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Hacknet
9Overall Score
Fun10
Realism8
Immersion9
Audio9

During this last Steam Summer Sale, I was intent not to spend a single dime on any new games. With a backlog of old titles piling up, justifying each purchase becomes all that harder to do. Of course as soon as co-workers started talking about the games they snagged, I was doomed. By the end of the day I picked up Hacknet, and I can say for certain that I am glad I gave into the sale.

Hacknet, by Surprise Attack Games, is a hacking simulator praised for its ‘real hacking’ system, that uses real UNIX commands to play the game. While it’s not quite as real as one would hope, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. After all, with realism comes the annoyance of bugs and other things that get in the way of realistic scenarios. What the user is left with is just some awesome straight forward fun. I’ve spent a good amount of time tinkering around in command lines, and I felt right at home with Hacknet.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgDmU7Pb96Y&w=839&h=474]

As you start the game, you receive a message from a hacker named Bit. The story of the game takes you through solving Bit’s unexpected death by, as you might have guessed, hacking. The main character of the game is the user, and the communication comes via direct messages. As you follow along with the directions you sent, you are quickly turned into a black hat hacker. Once you prove yourself, the game begins as you start to unravel the mysteries of Hacknet.

An in-game screenshot. Terminal information in a left column, system information in a middle column, Command Line Interface in a right column.

By putting yourself in the seat as the main character of the game, immersion comes quite naturally. After an hour of playing, I experienced the same feeling as when I get in the zone while tinkering around with real systems. Without setting a timer for myself, I could have easily zoned out into the game for far longer than I initially intended. By the time I was done, I had that itch to dig into some real systems again.

An in-game screenshot. Terminal information in a left column, system information in a middle column, Command Line Interface in a right column.If you are interested in coding, but may be afraid to take the plunge, Hacknet is a fun way to dip your toes in. The game has a great way of teaching unfamiliar users how to use the tools and commands. At the same time, for experienced users, it also provides a great feeling of realism. All for just $10 on Steam, Hacknet is a great game to try out!

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