Oh yeah…you know you’re busted…you cheater…using a game genie? Really? Do you even game bro?
Damn right you cheated, we all did, we’re all guilty of it but the term “Nintendo hard” is a term for a reason…some games were hard as hell. Fortunately once you got tired of seeing the first few levels over and over, you could just plug this baby in and cheat your way to the top!
The game genie was that dirty little secret we all had back in the day, everyone liked it but denied ever using it (kinda like Nickelback fans) But when you were stuck in a game nothing was better than looking up the game in the code book and seeing “infinite lives”, “bosses die in one hit”, or “infinite continues”.
The game genie was a simple device that read the game rom, but allowed you to interfere with the code before the information reached the NES. You entered the codes from the main menu and poof! Infinite lives! The game genie was released in 1990 by codemasters and sold by camerica in Canada and galoob in the United States, and sold over 5 million units (even though nobody used it…cheaters and liars!!).
There were a few downsides to the game genie though, because it would put extra strain on the pins when depressed in the toaster NES’ it would bend the pins and over time some units wouldn’t work without the genie inserted. The top loader NES had a different problem, Nintendo desigined the opening so the genie wouldn’t fit but a converter was made available that solved the issue. The only downside to the converters was that they were made in very limited quantities at the end of the top loaders life cycle and are now quite difficult to find and are pricey if you can track one down.
The other problem wasn’t as major, the code book that was packed in only had codes for games released up until 1990, so for future games codemasters offered a paid service that would mail you new code books 4 times a year. Some newer codes were also released through game magazines like Nintendo power and gamepro featured in the ads for the game genie.
Another interesting function of the game genie was the ability to generate your own codes that may or may not change anything, but it was done at your own risk as the odd time random codes would destroy save game info or at the minimum, crashed the game. Nintendo also tried to stop the game genie from working by adding checksum routines to later games after losing a copyright lawsuit against galoob in the States, but codemasters just altered the next generation genies to hide the code patching from the checksum.
The game genie definitely saved a lot of frustration for a lot of us kids back in the days before the internet and walkthroughs unless you had a Nintendo power subscription. I know I would have never seen the endings to a few games without it *cough…karate kid…damn you LJN* The game genie gave us a fighting chance against the games that just seemed to be designed to frustrate the hell out of your 10 year old self…I guess it was supposed to be a lesson in learning patience, perseverance, and that life just isn’t fair….nah to hell with that I’m 10, I can learn all that later…today I want to see the next level in N.A.R.C so plug it in and cheat it up!…thanks game genie!!