Game Genie for Nintendo Entertainment System (Galoob)
|The Game Genie is a line of cheat systems originally designed by Codemasters and sold by Camerica and Galoob. The first device in the series was released in 1990 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, with subsequent devices released for the Super NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, and Game Gear. All the devices temporarily modify game data, allowing the player to cheat, manipulate various aspects of games and sometimes access unused assets and functions. Five million units of the original Game Genie products were sold worldwide, and most video game console emulators feature Game Genie support. Emulators that have Game Genie support also allow a near-unlimited number of codes to be entered whereas the actual products have a much smaller limit that usually tops between three and six codes.
The original Game Genies were pass-through devices that attached between a cartridge and the console. Upon starting the console, the player is prompted enter a series of characters referred to as a "code" or several such series that reference addresses in the ROM of the cartridge. Each code contains an integer value that is read by the system in place of the data actually present on the cartridge.
Because the Game Genie patches the program code of a game, the codes are sometimes referred to as patch codes. These codes can have a variety of effects. Most published codes give the player some form of invulnerability, infinite ammunition, level skipping, or other modifications that allow the player to be more powerful than intended by the developers. In rare cases, codes can make the game more difficult or even unlock hidden game features that developers had scrapped and rendered unreachable in normal play.
The Game Genie sold with a booklet of codes for use with various games available for the system. However, new codes continued to be developed and new games were released after these booklets were published. To address this, Galoob created a paid subscription service where subscribers would receive quarterly code updates. In addition, Galoob also ran ads in certain gaming publications, such as GamePro, that featured codes for newer games.
To create new codes, it is possible to enter random codes into a Game Genie. This evolutionary approach is equivalent to using random POKE operations. Usually, entering random codes will result in no noticeable change in the game or freezing the game and possibly corrupting save data, but a useful difference may appear in the game if this process is repeated many times. One must write down the random codes for each attempt because there is no method to view the codes after starting the game. Once a useful code is discovered, making slight modifications to this code has a much higher probability of producing additional useful codes. With ROM files, emulators, and decompilers for these games and systems, it has become possible to reverse engineer games to find specific ROM data to modify. This information can be directly converted into Game Genie codes.
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