A few years ago, I realized that I had never finished a video game without some form of cheating. For a moment I was ashamed of myself. Upon further self-reflection, I realized who was really at fault: my Game Genie. Or maybe I could blame my mom for buying it in the first place.
Regardless whose fault it was, I realize now that it turned me into a video game pansy. In all my years of gaming, I was liable to chuck the controller and give up f there wasn’t a cheat for infinite lives.
In the days since I realized I was a video game invalid, I’ve challenged myself to fix my mistakes. The challenge was to replay all of my favorite NES classics without cheating. I see, now, why my mother purchased the Game Genie in the first place… NES games are hard, especially for a five-year-old.
Despite the fact that the cheat cartridge prevented me from reaching my gaming potential, I still think cheating in video games serves its purpose. Cheating and modding is just as popular today as it was in the early 90s.
While cheat codes certainly provide the benefit of simplistic gameplay, they allow players to access depths of game coding otherwise unavailable. Seeing familiar characters and settings behave in all new ways adds a new dimension to the game.
Although Game Genie produced cartridges for NES, SNES, Gameboy and several Sega consoles, I only owned the NES version. By attaching the Game Genie to the game cartridge and entering three Game Genie codes, I was unstoppable.
The Game Genie works by altering the game’s coding. Each Game Genie code triggered a different effect. Each cheat cartridge was accompanied by a cheat code book. Today, thanks to the Internet, websites serve as the most comprehensive source of Game Genie codes.
Although Game Genie died out with the Sega era, other cheating devices have picked up where the Game Genie left off. Today, players can use the Action Replay on Xbox 360 and Wii consoles. Game developers, however, are beginning to take adverse action against cheaters. In the era of online gaming, developers discourage cheating by disabling achievements and, in some cases, banning players.
While I’m now on the straight and narrow path, I admit that I occasionally pull out my old Game Genie. Who doesn’t like a blast from the past?
Speaking of blasts from the past, check out these retro Game Genie commercials, archived on YouTube:
Nintendo Game Genie Commerical
Old Video Game Commercial
Wikipedia: Game Genie
Wikipedia: Cheating in Video Games