Kazuhisa Hashimoto has passed away. He was 61-years old. While the name might not immediately ring a bell, it should. Hashimoto is the man who created the iconic video game cheat known as the Konami Code. However, it wasn't meant to become a cheat, it was just something he used while testing games to make life a little easier for himself. However, it didn't take long for gamers all over the world to catch on, with Contra becoming the gateway for most gamers in the 1980s.
Kazuhisa Hashimoto's death was confirmed by a spokesman for Konami, the Japanese video game company. Hashimoto worked at the game maker for decades, starting in 1981. A cause of death was not revealed and his age has been reported as 61, though that might not be his actual age. Konami had this to say in a statement.
"We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the 'Konami Code.' Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san's family and friends at this time. Rest In Peace."
To use Kazuhisa Hashimoto's Konami Code, players press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A and the Start button on the controller for an easier time. 1986's Gradius was the first game that Hashimoto used the code for, which gave the ship all of its powerups. "I hadn't played that much and obviously couldn't beat it myself, so I put in the Konami Code," he said in a 2003 interview. "Because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember." Little did Hashimoto know, but his testing code was about to become a part of gaming and pop culture history.
Konami released Contra in North America on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. The game, which could be played by two players simultaneously, was and is notoriously difficult. Kazuhisa Hashimoto was well aware of this when he was testing the game, so the Konami Code was again brought into play, giving him, and players 30 extra lives. This made the game a lot easier and a lot less frustrating and for a while, the Konami Code was known as the "Contra Code" or the "30 Lives Code."
Kazuhisa Hashimoto could have taken the code out of the Konami video games, but it could have caused glitches, so the creative team decided to leave it in. In addition to Gradius and Contra, the Konami Code showed up in a lot of other games, many of which weren't even games developed by Konami. Castlevania and Mortal Kombat III are just a few of the extra titles, but there are well over 100. The code is still used today for a variety of different games and even appears on websites to deliver secret Easter Eggs. As for how the Konami Code became well-known, that has to do with the very first issue of Nintendo Power magazine.
Nintendo Power revealed the code and the rest is history. There's a lot of people who never would have been able to beat Contra if it wasn't for Kazuhisa Hashimoto and his Konami Code. It's on t-shirts, it's mentioned in Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, people have it tattooed on their bodies. Hopefully Hashimoto knew how much the code meant to millions of gamers all over the world before he passed away. Maybe Capcom will throw the code into Ghosts and Goblins as tribute because that game is even harder than Contra. There are cheat codes for the game, they're just impossible to remember. You can check out the Konami Twitter tribute to Kazuhisa Hashimoto below.