left over, fills your ammo to all owned weapons to their max, can turn enemies into random scenery objects, and the ones that don't get transformed explode. It also switches sprites and background tiles with other random images from the game with every use, which makes it difficult to tell what's a platform and what's not. Still able to navigate your way through the level? Some important doors or key terminals to those doors may be sprite-swapped with something else that prevents them from being used, trapping you in the level. Lucky enough to avoid that (or smart enough to only use the thing once)? Your time for that level gets set to 59:99, so it's impossible to do a speed run using this weapon. The graphic-swapping effects also last until the game is closed, even if you load a different save file.
  • Three words: Valve Anti-Cheat. When logging into a VAC-secured server, Steam verifies that critical game files have not been modified in some way (i.e., to allow players to do things they're not supposed to). If such modifications are detected, their entire Steam account will be banned from ever logging into VAC-secured servers again. If they want to be able to play the game again, they'll have to create a new account, and have the choice between repeatedly switching accounts to play different games or buying all of their games over again.
    • Valve also swung the hammer on Team Fortress 2 players who have used dishonest means to unlock hats and secondary weapons - first by disabling these items for anyone who cheated, and then awarding players who didn't cheat (about 95% of all players) with a golden halo accessory. The result was a heavily split playerbase, with some servers only accepting players who were wearing halos and vice versa. Probably in response to this, the September 30, 2010 patch gave mostly everyone else a halo.
    • A similar but less severe case happened with people who used a program to pretend that they were launching TF2 through Linux to get the Tux cosmetic item: it works but it changes your Steam profile name to "I cheated for a tux". You can change it back, but it will still be on your list of previous names.
      • However, it's also had a much more long-term and, more importantly, hard-hitting consequence: Tux is forever untradable. The earlier OSX equivalent to Tux, the Earbuds, are now one of the most valuable items in the trading circuit. Since it can only be assumed that the main reason for said cheating is that a similar jump in value for Tux would surely follow, this assures that the cheaters walk away with little more than a worthless penguin.
  • The official Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace game would only allow you to use each cheat a finite number of times. Once you hit the limit there was no way to use that particular cheat again without starting a new game file.
  • Every Tetris: The Grand Master game will reject your record if you activate any codes prior to starting the game. Even codes that make the game harder, such as TGM1's Upside-Down and Mono modes.
  • If you finish a level in Blood under the influence of cheats, a big "YOU CHEATED!" message will appear on the final stats screen.
  • Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 has a password that locks the timer at 10 seconds during the race. It doesn't punish you directly: it lets the score cap punish the player instead by wrapping the score to zero.
  • In some gamebooks you are at some point asked if you have a particular item that can't be obtained in the game (or something similar); should you go with that option, you'll be told off (or punished with a Nonstandard Game Over) for cheating.
  • As implied by the above quote, pretty much every Konami game from the PSX onward, except for the occasional shooter, has rapid fire disabled. Not that big a deal for a one-time task like in Metal Gear Solid, but this made every incarnation of International Track And Field ever almost completely unplayable.
  • May be a bug or a feature, but giving yourself enormous amounts of money with a hex editor in Imperialism (and exploiting it) will soon stop you from training several military units. Useful military units like light artillery. If you didn't have any left to upgrade, your expansion plans were somewhat cut short after that.
  • In Might and Magic 7, it is particularly easy to abuse save states. They did, however, set it so you couldn't do that in The Arena. If you save in The Arena and reload, you get taken back to Harmondale. The best you can do is save right before entering The Arena and hope to get lucky with the random monster selection.
  • In Batman: The Movie for Amiga, activating cheat mode will flip the title screen upside down. If you beat the game the ending screen will also be upside down, making it hard to read.
  • Perfect Cherry Blossom simply closes itself if you try to use a hacking program to modify your lives, bombs, or power.
