It's universally agreed upon that if you are competing in an online game of Call of Duty and you have some sort of device or modification that allows you to have infinite health, this constitutes "cheating." And most would say that a Game Genie plugged in, allowing Mario to have infinite health would constitute "cheating" as well since it is creating an advantage against the AI that was not inherently accounted for during the programming. In the human VS computer example here, the human has an unfair advantage that goes against the original intent of the game developer's vision.

Where this gets tricky is, how is that example any different from having access to maps, FAQs, walkthroughs, hidden button combinations that arent advertised to the player (think the Konami code or lengthy combos in Mortal Kombat.) Some of those things, having knowledge of them, makes the games a breeze to play through. An example for me personally is Metroid. There's no way in Hell I would've ever been able to obtain the Varia Suit without looking it up online. So whenever I tell people I beat the game, I am quick to point out that I used the maps and some FAQs to assist me. This wasn't the original intent on the developer's part, for a gamer to be able to look up videos on exactly what you are supposed to do. Is that cheating? In my eyes, partially yeah.

But is it any different than a football coach video taping hand signals that the opponent is using in order to anticipate plays from the opposition? To me, it's using every resource possible to win. Looking up chess strategies, is that cheating? Almost everyone would say no. So is that any different than entering the Konami code and beating Contra? You researched a way to beat the game and you did so.

Obviously manipulating the data of the game to give an unfair advantage is a bridge too far for most purists, but watching Youtube videos and knowing exactly how to overcome a puzzle or what to type or what weapon to use on what enemy? How is that any different when you didnt try to figure it out on your own? You're taking the knowledge and hard work of others and just copying what they did.

I personally will try to figure a game out on its own but if it's too difficult, I will look it up. Still feels like cheating to me though.