Imports with a GameShark FAQ by AKraus

Version: 2.0 | Updated: 08/18/00 | Printable Version | |

Playing Imports/Backups with a GameShark
Version 2.0
Author: Alex Kraus
Last Update: August 18, 2000

Forward: I had previously sold this FAQ via online auctions (Yahoo, etc.
-- it had pictures, etc., too). I originally wrote this around mid-1999,
but now I've updated here in August 2000, so it should be fairly
up-to-date. I've now decided to revamp it and post this online for free
via GameFAQs, so enjoy.

A note before e-mailing me: I've tried to troubleshoot almost every
possible problem in this FAQ. If you have a problem that isn't answered
in the guide, I probably won't be able to help you much... be forewarned.

WEBMASTERS: Do not steal! Read Disclaimer at the bottom.

I. Getting Started
II. Playing the import/backup
III. Playing Multi-Disc Games
IV. How does it work?
V. GameShark Upgrades
VI. Other useful GS info

I. Getting started:

IMPORTANT: This guide is only usable for GameSharks versions 2.0 to 3.2.
Otherwise, you will not be able to do this process. This is because
version 2.0 was the first GS to include the CD-reading function and 3.2
is the last version of the GS Pro. Sadly, both products are now
discontinued by InterAct and have been replaced by the GS CD.

Now, to begin, press the "Open" button on the PlayStation to open the lid.
In the back to the right, you will see an icicle-shaped point coming
down from the top of the lid. When you close the lid, this point pushes
on a button below it telling the PlayStation that the lid is closed.

You need to have something to push the small button to make the PSX
think that the lid is closed all the time. A few suggestions are:

 A Large Paper Clip (bent to fit)
 The corner of a corn flake box (?) (I heard from someone else this
 A modified pen spring
 A small weight of some kind that will fit
 A small piece of duct tape with a small aluminum rolled ball

I find that the most effective "home remedy" is a modified pen spring.
Just take a spring out of a pen that has a spring and use a pair of
needle-nose pliers to make the top of the spring wide enough to fit over
the icicle-point.

Although, the most preferred device is a purchased spring. You can buy a
spring made to fit the back of the PSX lid for this purpose on Yahoo!
Auctions for $2-$3. These springs are nice because they fit perfectly
and allow you to close the lid once you have loaded the game. I have
also heard that you can buy a similar spring at Home Depot.

II. Playing the import/backup:

Now that you have your lid open and the button pushed down, insert a
regular US PlayStation disc into your PlayStation. Make sure your Game
Shark is in and the switch is turned to the on position. Turn the power
on. If you have the button secure the disc will spin and the PSX will
act normally.

Your Game Shark menu should appear. Now choose the "Explorer" menu. Then
choose "Listen to CD Music". The PlayStation will read the disc and then
read the tracks from it. The listening station will appear and the disc
will stop. Once the disc has stopped, remove the US disc and put in your

If you wish, you can now exit the menus and begin playing your

Also, if you wish you can go into the "Select Codes" menu and enter
and/or turn on codes for your game.

Note: If you are playing a game such as Dino Crisis (US and Import) or
Final Fantasy VIII (Import), etc.,  that has a mod lock on it and needs
codes activated to play, be sure that you turn the codes on first before
swapping discs. Note that although codes may not be needed to boot the
game with the GameShark, they are recommended, as they prevent the game
from crashing during gameplay.

You should now be able to play your import/backup.

Note: Again, be sure that your button-pressing device is secure. If the
button pops up during gameplay, the PlayStation will freeze up, thinking
the lid has been opened and the disc will stop spinning. Odds are, you'll
need to reset and reload your game if this happens.

III. Playing Multi-Disc Games:

If you are playing a game that has multiple discs, going from one disc
to another may poise a problem. However, you'll need to take the
following steps to go from one disc to another.

Once you reach the end of a disc, or need to go to another disc, on every
game, you will get a screen that tells you what disc you need to insert.
If you have the lid open, you'll notice that the game is stopped. At this
point, remove the import while the lid button is still depressed. Insert
an original US black disc (or an original disc for whatever region you
are in).

Note: Most games will allow you to save before continuing. You can
completely ignore this swapping step by saving your game and then
loading the next disc with the GS. That is the easiermethod, but this
method is fairly simple once you get it right, and much more convenient.

You should know that the PlayStation has two speeds - 2x and 4x. 4x is
the faster speed, which is the speed of the disc when game data is being
loaded. 2x is the slower speed that usually runs normally once loading
has finished.

The next steps need to be done quickly and carefully. Once the original
disc is in, gently lift up the spring or whatever is holding the rear
button down. Put it back in its place again. This will create the effect
that the lid has been opened and closed, and that the game has been
replaced. Once you press the button again, the disc will spin at 2x
speed, as it is verifying that an original black PSX disc with correct
region code is inserted. It will remain at 2x for a few seconds, and
then switch to 4x to load the game. As soon as the disc speeds up,
carefully pop out the spinning original disc. Have the next import disc
ready. As soon as the original disc is out, replace it with the import
disc. The PSX's turntable (black disc spinner) will probably stop
briefly, thinking it has skipped. It will then spin again at 4x, loading
the next disc.

