Game Genie – Gaming Historian
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Game Genie – Gaming Historian

August 27, 2019

Subtitles by The DialMan. Fixed and corrected by Alfie Moon. Welcome to the Gaming Historian. Cheating in videogames everyone’s tried it at some point in their life. Whether is for extra lifes in Contra or to jump higher in Super Mario Brothers. Players use cheats to help them get through a game or just to experience it a whole new way. Cheating has been around almost as long as videogames have. Early cheat codes were mostly used to assist developers, and play testers of the game. Soon game designers were purposely adding them into games for players to discover. Most early cheats needed a pass code entered such as the infamous Konami Code. But there also exists cheat cartridges which would plug into a game console and modify the game’s data. several of these existed, but probably the most well known device was the Game Genie. Of course they wouldn’t admit it was a cheat device it was marketed as a “videogame enhancer” and that players could “unlock the power of their favorite videogames”. but most kids, including myself called it the cheat device. Anytime we got stuck on a game we just fired up the Game Genie and it was smooth sailing from there. The Game Genie was developed by a UK based company known as Codemasters. Back in the NES days they where known for developing unlicensed games like this Quattro Adventures cart. Originally known as the Power Pak the Game Genie was licensed to Camerica for release in Canada and Galoob Toys for the United States. It was at this time that Nintendo got involved and took legal action against both companies to prevent the device from being released in North America. We’il begin with Camerica. Camerica was a small canadian videogame company mostly known for releasing Codemasters unlicensed games. When they where preparing to release the Game Genie Nintendo quickly sued *judge hammer sound* saying the device infringed on their copyright. the case was quickly dismissed in courts, and Camerica soon released the Game Genie in Canada running full page ads stating: “Thank you Canada” Many eager gamers imported the device from canada while the release was delayed in the United States. Then there was Galoob Toys. Galoob produced some of the most popular toy lines in the 80’s and 90’s including Pound Puppies and Micro Machines. at one point they were the 3rd largest toy company behind Mattel and Hasbro. When Galoob secured the license to the Game Genie Nintendo claims they approached them about getting it officially endorsed by them. Galoob denies that this happened nevertheless Nintendo took legal action against Galoob. *judge hammer sound* Howard Lincoln Nintendo’s vice president and legal experts said: Galoob’s vice president Steven Klein thought differently so what did the court decide? district court judge Fern Smith sided with Galoob, in a decision that addressed 2 main issues. 1st: that when customers use the Game Genie to temporarily alter copyrighted Nintendo videogames for their own enjoyment, they do not create a derivative work. for those wondering a derivative work is an artistic or literary work derived from 1 or more existing works. an example would be if i…took this lovely picture and drew googly eyes on it. Nintendo argued that the Game Genie was a derivative work and therefore violated the copyright act. The court disagreed. The court concluded that the inherent concept of a derivative work is that it be able to exist on its own in a separate form. But the Game Genie does not meet that definition. 2nd: that the doctrine of Fair Use enables consumers to use Game Genie for their personal enjoyment and therefore allows the Game Genie to be sold. If the player purchased the Nintendo game he was protected under Fair Use to modify the game for his own pleasure. Galoob emerged victorious! and soon after release the Game Genie. Camerica wanted to concentrate on other projects and knowing Galoob was a much bigger company sold their rights to Galoob. Most people including myself have the Galoob Game Genie but if you have the Camerica version congrats! they’re a bit harder to find. Now let’s take a look at the Game Genie itself. it’s pretty simple to use, you just plug the game you want to play into the cartridge here and then plug the Game Genie into the Nintendo. When you power up the console a code screen will appear so bust out your code book, or hop on the internet enter all the codes you want. So how does this thing work? well i’m not engineer or anything but here’s the easiest way i can explain it. Basically the Game Genie interupted communication between the chips inside the game, and the chips inside the NES. Let’s say you’re playing Super Mario Bros. with an infinite lives code entered into the Game Genie. imagine you die by running into this goomba the game chip will send a signal saying:”this player has 2 lives left.” the Game Genie will take that and modify it to say:”This player has 3 lives left.” then send the data on his way thus you never run out of lives. A code book came with every Game Genie containing codes for various games. One interesting thing you can do is program your own codes. Galoob encourage players to try it out, by including a small guide in their code books. it’s pretty cool because you can do all sorts of crazy things with your games. Game Genie codes only lasted as long as the system power was turned on. so if a code made your game look crazy you can just turn the system off and on to try again. This book doesn’t have every NES game, so how did Galoob provide codes for new games? well in the back of the code book you could subscribe to Game Genie code updates Every year you get 4 new code books with the latest games. You know reading this code book is like taking a trip back to the early 90’s. Galoob were a little paragraph about each game that’s in this code book and it’s fun to read what they said. Megaman 3 says:”Check out the radical codes for the awesome Megaman 3.” Now a lot of people have asked me if the Game Genie works on the NES 2? well…not out of the box… if you tried it, it would probably get stuck. Did Nintendo design the NES 2 in a way so that the Game Genie wouldn’t fit? Well…maybe. Nevertheless Galoob did design an adaptor so that the Game Genie would fit safely into the NES 2. Now if you thought the NES 2 was hard to find, this adaptor is even harder. It was made in limited quantities at the end of the console’s life. Besides the original Game Genie there were versions for the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, and Game Gear. Sega made it an officially licensed product probably to win over some gamers after Nintendo took Galoob to court. By 1997 the Super Nintendo was on the outs, and the Game Genie was officially discontinued. In 1998 Hasbro announced it was purchasing Galoob for 220 million dollars. The Game Genie is important for several reasons. Galoob vs Nintendo was an important case of intelectual property in what constituted Fair Use in the videogame industry. The Game Genie also played a big part in making cheat devices more popular and user friendly. Today you got the Code Breaker, Action Replay, and GameShark for various systems. That’s all for this episode of the Gaming Historian. Thanks For Watching.

