Up up, down down, left right, left right, B, A, Start. It’s a cheat code etched into the DNA of an entire generation of gamers, from Contra on down. The man behind the code, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, has died at the age of 79. His passing was first reported by Yuji Takenouchi, a sound designer who worked on several Konami games, including the much-lauded Metal Gear series.
“We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the ‘Konami Code,'” Konami’s statement reads. “Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san’s family and friends at this time. Rest In Peace.”
Hashimoto first implemented the cheat code while testing the home port of the arcade game Gradius for the Nintendo Entertainment System, as a way to deal with the game’s overwhelming difficulty. Though they never intended to include the code in the final game, it accidentally made it onto store shelves, and the developers opted not to remove it. The rest, of course, is history. Variations of the code have made their way all across the world of games–especially in Konami titles–as well as the greater world of pop culture.
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