kenobi

June 12th, 2009
Lazy Bastard: You've written many programs that have been helpful to the hacking community, reverse-engineered many cheat devices/systems, to include encryption algorithms and code types, and hacked quite a few impressive codes. What was your inspiration for all this?
 
kenobi: Well, I used to work for video games magazine, and as such I had to finish games very fast, or make walkthrough in a short time. I was also pleased by the ability to take screenshots directly from the RAM (with a quality greater than any capture card). That's how I started using hacking devices, and hacking codes. Then I wanted to learn more, understand how the devices/games were working, and I started learning asm and reverse engineering. Meanwhile I started programming in Delphi (simple but powerful language, perfect for my little basic skills), helped Forgotten with VBA development (under the nickname pokemonhacker) which was a great way to understand how the GB/C/A hardware was working...


Lazy Bastard: What is your favorite code/hack that you hacked?

kenobi: The NGC AR hacks (adding new features to it - or correcting bugs) were the one I liked the most, because (IMO) they were really useful.


Lazy Bastard: What is your favorite code/hack of all time?

kenobi: Zeld's MPH aimbot seems pretty amazing. He must have been a nice challenge to achieve. I'm not sure I would have done it if I had tried.


Lazy Bastard: Who would you say influenced you the most in the video game hacking scene? Who did you 'look up to' when you first entered the scene? (doesn't have to be the same person for both)

kenobi: It's Parasyte for both. When the GBA Pokémon's games came out, there was that "encounter any pokémon" code that everyone wanted. So I started looking for it, and doing so I heard about an AR code (Type 6) that was kinda "rewriting the game ROM". I couldn't understand how it worked (as you can't rewrite ROM), so I searched on google and asked on Kodewerx (well back then it wasn't Kodewerx already) if anyone could explain it to me. Parasyte started some very detailed explanations. From there I didn't stop asking questions, and learned a lot from him. Then I tried to follow his "share to the community" path by releasing documentation  and tools (unfortunately I can't release codesource as I'm a very bad programmer and all of them look awful). His ability to explain things in a very clear way, his amazing knowledge and his talent impressed me a lot. I'm very glad to have met him, and to have worked on some projects with him !


Lazy Bastard: What was your first code/hack?

kenobi: Honestly I can't tell for sure. It could have been some PSX game... The one I remember the most is a code for Wild Arms 2. I was playing it in japanese, and there was 7 stones you had to touch in the right order to open a door. I couldn't find the right order in-game (and 7*6*5*4*3*2 is a bit too much of combinations to try), so I started searching for a code. After some tries I found the address where the value that told if the stones were touched in the good order was stored, and I was able to continue and finish the game.


Lazy Bastard: What do you think is the most difficult type of code/hack to hack, and why?

kenobi: Tough question, as it all goes with your skills, the game you're hacking and the tools you have (a simple health code can be a nightmare on some games). But I'd say usually hacking asm codes that change the way the games behave (could be wtw/walk on water/save anywhere/...) can be the most difficult to hack, because you have to "master" the asm, and a lot of backtracing is involved. So a few people can do them, and fewer people actually try to do them.


Lazy Bastard: What is your favorite type of code/hack?

kenobi: I love those hacks that enable debug features (especially when it means having access to "test rooms" or "debug levels"). Unfortunately too few games have debug stuff left (or they are too well hidden). I also like codes that render some games less painful to play (could be a code that let you move faster, or display the text instantly).


Lazy Bastard: What is your least favorite aspect of hacking?

kenobi: The time it takes :/ That's why I kinda stopped releasing stuff. I still watch the scene, but I don't participate a lot anymore.


Lazy Bastard: What do you like least about the hacking scene?

kenobi: Honestly nothing, I love it as it is.


Lazy Bastard: Which game did you find the most fun to hack, and why?

kenobi: GBA's Pokémon without a doubt. Not only was I amazed how such a "simple" game could have so many codes done, but hacking it helped me understand the internal behaviour of the game. It was very entertaining, and there was some kind of competition between hackers with was very stimulative (there was a hardcore hacker community that was very active (meowth, filb, loadingnow to name a few)).


Lazy Bastard: Did you ever hack an awesome code, or find an address in memory that would've yielded an awesome code, but then lost it somehow?

kenobi: Nope, I don't believe so. However I know I sometime find codes (or addresses), then forgot to write them down, and then I have to find them all over again.


Lazy Bastard: What was the most difficult, 'hair-pulling' hack you've ever accomplished?

kenobi: Well I can't remember of a code that I would consider as the most difficult. I know I had a hard time trying unsuccessfully to find an item code for DKR on the DS, but once I got my pointer tool ready finding it was a breeze (the game was using "pointer in pointer"). Apart that I'd say that in general it was the reverse engineering (of cheating devices) and the programming (gcnrdgui, wiirdgui, vba) that were the most difficult (but the most rewarding).


Lazy Bastard: Was there ever a code you just couldn't get to work quite correctly (something you hacked/attempted to hack)?

kenobi: I honestly guess there are plenty. I remember trying to hack a health code for a DBZ game, and I couldn't get anywhere.


Lazy Bastard: Aside from hacking and gaming, how do you like to spend your time?

kenobi: Well I have a full time job, which doesn't leave me a lot of free time. But I do the usual I guess : TV, movies, books, family... Nothing fancy.


Lazy Bastard: What do you think must happen for the video game hacking scene to continue to thrive?

kenobi: No idea. I mean, I don't think something must happen. It goes as it goes... As I kept meeting/seeing people "new to the scene" with a great knowledge and a real talent, I'm confident in the future of hacking.


Lazy Bastard: One last question: if you had one thing to say to current, aspiring, and future hackers, what would it be?

kenobi: Be curious, try to understand how things work, read the documentations, and if you don't get it, ask (I bet a lot of people will be more than happy to teach you). Oh, and be prepared to spend a lot of your free time on it!