  • In Star Wars Rogue Squadron III, when playing the Multiplayer Co-Op Mode, if you used the "Turn the second A-Wing into an awesome car" code you can't proceed because both players need to be in an A-Wing. Of course, there is also an "Unlock every mission" code, so yeah...
  • In Disgaea DS, if you use an Action Replay to amp up the earned experience, it will eventually result in your characters requiring billions of experience points to advance even a single level. Of course, you can usually get to about level 2300 before this kicks in.
    • Using hacked weapons to put some of your stats up to the billion range doesn't cause the game to call you out on it however, but editing the characters causes cheksum errors in every game in the series.
  • There's a subtle (possibly unintentional) example in Rune Factory 3. The game has the level cap set at the ridiculously high number of 65,535, so the only realistic way that you're ever going to get there is with cheats. But if you do get anywhere near that level, don't whatever you do, run out of HP and collapse. When you come round in Marjorie's surgery, you'll need so much money to pay for restoring your HP that you'll go bankrupt no matter how much you have.
  • In the Flash game Combat Instinct 3, if you attempt to manipulate the game's playback, you'll get a "Nice Try!" message and your health will rapidly plummet.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 punishes players who cheat in Survival mode. Several maps have exploits that let players be safe and zombies can never reach them. This causes the AI Director to get pissed off and spawn Spitter acid on the group to coax them into getting back into the playing field. If the players somehow avoid this, the director will then outright damage players continuously until they die. This doesn't always work since some exploit spots are considered "in the field" by the director.
  • Barbatos of the Tales Series. If you so much as use items in his presence, he performs a high damaging, nigh-unblockable attack on whoever receives the effects of the item (or if it affects him or all parties, whoever USED the item.) In another game, he punishes autoleveling by appearing before you in battle and wiping your entire party if you don't run away. Hell, even playing on Simple mode sometimes garners enough wrath from him that he oneshots you with any attack.
    • Which makes it all the more satisfying in Tales of Vesperia when you get to use Estelle's Force Field/Eternal Support trick to make yourself invincible and use items on him just for laughs. This is in fact more or less required since he is a Duel Boss and you have to use a Magic Lens on him for the Monster List.
      • Repede can also make himself temporarily invulnerable, making the guy's Mystic Arte miss completely.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 prevents you from unlocking the three hidden characters of the single player campaigns if cheats have been used during the tournament.
  • In Conkers Bad Fur Day, the cheat code entry screen has an imp who will make fun of you for using cheat codes ("You cheating bastard!").
    • Entering an incorrect code however, will result in the fire demon saying that someone must have told you the wrong cheat. Do it a second time.... "Didn't work the first time, ain't gonna work the second time. Dipshit".
    • The imp will also acknowledge when you type in a cuss word.
  • If you cheat in Master of Orion 2, you can still win and the game will give you a score, but it won't go on the scoreboard and the final screen will say, "The Council has decided to strip you of your title in the hopes that you won't CHEAT next time!"
    • When you cheat in multiplayer mode, the game will also tell the other human players about it a few turns later.
  • Enabling cheats in Section 8 disables saving your game, essentially making them entirely useless.
  • Using a gameshark to cheat during the final battle in God of War is either pointless or a hindrance, because due to the unique mechanics of the fight, getting infinite life will make the fight unwinnable, and any other benefit to be gained from cheating can't apply to that particular fight.
  • In Raptor: Call of the Shadows, you could enable a cheat that allowed you to - with a single button-press - fully restore the health of your ship AND give you a Death Ray, one of the best weapons in the game. However, it also reset your score to 0, which in this game meant reducing the money you earned up 'till then to 0. The moral, according to the manual, is that "You can cheat death, but not taxes." However, you can use this code multiple times during a mission, racking up a pile of death-rays, and then sell them afterwards for a huge profit - then use that to buy all of the best weapons in the game and several Power Shields.
