In the past many gamers owned a Game Genie cheat system for their SNES or Playstation but in recent years a similar product just hasn't existed. Well now the Game Genie has returned in the form of a Playstation 3 save game editor.
"Jump Higher, Stay Bigger, and Live Forever!"
- An Old Game Genie Ad
But is there a place for the Game Genie in today's market?
Force Breaks the News on the New Game Genie
The Game Genie was known by many of it's owners as "The greatest cheating device ever" but by others it was known as the destroyer of fun. The truth is that games in the past were very difficult and sometimes the only way to see later levels was to cheat through the earlier ones - especially if you didn't have the time to learn to become better at the game.
However, modern titles seem to be much easier than their classical counterparts. Getting through most games is a breeze and can take only a few days to complete. So where does this leave cheat systems like the Game Genie?
Pictured Right: The Original Game Genie for the SNES.
Does Cheating Ruin a Game?
When it comes to using cheats in video games it's really up to the user as to whether it ruins or improves the game for them. Some people prefer the feeling of being overpowered and breezing through a game just to see a story but others value the challenge above all else.
There are an increasing number of mature age gamers who want to play long 90+ hour role playing games like Skyrim but because of work and family commitments they simply don't have the time for grinding out levels to progress their characters. For these people products like the Game Genie allow them to experience the story and end of games like this by cutting out some of the time required to progress.
Think of a game like Dark Souls. Dark Souls is easily one of the hardest titles on the PS3 today and beating the game requires a huge investment of time into learning enemy attack patterns and in gearing up your character. Many people who love this game simply don't have the time to invest in doing this but they still want to be able to beat the game at least once. The Game Genie is going to open up this game to people that otherwise couldn't experience it.
But does taking away the challenge remove the heart of the game? In the end it's up to you to decide.
How Does this Affect Achievements?
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PSN_logo_color_trans.pngAcheivement hunters take their job very seriously - I know a couple of people who try to get a gold trophy on every single PS3 game they play and this is a big thing for them. A cheat system like the Game Genie has the potential to ruin the entire achievement system by making it a non-issue to get the hardest achievements in games.
Anytime someone gets a 'cheivo' after a product like this is on the market there is going to be a cloud of doubt over whether they got it legitimately or not. This can ruin the entire system for many people.
This is a serious issue for a product like this and the only real solution is for Game Genie to work with Sony so that they can disable achievements on games where the cheats have been used.
But will Sony embrace third party cheating and save game editing on their console? Will this cause more issue in the future?
[UPDATE] Thankfully it looks like the device will disable 'most achievements' on games where it is used. However, there still remains the concern that players will be able to create a workaround for this.
Can the Game Genie Unlock On-Disc DLC?
On-disc DLC is a terrible practice and people are wondering whether the Game Genie will have the capabilities to work around the blocks on content that is already on the disc. Game Genie has come out and said that the device will not be able to do this and that they do not support this sort of functionality.
However, there is a good chance that someone will be hacking the product to do this, it's simply a case of reprogramming the device to edit save games in a way that unlocks blocked content. This should be relatively simple too, given that the device has a USB connection.
Hopefully, this does not have the potential to cause classifications issues in countries where content has been blocked for a reason, however. Such an issue could cause games that have been allowed to pass classification to be denied because the ability to access such content still exists.
Will the Game Genie Be Coming to the Xbox 360 and Other Consoles?
No announcement has been made yet as to whether the Game Genie will be released for other consoles like the Xbox 360 or the Wii. The potential certainly exists as both consoles feature USB connectivity, which is all the system needs in terms of hardware for such a device to be produced.
The real issue here is whether Microsoft or Nintendo will be willing to work with Game Genie to allow the device to be produced (mostly in terms of not banning users for using such a device). Microsoft has a good history of working with third party developers on peripherals but they have also been historically harsh on people attempting to modify software on their console. Nintendo is less likely to co-opoerate given their history of exclusivity and their hesitance to allow any third party peripherals to be produced.
The question is still up the air as of now but I will be sure to report back if any more details are announced.
Release Date - July 17 2012
The Game Genie will be available in stores and online through sites like Amazon from the 17th onwards. You can pick it up for around $30. Just make sure to think whether cheating is for you first!