Accessing Cheat Code Input on the PlayStation 2

Tips for Entering Cheat Codes on the PS2 Controller

The PlayStation 2 controller isn't just used during gameplay; it's also the only way cheat codes can be entered during a game. However, PS2 cheats are hardly useful unless you know which buttons on the controller are being referenced in the cheat code.

The PlayStation 2 controller, like most video game controllers, has lots of buttons. Each button has its own name. You might see them labeled during a tutorial on how to play a particular game, but then you might never use them again since the buttons themselves aren't actually labeled on the controller and are hardly referenced during gameplay.

However, the same names for those buttons are often used in PS2 cheats to accurately describe which buttons need to be pressed—and in which sequence—in order for the cheat to work. For example, a cheat the calls for pressing "L1, X, L2, O" might not make any sense to you right off the bat since there isn't a button on the controller that says "L1" or "L2." These buttons are actually the left (L) shoulder buttons (1 for the first and 2 for the second) located on the back of the controller.

Knowing the shorthand associated with those buttons and others are what you need to decipher what a cheat code is explaining. 

PS2 Controller Button Descriptions

Picture of a PS2 controller with its buttons labeled
Labeled PlayStation 2 Controller. Sony - Edited by Jason Rybka.

It's usually the case that not every single button on the PS2 controller is used for every cheat code. That might be true for some games but it's hardly ever the case since there are several buttons on the controller.

However, there are a few buttons that are used more than others. It's important to identify them correctly so that the cheat code works.

  1. Buttons L1 and L2 are indicated as left shoulder buttons 1 and 2 or L1 and/or L2 in cheats. 
  2. Buttons R1 and R2 are indicated as right-shoulder buttons 1 and 2 or R1 and/or R2 in cheats. 
  3. The directional pad is indicated as "Directional Pad" or "D-Pad" in cheats. This is the most common directional input method for cheat codes.
  4. The X, O, triangle, and square buttons are indicated individually. These buttons, normally used with the D-Pad, are the most direct method for inputting cheat codes.
  5. The select button is sometimes used to enter cheats during gameplay.
  6. The start button is indicated as "Start Button" or "Start" in cheats. Some cheats require that you press the start button before inputting codes.
  7. The left thumbstick is indicated as "Left Thumbstick" or "Left Analog" in cheats. In some cheat codes, you can use the left thumbstick as a directional.
  8. The right thumbstick is indicated as "Right Thumbstick" or "Right Analog" in cheats. In some cheats, you can also use it as a directional.

Tips on Using PS2 Cheats

Cheats are often entered during a PlayStation 2 game by pausing the game first and then typing out the cheat using the controller. It's best to enter the cheat quickly enough that it doesn't time out, but not too fast that you miss a button. 

Unlike during gameplay when pressing a button on the controller causes some sort of feedback, entering cheat codes anywhere (especially on a PS2 game) rarely show on-screen. In other words, you could enter a 10-character long cheat code during a game and not see anything happen while you're doing it.

However, you can see if the cheat worked after you've entered it. This might be by verifying that the cheat accomplished what it should have (maybe it unlocked a new character or a new map, for example) or by some sort of on-screen prompt that says that the cheat was accepted.

If you think you typed the cheat incorrectly and that's why it's not working, you probably won't be prompted with an "incorrect cheat" message. Instead, resume the game and then pause it again, and re-enter the cheat from start to finish.