Sometimes cheating in video games is a harmless and fun way to experience the game in a way you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. That’s why cheat codes exist. Other times, like when you use exploits to “break” a single-player game, it’s more of a gray area. And then there are people who cheat in online games against other people, which is almost always an unfair, crappy thing to do.
Whichever kind of cheating you do, it’s on the developers to mete out punishment if they feel it’s warranted. Most developers simply ban cheaters from playing their games, but some have concocted hilarious and inventive ways to give cheaters what’s coming to them. Here are five of our favorites.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Any time you have an enormous game with as many collectible and sellable items as The Witcher 3, someone’s going to find a way to exploit the system. And oh, how people have exploited The Witcher 3.
When it first launched, one of the best ways to make money early in the game was to kill and skin all of the cows that hung out in a particular field. Once you did that, you could meditate to fast forward game time, causing the cows to respawn, at which point you could kill and skin them again. If you did that enough times and sold all of the hides you collected, you could amass a small fortune very quickly.
Once the developers realized players were serial killing cows for cash, they added a new enemy that shows up if you start taking advantage of the exploit. It’s a giant monster with way more attack and defense power than any low-level witcher could hope to handle. A word of advice: Don’t mess with the cows.
2. Tomb Raider II
In the original Tomb Raider, you could enter a code that would fill out your inventory with every weapon in the game, each with maxed-out ammo. It’s a handy code to use, and a good one to remember if you feel like barreling through the game with minimal resistance.
Woe betide the player who enters that very same code when playing Tomb Raider II. Instead of having an instant cache of weapons at your disposal, you’ll see Lara Croft explode into chunks. And if that’s not bad enough, each chunk of her body then explodes again. A little harsh, don’t you think?
3. Max Payne 3
Developer Rockstar Games makes some of the best video games around, but when it comes to its multiplayer modes, it doesn’t look kindly on cheaters. If you’re caught using a hacked save, a modded game, or any other unfair exploit in Max Payne 3, Rockstar has a surprise for you. It’s called a Cheaters Pool, and it’s kind of like purgatory.
In the Cheater’s Pool, you’re stuck playing in special online rooms that are populated exclusively with other cheaters. If your offense is minor and it’s your first visit to the Cheater’s Pool, you may be let out into the normal rooms eventually. But if you’re caught cheating again, you’re banished to the Cheater’s Pool for life.
4. Guild Wars 2
Another online game that punishes cheaters in a fabulously creative way is Guild Wars 2, a fantasy MMO known for its excellent combat system. What you don’t want to do, it turns out, is use cheats and exploits when you’re battling against other characters.
After confirming that a player named DarkSide was using cheats to teleport and deal out impossible amounts of damage, Chris Cleary, the head of the game’s security, took matters into his own hands. Cleary took control of DarkSide’s character, removed his clothes, climbed onto a high pillar, waved to everyone watching, and had him jump many stories down to the pavement below. Then he deleted DarkSide’s characters and banned him from the game. Justice was served.
H1Z1 is a zombie survival MMO. Essentially, you and a bunch of other players (who might try to kill you and steal your stuff) get to run around in a digital playground that’s teeming with bloodthirsty zombies. Sounds like fun, right? It is, at least until those other players start to cheat.
Apparently cheating was a big enough problem that developer Daybreak Game Company had to ban about 30,000 players. Once they were booted from the game, many of those players wanted back in, so Daybreak came up with a hilarious solution: If they made a public YouTube video apologizing to other players for cheating, they could get their accounts back.
Remember players: Cheaters never win. At least not in these games.