Caution: Be sure that you are gentle when removing the disc. Do not force
the turntable to stop. If you do, there is a possibility that you can
break your turntable. I have never had this happen, but I have heard that
others have done it by accident. Instead, pop the disc out from
underneath, so that you do no not abruptly stop it from spinning. As
always, be careful not to touch the laser in the process.

IV. How does it work?

To understand how this trick works, you must first understand what's
going on inside your PlayStation when you start it and the "Sony Computer
Entertainment" screen and the "PlayStation" screen shows up when you
start your console. Those screens aren't there to waste your time.

When these screens appear, the PSX performs two important checks: That
there is a black original PlayStation disc inserted and that the disc is
in the right country format for the machine, i.e. NTSC J (Japan and
Asia), NTSC U/C (North America), or PAL (Europe and Australia).

When you use a peripheral such as a Game Shark, it skips the opening
screens and therefore must perform the opening checks on its own.

When you first insert the US black disc, and command the GS to read the
disc, the PlayStation receives the information it needs: official disc
and correct country. By having the lid sensor pressed continuously, the
PlayStation thinks that the lid is closed constantly. When you go to swap
the discs in the Music section, the PSX thinks that the same disc is
inserted, and therefore loads the game thinking it is an original
American disc.

V. Game Shark Upgrades

For Game Shark versions 1.99 and below:

Send your Game Shark to the address below:

InterAct Accessories, Inc.
Attn: Upgrade Service
10999 McCormick Rd
Hunt Valley, MD 21031

Be sure to include your Game Shark, return address, and a note stating
that you would like a new model, and a check or money order for $35. Be
sure to write down any codes you have programmed into your Game Shark -
older models will be replaced with a brand new model and any codes you
have entered into your old model will not be in the new one. You will
probably receivea GameShark CD, which cannot play imports.

For Game Shark versions 2.00 and above:*

"Big Wave" Upgrade CD's are available for purchase from the GameShark
store ( This are updated periodically and
cost $5.00. Just be sure that the disc include an upgrade to a 2.x
version (2.9 or so). Version 2 GS's cannot upgrade to version 3 GS's
(Game Shark Pros).
Alternatively, you can purchase a device called a Comms Port Cable/Board
(different from the Sharklink). The board is installed into a slot in
your PC and the cable attaches to the GS. Note that this device is only
compatible with version 2 GS's.

For Game Shark Pro versions 3.00 and above:

Currently one way to receive upgrades for the Game Shark Pro is via
download (the "Big Wave" CD mentioned above may have GS Pro updates -- I
don't own one for myself). Use the form on the back of the instruction
booklet and purchase a Shark Link (different from Comms Link) to link
your Game Shark to your computer. If you have lost your booklet, there
are other third-party companies that sell a similar cable.

Then, you can download free upgrades off the internet via the GameShark
website (

VI. Other useful GS info

If you are considering getting a Sharklink for your GS Pro, I highly
suggest getting one. If you upgrade to version 3.2, like I have, the CD
music screen loads *much* faster than with previous versions. This may
save about 10 or 15 seconds of time, but that's alot if you have to load
the game every time.

Also, there's a cool PSX utilities site on the web for those that have a
Comms Link or a Sharklink. The address is (Note:
I cannot be held responsible for whatever content is on the page...)
There's a utility called AR3Stop which will patch GameShark Pro ROMs to
play imports on startup. However, there's a few downfalls. The disc stops
during the "Loading Game" screen so you have to get off your lazy butt
every time you start a game to press the black button on the side of the
GS Pro. The other downfall is that it completely wipes out your V-Mem and
renders it useless. If you so much touch the V-Mem menu after you've
patched the GS Pro, the GS Pro will freeze during the "Loading Game"
screen. You will then need to reflash the ROM. So, if you use this, be
sure to keep a backup of your original GS Pro ROM just in case.

Also at that site is a new ROM called "Import Player". It is available to
burn to CD or to load to GS version 2.x. I haven't tried this one for
myself (as I have not a CD burner, a GS 2.x, or a Comms Link). Not only
does it load imports, but it loads PAL games with a NTSC signal and

Disclaimer: GameShark TM, Game Shark TM, and Sharklink TM are trademarks
of Interact Accessories. PlayStation TM and Sony (C) are trademarks of
Sony Computer Entertainment. This FAQ/guide has been written by Alex
Kraus and is covered by copyright law. Any attempt to redistribute, edit,
or publish this FAQ and its contents without the author's written consent
is illegal and punishable by law. I do not condone piracy. I am
distributing this information to those who wish to use it for use with
backups of original games possessed or with games of different regional
code. I am not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the use
of the guide. This disclaimer shall not be removed from this FAQ.

Copyright (C) 1999-2000 Alex Kraus