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How did the Game Genie work anyway?

August 29, 2017 | By Bryant Francis

If you played any of the early game consoles from Nintendo and Sega, you were probably at least aware of the cheat-enabling Game Genie, a device that used passwords to modify certain games and “enhance” gameplay (translation: it let people cheat like crazy).

But how did the Game Genie work? Why did it use such odd passwords that didn’t seem to correlate to anything in gameplay? For those who have been dogged by those questions since the ‘90s, the YouTube channel Retro Game Mechanics uploaded a video today that should help shine light on this niche device. 

We've embedded the video up above for your viewing pleasure. It’s an interesting watch, in part because it highlights how a third-party manufacturer managed to take advantage of the limited (and predictable) capabilities of early consoles. And in particular, it also explains why the limited memory of those devices made it somewhat risky to use the Game Genie with certain games. 

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