The Konami Code.
You may recall it as the sequence of keystrokes that – for a brief period of time – made Facebook do [see above].
Or, if you play games, you may have come across it some other way. According to WIRED, it’s “the most famous cheat code in gaming, appearing in well over 100 titles – from Contra in 1987, where it provided 30 extra lives, to the reboot of the NBA Jam in 2010, where it unlocked the Beastie Boys as playable characters.”
WIRED also details how the code launches a game of Tetris inside the chat window of AIM Express, turns Google Docs upside down (the punchline is “Good luck composing that memo upside down and left to right,” which you will understand as a funny joke once I tell you what the code is), and more.
The Konami code was supposedly created by a Japanese programmer working to port a coin-operated game (Gradius) onto his Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was too difficult, so he inserted the following code as a shortcut: up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a-Start.*
*this is a reminder to go back and appreciate the joke from the last paragraph
The Japanese programmer takes all the credit, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether he might have had some help. You see, half the Konami code appears to have been lifted, almost word-for-word, from a popular Jewish children’s song. Sing it with me:
Up up, down down, right left and all around.
And if you’re curious about who came first: The Konami code was created in 1985, six years after the release of Uncle Moishy & The Mitzvah Men Vol. 1, which included the hit song ‘Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is truly everywhere’.
The kicker: the programmer’s name is Kazuhisa Hashimoto.