If you didn't grow up in the heyday of the Nintendo Entertainment System during the 1980s, the term "Game Genie" is likely meaningless.
The Game Genie was a foot-long electronic add-on device that was meant to be shoved into a Nintendo Entertainment System (and later the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo), allowing you to modify game data, cheat, manipulate various aspects of games and sometimes view unused content and functions.
I never had one myself, but my best friend did, and I still have hazy memories of us staying up to the wee hours of the morning, inputting ungodly long cheat codes that were printed in the accompanying Game Genie book.
As Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft created systems that connect online and award achievement points, the cheat industry collapsed.
The company Hyperkin has jumped back into the formerly defunct cheat industry by resurrecting the Game Genie for Playstation 3, and it will only work with single-player games. It's not as easy as just shoving a big, electronic add-on into your system, though.
The new USB-based device will allow users to download their saved games to a PC and then edit them, giving players access to things like God mode, infinite ammo and other perks. The software comes on a USB device that is installed on your computer, and is used to transfer the saved files. The cheats will come from a regularly updated online database.
Since online cheating in multiplayer games is an extremely touchy subject (it's akin to cheating at poker), the company has vowed to continually monitor any codes that can affect multiplayer games.
Even back in the '80s, game companies like Nintendo weren't too keen on other companies modifying its games. And there's no reason Sony can't block the device with an online update. It's a cool idea, but buyers should beware.
I have to ask, though -- do we really need a Game Genie for modern-day systems? It was a no-brainer for Nintendo, since the games were so difficult that no normal child (or adult) could possibly beat them. Or even make it to the later levels of a game.
But PS3 and Xbox 360 games just aren't that difficult. If you're having trouble with a game, all you have to do is crank the difficulty down to easy mode. There are exceptions, of course -- the most notable being "Demon's Souls" and "Dark Souls." But those games were intentionally designed to be infuriatingly difficult, and the people who play them likely wouldn't want a cheat code anyway.
To each his own, I guess. I don't know how practical the new Game Genie will be, but I do appreciate throwbacks.