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Creative Ways Games Punish Cheaters

Cheaters never prosper, but that hasn't stopped many a player from trying to break their favorite games and make them easier. Sometimes, they get away with it and happily get to play as the invincible god they always knew themselves to be. But occasionally, game developers grow wise to such shenanigans and find ways to mess with players who try to cheat the system. Here are some of the most unique ways video games let their cheating players know they're not mad...just disappointed.

Witcher 3 summons Chort the Murder-Cow to slaughter you

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has so much to do, and so many ways for players to earn money, that cheating to do so seems unnecessary. And yet, gamers did it anyway, once they found an exploit in an early part of the game that allowed them to make tons of cash.

In an early section of the game, White Orchard, there's a farm riddled with cows, and you can murder them and sell their hides for money. Unlike puny mortal Earth cows, these cows would respawn after an in-game hour. So players would simply meditate (the game's way of making time go faster) for an hour, wake up to living cows, and quickly turn them into more hides. After awhile, the player could sell their massive hide-pile for tons of dough, making it easy to afford way stronger items than they should've had at that point in the game.

Developer CD Projekt RED learned of the exploit, and released an update that made you pay for that serial heifercide. Casually called the Bovine Defense Force Initiative, it would send a vicious cow monster called Chort to tear you to ribbons. You had virtually no shot at surviving, as you were a low-level Witcher and Chort was a level 27 nightmare. What's more, if you somehow managed to kill Chort, you'd be greeted with...another Chort. Then another. Then another. This kept going until you died, got Projekt Red's point, and played the game like an honest monster-murderer.

The Stanley Parable leaves you to rot in the Serious Room

In The Stanley Parable you, as Stanley, explore an empty office building, trying to figure out where everyone went. Throughout, a narrator badgers you about how the story should go, but you can easily ignore him and go wherever you want. Well, to a point anyway.

You're free to explore Stanley's world, but if you try using server cheats via Steam's developer console, the game sends you to the Serious Room: an empty room with a single, wooden table and a door you can't open. There, the narrator drones on and on about his search for a properly serious table, before lecturing you on how you've got "no respect for the strict order of narrative events." As punishment for your attempts to cheat, he sentences you to "one hundred billion trillion years" inside the Serious Room. And you thought Skyrim was a long game.

If you pause the game and try using server cheats again, the narrator returns to scold you on not having learned your lesson. He then extends your punishment to "infinity years" in the Serious Room. Enter it yet again and the narrator returns to scold you again, warning that he's going to the store to purchase an even more serious table, hoping it'll help you understand how naughty you've been. At that point, you're stuck in the Serious Room forever, or until you start a new game. Hopefully you'll take it more seriously next time.

H1Z1 forced cheaters to publicly apologize on YouTube

H1Z1 is a battle royale-style game, where hundreds of players all shoot each other and strive to be the last one standing. It's all in good fun, provided everybody plays nice. But some players just can't do that, resorting to various cheats designed to make them stronger, avoid other players, and overall make the game unfair to anyone but them.

This usually results in the cheaters being banned. In May 2015, Daybreak–the company behind H1Z1–banned a whopping 23,837 cheaters at once. But simply executing the Red Wedding of banhammers wasn't enough for H1Z1, which took it one hilarious step further. Daybreak president John Smedley went on Twitter to announce they were willing to un-ban anyone who apologized. But they had to admit to their cheating and sincerely apologize for it, publicly, on YouTube. Only then might they be reinstated.

Ultimately, according to Smedley on Reddit, the tactic got a whole five people un-banned, as it appears many either didn't make a video or, based on his comment "You don't just get to make a video and get unbanned," made insincere, crappy ones...like this guy, who deadpanned an apology for using "sick ESPs and game mods" while blaring Wham's "Careless Whisper" in the background. Maybe an eternity in the Serious Room will set them straight.

Undertale calls you out for being a dirty hacker

If you want the good endings in Undertale, you have to be nice. Don't kill the monsters you encounter, don't agree to help the Big Bad destroy the universe, and most of all, don't cheat. Do so, and the game will both scold you for it and end on a brutal anticlimax.

