Hacking Vs. Cheating in Video Games: What’s the Difference?

An Important Distinction

Hacking could give a person an advantage in a video game, but it could also result in a changed “skin” for a character you’re playing, and nothing more. Meanwhile, you can rarely “cheat” in an artistically compelling way. Cheating is solely about giving yourself an additional advantage in whatever contest you’ve engaged in.

That differs from “gaming cheats”, we’ll explore that here. But hacking is different because it could be aesthetic. It could be a gesture. Hacking could be pursued for the simple purpose of entertainment. Maybe you’re in a VR environment and affect a hack that changes everyone you’re interacting with to some sort of goggle-eyed open-mouthed fish.

Now, the other people in the chat may not appreciate this. But it could be hilarious. You haven’t “cheated” anybody; you’ve pulled a prank. That might be a way to think about it, in fact. A “hack” is to a “cheat” as “theft” is to a “prank”. A prank may be inconvenient. It may be an impractical practical joke; but seldom is property permanently damaged in a prank.

Differing Methods

Seldom are assets seized or redistributed in a prank. Usually, you’re just tricking someone for a reaction down the line.

Digitally speaking, hacking could make things inconvenient for the target. Hacking could make something more “fun” for you. And hacking could be used to cheat; just as a prank may be used as a cover for theft. This isn’t the general way of things, though.

When it comes to gaming, people will use hacks to cheat, but they’ll also use them to enhance the gaming experience. If you’re interested, you can follow this link to learn game hacking with Guided Hacking. There is a learning curve, and gaming code can be some of the most complicated out there.

Cheat Codes and Hacking

Imagine changing the “skins” of everybody in-game for fun. Imagine changing the background. Imagine changing the physics of the game. Now, “cheats” often do these things. In some games, there are no cheat codes which can effect such an outcome, only hacking can alter the game’s “DNA” in a significant way.

It’s also worth noting that, in the gaming world, “cheat codes” have a different meaning than what’s associated with the term “cheat” in traditional games. Cheating in a football game might involve deflating the football slightly.

In a video game, a cheat might consist of a few buttons pressed in a sequence that give all the players in metaphorical NFL game goofy big heads.

Mastering the Game

So cheat codes could be used to cheat, or they could be used simply to alter a game for fun. That’s different than “cheating”, which is giving yourself an unfair advantage in an underhanded way. Meanwhile, though hacking can be used to cheat, it can also be used to play digital pranks or simply alter a gaming environment for fun.

While cheats can come through hacking, and some cheats are more appropriately termed in-game easter egg hacks, there is a distinction. Understanding this distinction as a gamer will enhance your in-game skills.

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About Marcos Codas 342 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers. Like what I do? Donate a coffee: https://www.paypal.me/marcoscodas