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SharkWire Online

shark wire online
SharkWire Online is a specialized GameShark device with a serial port and modem added, accompanied by a now defunct dialup Internet portal service It was sold only in the US, by InterAct which is most famous for its GameShark and Dexdrive Scheduled for launch in January 2000,2 it was the only Nintendo 64 online service to have been launched apart from Nintendo's Randnet service in Japan


  • 1 History
  • 2 Usage
  • 3 Reception
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading


The SharkWire Online's Nintendo 64 accessories were developed by Datel in the UK, for InterAct to sell in the US The now defunct dialup portal system was developed between InterAct and its communications partners: Spyglass, Inc for its Mosaic web browser application; D3 Networks, an Internet Service Provider ISP for game devices, which built and operated the SharkWire Online dialup network and content portal; and GTE Internetworking for its local dial-up access via its DiaLinxR network and Global Network Infrastructure GNI backbone3

The SharkWire Online was presented to the public at the Electronic Entertainment Expo E3 in Los Angeles on May 13–15, 1999 Later in 1999, it was test marketed in Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, Texas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, but not released to the rest of the USA until January 1, 20004:19 The company considered the possibility of eventually supporting online multiplayer gaming, and opening up access to the wider Internet beyond their proprietary portal5

The company ran a $5–10 million advertising campaign created by advertising agency J Walter Thompson across TV, print, radio, direct, and interactive media It portrayed an aggressive image of teenaged "hacking" versus the FBI, which "gives kids a feeling of control and power over the establishment"6

Before InterAct closed down operations, SharkWire Online and all other trademarks of GameShark were sold to Mad Catz7


The SharkWire Online product centers around a cartridge, which contains a modem and the Mosaic web browser licensed by Spyglass, Inc The product's operation requires Nintendo's Expansion Pak for RAM5 Because the SharkWire Online cartridge is unlicensed by Nintendo, a security workaround is achieved when the user inserts a Nintendo 64 video game cartridge into the SharkWire's rear slot, with the label facing up The keyboard and telephone cords are plugged directly into the SharkWire Online cartridge To navigate the menus, Controller 1 must be attached to the Nintendo 64 console

The accompanying dialup service was intended as a safely proxied and customized Internet access method for children aged 7 to 14 years The service allowed the player to upload and download game saves with their Controller Pak, and to download cheat codes directly into the SharkWire cartridge8 The portal contained copies of articles which had already been published on the Internet by InterAct's content partners These partners included Fox Sports, Electronics Boutique,9 Gamepro, Prima, Eidos, Capcom USA, Jones Soda, Airwalk, UPN, and Arnette Sunglasses34:175

However, due to the continual updating of Nintendo's security chips to lock out unlicensed products, even since the time of the product's release, it is incompatible with the following games:10

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Yoshi's Story
  • Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr
  • Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside
  • F-Zero X
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • Cruis'n World
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • 1080° Snowboarding

To bypass these lockouts, would require the re-manufacturing of the SharkWire-GameShark cartridge's hardware While subsequent GameSharks were released for the N64, the SharkWire Online was not updated, and more Nintendo 64 games were produced that it is unable to unlock and play with


A review by News on 6 found the online portal content to be well-written and suitable more for young children, although very limited in content and scope and less suitable for more mature gamers The review found the email functionality to be good once the faulty keyboard was replaced, and also well suited for children5

See alsoedit

  • 64DD and Randnet


  1. ^ "FCC Application notice for SharkWire Online" Archived from the original on October 3, 2006 
  2. ^ "SharkWire For N64 Provides E-Mail, Gaming Community" Twice Retrieved January 7, 2015 
  3. ^ a b "SharkWire OnlineTM by InterAct Allows Gamers To Get Online, In-Touch and Out Ahead" Press release Hunt Valley, MD: InterAct Accessories, Inc PR Newswire May 12, 1999 Retrieved January 7, 2015 
  4. ^ a b "Q64" Vol Vol 3 Winter 1999 
  5. ^ a b c d Godinez, Victor April 2, 2000 "Review: SharkWire promising but needs fine-tuning" News On 6 Retrieved January 7, 2015 
  6. ^ Dawson, Angela December 6, 1999 "JWT Cracks the Code" Retrieved January 7, 2015 
  7. ^ "Mad Catz Interactive Inc – '20-F' for 3/31/03 – EX-417" March 31, 2003 Retrieved January 6, 2014 
  8. ^ "Cyberspace Via Nintendo" The Washington Post October 7, 1999 
  9. ^ "Just When You Thought It Was Safe" IGN October 7, 1999 Retrieved January 7, 2015 
  10. ^ SharkWire Online instruction manual InterAct 1999 

Further readingedit

  • "New Online Access Tool", Education Technology News, August 4, 1999 

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