If you hack the game to reach the end without doing anything, you get sent straight to the final scene. You enter the barrier between the human world and the Underground, and the ending credits run. You then get the traditional call from your skeleton "buddy" Sans, who initially appears perplexed that you managed to achieve an impossible ending. He implores you to "tell whoever made the game" just in case there was some kind of glitch. But he knows. He's always known, and he soon drops the "ignorant bag of bones" routine to call you out. His eyes turn coal-black as he says, "Chances are, though...you're just a dirty hacker, aren't you? Yeah, get outta here." Considering the trolling "Dogsong" music that plays the whole time, you should've seen this coming.

Sans then hangs up, forever abandoning you to Ending Limbo. You don't learn what happens to your friends, you don't learn the Underground's fate, and you win absolutely nothing except the shame of being exposed as someone who can't (or won't) complete a game on their own.

Guild Wars publicly murders you via Grim Reaper, then bans you

Guild Wars is a fantasy, guild-and-raid-based MMORPG for people tired of World of Warcraft and looking for something with a different name. Be warned though–the people behind Guild Wars don't suffer cheaters well, and will in fact make them publicly suffer before booting them entirely.

Starting in 2010, Guild Wars creators ArenaNet began banning players who used bots and other hacks to make matches and raids easier. But they didn't just ban them–they murdered them. Not literally of course, because that's both illegal and messy. But they did send a giant monster called Dhumm–also known as the God of Death, and who looks exactly like the Grim Reaper–to slice up the offending players with its scythe, taking them out of the match and then out of the game permanently. This only happens to cheating players, so everyone around them knows exactly why Dhumm's here, and what his victims did to deserve their fates.

Despite being a punishment, some players actually want to get killed by Dhumm, even if it means a ban. Videos like this one and this one show players who cheat simply to invite Dhumm–some did it because they were bored, and others were finished with the game and wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.

Metal Gear Solid knows if you use autofire

The Metal Gear series wouldn't be the same game without breaking the fourth wall. Whether it's Psycho Mantis reading your memory card or Big Boss commanding you to turn off the game, Snake's universe knows full well you're there. It also knows when you try to take advantage of it, and won't tolerate such chicanery.

In the Metal Gear Solid scene where Revolver Ocelot tortures Snake, your goal is to preserve Snake's strength throughout the ordeal. Perhaps you'll be tempted to use a controller with autofire, making it easier to button-mash enough to keep Snake alive. But Konami figured you'd do that, and they apparently told Ocelot. That's why, after informing Snake of his predicament, he turns to the camera, points right at the player, and warns, "Don't even think about using autofire...or I'll know."

And he's not bluffing. If you try using autofire, the time limit bar immediately drains, and you can't stop it. Seconds later, you're out of time, forced to watch helplessly as Snake's life rapidly seeps from his body. Watching Snake die helplessly is bad enough, but if you didn't save anywhere near this scene, you're screwed. See, just before this sequence Ocelot tells Snake, "there are no continues, my friend." As such, you can't continue if you die here, and have to start wherever you saved last. If that was ten hours ago, too bad. You shouldn't have cheated, because Ocelot knows.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door won't let you cheat the lottery

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door introduces gambling to the otherwise-wholesome Mario universe. At one point in the game, you encounter a friendly Bob-Omb who runs something it calls the Happy Lucky Lottery. You can buy a ticket for 100 coins, and if a randomly generated winning number matches yours, you win the lottery. If not, then you don't. Finally, something about Mario matches real life.

Unlike real life, the game lets you use your number daily until you win. But some players don't want to wait, so they manipulate not just the game, but the GameCube. By setting the system's internal clock to one day in the past, you can use your number again, hoping the new randomly generated numbers match yours. There's just one problem: the Bob-Omb knows what you did. It reports "something very unhappy has happened," mentions a tampered clock, and asks if you had anything to do with it. Deny it, and the Bob-Omb badgers you until you confess. Once you do, it spazzes out, screaming about being unlucky and unhappy, and how humans can't be trusted. He explodes, and your screen goes to black.

