Creator of the Konami Code dead at 79

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, legendary Konami programmer and creator of the famous Konami Code, has died at the age of 79. Hashimoto’s death was announced composer Yuji Takenouchi on Twitter. Takenouchi’s tweet states that Hashimoto died on February 25 and that he hopes his friend will “keep making games in heaven.”

Hashimoto was a staple at Konami in the ’80s and ’90s. He worked on titles like Gradius, ISS, Life Force and Snatcher, but his greatest creation was a humble cheat code.

The code — up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start — was instantly iconic. Easy to remember and easy to enter, Hashimoto created it for the NES version of Gradius, which he found too difficult to playtest quickly. Entering the code granted a full set of power ups. The Konami Code began appearing in other games created by the publisher. It rose to prominence in Contra, where entering it awarded 30 lives.

The Konami Code evolved into something of a pop-culture touchstone. Today you can enter it in Fortnite, League of Legends, and Rocket League for different effects. You can even enter it on the desktop version of Netflix to open a secret menu. The video game themed Disney film Wreck-It Ralph also mentioned the code.


David Smith

David Smith is the former games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.