April 23rd, 2009
Lazy Bastard: Aside from hacking codes, you broke most of the XPloder encryption schemes for the Playstation, and the CodeBreaker code and "code save"/"day1" encryption schemes for PS2. What was your inspiration for doing this?

misfire: Poking around the Xploder PSX code encryption was actually my first experience in cryptography. I figured out where the device stored the unencrypted codes in RAM and basically did a (dumb) brute-force attack to break the different schemes. Since then I've been fascinated by crypto stuff and have written many tools by reverse-engineering one thing or another. One of the main reasons why I've cracked virtually any piece of the CodeBreaker PS2 is that I truly believe that hacking needs to be free. No code encryption. No proprietary formats. An end to control.

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

misfire: Hm, that's not easy to answer. I can particularly remember how proud I was when I managed to get the PSX game TOCA WTC PAL running with the Xploder. It required a dedicated Enable Code due to a nasty LibCrypt protection. I wrote an XOR decoder in Turbo Pascal (!) to detect and patch the encrypted subroutines. This was one of my favorite hacks.

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

misfire: I guess Nachbrenner's 3-axis camera modifier for Tony Hawk's Skateboarding (PSX) was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen.

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)

misfire: In the early days when PSX hacking became a hobby of mine, I definitely looked up to Nachbrenner and UL1. Back then, our favorite cheat device was the Xploder and with it I gained most of my basic hacking knowledge in the late 90's. I think it was Nachbrenner who influenced me the most in the hacking scene. What a great time we had in the good old days... Also, Code Master was quite helpful when I taught myself the C programming language to write my first "proper" tools. I've always liked his ASM codes and programs like GSCC2k. (Unfortunately, lots of things changed after he became CMX, but that's another story...). Of course, Parasyte was and is an inspiration for me. I think what is most admirable is the fact that he made his source code available to the public. In this aspect, he served as a role model for me.

Lazy Bastard: What was your first code/hack?

misfire: IIRC, this was "Infinite Time" for a demo version of Puma Street Soccer. I did it using an Xploder Professional with X-Assist and I remember how happy I was when I saw that the clock was actually "frozen". Shortly afterwards I started hacking PSX games using a PC and the X-Link trainer software.

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

misfire: If the game is programmed in an "unconventional" way, almost every code can be a pain in the ass. Similarly, hacking can be difficult if you don't have the right tools to do it (see PS2).

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

misfire: I've got a passion for simple and elegant solutions. It is often amazing what you can do by only patching a few bytes or even bits. ASM hacks don't have to be complex to be beautiful.

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

misfire: Nowadays, this scene is full of leechers and wannabes who don't care about other people's work. They're the reason why many hackers do not release their work to the public (not to speak of source code) which is a damn shame!

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

misfire: Back in the days I loved to hack PSX demos. This way, I was able to play/test my favorite games as long as I wanted without any time limit. Sometimes I got to see all the weapons/items weeks before the final game made it to the stores. This was lot of fun.

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?

misfire: I cannot remember finding an awesome code in the first place. :)

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

misfire: Cracking the CodeBreaker V7 code encryption was very challenging and fun at the same time.

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

misfire: Of course. There were a few games I wasn't able to hack any useful codes for. I can't tell if the developers were mean or I was just too impatient/inexperienced at that time.

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

misfire: With friends, (European) handball, basketball, pool, music, reading, Linux and other geek stuff.

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

misfire: We need more open source projects like Artemis. It's the first step in the right direction. Again, hacking needs to be free! (And I should finally get my ass up, stop talking about writing a PS2 remote debugger and actually finish it... ;))

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

misfire: Never give up. Gain experience. Be polite and respect others.