SM64 Everdrive/Gameshark Guide
So you decided to step up your practicing game and get a cheating device in order to do so, great! But now theres probably an amount of questions you have because finding information regarding cheating devices is difficult. I will try to guide you through this step by step and give you some extra tips as well.
Important: Buying a Gameshark these days is a bad idea, since we have way better practice methods now. It is standard to use an Everdrive/ED64 with the Usamune Practice Rom* which has a ton of benefits for practice over the Gameshark, not to mention that Gamesharks are very fragile hardware with a tendency to break easily. I will still keep the Gameshark information included for documentation and rare cases of people either already owning a good one and/or not being able to afford a new Everdrive/ED64. In this Guide you will learn how to be able to play the Rom on N64 without spending too much money though!
*The Usamune Practice Rom is a modified SM64 Rom especially made for practicing RTA. Click the Name to get redirected to the Usamune Projects Server Discord where you can get the Usamune Practice Rom Patch from, I will also link it again in the Guide.
With that out of the way, lets start the Guide:
Step 1: What do I need for my Cheating Device to work?
That means a console from either Japan or the USA. A PAL Console works as well with the carts, but due to the Framerate being locked to 25fps for SM64, it is not suitable for Speedrunning. You can get a cheap one on Ebay from Japan.
Some knockoffs may work, but I recommend going the safe way and getting an OEM one. You need the Expansion Pak, otherwise the Usamune Practice Rom will not work with your Everdrive/ED64 and on Gameshark you are limited to only 13 lines of code, which means you will be unable to use most practice codes. Again, try to hunt for a bargain on Ebay.
If you have neither, I recommend trying to find a deal for an N64 which already has the Expansion Pak included. It is likely that you will get a cheaper deal than if you separately buy these things.
Step 2: What kind of Cheating Device do I want?
2.1: For Everdrive:
There are two main iterations of firmware that both work equally well to run the Practice Rom, the “Everdrive” and the “ED64Plus” firmware. You should ignore the more expensive versions, they do not include any particular advantage for this matter. The only minor disadvantage with the cheap versions you will face is that when you want to save the settings you have made you will have to press the Reset button on your N64 Console. You will notice that the prices are very high for either carts, there are workarounds for that though, you can either buy a knockoff on Aliexpress which uses the ED64Plus firmware, which is the option I recommend the most, I personally have bought the exact card I have linked in Step 3 and it works perfect, or you can buy a custom made N64 Cart where you provide the rom you want to the seller. This is even cheaper but has the disadvantage that you will be unable to update your Usamune Practice Rom Version. If you want even cheaper prices you can wait for a deal, like on Black Friday. I’ve seen them reduce the price for 5$ on these occasions.
Note: Aliexpress looks shady but is a trustable website!
Contrary to common knowledge, there are many more cheating devices you can use than the standard Gameshark. The more uncommon Gameshark Versions I will list have the same layout and the same functions as the Gameshark itself and even the versions are similarly labeled, so don’t worry. Generally for the Gameshark, you want to get any 3.x version.
The Version Code Line Limitations are:
- V1.01 - V1.09 and V2.0: 11 Lines
- V2.1, V2.21, V2.2, V2.5: 13 Lines
But using any of these versions, as I said before, will severely limit the amount of very useful practice codes you can use. You want to use any 3.x version! It is very simple to tell apart if a Gameshark is version 1.x/2.x or 3.x. Check this image.
Depending on your location I recommend these:
- North America: Gameshark Pro(~30$, ~25€, ~22£)
- Europe: Equalizer 64(~12$, ~10€, ~9£) (UK produced Cheating Device, very cheap and is always version 3.x. Yes, this is also NTSC compatible!)
Other common devices that are version 3.x in Europe are the “Game Buster Deluxe” and the “Action Replay Professional”. In Japan, there is the プロアクションリプレイ 64 (Pro Action Replay 64). These do work fine but are usually very expensive, so I don’t recommend buying one of those. There are some even more obscure ones, but these are the main ones you will find on the market.
Step 3: Where should I buy my Cheating Device?
3.1: For Everdrive:
- Click me to go to the Everdrive Site (~120$, ~110€, ~100£)
- Click me to go to the ED64Plus Site* (~65$, ~60€, ~52£)
- Click me to go to the Everdrive Knockoff Site** (~60$, ~55€, ~50£)
- Click me to go to the Custom Cart Site (~30$, ~25€, ~22£)
On occasion these are reduced, for example around Black Friday, even the ones on Aliexpress. And of course you can try to grab a nice Ebay deal.
*My personal recommendation
**My personal recommendation if you don’t mind about a month of shipping
3.2: For Gameshark:
On Ebay. Unfortunately, a common issue with buying Gamesharks on Ebay is that there are sellers which will sell you a broken Gameshark. If you consider purchasing a Gameshark, make sure that you check if the Gameshark is not broken. Read through the description, in case of doubt, contact the seller if he could test it. If you think it’s fishy, look out for another deal. New Gamesharks constantly pop up on Ebay. For the Equalizer 64, I personally have made the experience that they work very well. Still you should go safe and make sure that you’re not buying broken hardware! Better to take your time looking for a good one than paying twice.
Step 4: My Cheating Device arrived, what now?
4.1: For Everdrive:
Visit the Usamune Projects Server Discord and follow the instructions there to get the Usamune Practice Rom.
4.2: For Gameshark:
Get your codes from here
Typing in the codes is a hassle, but it is not as bad as it might look at first glance. Many code rows are very similar and the Gameshark will automatically copy the row you have entered onto the next one, so you often only have to change one character in the row and can proceed to the next one. For the Gameshark 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 you can use a parallel port cable to transfer the codes. Here is a guide on how to do this. Note that it needs to be a very specific parallel port cable! Only get the one that is embedded in the guide! The Equalizer 64 doesn’t have a parallel port input(Other obscure ones may not have one as well).
Step 5: My Cheating Device isn’t working, help!
5.1: For Everdrive:
There is a PAL/NTSC Switch on your Everdrive, sometimes marked with “P” and “N”. Make sure you have set it to NTSC. From my own experience, the normal Everdrive can also take a few attempts to boot(I personally did not have that issue with the knockoff cart).
5.2: For Gameshark:
Don’t panic yet, this can have several reasons.
Lift it slightly up, either on the left side, the right side or the whole thing a tiny bit. The connections can be worn out so therefore lifting it a bit might help. Gamesharks are delicate hardware that are prone to mess up. It can often take quite a few tries before it will start up.
There are several other key codes which are crucial to start up the Gameshark with. It can be that the Gamesharks default Key Code is not set to SM64. If that is the case, you need to start up with either one of these games. If you have managed to start it up with one of these games, set the Key Code to “Mario World 64 or others” and start it up again with SM64. Unfortunately there is no way to bypass this if you do not have the respective game.
Double check the code, no, triple check it. 90% of the times when people have trouble with a code it is a small error which causes the code not to work. Make sure you have entered the code for the correct version of SM64. Especially check the “B” and “8” characters because they look similar!
From my personal experience, a Gameshark code can take a few minutes to be updated and recognized for some reason. Try to wait 10 minutes and give it another shot if the code you’ve entered isn’t working.
And that’s it! I hope this guide was able to help you. If you have any other question or doubt, don’t hesitate to post your question in the #technical_help channel in the SM64 Discord! There is always someone online who will try to help you out.