Game Genie

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The Genesis version.

A runtime Game Enhancer which can modify ROM addresses and was developed by Codemasters. The manipulation of ROM can lead to cheats or accessing previously unused assets. It is the first cheat device to use encryption. In the United States the first generation of devices was distributed by Camerica and Galoob.

The first Game Genie to be sold was the NES version. Five million units of the original Game Genie were sold worldwide. Modern-day emulators allow the use of unlimited amounts of Game Genie codes whereas the original Game Genie devices topped between three and six codes at once.

Code Book

Game Genies came packaged with a book full of codes. There were several re-releases of these books that would come with the product which included codes from games released after the systems first launch. It was also possible to purchase a codebook subscription which would get you quarterly codebook updates. These minibooks would include codes for the newest game releases. Some of these codes were also sent to gaming magazines and published in their cheat code pages.

The portable versions of Game Genie would have a small opening in the cartridge to insert codebooks which contain the cheat codes.


The first Game Genie to be released was for the NES. It was met with strong opposition by Nintendo and it was prevented from being distributed in the US as a lawsuit was underway. The case was called Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc..

It was sold openly in Canada with Galoob placing "Thank You Canada" in their ads. When Nintendo lost the lawsuit it was finally released in the US. Before the lawsuit was filed Galoob offered to make the Game Genie an officially liscensed product but was turned down by Nintendo. Nintendo tried other methods to thwart the Game Genie, such as using ROM checksums in later titles to detect cheat modifications. This was partially successful but some could be bypassed with additional codes. Later versions of the Game Genie had the ability to hide Genie modifications from checksum routines.

It was then released for SNES, Genesis, Gameboy, and Game Gear. Sega fully endorsed the Game Genie on all it's system. It was available for all it's current systems and one was in development for Sega CD. One of Sega's requirements for being on the system was that it would be incompatible with games that require a save feature. It could wipe saves of such games if the console was turned on while the Game Genie was inserted.

Game Genie 2

The Game Genie 2 was in the works in 1993. The Game Genie 2 was to store codes on the device itself and not require codes to be re-entered each time the system is powered on. It would also have code searching features similar to the Pro Action Replay. The code creation method would be different. Instead of using a trainer there were buttons on the cartridge itself that must be pressed at certain times. For example, if the player had 3 lives then a certain button would need to be presed 3 times. After a life is lost another button would be pressed 2 times. This would be continued until the code was found.[1]

The production of the Game Genie was held off for the 1993 holiday season as the there was not adequate time to market and distribute it nationally across the US. A change in Galoob's upper management lead to the Game Genie 2 being put on permanent hold.

Hyperkin version

At CES 2012, a company named Hyperkin announced that they were going to bring back the Game Genie for the DS/DS Lite/DSi/DSi XL/3DS, Wii, PS3, and PSP along with a new device called Save Guru. The PSP and Wii versions were never released, but videos of the Wii version leaked. The DS Game Genie uses codes and the PS3 version edits game saves.

External Links

  • Game Genie Helper (a small tool for exploring/creating gg codes for the NES) By Cyperium.

Game Genie Helper can be useful to change codes or to know what opcode the values represent, with this tool you can easily add codes, change codes, and explore them in various ways. It also features a old-school Game Genie layout which you can use either with the mouse or keyboard. You can also change the codes by editing the address, compare and value, or by selecting a opcode from a list.

The source is included.

Game Genie
Game Boy - Game Gear - NES - Genesis - Super Nintendo - Sega CD (Cancelled)
DS/DSi/3DS - PSP (Cancelled) - Wii (Cancelled) - PlayStation 3