Last updated 06SEP2020
Some of the classic games were short compared to today’s standards, and so in order to keep people from blazing through the game and losing interest, many publishers required their developers to make their games more challenging. This extra challenge was sometimes perfectly balanced, but in many instances it made the games frustratingly difficult to play. So this guide will show you how to implement cheats for most systems that run on the RG350 devices.
Index: Types of cheats Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Game Boy / Game Boy Color Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) Sega Game Gear Sega Master System TurboGrafx-16 (PC Engine) Game Boy Advance Sony PlayStation 1
Types of cheats
There are three main types of cheats that you can use in the RG350 devices.
The first is by emulating the Game Genie, a popular pass-through device that allows you to input codes that would alter the gameplay experience. I had a Game Genie growing up, and I have fond memories of messing around with the codes to try and make my own cheats. With this option, you’ll enter in a cheat code at the beginning of the game. At this time, only the FCEUX (NES) emulator incorporates Game Genie codes.
The second method is to patch the Game Genie cheats directly into the game. This will fundamentally alter the game’s code, but luckily the process doesn’t affect your original ROM – it makes a copy for you. By inserting these cheats into the game, you don’t need to worry about finding an emulator that supports cheats – the cheats become part of the game itself.
The third method is to enable cheat codes through the use of .cht files, which are supported in the FCEUX (NES), PCSX4All (PS1), and GPSP (GBA) emulators. They’re not very simple to set up, but they are super convenient once you have them up and running.
And if you look at it a certain way, there is a fourth, “unofficial” way to implement cheats in a retro game: most emulators support save states, which allow you to save the game at any point. So if you know there’ s a difficult boss coming up in your game, you could save that point and just restart it when things don’t go your way. I’ve managed to get through very difficult games (for me, Mega Man is kryptonite) using this technique.
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
The standard NES emulator for RG350 devices, known as FCEUX, has three different ways to enable cheats.
How to enable NES cheats using Game Genie codes
This process is the easiest to set up, but can be a bit of a pain in practice — you either need to memorize the codes you want, or consult a guide, and they have to be entered every time you start the game. Let’s look at how you set this up.
- To start, you need the Game Genie ROM file. It is typically named “Game Genie.nes”. You’ll need to rename this file to “gg.rom” (all lowercase) and place it in the /media/data/local/home/.fceux/ folder on your internal microSD card (here’s a tutorial if you don’t know how to do that).
- Next, load up your FCEUX emulator and start any game, then press the POWER button to bring up the menu. Go to “Settings”, then “Main Setup”, and turn the “Game Genie” setting to “on”. Press B to back out of the Main Setup, and select “Save config as default”, then exit out of FCEUX.
- Once the Game Genie setting is configured in FCEUX, let’s try it out. First, you’ll need to look up some Game Genie codes. I recommend this Game Genie code index, but you could also use this one from GameGenie.com. So let’s try it on a game — Batman, the Video Game.
- By looking at the code index, you will find a code for Batman that says “Start With 9 Lives – AEESKGZE”. Start up the game, and you’ll be greeted by the Game Genie screen. Input that “AEESKGZE” code in the first line, and then press START to boot up the game. Press pause on the game, and you’ll see that you have 9 lives.
That’s it! Just bear in mind that you’ll need to input this code every time you start the game. Luckily, some of these cheats will carry over across your save states. for example, if you use a cheat that gives you 99 lives to start with, and you save your game with 98 lives remaining, you’ll still have those 98 lives when you restart that save state. But if you use a cheat that makes you invincible, you won’t be invincible when you restart the save state.
How to patch Game Genie cheats into the NES ROM file
If you don’t want to type in Game Genie codes every time you start a game, but you know that you want to enable this specific cheat every time you start the game, you could actually patch the cheat directly into the ROM file. This is the same process for many other systems, so the instructions are a bit further down in this guide (or you could just click here to go directly there). Note that this option is only for Windows/PC users, but you could always set up a Windows virtual machine to get it running on your Mac, too.
How to enable cheats using cheat (.cht) files — no Game Genie or patching required
FCEUX also supports built-in cheats, which is my preferred way to use cheats. If you download the PC or Mac versions of FCEUX, you’ll see that it has a Cheats option under the “Tools…” section of the menu bar. But the RG350 doesn’t have that setting in its FCEUX menu, so there is no way to enable cheats through the interface itself. Luckily, I figured out how to load cheat files (.cht) and then mess with their code in order to activate them on your device.
At the start, this process is a little more work-intensive than inputting Game Genie codes, but it also has two clear advantages: 1) you don’t need to memorize or input Game Genie codes, and 2) they are persistent and will remain in place every time you start up the game (but don’t worry, it’s easy to turn them off, too). Here’s how to set up .cht files in FCEUX:
- Download this file that was compiled by NES Hacker (source). Unzip the file, and inside you’ll find 251 cheat files (with .cht extensions) for most of the well-known NES games. If it’s not there, then likely nobody has figured out any cheats for it. Take these .cht files and store them somewhere on your computer (I put them in the same place I store all my NES games, in a folder called “cheats”).
