If you’re like me, you can spot a hacker in a game 99 percent of the time. Its pretty obvious, and they don’t hide it very well. The online multiplayer experience changed the face of gaming entirely. It killed traditional arcades we grew up knowing all too well. How many times do you remember running into a mall, and head straight for the arcade? I remember very clearly when Mortal Kombat I was in arcades in ’93, and the lines were insanely long to even put your two quarters in to get your shot at trying it. The smack talking was more than screaming into a headset, it was personal, real life, in your face, and beating that guy that kept on winning on a single round of quarters was absolutely epic. Things were simple back then, if you wanted to cheat it didn’t really affect other people, it was your decision to do this in games at home without jeopardizing another players experience.
How many times have you joined an online FPS match, and you notice something really peculiar about someones K/D (kill/death) ratio? Thirty and zero? Either this guy has been touched by something divine and has the reflexes and the powers of Chuck Norris, or he’s a cheater. It isn’t until you watch the kill cam that your suspicions have been confirmed–classic aimbotter or walhacker. You immediately report the user and hope that someone eventually does something about it. Back before there was XBOX Live, PSN, other online forms of multiplayer, cheating did not really affect anyone except the person holding the controller/keyboard+mouse. I’ll admit, when I played DooM and found out about “IDGODMODE” (a cheat within the game to enable God Mode), it felt amazing, even though it did take a certain feel out of the game since you were invincible. I rarely used it because I enjoyed a challenge. However, I’m sure a lot of people used this “cheat” that the developers imbedded into it. Read that again, “the developers put it in the game”. Think back to reading your favorite GamePro or Electronics Gaming Monthly magazine, they even had special sections for this!
Fast forward to modern-day; multiplayer online competition on the amateur or pro level should involve player skill and nothing else. Everyone should start on the same playing field and nobody except the dedicated should have the advantage with leveling up, unlocks, etc. That is how it should be. However, what about the players that do not want to abide by these rules? It really comes down to gaming ethics and sportsmanship. If you ever used cheat codes, a Game Genie, or a Game Shark when you were younger, we really aren’t that much different from modern-day cheaters/hackers–we just didn’t affect others except ourselves while we did it. However, growing up, a lot of us knew the difference in the gaming world what was right and wrong, and how true gaming enthusiasts don’t ruin another players online experience by cheating. What about the generation that didn’t go through any growth period. The generation that only knows of XBOX Live or PC match making– how are they any different in their thought process from how we grew up. A lot of us know that behind the keyboards /controllers of those guys that bust their ass to rank up/level up are real people who dedicate their time to their passion. But for those that didn’t grow up standing next to a guy three times your size in the arcade and besting him on a level playing field, I think they fail to realize the true essence of what it means to be a pro. But does that make us hypocrites to what we probably did ourselves and probably would have done if given the same playing field?