What Are Video Game Cheats and Cheat Codes?

We'll explain

Video games have evolved over the years from basic two-dimensional action to full 3D worlds that can be sculpted by the player. That sometimes makes them harder to get through, though. That's where video game cheats and cheat codes come into play.

Person entering a cheat code in aa video game
Lifewire / Jo Zixuan Zhou

What Are Video Game Cheats and Cheat Codes?

A cheat code is a button combination or password which triggers an event or effect in a video game. Cheats add infinite ammunition to a gun, increase a character's health, change the character into a completely different character, and a lot more. You enter cheat codes using a game controller or your PC's keyboard.

What is a Cheat Device?

Cheat devices are pieces of hardware or software made exclusively to help players enter cheat codes or otherwise modify the game's contents. Some popular examples are Game Shark, Code Breaker, and Action Replay.

Using cheat devices, or cheats in general, is generally frowned upon in online gaming and could result in your account getting banned.

Are Cheat Codes Safe to Use?

Cheat codes are used by millions of gamers worldwide and, in general, they're safe to use. Manually entering a cheat code while playing a game enables a portion of the game's built-in code to activate a certain effect (for example, invincibility).

But, there are times you may want to use caution when enabling a cheat code. Ones that require downloading files are particularly risky because only the person who made the additional code knows exactly what's being done when you use it.

It's also important to note that using any code, either by entering it or using a patch, may make the game unstable and prevent you from saving your game properly.

What Video Game Platforms Use Cheat Codes?

Almost every video game platform created, whether it's a console or computer, can use a cheat code in one form or another.