Opinion: Do We Have the Right to Cheat?

My name is Adam Redmond, and I am a cheater. I exploited a score glitch in the classic game Tap Tap Revenge 3 in order to reach rank 171 within an hour. I deceived Tap Tap Revenge veterans by reaching a comparable high score without any effort whatsoever. I beat the system.

All it took was a jailbroken iPod touch, a shoddy YouTube tutorial, and iFile. Granted, all my ill-gotten gains were unlocked through single player, so I was not directly affecting another player’s experience. But do iOS players have the right to cheat?

A comparison between my legitimate score and the hacked leaderboards.

A comparison between my legitimate score and the hacked leaderboards.

Cheating in video games is not a matter etched in black and white. As I mentioned beforehand, I was not taking away from another player’s enjoyment of the game by using dishonest methods. I was merely enhancing my own experience. While one can say that it was unfair that I unlocked items without putting in the required effort, the bottom line is that I did not make the game unfair for the other players.

Other players had a completely fair chance at beating me in multiplayer. I did not alter that fact. If one wants to use known exploits to enhance his or her own experience, I think he or she should be able to. If someone has invested the time, money, and has the knowledge, why shouldn’t that individual be able to exercise the right to use the product in a way that he or she desires?

But what happens when someone’s decision to cheat infringes on another person’s ability to enjoy the game? 

This situation can be quite infuriating. I remember when Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation was afflicted with this. After purchasing the game for $6.99, I was shocked to find speed hacks, infinite ammo, nuke hacks, and so much more. I spent seven dollars for a game, so I expect it to be worth the price of admission.

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation

It was hard to justify my purchase when I struggled to take a step before being the prey of a hacker across the map. Gameloft released several updates to deal with the exploits as they arose, but I have yet to return to the game. The constant barrage of unfair tactics ruined the fun for me, and judging by the old App Store reviews, I was not the only one.

So where can the line be drawn? Is cheating okay if it is strictly confined to single player? Is cheating wrong in all circumstances whatsoever?  These are all questions that have many different answers. On one side, we have gaming purists who lament cheating—including cheat codes—as “the easy way out.” Regardless of the circumstances, those individuals see cheating as pure lack of skill.

On the other hand, we have consumers who want to exercise their freedom to play the game how they see fit. An argument they cite is that they paid for the game, and the hacks are available for the public, so no one is at a true disadvantage. If other players wanted to level the playing field, they could easily implement the hacks into their own arsenal.

I’m somewhere in the middle. My belief is that if the exploitation of a game takes place exclusively in single player mode, it is acceptable. I do not believe that a player should be restricted in enjoying the experience that is only his. But as soon as the cheating crosses over and hinders another player from enjoying the game, that is when the line has been crossed. That’s when both players and developers need to work together to work out a tangible solution to curb cheating.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

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