  • In Earthworm Jim, the audio cue for entering a cheat code correctly is Jim yelling "Cheater!"note 
    • Using the debug code to jump to a late-game level in the SNES version would take you there, but nine times out of ten, after completing the level you were sent back to What the Heck?
    • It also includes an Easter Egg for entering one of the Doom cheat codes that mocks you for confusing the two games.
  • StarCraft II will disable your single player achievements temporarily just after you use a single cheat code. Restart the game without using a code and you can earn achievements again.
    • Blizzard is now banning Starcraft II players for using hacking devices to cheat in the single-player campaign. Their explanation is that since the game is always online, using cheats to gain achievements in the single-player campaign would unfairly affect someone's online prestige. And, since the game is always online, banning a player's account prevents them from playing the single-player portion of the game as well.
      • They could have just used cheat codes (or play the game in offline mode) if they just wanted to have fun. Thing is that they probably also wanted free achievements, hence why they broke the EULA. It is not true the game is always online. There IS an offline mode in which you can play if you get banned.
  • Lost Planet averts this trope somewhat, as the cheats for the game (excluding the non Game Breaker ones) can only be used in Easy mode, where such codes shouldn't even be necessary.
  • OpenTTD has a nice little message when you open the cheats menu that "You will forever be marked for your actions!" and your name won't appear on the list of awesome people.
  • The First Destroy All Humans! game had no penalty what-so-ever for cheating, though in the developer commentary unlocked by completing the game, the developers "have no respect for you if you cheated." The sequels, except for Big Willy Unleashed, abolish the use of cheats completely, but cheats aren't really needed since the games became extremely easy.
  • Although it's not exactly punishment for cheating, entering a swear word onto the cheats menu in the Spider-Man game for the PS1 will make Spider-Man appear and punch the word to change it into something else.
  • In Jumper Two, turning "modifications" on will prevent the player from earning gems or getting best times in a stage, until he turns it back off.
  • A Sonic the Hedgehog mod (found here) gives you this screen, normally limited to problems with the lock-on feature, when you try loading a savestate. It won't even go away when you try to reset the game.
  • In the original Warlords Battlecry using cheats causes your hero to not earn any experience points at the end of the current level. This can be bypassed by saving, quitting to desktop and reloading just before winning the level as this deactivates all cheats.
  • Ken's Labyrinth has no love for cheaters. Upon level completion, it bellows "You cheated!" at you and gives a message at the top of the high score box, such as "Don't touch those cheat keys!". Worse still is what happens once you complete the episode you're on:
    • In Episode 1, it traps you in a cell with big flashing walls that say "GAME OVER" and bars that separate you from the actual map that the ending of Episode 1 happens on.
    • In Episode 2, the final door of the level normally leads to the ending. If you've cheated, it instead leads to a series of five ten-cents-to-pass doors that open onto a hall made of walls that say "NEXT TIME DON'T CHEAT!"
    • And in Episode 3, the game's last key door leads to a room with a holding cell for the game's bosses and the way back to Earth... unless you're a cheater, in which case it leads to a room with no exit and bars enclosing walls that say, as before, "NEXT TIME DON'T CHEAT!"
  • In Marathon 2, one level features two terminals that can only be reached by cheating. Their message? "Cheaters don't really win, and winners don't really cheat, Unless you're talking politics."
  • In Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, if you input a Gameshark code to get infinite health, you will indeed get infinite health - but the Thievius Racoonus moves you get from bosses, which are essential to most of the platforming and/or sneaking sections, will only work with about 50 percent accuracy at best. So, sure, you'll have infinite health, but have fun falling off cliffs constantly or even failing at a SCRIPTED EVENT MOVE in the beginning of a boss fight (Mz. Ruby's mosquitoes), rendering the game basically unplayable without either massive amounts of patience or, y'know, turning the cheats off. The irony is that, looking back, the game is ridiculously easy, and there is really no reason to cheat.
