Golden-age Konami programmer left an indelible mark on gaming and digital entertainment.

It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Kazuhisa Hashimoto on 26 February. The cause of the 61-year-old’s death has yet to be released but the effects of it has sent ripples across the gaming community. As programmer for Konami during the creation of some of the company’s finest games, Hashimoto gave so much more than simply the games – he gave the gift of life.

Thirty lives to be exact, every time a player pressed up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start on their controller during the title screen of Contra. This would prove to be indispensable to my mental health as a child who tried to grapple with the logic of a musclebound supersoldier dying from simply jumping onto the head of an enemy or solid platforms disappearing from existence if they went off screen more than a millimeter.

But it was the equally hard Gradius that gave birth to the legendary Konami Code in 1985. While testing the game, Hashimoto had trouble making progress due to its difficulty level and included a button sequence, one that wouldn’t be accidentally input but would give his ship instant power-ups. The purpose was to make the game easier only for himself, but by the time Gradius was published, the code was accidentally left in and gaming history was made.

▼ The following video highlights but a few uses of the Konami Code throughout the years.

News of Hashimoto’s parting triggered an outpouring of support online.

“It wasn’t corona, was it?”
“He was still so young…”
“Everyone knew this code, and there wasn’t even Internet back then.”
“My prayers go out to his family.”
“He worked on a lot of god-tier games. RIP.”
“What’s a Konami?”
“The Silent Hill 3 one was my favorite.”

“When I heard the Konami Code in the Crayon Shin-chan movie, I knew it was something special.”
“Konami never gave that guy the respect he deserved.”
“He worked on the Goonies game too.”

Although Konami isn’t really interested in the home console video game business anymore, thanks to Hashimoto their name will remain an eternal fixture in gaming.

In fact, I might recommend we change the name to the “Kazuhisa Hashimoto Code” instead in the man’s honor. Sure it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but if we can spit out “up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A” with minimal effort these days, it certainly is possible.

Source: Twitter/@TECHNOuchi, TechCrunch, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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