Cheating in singleplayer games


I have always been a cheater in games. As a kid it was mainly because I was bad at games or wanted to screw around. In my teens & early 20s I cheated a lot less because I played a lot more multiplayer and console games. Now that I’m older and have less time to game I find myself cheating more to the point that I regularly use cheat engine and cheat happens.

Some games it to fix or skip some part of the game I am unhappy with, for example after my first playthrough of Skyrim I started using to console to give myself tons of gold because I found the process managing inventory and selling loot annoying. In Borderlands the Pre-Sequel I knew I would only play it once so I gave myself extra skill points to test out more abilities more quickly. Right now I am hitting a wall in Ashen, I don’t really like Souls-likes but want to see the rest of the game I will probably find and infinite health cheat to play the rest of the game.

I have mixed feelings about my willingness to cheat, on the one hand it makes it easier to find my own fun in games I paid for and might not be loving, but it also cheapens the experience of the games and can make them less fun or interesting. There is also the issue of online leaderboards, Just Cause 3 had stunt challenges that unlocked some upgrades, I didn’t enjoy them so used a trainer that froze timers, but also put me at the top of some online leaderboards in the game which i felt a little bad about.

What do other people think about cheating in singleplayer games and especially paying for something like cheathappens?


You’re playing these games presumably for entertainment and enjoyment. If playing the game with default settings isn’t achieving that result or is actively working against it, do whatever you want to alter the experience.

I’ve used Cheat Engine the times I do resort to it for some games so I don’t know about paying for the software, but if the people are reputable I don’t see why not. It’s just the same as anything else you put your money towards- if their paid software better fits your needs than free versions then go ahead.

Basically for single player games no one’s experience is being impacted other than your own so who cares? You’re not worse than anyone else for using these tools, and other people aren’t better for having played the games without them. This is an entertainment medium.


I recently came across a comment along the lines of “mods are cheats” which I think was trying to denigrate mods that soften a game’s base difficulty. (in the context of XCOM 2 or Total Warhammer 2) Thinking about this caused me to have a bit of a shift in perspective (not that I was ever ardently against cheating or anything like that, just ambivalent about it) You could flip this sentiment around and instead say “cheats are mods”.

Take something like Invisible Inc. This has an entire page of difficulty modifiers that completely changes the way the game plays, but in a very granular way. To me this seems like an objectively good thing, the designers have given players options to shape their experience with the game. Aside from the fact that implementing this kind of thing would take a lot of work in some games, I think more games should offer this sort of thing.

Cheats are basically the same thing, just with a clunkier UI and maybe a different scale (since they might offer something like infinite health vs a minor health boost). So in my mind they exist on a continuum that also includes out-of-the-box difficulty sliders and mods.

Although I can see the logic behind arguing that this would “cheapen” the experience, I think that ultimately this kind of thing is actually enriching the experience, if it means you enjoy a game more than you would have without it. There’s room in single player games for setting yourself against a challenge but that’s not the be-all-and-end-all of what these games can be.


Cheating in single player is something completely unproblematic, and anyone who judges or wants go get on a high horse over this can be safely told to gtfo. I’ve used cheats plenty in singleplayer games, just to reduce the grind or frustration factor. I’ve done something similar to your Skyrim ‘cheat’ in Stalker: Call of Pripyat, where I used mods to increase inventory capacity, because I just could not be arsed to haul small amounts of loot back to base all the time to sell it. At the end of the day, as others have said, you’re playing for entertainment and enjoyment. If cheats or softening mods enhance that for you, knock yourself out. No judgement here.

If a game has online leaderboards for ingame challenges, I tend to avoid those challenges or, where possible, turn off the online features. To me those things are distractions that don’t enhance the gaming experience.


Cheating in single player games fuckin’ rules. Like just LOL me trying to beat Contra without the 30 lives code or whatever other game before I had to return it to the video store in two days. I can beat that game on one life with my eyes closed now but I was never going to get to that point otherwise. Same with game mods, the ones that are solely meant to let you play with the difficulty are called “trainers” for a reason.


I’m with the general feeling in the thread here: there’s nothing morally wrong about “cheating” in singleplayer games, unless you’re trying to get a speedrun record or something. (In which case, you’re still competing with other people, so it’s actually cheating, not just “cheating”.)


Usually I don’t play games that allow me to cheat, so I don’t do much of it. But back in the day you better believe I looked up cheat codes for Tenchu 2 on IGN.
Also, I’ve only beaten Deus Ex once without cheats, and then several times with cheats. I love that game a lot, but I want to just run through it unbothered and experience it without sneaking around and dying. I could consider doing the same for a number of other old PC games.


I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past the second “combat encounter” in Deus Ex without cheats, so you’re doing better than me. It’s an excellent example of a game which is a lot better if you can’t die in it [because you still get the challenge of not being seen by people, etc, if you want it].


I’m in agreement with everyone else the only thing I will add is be very careful with software like cheat engine because if you accidentally leave it running and launch something like CSGO their anticheat might auto ban you.


Cheating can make a bad game immensely playable.


I often buy games on PC specifically because I know I’ll want to cheat or mod them. I cheat like hell in certain games and it makes them work for me in a way that they otherwise might not; most often in RPGs that close off paths based on stats that I know I won’t play through more than once. Or if I have choice paralysis in a game with an impossibly huge skill tree, etc. Or, sometimes because I know a game is overly difficult or the combat is not great and I don’t have the time to engage with it. I feel no shame. Cheat Engine is my best friend.

