Late last year we got to interview Grant Hughes from Datel, the company famous for making the cheat systems that unlock extra weapons and hidden extras in games.
The bright idea was to feature the interview before Christmas, but we lost all track of time whilst using their AR2 V2 cheat system, finding new areas of games that we'd simply not reached before. So without any more delay, here's what was said:GamesPaper
What was the original idea that started Datel's cheat codes system, and what major events have shaped the company?Grant
Way back in the days of the Commodore 64 Datel launched a cheat cartridge called Action Replay, and the rest as they say, is history. Today Datel exports products worldwide, including to the USA, Japan, Australia, Germany and France.
Every new console launch is a major event for us - it signals the need for a brand new Action Replay. We pride ourselves in always being the first company to launch a cheat product on every system. We always achieve that goal through hard work and dedication.GamesPaper
The official Code Junkies website and games magazines constantly have new codes for the latest games - how does Datel manage to work out cheat codes for new titles so quickly?Grant
We have a dedicated team whose job is to find codes for the latest games. As soon as a game is released, we buy it and dissect it. It may sound like a great job playing games all day, but these guys have to work really hard to obtain the best cheats, and they also have to thoroughly test new products.GamesPaper
What would you consider as being the 5 most important products that Datel has produced?Grant
That's a tough question... at the moment our most important product has to be the successor to Action Replay 2, which is called Action Replay 2 V2. Why? Well, because A) it's still the only cheat cartridge for PlayStation2; B) it has incredible new features - as well as cheating in games you can play multi-region DVD movies and compress memory card saves and; C) PlayStation2 is easily the biggest and best console available in Europe.
Action Replay 2 V2 has had an incredible response from customers and press. I'm convinced it will be our most successful product ever. Which is great, because a lot of hard work went into making it.
We also released Action Replay GBX this month - it's the first ever cheat cart for Game Boy Advance, and another important product for the future. The user interface is so slick, it's got to be seen to be believed.
Last but not least is Equalizer Xtreme for PlayStation, which is still
the best-selling cheat product in the UK, despite the launch of PlayStation2. That's going to change soon though - AR2 V2 will take its crown.
Respect is also due to GameShark, which we design and manufacture for InterAct in the United States. GameShark is the world's best-selling cheat product, or "game enhancer" as they call it over there.
Can I be greedy and mention a sixth product? The first ever Action Replay for the Commodore 64/128 started it all, and if you look around on the internet people are still programming emulator versions of it today!GamesPaper
Were there any products which simply didn't do as well as expected, or never got released?Grant
We developed a web browser for the Nintendo 64 (yes really!) which was only ever released in the States...have you ever tried browsing the internet without looking at any pictures?!GamesPaper
Ooh, now that doesn't sound like much fun at all! What's your personal favourite product by Datel?Grant
It's got to be AR2 V2 - it's a cheat cartridge, it's an import DVD movie player, and all for thirty quid. Bloody marvellous! :-)
What's your favourite games machine, and favourite game?Grant
I've still got a soft spot for my old rubber-keyed Sinclair Spectrum, my first ever games machine. It's amazing how programmers got so much out of just 48k of RAM! The Commodore Amiga was way ahead of its time and had some great games written for it too.
Today I'm a PC addict, thanks mainly to Championship Manager, although I also use it for writing my own music. Console-wise though, nothing beats the PS2.GamesPaper
Does the use of cheats seem as more or less popular than if did with the older consoles of the early 1990's.Grant
Sony changed the console market forever with the release of PlayStation, with the result that gaming is now a mass market activity that's even bigger than movies worldwide. The rub-off effect for us is that there are more console owners than ever before, therefore there are now many more people who want to bend the rules in their games.GamesPaper
Can you let us know of any new products which Datel have planned for the future?Grant
Action Replay is now in development for Xbox and Gamecube, so watch this space!GamesPaper
So there you go - an insight in to Datel, and there's plenty on the cards for the Xbox and Gamecube, which we'll bring you full news of as soon as new products get announced. We'll have a review of the excellent AR2 V2 for the PlayStation 2 soon.Related articles: Datel's GBX gives gamers an AdvanceRegion X brings down PlayStation 2 DVD region barriersPokemon, Zelda and Mario.. on PlayStation2Datel replay the PS2 action