[ Retro Scan of the Week ] InterAct Sharkwire Online

January 4th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

InterAct Sharkwire Online Nintendo 64 N64 Ad - 2000Click above to see the full advertisement.

Ten years ago, InterAct began advertising this obscure online attachment for the Nintendo 64 called "Sharkwire Online." I personally don't know much about the device or how it was supposed to work beyond what Wikipedia and IGN have to say about it.

That is, it appears the Sharkwire was a dial-up modem that plugged into a N64 and allowed game console owners to access an ISP of sorts, through which they could download the latest cheats and codes to their Sharkwire units, which would then function, I presume, like the more common InterAct GameShark peripheral.

This whole setup seems like an overly elaborate Rube Goldberg way of cheating at games, so it's no surprise that the Sharkwire Online quickly faded into oblivion. I didn't remember it at all when I came across this ad in EGM the other day; not only did I pore over each issue of that magazine religiously throughout its entire run, but I usually took specific note of any online-related accessories.

Did anybody out there have one of these? Would you care to fill us in on what exactly it did from a user's perspective? Did it do it well?

Happy 2010

As a side note, it's now 2010, which, thanks to my longstanding but completely arbitrary "vintage" guideline, means that the year 2000 now opens to us as a source of VC&G material.

History marches on, and what was once new continuously slides away from us until it crosses into the realm of obsolete curiosity. Funny enough, in a time when a five year-old cell phone seems like it was from the stone age, ten years is beginning to feel like a conservative figure. Still, it's always a minor shock to see what becomes the nouveau vintage every year.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, February 2000, p.206-207 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: How do you feel about "cheating" at video games with devices like the GameShark, Pro Action Replay, and the Game Genie? Is it a good or bad thing?



7 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] InterAct Sharkwire Online”

  1. Dale Says:

    I'll forever remember the Game Genie as being one of the coolest things to own if only because the thing actually worked. I mean, the Power Glove, the Activator, on and on, there were so many gimmicks and gizmos that just didn't work that it was amazing to come across something that did. Infinite lives, invincibility, level skipping — anything was possible. Of course, the only catch was, if there weren't any codes for your game, you were out of luck.

    As for my take on cheating, we didn't think of it as cheating. Sure, we'd use it to beat a game we couldn't beat before, but we saw it more as a neat hacker tool, a way to get the game to do things it wasn't supposed to do. Unlocking test or debug areas of the game, creating graphics and sound glitches and other strange behaviors. I don't remember doing anything too exciting but it made games a bit more fun in an entirely different way.

  2. JackSoar Says:

    I remember being aware of the Sharkwire service at the time, but I never used it myself. I had a Gameshark for my PSX (and I remember being very miffed when my PSX died and I "upgraded" to the then-new "PSone" slim model, only to find out that they had removed the port necessary to attach the Gameshark to the console. Granted, they released a version for the redesign later, but by then I wasn't playing my PS much.

    I think cheating in single-player games is, well, fair game, as I've always been of the philosophy that if you buy a game, you should be able to do whatever you jolly well like with it for your personal use. Whether it's cheating because you can't get past a certain obstacle, or to save time, or simply to mess around with the game's code, I say that if it gives you enjoyment, then no problem. Some people like challenges in their games, while others like to coast through. In fact, it kind of ticks me off that the current gen consoles don't allow for conventional cheat devices, what with their multiplayer/achievement/firmware updates focus.

  3. Jimmy Says:

    I think the term "cheating" should only be used in context of an online multiplayer video game. Seriously, I know the latest games have much improved AI, but how can you "cheat" a computer? The files/information acquired to "cheat" the computer are much the same as a user manual that you can buy in the comp stores so why don't we call this "workarounds", "unlocks" or "hints".

  4. Matt Says:

    I always liked these devices because, let's face it, there are games where the developers screwed us, to the point of it being unfun. Battletoads, anyone? There are tons of old games like that that are needlessly too hard or, worse yet, repetitive. I agree with the above guy that we own the games and should do with them as we see fit.

  5. Moondog Says:

    I never start a new game with an intention to use cheats or workaround codes. There are times when it feels like something was accomplished when you earn a special item versus automatically receiving it. After playing through "clean" the first time, I have no problems going back through and bending the rules.

  6. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    Mostly what I do with those things, though, especially the Game Genie for the NES, is use them to come up with new codes for games that you can't find anywhere else, play around and have fun with them. The best code I discovered thus far was for the old NES version of Rygar: PEOPLA, in which all monsters in side-scrolling areas will give up stars, making building up a bit faster and easier.

    As far as using the devices for their normal purposes, I normally don't use them until I have beaten a game at least once. There are some rare exceptions, such as Battletoads and Amagon, where I was never able to beat the game without help from something like the Game Genie, but for the most part I tend to use them only after finishing the game without them.

  7. Tommy Says:

    the sharkwire was horrible, it only allow you to visit no more than 20 specific site. the email function on the other hand, it has no restriction as to who you can send email to.

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