[NSFW] The Game Genie Conspiracy

Reviewing the game The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy made me think of something. I have to assume everyone reading this has at least a basic knowledge of the way the Game Genie works. You insert a game into the Genie, then insert them both together into the NES. Instead of the game starting as normal, you're first given the option to enter up to three codes (or, wishes?), taken from the Genie's manual. Then you start the game, with the cheat codes applied.

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davincicodeThat is so fake! The NES isn’t even plugged in!

Reviewing the game The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy made me think of something.

I have to assume everyone reading this has at least a basic knowledge of the way the Game Genie works. You insert a game into the Genie, then insert them both together into the NES. Instead of the game starting as normal, you’re first given the option to enter up to three codes (or, wishes?), taken from the Genie’s manual. Then you start the game, with the cheat codes applied.

Perhaps for many hardcore gamers, the use of the Game Genie is taboo. There are two schools of thought regarding the issue. Some people think it’s a great invention that helps a game to achieve its full potential. The purists, on the other hand, maintain that it exploits the game and destroys the true intent of the developers. They think it ruins the game.

I loved my Game Genie. But I have to admit that using it is pretty much Nintendo rape. There’s no way around it. The door to the NES is forced open against its will and cannot be shut. The elongated cartridge is inserted all the way in though almost double the length of an ordinary game. And the NES is forced to give up all of its secrets and mysteries to a selfish player for his sick pleasure. Even the words “Game Genie” rhyme with “forced unprotected sex.”

2008-08-24_Aladdin_GenieAll aboard the goatee ride!

But this is not a review of the Game Genie. I am simply a messenger. When I was writing my review of The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy, I did a little research into Codemasters, and the difficulty levels of the games they made. While the game I reviewed was fantastic, another Dizzy NES game is much more difficult and poorly made. I am referring to Treasure Island Dizzy.

Unlike Fantastic Dizzy, Treasure Island Dizzy has sub-par graphics, no damage system whatsoever, and only one life. For all intents and purposes, Treasure Dizzy is impossible to beat on its own. One mistake or wrong move sends the player back to the title screen. With all the trial and error needed to beat this game, it’s a disaster. I am not even going to try to review Treasure Dizzy. The game is just fucked. I wanted to know why.

dizzy gameplayTreasure Island Dizzy.

A clue about the correlation between Dizzy and the Game Genie came to me when I remembered the original Game Genie TV spot. Don’t ask me how I remembered.

Aside from being totally rad, did you notice anything else about the commercial? Did you notice the game footage they showed? I saw Big Nose the Caveman (alternate title: Bignose the Blatant Sonic the Hedgehop Rip-off) and none other than Dizzy! Those are both Codemasters games. Sure they mentioned Double Dragon, Mario, and others, but they only showed footage from those particular two games. Why would Codemasters allow their games to be used to advertise a product used solely for cheating?

I needed to confirm my suspicion, so I checked the only place that has all the answers: Wikipedia.

I didn’t have to look very far. The first sentence of the Game Genie Wikipedia page:

The Game Genie is a series of cheat systems designed by Codemasters and sold by Camerica and Galoob…

…cleva girl!!

So let me get this straight: The company making these impossible games—thus necessitating the use of the Game Genie—is also the one making the Game Genie itself. That is some Scanner Darkly shit. For me, that is a step away from selling a game with a key component missing, like the ability to jump, then later releasing the “jump” button as a separate purchase. Now this whole thing is starting to sound more familiar and common. DLC anyone?

Now I totally understand the rationale behind challenging games. The difficulty stretches the longevity of gameplay. They were made difficult on purpose to keep the player trying over and over again. Moreover, some were direct ports of arcade games, which are made to be frustratingly difficult with one simple purpose in mind: getting you to insert that next quarter. Without a save system, though, even The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy needs the extra push of the Game Genie to fully enjoy (i.e., beat) it.

