As previously mentioned, we spent a large amount of our youth in an arcade that, sadly, no longer exists. Within its dark and somewhat mouldy confines, I learned a valuable lesson taught to me by my brother: the hardware hack. This involved holding down all 4 controller sticks and buttons on the NBA Jam arcade game, giving you a free tank game.

It didn’t take long for the arcade’s surly Asian owner to figure out what was going on. Kids were getting free games; they were doing things you’re not supposed to in games. Her response was to yell at you, a lot, if she caught you playing. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a punishment, but her voice was really annoying, so it was surprisingly effective.

This foray into hacking ultimately led me to cheat in many games after that, including Wheel of Fortune for DOS, where I used a Hex Editor to find the dictionary of possible words and my way to victory. This was how you cheated; nobody did it for you, you had to battle it out with old Asian women and hours of Hex and ASCII. Things are different now, easier, and I can’t help but miss the days when you had to know how shit works.