by Matt Gruskin

This puzzle consists of screenshots of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games, quotes expressing wishes for cheating effects that could be applied to these games, and an NES ROM that is playable in an NES emulator such as Nestopia or FCEUX.

The games can be identified using information from their screenshots and contextual clues from their associated wish quotes. The games are also ordered alphabetically as presented in the puzzle, which may help with game identification. The theme of “wishes” should suggest to the solver that they will need to find Game Genie codes to achieve the described effects. All of the Game Genie codes used in this puzzle are listed in the official Game Genie codebook, which can be searched at, and a text copy of which can be found online here.

The next step is to decode the Game Genie codes. This can be done using an online decoder or by writing your own code based on a description of the encoding such as Some emulators also include a view which decodes these codes. Each code encodes a memory address in the game cartridge ROM, a compare byte (ignored for the purposes of this puzzle, as hinted by without compare in the flavortext), and a value byte that replaces a byte of the game cartridge ROM. Ordering by memory address (as suggested by order to address in the flavortext), and converting the value bytes (which are all in the range 1–26) to letters, spells CONTRA JOUST MEGAMAN, names of three other NES games.

Game Wish Effect Game Genie Code Code Address (hex) Code Value (decimal) Letter
Arkanoid This game is so tedious. I wish I could skip the first fourteen rounds. Player 1 start at level 15 YAOONGPE 9C1F 15 O
Bad Street Brawler I can’t believe I made it all the way to the end and then died! I wish I could start at the end of the road. Start on level 15 TEUZZYAE A7B2 14 N
Balloon Fight I wish we could start at the phase that immediately precedes the fifth bonus round. Start on level 15--2 players only TENNIPAE F1FD 14 N
Battletoads The speeder bikes are the best part of this game! I wish I could start on the level where I can ride them. Start on level 3 -- Turbo Tunnel LAXAALAA 8320 3 C
Blaster Master This game has so many weapons to try. I wish I could start with some ammunition for all of them; say, with three-quarters of the amount of ammo I’d have by collecting a capsule for each weapon. Start with 15 of each weapon YAEKPLAE C309 15 O
Bucky O'Hare I’m so bad at this game. I wish I could continue with twice as many lives after I lose. 6 lives after continue IEXGVYZA CFA6 5 E
Excitebike I wish it didn’t take so long to get going again after I crash. Recover fast after crashes YEXIKOYA D9A4 7 G
Felix the Cat I wish I could start with twice as many lives (although three times as many would be more fitting). Start with 6 lives IPUGAGZP C430 21 U
Final Fantasy My fighter is so useless in battle. I wish his hits would succeed twice as often. Double Fighter's Hit GPKUAEZA B048 20 T
Fun House These early floors are too easy. I wish I could start at Escher’s Castle. Start on Floor 4 LOEKSAPA C88D 19 S
Infiltrator The gas grenades in this game are so powerful. I wish I could start with more of them. Start with more Grenades ZPSLPXZA B251 18 R
Jimmy Connors Tennis Each set takes too long to play. I wish that four fewer games were needed to win a set. Only 2 games required to win set PEEVAZTA E288 1 A
Pac-Man I wish that one of these ghosts would never become edible. Only 3 ghosts are edible IAXVYEYE E02F 13 M
Pipe Dream The unidrectional pipes make this game so difficult. I wish they’d start from level ten. One-way pipes from level 10 ZAOKPZLE C219 10 J
R.C. Pro-Am II I like the cityscape tracks the best. I wish I could start on the fifth one. Start on Track 13 IEOGNTAE CE97 13 M
Time Lord I’m so good at this game! I wish I could try starting with two fewer lives—I think I’d still do well. Start with 1 life PEEKYPLA C18F 1 A
Twin Cobra I keep running out of bombs! I wish I could start with seventeen more. Start with 20 bombs GPEGKILA CD04 20 T
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles I wish I could start with one fewer life. Start with 2 lives PEKSVGLA DCCE 1 A

When the solver plays the provided NES ROM in an emulator, they’ll see this screen:

Using the emulator, they can apply the Game Genie codes for invincibility in Contra (SLTIYG), infinite lives in Joust (SXXKKZVI), and infinite energy in Megaman (SZKZGZSA).

After the solver applies these codes and starts the game, the answer to the puzzle will be shown at the bottom of the screen. The answer is ROAR.