The 7 (yes, SEVEN) Most Infamous Gaming Hacks

Imma in ur sistum, haxin ur warez.

The word ‘Hacking’ brings fear to many console designer’s hearts. With the power of one single phrase, thoughts of court cases, big payouts and frightening possibilities come flooding in to their minds. In short – console developers HATE hacks to their proud pieces of work, clean and simple. It’s why they tend to put a bombshell of pressure on the homebrew community. The end coder, however, always finds a way to succeed. And, he can use that to his advantage, by doing some pretty neat circus tricks along with the show.

Below are some examples of infamous Hacks that the loving brew community has conjured up with. You can try some of these yourself, but as always, raise an eyebrow when doing so. We’re not in the mood for lawsuits.

1. Code Generators

Sadly, I’m going to have to start off with something slightly less desirable – the advent of Code Generators. ’They’ I understand that these monsters are more to do with cold, hard, cheap piracy rather than hacking, but it still takes an extremely knowledgeable man (who could possibly hack in to NASA – *cough, cough*) to produce one that actually has the right mind to function.

Code Generators are PC programs that supposedly retrieve a special code when you use it. Input the code in to your system and – voila – you unlock something from there, whether it’s paid or free. Premise is simple, right? Not so, Sonny Jim. Before you go plonking off around YouTube looking for one, note that most of them either contain viruses, hack your account details or just simply not work.

Due to the fact that ones for Microsoft Points and Wii Points are the most popular types, they’re most often illegal anyway. So, any of you not wanting to possibly face a court sentence, back off now. And even without all of the illegal hullabaloo, they’re just not worth the risk. Do yourself a favour, and don’t download one. EVER. ‘Nuff said.

2. The Homebrew Channel/Twilight Hack

Back at the very top end of oh seven, the word ‘Wii’ was implanted firmly on the lips of almost half of the men, women and children in the entire world. The rise to motion fame for Nintendo was about to crash feet-first on the western world, but still in the depths of development space, something much, MUCH darker was about to come raining down.

Soon after the launch of the console, a team of hackers known as ‘Team Twiizers’ developed a method of running the rising prospect of Wii Homebrew, on a standard retailed Wii system. This method was the Homebrew Channel, an unofficial, third-party Wii channel that, once installed to the flash drive inside the box, was able to read and launch coded Wii software. Not in the least bit surprisingly, the entire shebang gained a colossal amount of Internet cred, and is estimated to have been installed on almost 25% of all Wii systems to date.

At this point, a few of you may be scratching your Timmy heads, pondering about the prospect of how most of these ‘25%’ of Wii systems were able to get injected with the Homebrew vaccine. To answer that bemusing question, I’d like you, to stop and think for a moment. What, other product, released on the same day as the Wii itself, was also on everybody’s lips…? If you guessed The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, you were correct.

And, how was Twilight Princess possible linked with getting Homebrew on Wii systems, you may ask? The clever noggins at TT realised that they needed to take advantage of something popular to allow the installation of their ‘magical’ creation, and Twilight Princess was the perfect game to take  advantage of. The way, they did it, was in creating the Twilight Hack – a game exploit for the Zelda adventure that cracked up the system’s security measures and installed the HBC on said retail Wii system. The exploit was wildly popular, providing more Wii systems with the third-party channel than any other exploit.

Of course, it didn’t take long for Nintendo to get the heads up, and it was the Twilight Hack that triggered the long, endless war between Nintendo and the hackers. Nintendo release a system update to block the exploit, and soon after, the Hackers patch it. This formula kept running on tired, right until the release of System Firmware 4, when the big N finally killed it, once and for all. Maybe a bit late in doing so, too, as by then, new HBC exploits like the Bannerbomb, Indiana Pwns (work it out, thick), and the new accepted norm, Smash Stack.

This may all sound like a fairytale, but it’s seriously not. The battle’s probably going to last until the Wii’s ending dawns upon us, but, by then, they’re probably thinking up Homebrew plans for the next console.

Out of interest, does anyone else find it amusing to watch all of this unfold…? Maybe it’s just me.

3. Action Replay

Throughout this entire article, I’ve reported on system hacks that only people with a large noggin would be interested in. If a member of the general public were to be reading through this astounding collection of words in this exact sliver of time, the only emotion possible to describe them would be ‘confounded‘. Seriously.

But, this one isn’t only for the know-it-all big-heads, oh boy. Action Replay, my friends, is the only hack I could ever talk about in this entire article that even poor old Sonny Jim over there would know about. Action Replay, is the most popular hacking tool out there. ACTION REPLAY, is simply, a legend. The object of pure gold for the boffins at Datel, AR is a household name with gamers all over the globe, hyowge or teeny, male or the other sex, even with gripey little eight-year-olds that the hardcore gaming community loves to hate. Quite astonishingly, it’s a revolution.

