The creator of the Konami Code cheat code, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, passed away on February 25, 2020. The news was delivered by Yuji “TECHNOuchi” Takenouchi
via Twitter , a former music creator who worked with Hashimoto back then at Konami. A cause of death was not specified.
The Konami Code, also nicknamed the “Contra Code” due to the popularity of the series on NES, was inserted by Hashimoto during the development on Gradius when creating the home port for the NES. It was added for testing purposes, as he found the game too hard to play. While Konami realized the code was still in the game after release, it was left alone, as removing it could add new bugs.
After Gradius on the NES, Konami began to add the code to other games in the Gradius series, as well as the company’s other titles. In most games, they either power your player unit up or give you a much larger pool of extra lives than usual. Because of how difficult Konami games were at the time, it became notoriously known as the “Konami Code”.
The Konami Code has become widely known in pop culture and has been used in many games from other developers. In a lot of cases, Easter Eggs are hidden behind this code. In Bravely Default, you could unlock a teaser movie for Bravely Second early using the code. Even the Google Stadia Controller has the code etched into the back.
According to TECHNOuchi, he never actually worked on the same team as Hashimoto during their Konami days. However, they were friends, and he described Hashimoto as a kind person with a warm and relaxed atmosphere. They took the same boat to work as well. Although they didn’t work together for long, TECHNOuchi found it hard to reveal Hashimoto’s passing. He hopes that Hashimoto will continue to make games even in heaven.