Integrity through Marios and Rabbids

Let’s get really deep for a minute.  Is cheating within a game bad?  Most of us cheat once in a while, and some of us cheat a lot all of the time.  But what makes cheating right or wrong?  Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle helped me explore some of the finer points of cheating within a video game and how it made me feel.

Let me start by saying that I do not normally cheat in video games.  There was a time during my early teens when I was all about cheating in Halo 2.  I was absolute trash at that game and could not achieve a rank higher than 15.  However, one of my friends was able to use a standby button on his router which made capturing the flag and cheating our way to victory in online ranked matches really easy.  I was banned, I made a new account, end of story.

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Aside from that, I do not cheat in video games.  I have used the occasional cheat code in The Sims and the Rare Candy glitch in Pokémon Red/Blue, but I do not cheat in video games (it is beginning to sound like I cheat a lot in video games, I don’t I swear!).  Before each battle in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, the game asks you if you want to turn on Easy Mode.  During the first two worlds I never needed the Easy Mode, battles were usually simple and if I lost I would come back with new strategies and win easily.

Everything changes during the second half of the game.  The difficulty ramps way up, and you don’t recover health between all of the battles, forcing you to play conservatively in order to plan for subsequent encounters.  Even as the difficulty reaches ever higher, the game continues to ask if you want to turn on Easy Mode.

Eventually one of the loading screens explains that Easy Mode will restore your health between battles and give you bonus health on top of that, with no penalty to the player.  I felt dirty as I thought about the prospect of extra health before the next battle.  I finally pressed the button after an extremely close battle.  Sure enough after winning easily I was still rewarded with the same about of experience points and coins.

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However, Easy Mode left a small hole in my heart.  I knew deep down that I could have conquered the battle without assistance.  I only used Easy Mode a few more times throughout the game.  I regret using it on a particularly tricky mid boss during Chapter 3.  I made sure that I would not use the Easy Mode during the final boss encounter.  Even though I was very tempted after my fifth defeat.

Am I a cheater?  Maybe.  I used to like playing games on Easy in order to experience the story.  Sometimes I like an extra advantage during a tricky boss fight.  But I beat the final boss of Dark Souls III without assistance and that felt great.  I will always remember the hard fought battles that forced me to perfect my strategy before delivering the final blow.

Where do you draw the line between cheating and fair play?  Is it okay to cut corners in a single player game or does it take away from the experience?

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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