The premise for Replay, is overwhelmingly simple – buy a modified game disc or cartidge, slot it in to your console, enable a number of game-twisting factors, and then swap your AR material for the subjected game you plan to demonically twist. Easy. The results can range from being ever-so-helpful (caught ‘em all), ever-so-shameful (moon jump is a disgrace), or even downright mad (Mario, time to explode).

And, it’s this premise that’s launched Action in to worldwide fame, sometimes getting on the wrong end of game manufacturers, but mostly making a name for itself in oh-so-many ways. It’s so brilliant to use, in our opinion, that AR is the only hacking device we recommend you MUST have. Yes, MUST. ‘Try’ isn’t going to do it on this occasion.

4. Halo: Reach Flamehack

Before we launch straight in to this very segment, let me warn you that it’s best to file this one as ‘Under Construction’. Just sayin’…well, actually, there is a reason why you obliviously should – your smartarse brain should be able to pick up the reason in a matter of time. Let’s properly go in to the fine details now.

On the 14th July, a mere two months before Halo: Reach will/had (blame Time) hit the shelves, an infamous Xbox LIVE user with a reputation for you-know-what, whose past projects included an XBL management system and a Steam Game Adder, effectively ravaged up a war with the Microsoft-Bungie duo. The end. Wait, you want to know more?

On that precise day, to ‘celebrate’ two months ‘till Reach, the YouTube/XBL user and part-time hax0r s7variable dropped an entire bombshell on the Halo community – one that fans would inevitably lap up. Ess-seven claimed to have hacked in to Bungie’s own dedicated servers, and, with the agility of a techno-ninja, ’borrowed’ a piece of software from them. That piece of software, you may ask? Oh, only a tool for awarding XBL accounts with the coveted Head-flame item (available legitimately from the £100/$150 Halo: Reach Legendary Edition) for when the game fires up and running on Seppie 14th.

Alright, fans didn’t exactly ‘lap it up’. Only a select part of the community noticed it in the shadows, and even from them, most of that selection enjoyed flaming the tool rather than crediting it. After all, who could blame them? An application requiring your e-mail address and password? At first sight, you may want to flee like a lone giraffe escaping a bloodthirsty lion.

However, there are also signs to suggest that the Windows program is ultimately legit. I’ve tested it for viruses myself, and none have been found. My ZoneAlarm firewall claims that it connects to Bungie Studios. Hell, you can also see the registration progress happening in real-time. I, along with Tom Williams, have tried it on our own accounts, and so far, nothing has happened to either of us relating the hack.

All that we know is that the brave souls who have dared to adventure on this  road-to-nowhere will face their destiny on September 14th. Will they get their prize? Will nothing happen? Will they, in the slightest oft-chance, even get Banhammr’d? Only time, will tell.

Oh, and I do have a second account. Nice try, ban-hammer.

5. PSJailbreak

Hacks don’t usually make headlines. This one, on the contrary, has.

For years, the PlayStation 3 has been the only console on the market to stand up to the hackers. Radical change, don’t you think, to the PS2 Linux story? Indeed. Going on, all attempts made to hack the sleek, black box of Blu-Rayness Hdness stuffness have failed. Until two weeks ago.

A group of modchip sellers from down under, OzModChips, received an item in their letterbox that was claimed to be able to finally hack the security giant of a box. The item was named ‘PSJailbreak’, and it’s creators wanted the aussies to test it out for them. The item itself was a flash-drive-like USB stick that, once inserted in to the console, was rumoured to allow backup PS3 BR-discs and homebrew applications to run on the system. OzMod tested the device, and filmed their attempts on camera for the world to peek at via YouTube. The results? It actually worked.

The news started spreading around the interwebs like wildfires in a forest, and it wasn’t long until the term ‘PSJailbreak’ was literally glued to the voice boxes of millions of PS3 fans. Sony, overwhelmed by the device and it’s possibilities, refused to comment.

The device has started being put on sale, albeit for an extremely high price. Maybe you’ll want to comment on how this case is going to come out of the laminating machine, eh?

P.S. – The best PSJ comments will be featured in my next article. Just sayin’. Again.

6. Nintendo DS Flashcarts

Yes, it’s another one of those hacks (or, rather, hacking tools) that Sonny Jim over there knows about himself. If you have a Nintendo DS and not heard about NDS flashcarts, you never even lived in the first place. But, fear not, dead men – I’m about to bring you back to life.

Ever since the launch of Ninty’s understandably famous GBA console, handheld h4x0rz have been using their shady warehouses to craft up these devious little hardware-haxin’ monsters known as flashcarts. Existing for both the GBA and the Nintendo DS, they ‘unlock’ either device’s full capabilities by allowing one console to run unsigned code, like ripped/back-upped ROMs and custom homebrew software.