- These .cht file names need to match your ROM name perfectly. So if you have a Contra.nes ROM file, but the .cht is named “Contra (U).cht”, you need to rename this to “Contra.cht”. The .cht extension must be lowercase (not “.CHT”). This part is a little tedious, but I recommend simply renaming only the .cht files you know you’re going to use.
- Once you have all of the pertinent .cht files renamed, let’s load them onto your device. Plug the RG350 into your computer, then connect using an FTP client (tutorial here). Navigate to /media/data/local/home/.fceux/ on your internal microSD card — inside, you’ll see a folder named “cheats”. Put all of those (renamed) .cht files into that folder.
- Okay, so now you just need to enable any cheats you want to use. For example, let’s open and edit the .cht file for Battletoads. Double-click on the .cht file, and your text editor should pop up (if you’re on a Mac, you may need to right-click the file and select “Open with…” and choose TextEdit). This is what the file will look like:
SC:e5fa:08:03:Start With 9 Lives (Both players) SC:e5fa:62:03:Start With 99 Lives (Both players) S:0011:05:P1 Infinite Lives S:051a:2f:P1 Infinite Hit Points S:0574:7e:P1 Invulnerable (Must turn off at various times) S:04b1:20:P1 Has a Weapon S:0012:05:P2 Infinite Lives S:051b:2f:P2 Infinite Hit Points S:0575:7e:P2 Invulnerable (Must turn off at various times) S:04b2:20:P2 Has a Weapon SC:8e53:e4:d8:High Jump SC:8e53:f0:d8:Super High Jump SC:a6b5:00:01:Faster Attack SC:8320:02:00:Start On Level 2 SC:8320:03:00:Start On Level 3 SC:8320:04:00:Start On Level 4 SC:8320:05:00:Start On Level 5 SC:8320:06:00:Start On Level 6 SC:8320:07:00:Start On Level 7 SC:8320:08:00:Start On Level 8 SC:8320:09:00:Start On Level 9 SC:8320:0a:00:Start On Level 10 SC:8320:0b:00:Start On Level 11 SC:8320:0c:00:Start On Level 12 SC:e5fa:00:03:Start With 1 Life (Both players)
- To enable the cheat, you simply remove the first colon (“:”) in the code. So if you want to start Battletoads with infinite hit points for Player One, you will go to that line of code and change it from “S:051a:2f:P1 Infinite Hit Points” to “S051a:2f:P1 Infinite Hit Points”. You can enable multiple cheats at once if you’d like, although I don’t recommend stacking cheats (like don’t enable the “Start with 9 lives” AND the “Start with 99 lives” cheats). That’s it. Save the .cht file and you’re good to go.
- Now, when you load Battletoads, you’ll get a notification on the bottom of your screen that the “Cheats file loaded” (it’ll say that even if you don’t enable any of the cheats). Test out the game, and see if the cheats are to your liking. Note that some cheats didn’t actually work as intended when I enabled them, so you may have to experiment.
- To turn off the cheats, just go back into the .cht file and re-insert that colon you took out. Or, if you’re on the go and you want to disable the cheats, you could go into DinguxCmdr and just delete that .cht file (and then re-add it later if you want to).
If you’re interested in knowing how this code breaks out, here it is:
“S” denotes a cheat that is a read-substitute-style cheat (such as with Game Genie cheats)
“C” denotes that the cheat has a compare value
“Address” is the location in the 6502 processor’s memory address space, which is used to patch in cheats
“Value” is the value (in hex) that is written to the addresses on each update
“Compare” it the value that must be at the address, or else the Value won’t be written there. This allows making cheats more safe.
Game Boy and Game Boy Color
The Gambatte emulator supports both Game Genie and Game Shark cheats. You can find them both in the menu, under “Cheat Codes”.
Game Genie codes must be entered into the menu once you start the game, and will remain in effect until you exit out of the emulator. These codes could have 6 or 9 digits; if using a 6-digit code, just leave the last three zeros in place. You can use up to 20 codes at once. Once your codes are inputted, press START and confirm. These codes are not saved, so you’ll have to re-enter them every time you start up the game.
Like with the Game Genie, Game Shark codes are also not saved when you exit the emulator. You can use up to 20 codes at once, and the codes should be 8 digits in length.
You can also patch cheats directly into Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, which I’ll cover in a couple sections down in this guide.
