Activating GameShark code cheats for Pokemon Game Boy Advance games sometimes can be tricky. Some of our readers complain that our listed GameShark codes don’t work for them, while some said it works, but some weird glitches are happening.
What could be the main reasons for this? In my over six and counting years of experience playing different Pokemon game titles and ROM hacks using different emulators across several devices, there several possible reasons why particular cheat cannot work.
Reasons Why Cheats Don’t Work as Expected and How To Fix Them
Note: This article applies to Pokemon GBA games but can also be used to other related games on Game Boy Advance.
1. You forgot to enter and activate the master code
2. The Cheat Isn’t Compatible with your Pokemon Game Version
Solution: Double check your game title.
3. You Have 1.1 ROM Version
Solution: Look for the V1.0 ROMs as this version supports most of the cheats. Doing a simple Google search, you can easily find downloadable ROMS, but most of these ROMs have version 1.1. Unfortunately, most cheats will not work for this version.
Update: I recently discovered this Reddit post wherein a member gives a link file for v1.0 FireRed rom, have a look at it before the file gets deleted.
4. Your Emulator Does Not Support GameShark Code, Action Replay or CodeBreaker
Solution: Use recommended emulators such as My Boy for Android users, Visual Boy Advance for Windows, GBA4iOS for iOS users, and BlueStacks or Nox App Player for Mac users.
5. You entered the cheat code in a wrong format
Solution: Some emulator such as open emu requires “+” to be entered to separate a line of code. Read FAQ’s, Instructions, and Help articles regarding your emulator.
6. You Have the Free version of Emulator
Solution: The popular GBA emulator for Android – My Boy, offers a paid and free version of the app. The free version works perfectly, but if you use cheats, you may need to pay for the premium version. But if paying for the app is not an option at this moment, the simple trick of adding multiple-liner codes as a separate cheat works well in many cases.
7. Too Many Enabled Cheats
Your ROM will get confused when too many cheat codes are activated at once, and this could result in various bugs, glitches, random crashing, and game freezing.
Solution: Disable unused cheats and activate only the cheat you need.
8. You Have Chosen the Wrong Cheat Type
This problem is prevalent to emulators that don’t have “auto cheat type” detection feature and chances are, you have chosen the wrong cheat type. The quick solution for this is knowing the appropriate type for your cheat; it could be GameShark, Action Replay or Code Breaker.
9. Question Mark Sprite on Encountered or Caught Pokemon?
A common issue with two possible reasons; First, more likely that you entered the wrong Pokemon encounter code. Second, the Pokemon code and sprite don’t exist in the game. This issue happens a lot when playing ROM hacks. Solution? Double check if the code or the Pokemon exist in the game.
10. Glitchy Name for Captured Pokemon
This bug usually happens when using the shiny Pokemon cheat and the possible reason why it occurs is that cheating is not fully supported in Pokemon GBA games. But there is an effective fix for this problem that has been tested for many players.
Solution: To fix glitchy Pokemon name, all you have to do is disable the shiny cheat just before capturing a Pokemon.
11. Invalid Cheat Message
There three possible reasons I can see why this error message pops up.
- Wrong cheat type
- Wrong cheat code
- Empty spaces before or after the code
Solution: Select the correct type for that cheat, majority of cheats are either CodeBreaker or Action Replay codes type, so if the first one didn’t work out switch to the other one.
Be sure to check the cheat if it is compatible with your game version. For FireRed based rom hacks, a typical FireRed cheats could work and for Emerald based rom hacks, a regular Emerald cheats could also work.
Empty spaces could also result to invalid cheat issue, when copying a cheat make sure not to include empty spaces. When entering the cheat, make it sure to eliminate any empty spaces before and after the code.
It’s frustrating when you can’t activate a cheat, and there are plenty of reasons why this thing is happening. Hopefully, the solution and information above give you the insights to finally solve your problem.
Just in case the solution above doesn’t work, feel free to drop your comments below, and I will do my best to help you as humanely as possible.