How is that not cheating?

You know how there are people who play video games? Like, oh, my husband? And they play some of the game, then they look some stuff up online to figure out how to beat the demon who keeps kicking their ass or unlock the puzzle or save the prince or whatever?

How is that not cheating?

Is it not cheating because everyone does it? Do the game designers figure that everyone’s going to and build the games accordingly? And if the system is set up that way and everyone does it, does that mean that the user-generated content outside of the game is basically part of the game, which the game designers essentially outsourced for no payment to the players?

This is not the weightiest topic ever discussed here, but I am continually bemused by C-Man’s insistence that it isn’t cheating to look up how to solve a problem in the game he’s playing instead of just playing the game until he figures it out.

Someone please explain. C-Man is a member of the Texas bar in good standing, if that helps.

9 thoughts on “How is that not cheating?

  1. MinivanSoapbox

    Guilty as charged…Sorry I’m with C-Man on this one. Eventually it gets to a point where I’m so frustrated that I can’t figure it out – and it stops begin fun. At least that’s how I rationalize it. However, I don’t cheat at Candy Land.

  2. The Princess

    @ Bachelor Girl, yes, I do try to avoid calling the cops on the guy who pays our mortgage so I will probably just have to overlook it.

  3. Cristy

    I think it’s totally cheating, AND I also think it’s totally okay. So where does that put me on the legality line, I wonder? ;)

    I agree with MinivanSoapbox that the game stops being fun if I can’t figure something out, but on the other hand, it’s not fun if ALL I do is follow a walk-through from online, either.

    It needs to be a mix, I guess. At least, until they invent games that are fun and challenging but can be figured out 100% by yourself. Go figure.

  4. Kim

    I play video games, and I do this, and I think it’s totally OK. You can call it cheating if you want but who really cares?

    Ever since the puzzles in Myst pissed me off so bad I wanted to take a hatchet to the giant t00b monitor, I have looked up how to solve things. I don’t play these games to be angry and frustrated, I play them to immerse myself in a story and have fun.

    I guess if this were a socially unacceptable practice, there wouldn’t be such a market for game guides. Well, there probably isn’t as much now that there’s the internet, but still. People do it. Nothing wrong!

  5. angelina

    I think the fact that the codes listed on game sites that tell you how to beat the game or level are called:CHEAT CODES is sort of a giveaway.

    I think you’ve got two questions here though: is it cheating? and: is it an acceptable practice.

    My 9 year old always tries to beat a game without cheats but when it starts to frustrate him too much (as some others have been saying) he looks up the cheat code.

    My question is: is using cheat-codes a gateway into big-time cheating in the real world?!

  6. Aaron

    I think it depends on why you’re playing the game.

    If you enjoy solving the problems presented to you, then you’re cheating yourself if you use an external reference. You don’t really “earn” the satisfaction of progressing in the game.

    If you enjoy exploring and interacting with the environment but don’t really care about solving puzzles, then using an external reference to get past the uninteresting bits doesn’t seem like cheating to me.

    If you’re into navigation and whatnot you might consider having a GPS in your car to be “cheating” because you aren’t actually solving problems yourself, you’re letting the tech do it.

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