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  1. We should thank you for making these videos and helping us recall those old pleasant memories. Despite of having new gen. 3d games, those bit graphics will always be at top of our heartly memories. Old is always gold and watching them again provides a peaceful time in today's stressed life. So, continue adding new videos of old things

  2. I accidentally came across a camerica game genie complete in the box, it was back when I first got into collecting, and i wanted a game genie so i went to eBay, got it, and didn't learn until awhile later that I'd bought something considered rare, it wasn't being sold as anything special, and I didn't even know there were two game genies. Although once i learned this I began to realize most online videos of the code book differed from my own book, proving to me I had something different, aside from the Camerica name on the box.

  3. Why does Nintendo care about how people play their games or even cheat on them. They made a sale and that should be where it ends. No they want to dictate everything even if it doesnt really harm them.

  4. Any plans to do a “Part 2” of this video? This history of Game Genie did not end where this video left off. There was a Game Genie for the Nintendo DS. There was a version for PS3, and also at least two versions for PS4. True, these were technically a little different because rather than being hardware, they were software products designed to help you modify the game by editing the game save file, but as I understand it, they were designed by the same people. I’d love to know more.

  5. Actually it doesn't alter the amount of "lives". It's in the memory that lives inside the NES. Instead it patches the code to never decrement them. Theprocessor executes the code, and gets every instruction of the cart rom. Game Genie filters the traffic and does the replacement.

  6. This brings me back! I loved my Game Genie because I could finally get past the first few levels of hard games. I still use the codes on my emulators. Lol

  7. Hey speed up your intro song to 160 bpm and lower the effects to make it sound better. Great videos man. I still watch all your stuff.

