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CREATED AUG.01.2008
UPDATED AUG.01.2008
CREDITS
TEXT WRITTEN BY
MARTIN NIELSEN
PRO ACTION REPLAY ... OR, ACTION REPLAY PROFESSIONAL, ACTUALLY...
THE ULTIMATE GAME BUSTING CARTRIDGE
While this device may be totally unknown to most americans, the Pro Action Replay played a big part of the video game business back in those happy NES days and today the Action Replay brand is the most known cheat device option known on any console release.

For those who still are unsure of what I'm talking about, the Action Replay was called GameShark back the day when Interact Accessories was in business and

GameShark was nothing more than an Action Replay with a different name. Today the GameShark brand is owned by MadCats and no longer has any relations to the Action Replay brand or Datel for that matter.

The Action Replay was developed by the now famous Datel Electronics around 1991, located in the UK, and although it wasn't the first Action Replay device as both the C64 and such already had been treated with an Action Replay device, I believe it's safe to say that the NES version was the first console version, but please do correct me if I'm wrong.

While both American and Europe already had seen the release of the GameGenie, with fairly great success too, Datel wanted a piece of the action but due to very poor distribution, unlike the GameGenie, which distribution was handled by Galoob - also known as Lewis Galoob Toys, had a major distribution network all over the world resulting in the GameGenie being widely available. The GameGenie was invented by another UK based company called Codemasters, who today are known for their Colin McRae rally games released for various platforms, but who also has become completely uninteresting, unlike the NES days.

Datel didn't have a distribution network and because of this fact the Action Replay for the NES was only released sporadically through out Europe and never made it to the the American market. I don't recall ever having seen an Action Replay for the NES on sale here in Denmark but sales were made in at least Germany and of course the UK, Datel's home turf. The NES version of the Action Replay retailed at 34.99 in the UK.

The Action Replay didn't have a glossy printed box like the GameGenie did, no it was released in white boxes, at least two different sizes are known to exist, and then a piece of paper was glued onto the front and back of the box. Something that surely made the Action Replay look cheap. As if that wasn't enough though, the included code booklet only included codes for 19 games while the GameGenie initially had codes for close to 70 games, which later on grew to codes for 456 games!

While Galoob had people sighn up for GameGenie newsletters that contained new codes, Datel expected people to come up with the codes themselves - although a few codes were released in magazines such as, "Super XS", "Total!" and "Nintendo Magazine System" which were some of the most read UK Nintendo magazines at the time, great magazines but that's another story.

Eventhough sales must have been scarce, the NES Action Replay still managed to be released in a second and probably more widely available revision B. The change was quite obvious as the revised cart now included a menu where you would choose between the "Parameter Screen" (where you enter codes) and the "Trainer Menu". In the Parameters Menu you can enter up to 5 codes, which is a lot better compared to the 3 code slots offered by the GameGenie.

The Trainer option is where the Action Replay really stand out as people were able to explore games themselves and create cheat codes. It seems that this was never a great hit for the NES thought, probably because the GameGenie already had sold well, but the Action Replay went on to become the most used cheat device for the SNES because it also was capable of playing SNES games from other regions, an option the NES version also includes by the way.

Unfortunately the NES Action Replay is not easy to come by and they easily fetch 50-70 euros on ebay for a complete copy that is. Today the Action Replay brand is still going strong and is available for any console or handheld out there, a funny thing though is that the trainer option dissapeared somewhere along the way.

Over the years I have collected a bunch of codes for the Action Replay which can be found ( here ) in case someone actually wants to use an Action Replay for cheating while playing :-)

Have fun and thanks for reading this article.

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