Gamasutra recently ran an interesting article on dirty programming tricks in which various programmers and developers revealed cheats and coding hacks that they used to make sure games and other programs shipped on time. The article attracted several industry members who've also chimed in with their own stories in the comments, including Ken Demarest - a veteran of the original Wing Commander, both secret mission add-ons, Super Wing Commander, Ultima 7, Bioforge, and more. Here's what Ken Demarest had to say about working on Wing Commander:
Back on Wing Commander 1 we were getting an exception from our EMM386 memory manager when we exited the game. We'd clear the screen and a single line would print out, something like "EMM386 Memory manager error. Blah blah blah." We had to ship ASAP. So I hex edited the error in the memory manager itself to read "Thank you for playing Wing Commander."