GameShark and Pro Action Replay
The GameShark and Pro Action Replay are devices that allow custom
cheat codes to be enabled in various console games. Originally
developed by Datel Design and Development, Ltd.
in the U.K., this technology is known as the Pro Action Replay
in Europe, while it was originally distributed by InterAct Accessories
as the GameShark in North America. The GameShark brand was subsequently
sold to MadCatz, Inc. in
January of 2003. The enhanced version of the European Nintendo
64 Pro Action Replay is sold as the Equalizer
by Datel. You can also find more information on our GameShark message board.
GS/PAR cartridges are available for the Sony PlayStation
and PlayStation2, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn and Nintendo Game Boy
video game systems. Each system requires their own version of
the device. The Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn versions plug into
the cartridge port on the top of the console. The Sony PlayStation
version plugs into the high-speed parallel port on the back of
the console. The GameShark may be used with a Game Boy Color,
if its software version is 2.1 or higher.
The Sega Dreamcast and newer PlayStation models require a GameShark
CDX, which is a hardware/software combination, with a special
memory card and a disc that contains the program and codes.
For the most part, GameShark codes can be used in a
Pro Action Replay and vice versa. 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 Pro Action Replay codes correspond to European releases,
while GameShark codes correspond to North American or Japanese
releases. Thus, Pro Action Replay codes for European version of
Manx TT on the Sega Saturn can be used in any GameShark or Pro
Action Replay cartridge if that version of the game is being played
in that machine. However, those same codes in that same machine
will not work if the U.S. version of Manx TT is in the console.
Note: The PlayStation version of the GS/PAR cannot boot foreign
games. A "mod" chip must be installed to accomplish
this before playing such titles. The Sega Saturn version of the
GS/PAR will load foreign titles if X + Y + Z
is pressed when selecting the "Start Game Without Enhancements"
option. The Nintendo 64 version of the GameShark automatically
functions as a pass-through and negates the physical differences
in foreign cartridges.
The Sega Dreamcast GameShark CDX can be used to play import games
in U.S. systems. Full information can be found at here,
at Joe Endy's web site.
If you're familiar with the Game Genie
or Action Replay cartridges used
in the 8-bit or 16-bit video game systems, then you already understand
the concept of the GameShark and Pro Action Replay. 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 GS/PAR 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.
Recent Nintendo 64 games, starting with Diddy Kong
Racing, 1080° Snowboarding, and Yoshi's Story, are capable
of blocking standard GameShark codes. A blank screen will appear
if these titles are used with an older GameShark. A special "Keycode"
feature has been added to Nintendo 64 GameSharks that are at least
The Keycode menu can be accessed on such cartridges by pressing
L + R at the main GameShark menu. The menu allows
preset codes or newly defined codes to be selected. Once the appropriate
codes have been selected, the Nintendo 64 console must be powered
off to allow the GameShark to switch to the Keycode mode. When
the system is turned back on, the game will start with the cheat
features enabled. When the Nintendo 64 is powered off after game
play, the GameShark will revert to standard mode. Complete details
for this procedure are outlined in the GameShark instruction manual.
Note: Different versions of the GameShark higher than version
1.8 exist. Each requires different Keycodes for each set of games.
InterAct Accessories will upgrade
your older GameShark to be Keycode compatible free of charge.
Joker Commands are special GameShark/Pro Action Replay
codes originally discovered by The Joker Game Homepage.
Simply stated, a Joker Command allows a GameShark code to be momentarily
activated when a button or combination of buttons is pressed on
the controller. Click here for
The Nintendo 64 version of the GameShark/Pro Action
Replay has a small button located to the right of the LED display
on the front of the cartridge. Termed a "GS button",
its function is similar to the "Joker Command" described
above. The GS button allows a code to be activated momentarily,
bypassing problems if it was always enabled.
The PlayStation and Saturn versions of the GameShark/Pro
Action Replay have a male connector on the rear of the cartridge.
It's used by InterAct or Datel to upgrade, or "flash"
the software inside the cartridge. It's also used to connect the
cartridge to a PC to allow new codes to be hacked. A Comms Link
package is required to provide the PC connection.
This hardware/software bundle allows a GameShark/Pro
Action Replay to be connected to a personal computer. The cartridge
is interfaced to the PC through a cable and half-size ISA card.
Once connected, the computer can be used to hack new codes, upgrade
the cartridge's internal software, or dump the contents of a save
game cartridge to a disk. The minimum requirements to use the
package is an IBM-compatible PC with a 80286 or greater processor
with one free ISA slot. The Comms Link package is only available
for European users. A version of the package for North American
users is marketed as The Shark Link by Rocket Game Products.
A German company called Dataflash
markets a device called the Gamebuster that allows the PlayStation,
and Saturn consoles the ability to use GameShark/Pro Action Reply-like
Another device, developed by Future Console Designs, Ltd.,
is called the Xplorer. According to
them, the cartridge is fully backwards compatible with the GameShark
and Pro Action Replay. It also has the ability to use its own
proprietary codes that allow cheat features not possible with
those older systems. Currently available in the U.K. for the PlayStation,
its low price and bundled code hacking and transfer software for
the PC make it a serious contender.
The North American version of the Xplorer is marketed by X-Gear
as the Xploder. A Nintendo 64 version
of device is also available in addition to the original PlayStation
The Game Wizard is
PlayStation accessory made by MicroSmarts Innovative Business
Solutions Inc. that offers features similar to the GameShark Pro,
such as viewing FMV sequences directly from the disk, enhanced
saved game management, and easier connectivity to a PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Interact and Datel have both compiled FAQs that summarize
basic facts and questions about the Game Shark
and Pro Action Replay.
For additional information, the instruction manuals for the PlayStation,
and Sega Saturn
versions of the product are available on-line.