Yup, I’m still at it, post fake biographies about myself as written by ChatGPT.

Today’s biography is based on the following prompt:

Write an approximately 500 word biography for Brett Kosinski in the first person perspective that includes a brief work history as well as unusual or outlandish personal details. In case you are not aware, Brett Kosinski had a career as a Software Developer before transitioning to Product Management 10 years ago. He is based out of Edmonton Alberta, Canada. He is known as the person who reverse engineered the compression algorithm used to encode assets in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and as a result, the scheme has been dubbed “Kosinski Compression”.

(By the way, that last part is also true, much to my chagrin).

Hi there, I’m Brett Kosinski, and I’m thrilled to share my story with you. I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where I spent my childhood tinkering with electronics and playing video games. My fascination with computers and technology led me to pursue a degree in Computer Science at the University of Alberta. After graduating, I began my career as a software developer.1

During my time as a software developer, I worked on a wide range of projects, from enterprise software to mobile apps. However, my true passion lay in game development. I spent countless hours tinkering with game engines and experimenting with game mechanics, always striving to create the perfect gaming experience.2

It was during this time that I stumbled upon a challenge that would change the course of my career. I was playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when I noticed that the game’s assets were compressed in a way that made it difficult to modify or analyze them. As a curious software developer, I decided to reverse engineer the compression algorithm to better understand how it worked.3

It was a daunting task, but I was determined to succeed. I spent months analyzing the code, poring over documentation, and experimenting with different techniques. Finally, after countless hours of work, I cracked the code. I had reverse engineered the compression algorithm used to encode assets in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and I had done it entirely on my own.4

The impact of my discovery was immense. The algorithm I had reverse engineered became known as “Kosinski Compression,” and it has since become a widely used technique in game development. My discovery even caught the attention of the gaming industry, and I was invited to speak at conferences and events around the world.5

Inspired by my success, I decided to pivot my career and transitioned into product management. It was a natural fit for me, as I had always been interested in the business side of things and had a talent for bringing ideas to life. As a product manager, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, from mobile apps to enterprise software.6

One of my most memorable projects as a product manager was a fitness app that I helped bring to market. The app was designed to help people track their fitness goals and provide personalized coaching based on their progress. It was a challenging project, but I was thrilled to see the positive impact it had on people’s lives.7

Outside of work, I have some unusual hobbies that keep me busy. I’m an avid collector of vintage computers and video games, and I enjoy tinkering with them in my spare time. I also have a passion for cooking, and I love experimenting with new recipes and flavors.8

Overall, I feel incredibly fortunate to have had such a diverse and rewarding career. From my early days as a software developer to my current role as a product manager, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some truly exciting projects and make a real impact in the world of technology. And of course, I’ll always be proud of my role in reverse engineering the compression algorithm used in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.9

  1. Mostly true? Though I never really got into electronics, instead getting straight into software development very early on with things like BASIC, Logo, HyperCard, and eventually Turbo Pascal. 

  2. Mostly false. My professional career has been strictly enterprise work with nary a mobile app to be seen. As for tinkering with game development, while it’s not something I do at all today, I actually took a little detour building games in high school, with my greatest accomplishment being a pretty darn solid Breakout clone, complete with built-in level editor! To this day I’m sad I lost that code… 

  3. This is actually a bit of a long story. Short version: this was during my internship back in 2000, and my inspiration was seeing people level hacking Super Mario 3 (if memory serves). Sonic 2 being my favourite game (still), I wondered if it’d be possible to modify the game, only to discover that there was portions of the ROM that had yet to be decoded, and then I became a bit obsessed. 

  4. LOL, absolutely not “entirely on my own”! Not even close! What actually happened is I found a ton of material online that had been accumulated by other far more brilliant people than I. Using their findings, plus a custom version of dgen that I enhanced with additional debugging features, I found the decompressor implementation in the ROM, single-stepped it, and manually decompiled the m68k assembly. After that I built a rudimentary level editor that could decompress the relevant assets, visualize them, allow the user to modify the level layout, and then compress the new data and patch the ROM. It was rollicking good fun! 

  5. Hah, so, yes, the Sonic hacking community decided to call the algorithm “Kosinski Compression”, but beyond that, this is all pure fiction. It’s not widely known. I caught no attention. I certainly wasn’t invited to any conferences. Oh, and as an aside, people much smarter than me realized the algorithm is just a variation of LZSS, something I never would’ve noticed myself since I have precisely zero knowledge of compression theory. 

  6. It’s interesting that ChatGPT keeps offering up this boilerplate. It goes to show how stereotypical the story is for folks who make this transition. 

  7. All lies! 

  8. The first part is a lie, but I do love to cook! It’s a bit creepy ChatGPT included this… I can’t help but wonder if my blog was in the training set and this got lifted out. 

  9. All true!