After a moment, everything returns to normal and a now-calm Bob-Omb makes you swear to never cheat again. Also, if you want to play the lottery again, a new ticket now costs 500 coins. This, again, is like real-life: people steal, and companies have to raise prices to make up for lost revenue.

Crusader: No Regret sics eight bosses on you at once, then kills you if you win

Crusader: No Regret, a top-down action game from 1996, wasn't blind to how much players love to cheat. In this case, the developers assumed people would attempt to use the same cheat codes from the original Crusader game. If anyone did, they got a nasty surprise.

Almost immediately after entering an old cheat code, a message pops up saying, "Of course we changed the cheats...duh." As if being called out as a fool wasn't enough, you then hear a sinister voice cackle, "I've been waiting a long time for this." Your character, the Silencer, is then transported to a special room where, accompanied by a taunting medley of Christmas carols like "Jingle Bells" and "Frosty the Snowman," eight super-strong bosses riding giant, weaponized mechs mercilessly attack you. This isn't a gauntlet challenge, either–all eight gang up on you, and if you weren't ready to die, best accept doing so now.

That said, it is possible to kill all eight, by running and shooting everywhere while also letting the mechs shoot themselves down. It's not easy–and more importantly, victory is worthless. Should you down all eight bosses, the Silencer turns to the camera and promptly explodes. So even though you avoided death, you are now dead. The moral: don't cheat, but if you are going to, at least make sure you're using the right codes.

Max Payne 3 sentences you to The Cheater's Pool

Max Payne 3 has a multiplayer mode, which means it's filled with dirty, filthy cheaters. But Rockstar Studios, the game's developer, isn't stupid, and they thought up a novel way to stop cheaters from ruining the game for others: let them cheat, but far away from everyone else.

In a June 2012 statement, Rockstar acknowledged the "small minority" of players using hacks, bots, and mods to tilt matches in their favor. Rather than ban them, they declared any player caught cheating would be reassigned to a "Cheater's Pool," which was essentially a separate playing space far from most other gamers. In the pool would be nothing but other cheaters, and they could only ever play against one another. It was George Carlin's proposal to turn states into walled-off prison farms, where no-goodniks could do no good while not harming anyone else, but in video game form.

That said, Rockstar did open up the possibility of allowing cheaters back into the main-game fold, if they seem repentant enough. But if that doesn't work, and they cheat again, then they're gone completely. No special room, no extra chances, just a cold perma-ban for anyone unwilling to learn their lesson. It's at least better (and less violent) than the fate Max would lay down on them if he were real and found out.

Don't use Doom cheats in Heretic or you're doomed

Heretic is basically Doom with wizards and magic instead of demons and hellfire–literally, since Heretic runs on the Doom engine. As such, it makes sense that cheaters would try to hack the game using Doom codes. This is, to put it mildly, a big mistake.

Using Doom cheats in Heretic will completely destroy your character, and the game will do so poetically and ironically. If you enter the code IDDQD in Doom, it activates God Mode, making you invincible. In Heretic, it simply lets you meet God, by making you dead. What's more, it gives you guff for what you did, suggesting you just killed yourself and mocking you with "Trying to cheat, eh? Now you die!" 

It doesn't get much better if you input IDKFA. In Doom, that cheat grants you all possible weapons. In Heretic, it takes away all your weapons, replacing them with a single wooden staff that couldn't beat back a kitten. It then scolds you with "Cheater–you don't deserve weapons. Then, whatever demon arrives next promptly eats you alive while you poke at it in vain.

Heretic does have its own cheat codes, ("rambo" activates God Mode and "quicken" gives you all the weapons) and there doesn't appear to be any punishment for using them. So clearly, the game's developers are less insulted by your cheating, and more by your being too lazy to learn how to cheat correctly.