Interesting, right? So is the idea’s popularity as a whole – an estimated 30% of all DS consoles from around the world are used to run flashcarts regularly. Same goes with the Advance, with 25 percent of all GBA handhelds running Game Boy flashcarts. The GBA flashcart scene was sturdy enough to outlive the console’s lifespan itself, with no attempt from Heaven’s Luck to tumble the empire back in the day.

The tale of the Dual Screen Scene, however, has been regarded as one of the most iconic cat n’ mouse games that gamers could ever even dream of – even more so than the Twilight Trigger. Back in 2005, when Nintay unleashed the rip-roaring and certainly revolutionary touch screen device for the first time, the original system’s lack of  operational updates meant that the gateway to hell for Nintendo’s security-based managers was left blown open for the bedroom developers to torment with at their own game. Fast-forward a year, and the release of the NDS I-went-on-a-diet (joking, I mean the DS Lite) hosted the debut attempted effort to block flashcarts for good. Still no OS updates, I distress, meant that a patch was found on Day One.

I’ll pause in the middle of this section for a slight break in time, just to reply to that ringing riddle bothering you, dear reader. I’m sure you want to know why Nintendo would want to block these flash carts in the first place, wouldn’t you? Aside from the clear fact that Nintendo wants to jig up hackers, with pearls, for no apparent benefit, the DS ROMs that flash carts have the ability to run can mostly be found on illegall file-sharing sites. In Layman’s terms, Piracy. Time to swiftly jog on, like the mate of Billy No-Mates.

By the time that the DS-aye hit the streets, Nint finally signified the waging of a full-on war with flashcart producers, by introducing the bright idea of NDSi Operating System updates. Cue, the exact same tale of the Wii and the HBC, replaced by the DS and flashcarts. You know Jim’s drill.

Like the Nintendo/Twiizers battle, the DS/flashcarts battle is still lasting on today. What a surprise! But, wait, there’s more. At the very back end of July, Nintendo of Europe (the douchebag section of Nintendo, that delayed SSBB for an eternity) reigned victorious in a UK court case that banned the selling of DS flashcarts over here in Blighty, effectively making them like Class C drugs – minus any legal charges for buyers, as only sellers are restricted from the ruling. Full stop.

If you live anywhere else, they are available for sale, but, for your own sanity, The Gamer Dimension doesn’t recommend using any hacking forms OTHER than Action Replay. The end.

7. Emulators

Do you, by pure chance, like watching Machinima videos on YewTewb that are produced on consoles from the fifth generation of home boxes or below? If so, there’s a 99.999999999999999999%r chance of it being produced on something OTHER than the actual console that the game in question can be booted on. SHOCK HORROR!

Instead, the budding film-makers you know and love were probably using tools called Emulators to craft their treasured showpieces. Emulators, for the jargon n00b, are pieces of PC software (they exist on Mac OSX, but good luck on finding one for Apple’s OS) that perfectly run ROM files of N64 games to ‘emulate’ the actual console experience. They even let you control the game with a Keyboard or, if you own one, a joypad. Just download the emulator, obtain the ROM, and voila! Start playing your classic forms of entertainment.

Sounds brilliant, don’t you think? Rather splendid, in the words of British stereo-subject Jon Bentley. But, woah there. You’re maybe diving in to The Emulator Zone a little to early. We need to speak out more. If you haven’t worked it out already from the last segment, ROMs are illegal to download, and are only legal in general if ripped from an existing form of media. Emulators are legal, but are highly frowned upon, especially by (who else) Nintendo, who wants to see them immortally dead. The entire world of Emulation is, indeed, overly shady.

As with before, don’t try this one yourself. I personally have, and although the end result of the process is unmatched for some good ol’ Fraps recording, you get a much better experience on a proper console for most of the time. And, one more thing – stop typing that eBay article. NOW. Or I’ll kick your ass and take your name, Regginator style.

So, I hope that anyone who has invested their own free time for the sake of text has enjoyed what they saw for a newbie’s article. I also hope you’ve learned about the potential of homebrew, including how risky and dangerous it can be to take part in. Maybe you could compare bedroom coders to beekeepers, if you know what I mean. I know I’ve stuffed this in your face more times than you’ve had takeaways, but for the safeguarding of your sanity, and to ensure that you don’t feel any console withdrawl symptoms, stick to Action Replay if you can. Grillin’ time is now upon us, as you now have to rate my first article. Good things? Bad things? Comments about the length? I need ‘em. Until my next article, I’ll seeyas all in a matter of time. And remember, don’t make me kick your ass.

MintagedVortex

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3 Responses to The 7 (yes, SEVEN) Most Infamous Gaming Hacks

  1. td90uk says:

    Good article. A few years ago, I had an N64 emulator with GoldenEye. Don’t have it any more though.

    I would never use anything illegal nowadays, hacks, code generators, any of the above mentioned.

  2. @td90uk I bricked my first Wii using a code generator =|

  3. games hacken says:

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