  • In Strife using cheat codes causes bad Script Breaking. Warping to the last level prevents you from beating the game as the end boss is immune to all weapons the weapon cheat grants. Cheating to get the ultimate weapon early causes the rebel base to change location before you perform missions required to advance further.
  • In a non video game example, this trope is discussed in Questionable Content here.
  • In Ragnarok Online to gain access to Amatsu's dungeon you need a written permission from the local ruler. To get this permission, you need to do a quest. However, you can get the permission from other characters and show it to the guard protecting the dungeon. But if you do this, the guard will say that you are cheating and will take the permission from you. Now both characters can't enter the dungeon.
  • Similar to the Metal Gear Solid 1 example, Konami's Tokimeki Memorial 2 punishes you with a disqualification if you use a rapid-fire controller during the 100-meter dash competition at the School's Sports Festival.
  • There's a card game based around this, appropriately named "Cheat!". Player one starts with an Ace, facedown, and says "one." Player two plays a deuce, and says "Two". And so-on from there. During your turn, you can lay down the wrong card and say it's the right one, but you can also be challenged whenever you play a card. If you've cheated, or accused wrongly, you have to pick up the whole pile. The object is, of course, to be the first to run out of cards.
    • The thing with Bullshit/Cheat is that, unless you're very lucky/skilled and always have the right cards, you will have to cheat eventually. As you run out of cards, you might not have a King when it's your turn to put down a King, or a three if you're on a three, and so on. It's especially nerve-wracking if you're down to your last few cards because the other players will be able to count their own cards and know when you're cheating. Or they can just claim that you are because there's a very good chance that it's true.
    • It's worth mentioning that (at least in most versions of the game) there Ain't No Rule against cheating even when you don't actually have to, to preserve your options for surviving later in the game - this strategy is almost essential or it would be trivially obvious that nearly every move at the end of the game is a cheat.
    • A variant is called "I Doubt It". In this version, each player places a number of cards down, from one to four, and announces their value (e.g., "three aces"; the cards must all be announced to have the same value—an announcement like "two aces and one king" is not allowed). Like "Cheat" above, the players rotate through a sequence of values (often ace-king-queen-etc., though ace-deuce-three-etc. is not unheard of). At any time, after a card/set of cards has been played, another player may call "I doubt it", with consequences similar to that of the game "Cheat". The object, as before, is to be the first player to run out of cards.
  • In the white chamber, entering the robot-control code before you've actually found it in-game results in a nice and amusing scene.
  • Microsoft alters the gamer cards of users on Xbox Live, permanently branding them as 'cheaters' (a special account designation) if it is discovered they have used external cheating/hacking devices with their console or games. This erases/resets their Gamerscore back to zero (and removes the ability to re-earn them), but they are otherwise still able to use the service and play online.
    • Any other tampering is grounds for a permanent gametag suspension.
  • In Mercenaries 2, activating cheats requires you to enter a code to enable Cheat Mode. If you do this, the game warns you that if you activate it, your save will be permanently in Cheat Mode, and you will be unable to use the online leaderboards. Since the online servers were taken down, this is no big deal. What it doesn't tell you is that it also prevents you earning Trophies/Achievements.
  • In The Sims, there are the "Buy <something>" wants. Completing them gives your sims Aspiration Points. If the player sells the item he just bought (in order to save money), the sim will lose Aspiration Points (like when a Fear happens). In fact, you will lose more Aspiration Points than you got. The game never warns you that this will happen. Justified in that you are essentially trolling your sim by dangling the item he/she wants in front of him and then taking it away.
    • After a certain amount of time after the want is fulfilled, however, the sim will not lose the Aspiration Points if you delete it.
      • And if you put the item on your magical backpack, it'll not lose value over time.
    • In the Nintendo DS version of the game, where the player runs a hotel, it takes several hours for a room to be built. A way around this is to adjust the DS clock. However, if you set the clock back, say to find a certain skill point, you will be greeted by an unhappy message from the concierge and a massive alien invasion.
