Remember the Game Genie? If your formative gaming years involved cartridge based games then you almost certainly do. The Game Genie was a cartridge adapter that let you cheat when you stuck it into your console with the game.
When optical media came in, cheating on consoles had to be done by good old-fashioned cheat codes – tedious at best. Now, Game Genie is ready to make a comeback, in a new and exciting way. The latest incarnation works by way of the PS3’s USB port. You stick it into the port, transfer your saved games onto it, unplug it, plug it into your computer, alter your saved games, plug it back into your PS3 and you are good to go. Who was it that said that cheats never prosper?
The PS3 Game Genie is brought to us by a company called Hyperkin, and will be launched at next week’s E3. At the time of writing it allows users to cheat on Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Twisted Metal, Street Fighter X Tekken and Final Fantasy XIII-2 – a fairly lean list but one that will no doubt expand if the PS3 Game Genie takes off.
Right out of the box, the Game Genie looks good. Unlike cheat devices of the past that had to fit inside the proprietary ports of various gaming consoles, the Game Genie is simply a specialized thumb drive. Instead of looking like a plastic Wal-Mart-counter impulse-buy, though, Hyperkin’s drive has a sleek, orange, metal case that makes it look and feel substantial.
One thing that’s a bit annoying about the design of the Game Genie is that it has a little red light on the end of the stick. Obviously this light is there to tell the user that the device is working, but it’s unusually bright, and if you have it plugged in a dark room, it can be distracting. The metal casing also gets a bit toasty when the Genie has been plugged in too long, but neither of these issues is a huge detractor from the device as a whole.
Aesthetics aside, the in-box instructions tell the owner that step one is to install the Game Genie software. Even on my slow netbook, this process took about two minutes. Simply pop in the USB drive, run the Setup.exe file, and you’re on your way. As you can tell by the .exe extension, the Game Genie is only compatible with Windows, leaving Mac and Linux users out of luck.
The software itself is easy to use. Just copy a save of a supported game onto the Genie, boot the device in your computer, launch the software, and apply whatever cheats you’d like. One thing that makes this device different from last-gen cheat devices is that the cheats are applied online. The save is uploaded to the Game Genie server where the cheat is added, and then it’s downloaded back onto the USB drive. The original save is overwritten, but a copy is made on the computer’s hard drive, allowing users to reload their un-modified save anytime they want. It should also be noted that, through profile-reassignment in the software, players are easily able to transfer saves between consoles and even share them with friends.