Programmer Kazuhisa Hasimoto, the programmer behind the Konami Code, has passed away at 61.
The news comes via his colleague at Konami, composer Yuji Takenouchi. Speaking on Twitter, Yuji stated the following:
“Programmer Kazuhisa Hashimoto, the creator of the Konami command “Top, Bottom, Left, Right, Left, and Right BA”, died last night. We pray for the souls.”
While often dubbed the “Contra Code”, the code actually first appeared in Gradius in 1986. While developing the game’s home port, as he found the game too difficult to test effectively. The code was left in by mistake, and removing it in later editions would have caused bugs.
“I had one guy under me, and he played through the coin-op version. That one’s really tough. I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami Code.”
[…] “Because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember. The game took around half a year to develop, and, at the time, putting the code together was like an entertaining puzzle. “How on earth am I going to be able to fit these passwords into the program?” I’d ask myself.”
The code also appeared in the Contra, Castlevania, Dance Dance Revolution, and Metal Gear Solid series; along with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games developed by Konami.
This later led to other game companies, and even websites using the code. You can find the full list via Wikipedia. While the code is usually to grant the player some kind of advantage (granting the player nigh-all power-ups in Gradius), sometimes it can lead to harmless Easter Eggs, and in rare cases hinder the player (Gradius III would have it destroy the player unless they use the L and R triggers in place of the D-Pad)!
Image: Contra Fandom Wiki