    • The Testing Cheats Enabled code in the Sims 2 allows you to bypass certain elements of gameplay to make things easier. However, extended use of the code will result in bizarre things occuring in your game, including random fires, and could possibly corrupt the game file itself. Maxis was not playing around.
  • A strip of the webcomic Kid Radd spoofed this with them entering an Earthbound-like game, and beating the boss in a way that the game coding did not allow. They got sent to a Bad Ending for those who used cheat devices.
  • Railroad Tycoon 2's campaign mode can be bypassed with an "Immediate gold medal" cheat. However, this gives you the message "You win. Cheater..."
  • The second Space Hulk video game (Vengeance of the Blood Angels, the one that was on 3DO, PSX, and PC) accidentally did this on the third mission, where a couple of your squadmates fire through a door for an extended period of time and then follow you to the next section of the hulk. The exact amount of time varies because they stop firing when their weapon jams. One of the cheats prevents weapon jams.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun/Blue Moon would set your maximum HP to zero if you use cheats too often, although this can be bypassed via the Customizer. When you get past this, it will also randomly purge your Zenny, forcing you to grind back how much cash you lost.
  • A very cruel example in Super Cosplay War Ultra. Want to unlock and play one of the boss characters in 1P mode? Have fun in Another Battle Royale mode, which is the only mode you can play with them. Oh, and Another Battle Royale mode makes you fight 2-4 non-mook characters at once and up to 6 characters per match (until you're fighting 4 mid-bosses and two of the final bosses,) while usually giving you the weakest of the mooks for a partner.
  • If a player is determined to have broke the EULA in Guild Wars the game mods make sure everyone knows they're a cheater. An enormous specter of the fallen god Dhuum appears and reaps the player, instantly kicking them off the game servers.
  • In The Quest Of Ki, there are items that warp the player to a higher floor. The 61st floor (the first of the "Special Stages") contains a warp item that warps you to floor 61 with a warning message: "I'll forgive you this time, but try that again and I'll warp you back to the first floor!"
  • Early on in Half-Life 2 when you are walking through the square without any weapons, a strider walks past in the distance, behind a roadblock. If you put the cheat codes in and blast the tripod with the rocket launcher (which you don't normally have at this point in the game) as it passes, it pauses and glares at you for a moment before continuing on its way.
  • If you use cheat codes to go to the final stage in the Game Gear / Sega Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and don't get the Chaos Emeralds, you will still get the bad ending.
  • Ecco the Dolphin has a menu that can be accessed by pausing while Ecco is facing you and entering the correct button sequence. There's a level select part of the menu, but the problem is, you would be taken just as often as not to a damaged or buggy version of a level. It's even possible to end up returning to the opening sequence with its sidescrolling mechanics, but with the ability to control Ecco. Often, these glitchy levels were identifiable by the fact that only the level password appeared, no level title or description. All you could do was reset the game. In addition, if you use the debug menu to beat the second game in the series, the "secret password" message is replaced with something along the lines of 'try playing without cheat mode'.
  • The Lion King on Sega Genesis had a cheat menu with level select, but there was a problem; after completing whatever level you'd selected, you'd automatically be taken back to level two of the game, which, incidentally, is the hardest level in the game.
  • Adding scripts and mods to your installation of an X-Universe game, or activating the script editor in a save, results in that save gaining an unremovable ***modified*** tag. This tag means you can't upload your game stats to the Egosoft site's leaderboards or complete achievements.
    • If you fail to complete a "Retrieve derelict ship" mission and you still have the ship in your possession, a squad of police heavy fighters or pirates will warp in, blow the ship to bits and then warp out. Then comes the exploit: the cops aren't invincible and only spawn once. You can either destroy them yourself (may or may not require a capital ship, and costs reputation), or transfer a jumpdrive and energy cells to the ship in question and pull an Enemy Mine with the Yaki or Xenon. The forum and wiki have the full story on the exploit.
