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Game Genie and Action Replay cartridges
The Game Genie and Action Replay are devices that allow custom cheat codes to be enabled in various console games. Originally developed by Codemasters, Ltd. in the U.K., this technology is known as the Action Replay in Europe where it was distributed by Datel, and as the Game Genie in North America, where it was sold by Galoob.
System availability
Game Genie cartridges are available for the Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Nintendo Game Boy video game systems. Each platform requires its own version of the device. Action Replay cartridges were developed for Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Megadrive (Genesis), and Sega Master System.
Compatibility
For the most part, Game Genie codes can be used in an Action Replay and vice versa after a format conversion. However, this assumes that the same regional version of the game is being used on both systems. Since games are often modified when released in various world markets, most Action Replay codes correspond to European releases, while Game Genie codes correspond to North American or Japanese releases.

Note: The Action Replay has the added ability to modify RAM addresses, in addition to ROM addresses. It accomplishes this by inserting a subroutine which is activated on the "vertical blanking interrupt" of the screen display.


Function
As a game runs on a video game system, specific locations in the consoles RAM memory are used to hold important information, such as the number of lives remaining, shields, ammunition, current game level, etc. The GG/AR device is able to override the values in those memory locations, allowing the game to be played with unlimited lives, always full shields, unlimited ammunition, etc.

This capability is a distinct advantage, especially in games that don't have built-in cheat codes. A large number of games can now be mastered by using internal codes from the cartridge, or by entering custom codes found in magazines, 1-900 tip lines, or web sites such as this.