We are saddened to hear about the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto, a deeply talented producer who first introduced the world to the "Konami Code".
Our thoughts are with Hashimoto-san's family and friends at this time. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/vQijEQ8lU2
— Konami (@Konami) February 26, 2020
Hashimoto was a programmer, designer and producer at Konami during the 80s and 90s and worked on classic titles such as Snatcher, ISS and Gradius.
But his greatest legacy is the Konami Code, a string of button inputs first used in the NES version of Gradius.
Finding the game too difficult to play through during testing, Hashimoto created a cheat code to give the player a full set of power-ups. It was later decided to leave the code in the retail release of the game, since Konami believed it was too hard to enter accidentally during gameplay.
Hashimoto explained in a 2003 interview (via Nintendo Life): “I had one guy under me, and he played through the coin-op version [of Gradius]. That one’s really tough. I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami Code.
“Because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember.
“The game took around half a year to develop, and, at the time, putting the code together was like an entertaining puzzle. ‘How on earth am I going to be able to fit these passwords into the program?’ I’d ask myself.”
The Konami Code, as it would later become known, became a hallmark of virtually all of the company’s releases for the following decades.
The Konami code is also arguably a piece of pop culture in its own right, having been used to access secret settings on Netflix, been referenced by Amazon’s Alexa and mentioned in Disney’s Wreck it Ralph movie.