  • Within Eradicator, using the cheat codes, using console commands to start at the last level, or even using the level editor to get to the last level resulted in the ending text message indicating that, by cheating, you've lost your ability to unlock the secret bonus for defeating the game.
  • With Max Payne, Rockstar announced that cheaters in Max Payne 3's multiplayer will be forced to play in a specific playlist filled with nothing but other cheaters and have their leaderboard times/scores deleted/removed.
  • Attempting to use the "give all" cheat in Call of Duty: Black Ops' Zombies levels, rather than giving you more weapons than you can normally carry as it does in campaign, instead resets your points to 0, takes away all your guns and replaces them with the starting pistol, and causes the backstory character Samantha to laugh at you.
  • If you input a cheat code in Heroes of Might and Magic III, not only does a chat message appear saying "Cheater!!!", but if you finish the map and/or campaign, you get last place on the high score board regardless of your score.
  • In Duke Nukem II, the code for refilling your health resets the player's score to 0.
  • In the Deer Hunter series, trophies obtained during a game where cheats have been used are marked "Cheated!"
  • Thwaite accuses the player of using tool-assist in the joke ending for a No Damage Run.
  • The narrator and staff of Retro Game Master will often give Arino flack for using cheap methods to get ahead in games, even sometimes penalizing him for it.
  • In Tonic Trouble, using any cheats results in a permanent Wanted poster shown in the bottom right corner, depicting the main character as a criminal with a big "Cheater" accompanying it.
  • TIE Fighter featured a pair of toggles in the in-flight menu to turn on invulnerability and unlimited ammo if the player thought the mission was too difficult. However, turning either on for even a second would cause the player's final score to drop by 90%.
  • For the mobile version of Candy Crush Saga, there's a well-known cheat that lets you replenish your lives without having to wait by setting the system time of your mobile device a couple of hours ahead. However, if you do this and then let your lives run out, there's a chance that the time counter to your next life will be reset to an ungodly amount of time (like tens of thousands of minutes ungodly). The sad heart that shows up on the No Lives Left screen will even occasionally cry black tears if this happens.
  • In Jade Empire, it is possible to use Save Scumming to win against Gambler Daoshen in the Imperial City. However, if you're not careful, and win 20 times in a row, Daoshen will explode, preventing you from playing again (obviously).
  • Fallout: New Vegas features blackjack, slots, and roulette wheels for you to spend your hard-won caps on. Even with extreme luck, winning isn't quite assured, and with low luck, winning is nearly impossible. Attempting to abuse your savegames to avoid losses will cause the game to automatically disable access to any gambling games for 60 seconds under the in-universe pretense of 'preventing cheating.' It isn't insurmountable, but it certainly is inconvenient, as a hand of cards or a spin of the wheel usually goes by in a fraction of that time. A fast player can get four to six rounds of blackjack (and about 1000 caps of potential profit) completed in that minute.
    • PC players with fast hard drives can crash and restart the game in less than a minute to get around it that way.
  • Inverted in Stern Pinball's High Roller Casino; not only is cheating at the casino games a central mechanic, but there is actually a specific way to cheat at roulette.
  • Try pausing in Dance Dance Revolution. You can't. And if you DO insist by holding Start, it will award you with an instant fail.
  • Think you can fake out Slendy's AI in Slender: The Arrival by glitching yourself outside of the boundaries? Think again. Turns out The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, and not only will trying to walk around out of bounds drop you through the game map and instantly kill you, but Slenderman will taunt you as you die by saying, "Even a glitch in this game can't save you from me."
  • There are third-party tools for Ingress. If you are caught using one (usually in the form of a large number of client-side requests), you'll most likely be demoted back to Level 1.
  • Non-game example, John Mayer once made a version of one of his songs and posted it on Limewire. Said version includes Mayer berating the listener for downloading his song illegally.

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