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Help:Contents/Terminology/Game Genie

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Title Screen

Game Genie

Developer: Codemasters
Publishers: Galoob (US), Hornby Hobbies (EU), Realtec (JP)

This is a sub-page of Help:Contents/Terminology.

Cactus feels all lost and stuff.
This page discusses the background and technical aspects of the Game Genie device. Game Genie, as disambiguation, refers to:

A Game Genie is a cheating device that patches the ROM of a game to allow for various benefits, challenges, or unused items. Versions were released for the NES/Famicom, Game Boy, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, and Game Gear. It sold over five million units worldwide, and paved the way for later cheating devices such as the CodeBreaker and GameShark.

Each Game Genie came with a book filled with codes for then-current games, and users could subscribe to a mailing list for updated codes. Thanks to the internet, you can find codes through a simple Google search or dedicated sites like GameGenie.com.

Later versions of Game Genie for Nintendo systems included the ability to let the device's changes be undetected by checksums Nintendo had added to later games for this specific purpose (introduced during its lawsuit against Galoob, which the Big N lost). Sega, on the other hand, heartily endorsed the device, making the Genesis/Mega Drive and Game Gear versions among the very few licensed third-party cheat devices in gaming.

Emulation has since allowed Game Genie to be "connected" to the console at all times, allowing users to type in desired codes (sometimes even being able to copy-paste), enable more codes than the original devices allowed, and toggle codes on and off at any time - a combination giving players control over their games to an even greater degree than Game Genie boasted. As a result, the original ROMs are little more than historical artifacts, though dumping and preserving them is still important.

To do:
  • Any more code format documents?
  • Images of the Game Gear version's hardware and code screen; Sega Retro has a pair we could borrow. (Also, has the Game Gear version even been dumped, given its shape?)

NES Version

A diagram that explains the code format.

An overview on the code format for the NES version can be found here.

According to Zophar, the NES version is in the public domain. As such, the ROM can be downloaded here. A disassembly is also available.



Code Screen