Unquestionably, one of the most well-known gaming references in history is the Konami Code. Though this sequence of buttons (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A) was created by game developer Kazuhisa Hashimoto in the 1980s, it has found a home in countless games, movies, and other media over the decades. Very few gaming references have permeated into pop culture as much as the Konami Code has, and it is thus with a heavy heart that I report that Kazuhisa Hashimoto has passed away at the age of 61.
Though it was largely popularized by the NES version of Contra (with some people even referring to it as the “Contra Code”) in 1988, the Konami Code was actually created for use in the 1986 NES release of Gradius by Hashimoto. In a 2003 interview with Konami Computer Entertainment’s then-executive vice president and general manager of production, Shigeharu Umezaki, Hashimoto recounted what led to the creation of the now famous cheat:
Gradius was something we were ordered to port, so we tried to be realistic about it. The number of sprites on the NES is overwhelmingly small, so we had no illusions about what we were capable of. We just said to ourselves “Well, that’s as much as we can do!” and left the game at that. 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.
So yes, much like how the Konami Code has helped countless gamers throughout the years, it was originally designed in order for Hashimoto to complete Gradius. As for why this particular sequence of buttons was chosen, Hashimoto stated, “Because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember.” The rest, as they say, is history.
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.
We here at Nintendo Enthusiast are deeply saddened by Hashimoto’s passing. While he may no longer be with us, his legacy and contributions will undoubtedly carry on for years to come. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and other loved ones during this difficult time.