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GameShark is the brand name of a line of video game cheat cartridges and other products for a variety of console video game systems and Windows-based computers. Currently, the brand name is owned by Mad Catz, which marketed GameShark products for the Sony PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo game consoles. Players load cheat codes from GameShark discs or cartridges onto the console's internal or external memory, so that when the game is loaded, the selected cheats can be applied.

GameShark 2.2 (top), Pro 3.0 (left), and Pro 3.3's added SharkLink port (right)

A GameShark was released for the Nintendo 64 in late August 1997.[4] The Nintendo 64 GameShark was the most popular cheating device available for the system, becoming popular after well-known titles such as GoldenEye 007 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were released. Because of the complex nature of these games, there were many aspects of them which could be modified to produce unique effects. For example, unused content was discovered such as a distant tower on the "Dam" level of GoldenE

When the original GameShark was released, it came with 4,000 preloaded codes. Codes could be entered, but unlike the Game Genie, codes were saved in the onboard flash memory and could be accessed later rather than having to be reentered. The cartridges also acted as memory cards, with equal or greater storage capacity to the consoles' first party memory cards.[1] It was originally released for the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation consoles in January 1996.[2] It was a runner-up for Electronic Gaming Monthly's Best Peripheral of 1996 (behind the Saturn analog controller).[3] Models for the PlayStation had an Explorer option that allowed gamers to access most PlayStation disc files, and it was possible to view FMV files stored on the CD. The later models of the GameShark also had a Use Enhancement Disc option. The Enhancement Disc, which InterAct sold for $4.95, allowed users to upgrade the GameShark and add codes to the code list from the disc. Only a few examples of these Upgrade CDs were known to have been published.

The PlayStation GameShark had the following standard features: View Video Image, which allowed users to see the last image stored in the PlayStation's Video RAM, View CD Image, which allowed a user to search the game CD for image files, Play Music, which would play the CD audio, and View CD Movie, a function that allowed a user to view FMV (full motion video) files found on the disc. Also included was the option to use an Enhancement CD in order to upgrade the GameShark and add new codes found on the disc.

GameShark Pro

The GameShark Pro series contained a feature that allowed players to find their own codes. During gameplay, the user presses a button on the device to open a code search menu. Finding code is done by searching memory locations either for specific values or for values that have changed in a certain way (increased, decreased, not changed, etc.) since the last search. After the first search, subsequent searches only look at memory locations that match the specified criteria from the last search. By performing multiple searches the list of matching locations is gradually reduced. Once the list is reasonably small the user must determine which of the found locations is the correct one by modifying them one at a time and seeing what effect it has on the game.

In some games, the resulting code may only work in one level or it may cause problems in other parts of the game due to memory locations being dynamically assigned. In these cases, the user has two options: attempt to locate a pointer to the data block that their code is attempting to modify or change the game's programming which is usually located at the same place every time. If a pointer is found, and the device supports it, a new code can be made which determines the correct location to modify from the pointer. If the device does not support pointers the game programming must be changed instead. Generally, the user must use external tools to find the code that accesses this data. If the code is reading from memory it may be changed to read a constant value; if it is writing, it may be changed to not perform the write. These changes may not have the same overall effects as when actually modifying the game's

The PlayStation GameShark had the following standard features: View Video Image, which allowed users to see the last image stored in the PlayStation's Video RAM, View CD Image, which allowed a user to search the game CD for image files, Play Music, which would play the CD audio, and View CD Movie, a function that allowed a user to view FMV (full motion video) files found on the disc. Also included was the option to use an Enhancement CD in order to upgrade the GameShark and add new codes found on the disc.

The GameShark Pro series contained a feature that allowed players to find their own codes. During gameplay, the user presses a button on the device to open a code search menu. Finding code is done by searching memory locations either for specific values or for values that have changed in a certain way (increased, decreased, not changed, etc.) since the last search. After the first search, subsequent searches only look at memory locations that match the specified criteria from the last search. By performing multiple searches the list of matching locations is gradually reduced. Once the list is reasonably small the user must determine which of the found locations is the correct one by modifying them one at a time and seeing what effect it has on the game.

In some games, the resulting code may only work in one level or it may cause problems in other parts of the game due to memory locations being dynamically assigned. In these cases, the user has two options: attempt to locate a In some games, the resulting code may only work in one level or it may cause problems in other parts of the game due to memory locations being dynamically assigned. In these cases, the user has two options: attempt to locate a pointer to the data block that their code is attempting to modify or change the game's programming which is usually located at the same place every time. If a pointer is found, and the device supports it, a new code can be made which determines the correct location to modify from the pointer. If the device does not support pointers the game programming must be changed instead. Generally, the user must use external tools to find the code that accesses this data. If the code is reading from memory it may be changed to read a constant value; if it is writing, it may be changed to not perform the write. These changes may not have the same overall effects as when actually modifying the game's code. For example, a user may disable the routine that causes the player character to lose health when touched by enemies, only to find that health is still lost from other hazards.

A GameShark was released for the Nintendo 64 in late August 1997.[4] The Nintendo 64 GameShark was the most popular cheating device available for the system, becoming popular after well-known titles such as GoldenEye 007 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were released. Because of the complex nature of these games, there were many aspects of them which could be modified to produce unique effects. For example, unused content was discovered such as a distant tower on the "Dam" level of GoldenEye 007.

The Nintendo 64 GameShark Pro featured an in-game code search menu. Versions 3.1, 3.2 & 3.3 had a parallel port on the back, allowing the device to be connected to a PC with a program called SharkLink. This was intended primarily to make entering a large number of codes easier but was also used for advanced hacking. The in-game code search required that an Expansion Pak be installed and that the game did not actively use the Pak for memory.

The Nintendo 64 GameShark also bypasses the console's regional lockout, allowing games from any region to be played on the same unit.[5]

PlayStation GameShark Pro

With the introduction of the 9000 model of the PlayStation, the parallel port was removed. This had been the only way to use the GameShark, as it plugged directly into that port. InterAct then created a GameShark that did not need it. The GameShark CDX came with a boot CD along with a card resembling a standard memory card, which stored the codes. Even though the CDX could be upgraded, it is not known if InterAct created an upgrade for the CDX. The CDX is not compatible with either PS2 system.

GameShark 2

The GameShark 2 was very much like the CDX Ga

With the introduction of the 9000 model of the PlayStation, the parallel port was removed. This had been the only way to use the GameShark, as it plugged directly into that port. InterAct then created a GameShark that did not need it. The GameShark CDX came with a boot CD along with a card resembling a standard memory card, which stored the codes. Even though the CDX could be upgraded, it is not known if InterAct created an upgrade for the CDX. The CDX is not compatible with either PS2 system.

GameShark 2

The

The GameShark 2 was very much like the CDX Game Shark that came out for the original PlayStation, but for the PlayStation 2. It even included features that could only be found on the GameShark Pro, but like the CDX Game Shark that came out for the original PlayStation, codes could be saved to a memory card, one which resembled that came with the CDX version. It was released the Fall of 2000 and included a CD-only Game Shark 2 for the original PlayStation 2 containing over 14,000 codes.

GameShark for Game Boy

GameShark products have been released for the following platforms:

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