Solution to Unfair Cryptogram

by David Speyer and Aaron Dinkin

In this cryptogram, each letter is replaced by a string of 6-10 symbols. The first step is to break the code. The cipher is:

a⇑⇑⇓⇓⇐⇒⇐⇒BA   mAXAXAAAA
bB⇒⇑⇐⇐YA   nA⇑ABX⇒⇓⇒⇐
cYXY⇐⇒⇑⇑   oXXYXB⇓XY⇑
d⇑X⇐Y⇓B⇒A⇑X   pBA⇑⇑⇒⇐
eXYYYBBXAB   rY⇒⇑⇐⇓⇐X⇑
fX⇐⇐⇑⇑BA⇐   s⇓⇒⇑⇐YB
g⇓⇓⇓A⇒⇐⇑X⇐   t⇐⇐Y⇒AA⇒
h⇐⇒⇐⇒XY   u⇑AB⇐⇓⇓
i⇑X⇐⇒AY   vY⇐AX⇑⇒
jB⇑Y⇐⇓⇓   wA⇒⇐XY⇒⇑
kXAY⇐⇒⇒⇓Y⇐B   x⇑XYXXY
l⇐⇐A⇐AB⇓B   yBX⇒YY⇐⇒

Decoding the text produces:

Blow up your own ship in Gradius Three.
Turn on Ten Star Speed in Street Fighter Two: Turbo Edition.
Access tracks twenty-one through twenty-four in Street Racer.
Replace the referee with a dog in International Superstar Soccer Deluxe.
View map in Earthworm Jim.
Become invincible in Alien versus Predator.
Activate Super Hard Mode in Biker Mice from Mars.

Performing each of these tasks in the clued SNES game requires you to use a cheat code. These codes are ⇑⇑⇓⇓⇐⇒⇐⇒BA, ⇓⇒⇑⇐YB, ⇐⇒⇐⇒XY, ⇑⇑⇓⇓⇐⇒⇐⇒BA, AXAXAAAA, XYYYBXAB, ⇑X⇐Y⇓B⇒A⇑X. Decoding these strings produces ASHAMED, the answer to this puzzle, and how you should feel when you cheat.

Solvers may recognize that the letter A is represented by the famous Konami code.