Codemasters even got into some litigation with Nintendo over the Game Genie. The big “N” was totally against the idea of their baby being “raped.” I have no idea why. Nintendo eventually lost the battle. Interestingly, Sega fully condoned the Genie for its consoles, with the contingency that games with save features would not be compatible with it. Go figure.

Further proof that Dizzy and Genie were made for each other: the gold color of both Dizzy games matches the Genie’s perfectly.

IMG_1376See?

Is that the Game Genie, or the missing half of the Dizzy game? It looks like it was made from the same exact material! It tells me that the makers wanted you to feel like these two belonged together. But hey, at least there isn’t any other proof that the makers of Game Genie also made Dizzy

4263583…oh.

And what the fuck is this? Are they even trying to hide the fact that they made both game and game-cheating device? They started making the Dizzy games by using the same molding as the Game Genie? Really? Shameless.

Finally, certain versions of the Dizzy games were put on “the Aladdin cart.”

dizzy-v2-3bBecause this has nothing to do with a Genie.

Magicland_Dizzy_Coverart…and neither does this.

So with this evidence, I argue that beating certain games with the Game Genie was the original intent of the developers all along. After all is said and done, whatever Codemasters tried to pull regarding this conspiracy, it pretty much worked. Children were sold on the totally rad Game Genie commercials with totally tubular ’90s kids looking into the camera with a fishbowl lens. (The television exploding helped, too.) They were even able to beat all those impossible games that they never could before. In the end, it is not very different from what developers are doing today. I might even say that it’s a victimless crime.

Wish granted, Codemasters.

5 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 105 votes, average: 8.20 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)
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About the Contributor


From 2011 to 2013

11 Comments

  1. Why do ancient business conspiracies of the videogame world bother you? There was all kinds of shit like this back in the day…

  2. I did not know that! Codemasters and Camerica behind the Game Genie; the very same names on every credits screen from Quattro Adventure (Super Adventure Quests in Europe)… The evidence was there the whole time, staring me in the face!

  3. @ meteo- “Ancient” anything of the videogame world is interesting to me. This particular business practice struck me as hilarious. So I shared it.

    @ matt- I know right!

  4. I knew Codemasters was behind the Game Genie and that they made games and that their games were very hard. I never actually considered the possible business side of that though, that it was intentional to sell game genies. Interesting stuff.
    Wait… I just noticed something else that’s weird. You autograph all your photoshops like some kind of digital bob ross.

  5. @Christian- You noticed my autographs! It’s all part of my sick humor. The pics are half-ass and would never ever be stolen because they are terrible. Hence, I sign them.

  6. What is “93% CRASH SMASH”? Did CodeMasters crash the stock market? I had the Gold Dizzy cart, and also a Game Genie. I remember my mom getting rid of the genie, claiming that it potentially “damaged TVs and consoles”. I do remember trying to use my friend’s black Pac Man cart, which was not shaped like your typical grey cart. The door snapped off, and he was PISSED, but I don’t think this is why my mom took it away from me.

    I’m trying to remember if I used the genie on the Dizzy game. I guess I didn’t find it interesting enough to play.

    Best part of the game genie for me was creating your own cheat codes by experimenting with the hex. My bro and I created Stone Mario. He was invincible, grey, and small, but couldn’t go down pipes, like a stone! Eventually, we got to a point where you must go down pipes, and thus we failed. There were also some handicap cheats (hinderences). Some are just rediuclous though, like the one for Contra that prohibits you from shooting.

  7. Very excellent reporting, by the way. I never even considered such a conspiracy. Anything of interest with the Game Shark? I’ve never even seen one, knew anyone that had one, nor do I know how it work (I guess I can wiki it)

  8. @ mark

    I own the gameshark for n64. Truly remarkable device. Same concept as the game genie. It has a phisical button that actually activates the changes. While on my “finding Luigi” crusades, I hacked the shit out of Super Mario 64 resulting in some horrifying results. I created a nightmare land….. Still haunts me

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