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Cheating In Games: Can It Ever Be Justified?

Cheating in games is an interesting topic to talk about. If you’ve been an avid gamer for decades, you’ll remember that in-game cheats were a huge thing. You could literally buy books that told you special combinations to make yourself invulnerable or have unlimited ammo. We don’t tend to see this sort of thing anymore – but I think that’s partially down to the growth of PC gaming and mods. 

Mods are basically cheats for games that come from third-party sources. They’re not technically built into the game, but you can add them by downloading software that suddenly transforms your gaming experience. This sort of cheating is still not frowned upon as it usually takes place in single-player games. However, there is a lot of discussion surrounding cheating in multiplayer or competitive games. So, we’re here to ask a simple question: can you ever justify cheating? 

The case against cheating

Generally, cheating is wrong if it ever involves other people. If you’re playing a multiplayer game and have mods that help you gain an advantage over others, then that’s just not right. There’s nothing worse than playing Call of Duty and getting mowed down by someone with wall hacks. It completely ruins the competitive integrity of the game and means people beat others based on cheats rather than skill. 

The same goes for competitive gaming. If you’re a pro player, you should never under any circumstances cheat. Even if you’re streaming and using cheats for fun, it sets a bad precedent for aspiring pros watching you. Cheating will suck the fun out of a game and undo all the hard work that other players have put into getting better at it. You can grind a game for years and be undone by someone who just downloaded it but installed aimlock cheats. 

So, from a casual perspective, cheating in multiplayer games is never justified. From a professional perspective, it is definitely forbidden. Surely this ties the whole discussion up? What kind of case can be put forward to defend cheating in gaming?!

The case for cheating

Okay, hear me out…cheating doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. It’s not so much about if you use cheats, but how you use them. 

In some cases, cheats or mods can be used as an advanced way to learn the game and get better. Going back to the wall hacks example, someone can use this mod to get a better understanding of where players typically stand. You load up a game of Call of Duty, turn the hacks on, and go around the map not killing people. It’s more of a learning experience seeing where people tend to stand and what angles are good for you to take. Then, you turn the cheats off and play normally, using this information to see if it improves your performance. It’s not too dissimilar to using a word unscrambler if you’re playing Scrabble or another word game. It helps you see what words can be made from a jumble of letters, giving you more ideas for the future. Eventually, you stop using it as you start to identify patterns and learn how best to unscramble words. Nobody gets hurt, and you’re not ruining any competitive integrity, so what’s the problem?

Likewise, cheats can make a game more enjoyable if everyone has them. This is why modded lobbies have become really popular in some multiplayer games. Instead of playing the game as normal, you’re all flying around with new guns or unlimited ammo – it provides a completely new experience and stops games from turning stale. 

So, can cheating be justified in gaming?

I think cheating can be justified in certain instances. For one, single-player cheating is always justifiable as you’re only altering your gaming experience. Secondly, I do think the idea of using cheats/mods that an entire lobby of people can use is justifiable and fun. Thirdly, if you use cheats to learn and improve at the proper game, that can be a justifiable use – the problem is determining if someone is actually doing this! 

Nevertheless, if you use cheats to just be better at others, then that’s never justifiable. You’re just cheating to get an ego boost and to con your way to the top. It’s also never ever okay to cheat in professional eSports – just don’t do it. 
What’s also interesting is that this topic throws up another question: when does something go from legitimate to cheating? For instance, in the popular PC game VALORANT, some players use something called Raw Accel to alter mouse input and sensitivity settings. In many ways, it’s a mod that exists outside the game. But, it’s technically not cheating. So, at what point would a mod like this drift to the side of cheating? It’s an interesting question that we might discuss another day.

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