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The fundamental unit of computing. Each bit can either be on (0) or off (1). Bytes consist of eight bits, resulting in possible values between 0 and 255.


Usually, numbers are represented using the decimal numeral system, from 0 to 9. The hexadecimal numeral system uses the digits 0 to 9, followed by A to F. A represents 10 in hexadecimal, B is 11, etc.

Hex Editors

The most basic tool for hacking. These allows you to open up files and their contents. When editing files, there will usually be three things shown:

  • The location of the data, commonly referred to as addresses (usually in either hexadecimal or decimal)
  • The contents of the file in hex
  • The contents of the file in the selected encoding (usually ASCII)

The user can usually edit in hex or with regular text.

Cheating Programs

One step up from hex editing, cheating programs allow users to edit the memory of a program while it's running. One example of this is Cheat Engine.

Cheating Devices

Cheating devices are used for consoles that normally don't have any. Similar to cheating programs, these can alter the game's memory in some way. When entering cheats, these will usually only store a certain number of lines for each cheat. Emulators can surpass these limitations, but it is advised to provide ROM patches for extensive hacks.


A much more comprehensive tool. These usually can view the machine code that is being run.