Way back in the nerdy days of Grade 10 (okay, 8 through 10), my friend Albert and I wasted our youths playing computer games in his basement. In particular, we played a lot of Ultima IV. Albert–the brainier half of our friendship (I’m unsure which half I was)–figured out that we could manually edit game files to improve our characters’ lots in life. That is, we could cheat.
We spent hours and hours staring at rows of hexadecimal notation, figuring out which values pertained to gold pieces or our thief’s Dexterity score. This was about 1989, mind you, long before this whole Intarweb thing got popular. There weren’t any sites like this to streamline the process. We got pretty good at it, though I think we both were too goody-two-shoes to actually cheat consistently. We just enjoyed hacking (I use the term generously here) the game.
I was led down this little memory cul-de-sac by Poke (good URL there), a cheat utility which works (I think) in much the same fashion.
On a related note, I see there’s a SourceForge project to replicate Ultima 4. That’s maybe a little too much computer game nostalgia, even for me.