  8. I remember throwing a fucking tantrum in toys r us for my mom to buy me one of these. Got home and she told dad, who commenced to busting my ass

  9. For me, I used to use Game Genie to put new life into my old games that I was tired of playing. Plus it made some super hard games much easier to just jump back into and have some fun with it instead of getting frustrated which wasn't fun. But also helped when I rented a game, I knew I at least had a way to complete it and get my rental money's worth out of it since a weekend was not enough time to practice and get guuud

  10. Only after finishing the game properly I use cheats. Thats when I come back at those places that had made me pull my hair out and scream in agony and destroy them with cheats. It's orgasmic to say the least !

  11. The way the device worked was like this: it will copy the all the ROM data where the ASM code of the game was stored in its RAM chip, then proceed to modify its content with the codes the user input. The NES will load the modified ASM code from the RAM chip of the device instead of the original cartridge…

  12. Thank you for the video. I was making my own codes for games in emulators so I need to know how Game Genie, Action Replay, and Game Shark worked. Documentation seems hard to come by for these devices.

  13. I had the game genie for the NES and Sega. I wish I was older when I had them so I could of used them to their full potential. I also had game shark for the playstation

  14. I must of some how got the Canadian version some how, because I swear I got this thing in the late 80s. No way that this thing launched at the same times as the SNES…

  15. I got the gameboy game genie I hacked Pokémon red so I have a completed Pokédex and have all Pokémon’s like missingno.

  16. Game Genie brings back memories, I never had one but we would go over a buddies house, be amazed on using cheat codes for the first time ever to beat an almost impossible level! Back then this was common place because the NES games were that UNFORGIVING in some titles.

    The Genie logo is forever embedded in my head, a great marketing tool.

  17. There also existed a Famicom version of the Game Genie, sold by Realtec, but that too is also a rarity.

  18. the copy right law sucks it's just a law that a bunch of rich corporate jerks fight one another with you took my name no you took my name and the small man that the law was made for in the first place get bulldozed with it.

  19. Video game history. Makes you wonder if; 100 years from now, there will be scholarships and "Game PHDs" earned & awarded for scholarly video gaming research?

    That part about the attorney saying the Genie thing makes games less fun could not be true. I have always tried to augment or modify my gaming experience with such methods. It just seems more fun to make it my own. Besides, I tried those old school NES games on the Classic. They all seem to be mega-difficult, antiquated to the nth-degree, and if you do manage to finish, all you get is some lame "Good job, now play again…" ending.

  20. Maybe they made the game genie not fit because they didn’t want people to cheat in games on the nes two

  21. The game genie arrived in Chile, they passed the commercial here, it arrived in Santiago (the capital), but I never knew if it came with the code book or it was separate. What's more, I had no idea I had a pass code book.

  22. So cool to see your video! I remember when I got the GG and how it breathed new life into so many of my NES Games. A few of my favorite games to use the GG on were Super Mario 3, River City Ransom, Ninja Gaiden 2 and (lol) enabled me to finally beat frigging Top gun as well as a few others. Thank you for making and sharing this!

  23. Fuck, that box brings back memories
    Edit: and why ya gotta go hit me with the Final Fantasy map music from the SNES

  24. 6DAA-776D <- my favorite game genie code of all time, I still remember it after all these years. They should bring back the game genie for non-online/competitive games. It makes the replay value of games a lot better.

  25. Had the Game Genie for my nes and it wouldn't work, everytime I turned it on I would get a flashing screen and I had the first model of the nes.

  26. Regarding the Game Genie for SNES, I had one and it worked perfectly on my SNES. However, later on, my sister got an SNES and it would not work on that version. I'm assuming Nintendo "fixed" it so it would not work. Any ideas or information on that?

  27. First codes I plugged into this thing were so that I could play as the boss characters in Street Fighter 2, prior to Champion Edition. It didn't work for long, but if you made it through a complete round you felt pretty awesome.

  28. This guy is like a host you would find on a random PBS show in the 80s explaining how plants grow or some Shit …

  29. In my memory my NES accepted cartridges by inserting them at first as is shown here but then you pushed downwards and the tray would be pushed down into the machine. Am I going batshit crazy or does anyone have a clue what I'm on about?

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