While Picodrive is my preferred Sega Genesis emulator, its alternative, Genesis Plus GX, has one distinct advantage: it supports Game Genie codes. To get started, you’ll want to rename the “Game Genie.bin” file to “ggenie.bin” (all lowercase), and put it in the /media/data/local/home/.genplus/lock-on/ folder on your internal SD card. Next, boot up a game, then press POWER to go into the menu. Under “Misc. Options”, you’ll see a setting for “Lock-on” — set it to Game Genie. Reset the game and you should see the Game Genie start up. Here is a nice list of Game Genie codes for the Genesis. Note that you will have to re-enter the codes every time you start up the game.
Of note, there is a “cheats” folder in the /media/data/local/home/.genplus/ folder on your internal SD card, which led me to think that I could add .cht or .pat (Kega cheat file) files into the emulator, but I couldn’t get the emulator to recognize my files nor could I activate them by tweaking the code. So I think your best bet will be to use the Game Genie or patch cheats directly into Sega Genesis games, which I’ll cover in the next section.
NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis (Mega Drive), and TurboGrafx-16 (PC Engine)
Note: this guide is written with the RG350 in mind, but works with any emulator or device.
On the RG350, most of the retro console emulators do not support cheats, which can be a real bummer when you’re trying to play through a difficult game. Luckily, there is a way to patch Game Genie cheats directly into any game file.
This process works for NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis (Mega Drive), and TurboGrafx-16 (PC Engine) systems. By inserting these cheats into the game, you don’t need to worry about finding an emulator that supports cheats – the cheats become part of the game itself. And while this is an RG350 guide, you can use these modified game files with any emulator or device.
By patching Game Genie codes into the game file; it will fundamentally and permanently alter the game’s code; no toggling them on or off. Luckily the process doesn’t affect your original ROM — the program we will use makes a spare copy for you. This guide relies on a program called Game Genie Guy, which is limited to Windows/PC users. But if you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck — here is my guide on how to easily run a Windows virtual machine on a Mac (for free).
You may want to be mindful which cheats you patch into your favorite game. For example, using a code for Double Dragon 2 that gives you infinite health is probably not much of a challenge, but a code that gives you 8 lives to start with might give you that slight edge you need to beat the game.
How to patch Game Genie cheats into the ROM file
- To start, you will need to download this file, which is called Game Genie Guy! (source). Unzip the file then start up the GGGuy.exe file. Click the “Browse” button and find the location of your ROM, then click “Open”. Note that your ROMs must be unzipped for this to work.
- The program will automatically choose your system based on its file type. In the “Codes” box, type in your desired Game Genie code. To find codes, I recommend this Game Genie code index, but you could also use this one from GameGenie.com. If you have more than one code, write one code per line. In the example above, I wrote the infinite lives cheat for Contra on the NES.
- Click the “Patch” button, and go to the folder where your ROM is located. There you should see a second copy of your ROM, with a “GG” added after the name (“Contra.nes” becomes “Contra GG.nes”).
- That’s it — load this ROM like you would any other ROM, and the cheats will now just be part of that game.
Game Boy Advance
Good news and bad news. The good news is that you can enable cheats on a GBA emulator. The bad news is that the only GBA emulator that allows you to use cheats is the GPSP emulator, which is significantly less feature-rich than the ReGBA, the emulator I recommend in my Home Consoles and Handhelds guide.
To start, you’ll need to download and unzip the GPSP emulator (source), and place it in the media/data/apps folder of your internal microSD card. Next, download and unzip this file that is full of .cht files. These file names must match your ROM name perfectly — so if you have a “Golden Sun (USA).gba” ROM file, but the .cht is named “Golden Sun.cht”, you need to rename this to “Golden Sun (USA).cht” to match the ROM. The .cht extension must also be lowercase (not “.CHT”).
Place these renamed .cht files in the /media/home/.gpsp folder of your internal microSD card. When you start your game, press the X button to bring up the menu, and select “Cheats and Miscellaneous options”. There you will see a list of available cheats, which you can toggle on and off. Note that from my testing, I found I was limited to only seven total cheats. You may want to edit your .cht file using a text editor to trim your list to the seven cheats you plan on using the most.
Sony PlayStation 1
Implementing cheats for PS1 games is probably the easiest process out of this whole guide. Before we get started, be sure to go to my Home Consoles and Handhelds guide and make sure you have the most up-to-date version of PCSX4All. Once you’re ready, download and unzip this file (source). This file is full of small .txt files, named after PS1 serial numbers — PCSX4All will associate these serial numbers with the games you have loaded in . Take all of these files and add them to the /media/home/.pcsx4all/cheats folder on your internal microSD card.
When you start your game, if it has a cheat file associated with it, you will now see “Cheats” as an available choice in the PCSX4All menu. Within that Cheat menu, you’ll see a number of available cheats. Press A to enable the cheat, which will then have an asterisk to indicate that it is enabled.
That’s it for this guide, hope it was helpful for you. Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions!