How to Troubleshoot a GBA SP GameShark

By Nick Grimes

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Gameshark for GBA SP

  • Game Boy Advance SP

  • GBA game cartridge

  • Q-tip

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Needle-nose pliers

Cheat on your GBA games with Gameshark.
i game image by Svetlana Kashkina from

Gameshark for GBA SP (Game Boy Advance SPecial) is a cheat cartridge that allows users to modify the content, difficulty and rules of GBA games. The cartridge fits into GBA SP like a regular game cartridge, providing a software interface between the player, the game, and her cheat cartridge. If your GBA SP Gameshark is no longer working correctly, there are troubleshooting measures that can help isolate and fix the device.

Turn off your GBA SP, remove the Gameshark cartridge, and disconnect your game. Try the game in your GBA SP to make sure this is not at fault. Reconnect all components and try again. Nonworking cheat cartridges are often simply the result of a loose connection.

Disconnect game cartridge, Gameshark, and game console. Wet a Q-tip with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and clean the contacts inside the Gameshark and GBA cartridge. Reconnect all components and try again.

Inspect the contact pins in the top side of the Gameshark, where GBA games are inserted. Incautious game insertion can lead to these pins' being bent out of shape, resulting in failed game connection. If necessary, carefully bend the pins back into shape using a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Reset your Gameshark and try using fewer cheats. If your device is booting correctly but refusing to run your selected cheats, you may have chosen incompatible codes. There is no way to know whether codes are compatible except to try them out together. Try your codes one by one until you can isolate the code that is causing you problems, then re-input codes into your device without using this code.


If the above steps do not work, your Gameshark cartridge may be defective. Contact Gameshark to arrange a repair or replacement.