This is also part of the reason I don’t play a ton of multiplayer. I just don’t have the time to invest these days in “gitting gud” at most games. When things start to get punishing, especially if the game doesn’t mean that much to me, I cheat. (Alternatively, on console, I’ll just turn the difficulty all the way down.) It’s fun.

I also play games mostly for narrative and I’m a notoriously obsessive completionist. This two things mean that in many games I’m not that interested in engaging heavily with things like combat systems and that if I’m going to try to do everything I want it to be as streamlined as possible so I can try to fit it all into a packed schedule.

Obvious exceptions are things like Soulsborne games or, more recently, Ashen, where difficulty is the whole point and the game is designed around it.

I’m playing RDR2 right now and there have been a few points where I wish I had god mode. I ran into a really interesting random encounter recently and died by a totally random goof and I haven’t seen it again several hours later. That’s not great. Nothing about that game that’s interesting really relates to the fact that you can suddenly randomly die imo (and in my experience this tends to happen with relative frequency).

Don’t feel bad about cheating. Nobody gets to tell you how to enjoy your hobbies. Anyone who cares about that is suspect. Do your thing.


I mean some feel using a wiki is cheating. I don’t think you can cheat in single player games. It depends what you call cheating as glitches are a lot of fun.


I personally don’t have a problem with cheats or difficulty mods for single-player games, but it does sometimes feel like a big ol’ middle finger to the designers’ intended experience. Which, Death to the Author and all that, but I could see situations where it might seem a bit disrespectful.


Deus Ex with cheats is a fantastic game because you can do absurd shit like spawning 8000 robot vacuum cleaners in the middle of the UNATCO base and watch everyone freak out and try to kill them, which may not be the designer’s intended experience but it sure is one hell of an experience to have.


Play how you wanna play. I’m so tired of people being prescriptive about how someone ‘should’ play games. You see it so much with Soulsbourne players. ‘You gotta play blind’, ‘You shouldn’t summon for bosses’. Piss off.

I don’t tend to cheat much these days but I definitely look up walkthroughs and play on the easiest difficulty to get more out of my playtime.


I certainly don’t see any moral dilemma with cheating in single player games, but for me personally, sometimes it feels kinda like skipping directly to the end of a book to see what happens. I’ve seen people talk about how they immediately cheat in Dark Souls because they want to explore the world of the game without any of the difficulty. That’s certainly not “problematic” or anything, but I’d argue that the difficulty is an important tool the game uses to help establish its atmosphere and tone.

I generally want to give developers the benefit of the doubt and try to play the game “as intended” before modifying the experience with cheats/mods/purposeful exploitation of glitches/etc.


I played every Tony Hawk game with moon gravity, perfect manual, and perfect grind. I grew up playing those games, but when it came to playing them for real I sucked hard. I’ve recently been going back through every single one to play them for real to try to redeem myself, but honestly I don’t feel bad about using cheats before. They were fun!

I also used to love playing Slugfest and mashing buttons to see what kind of cheats you’d get to play with (i.e. big head, horse head, tiny, on fire, etc. etc.).


I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve got family and a full-time job. I often just don’t have time to “get gud” at a game, especially one that’s gonna take 30 or 40 hours to complete. I’m perfectly happy with just enabling my ability to enjoy the story and environment (which is what I play these games for anyway). If you’re playing on your own, whatever way you’re playing is the right way. Tell the stories you want to tell, and bedamned to anyone telling you differently.


I honestly think this is the healthiest way to look at it, and it’s something a lot of people don’t get, because we’ve bought into a set of really unhealthy assumptions around what overcoming difficulty in games actually means. We’ve internalized the notion that beating difficult parts of games means you’ve “earned” the victory, or the unlock, or whatever bit of bait the devs have left to encourage you to keep going. (That also feeds into the myth of meritocracy around being good at games, which is never really questioned at all.)

What we haven’t done is think about whether that process is actually fun at all. There’s a “git gud” mentality, particularly around certain genres of game (roguelites, Souls-likes, 2D platformers, etc.), which fetishizes both extreme difficulty and the process of overcoming it, at the expense of damn near everything else. Dead Cells is the game that epitomizes this for me at the moment, but you could rattle off a bunch of other games and still be correct. (Did you know Dead Cells is getting a Custom Mode in the next version? Well most people won’t, because you have to beat the game to unlock it, and then have to beat the game on even harder difficulties to unlock all its options. Can’t wait to see how that one goes over.)

Given how many games (and be honest, entire genres of games) have fallen into that trap, I find myself frequently asking if I care to buy them at all if I have to “cheat” to win. I can’t trust the community on this, because there are feedback loops in place on Steam which reward devs for making games as hard as possible. Plus, using external cheat programs opens you up to a world of hurt on Steam if you’re not cautious about how you use them. But the big one is that I just don’t feel like rewarding devs for making games that I don’t find enjoyable. If I feel I have to use an external cheat to beat a game, then I feel like I never should’ve spent money on the thing in the first place.

That’s a lot of words to say that I tend to avoid games that sell themselves as hard, and try to buy smaller, cheaper games so that I don’t feel like I’ve lost too much money if it turns out to be way too difficult. (This is complicated by a general trend of indie games glomming onto harder difficulty as a selling point.)


Oh look, another reason to post the wholesome Jakey boy.