Amazon Alexa can be a terribly useful device, and yet many fear that it collects terrible secrets. Any time you place Alexa or any other “smart speaker/virtual assistant” in your home, you’re basically inviting a listening device into your space, which can have understandably questionable consequences.
Many people were surprised when one woman on TikTok demonstrated how Alexa records and saves thousands of snippets of daily conversation — though it’s usually when a wake word is used or a command is given.
Parrots have even managed to hack the shopping list function on Alexa, and kids have used the virtual assistant to contact family members when they need help.
But another feature has been getting renewed attention lately after a video demonstration was shared on TikTok by jiggywrigglersfareham and viewed over 2.1 million times.
It’s something that has been in place for a while, a bit of an Easter egg and a nod to a time-honored code familiar to anyone with a passing familiarity with video games.
Text on the TikTok video says, “Say this to alexa,” and written on a piece of cardboard is the code: “Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.”
According to what Alexa users say, the device perks up and responds with a variety of phrases, including “Super Alexa Mode activated.”
The series of commands is known as the “Konami Code,” created by Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who worked for the Konami gaming and entertainment company, according to NPR.
He first came up with the code after converting “Gradius,” an arcade spacecraft shooting game, into a Nintendo application in the 1980s.
“I hadn’t played that much and obviously couldn’t beat it myself, so I put in the Konami code,” he said in 2003, according to NPR. “Because I was the one who was going to be using it, I made sure it was easy to remember.”
@jiggywrigglersfareham Super Alexa! #jiggywrigglersfareham #alexa #alexacheatcode #superalexamode #fyp #jiggywrigglers ♬ original sound – Meg (Jiggy Wrigglers Fareham)
It became a well-known way to change the difficulty setting of a game or unlock special features (not always positive!) or cheats and has since been used in dozens of games.
The code can be applied to many modern-day devices, including — as shown above — Amazon Alexa and as Apple’s Siri, which replies with “Nerd,” “I’m getting dizzy” or “Cheater” when the sequence is read to it, according to the New York Post.
The code was featured in Disney’s 2012 film “Wreck-It Ralph” as a password, and many websites have hidden features only accessible by the particular sequence of commands.
It doesn’t activate any true “super mode” in Alexa — at least as far as anyone can tell — but it is a fun nod to an insider gaming tradition.
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