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    dkirschner's Hacknet (PC)

    [July 12, 2020 10:36:58 AM]
    I'd heard about this one from PC Gamer, which occasionally mentions it as the best game about hacking ever. I wouldn't generally care about a game about hacking but if PC Gamer raves about a game for years, I'll get curious. So, I didn't know quite what to expect, something in the vein of these games that teach you some programming maybe. I was close-ish. Hacknet makes you feel like a hacker (like I would know...) and is way more authentic than that Angelina Jolie movie.

    You get a mysterious email from a person named Bit, which begins your adventure into hacker organizations. You proceed through a number of missions, proving your skill and gaining others' trust, going deeper and deeper also into Bit's story until you get to the bottom of things. Missions include some interesting requests, and are sometimes morally gray, including altering people's academic transcripts, hacking a pacemaker so that its owner can die (his wishes are being denied by hospital staff), and correcting death row victims' last words.

    You do use command lines to navigate computers and mobile devices, but there is also a UI. I liked that the game had other user-friendly features like hitting "tab" to complete a command or file name. For example, if you want to decrypt GameLog_userlist_July12.dec that is password-protected, you would normally type Decypher GameLog_userlist_July12.dec [password]. Using tab, you can just do Dec [tab] Game [tab] and password. It saves a ton of time, especially when you're doing the same commands over and over, and you don't have to remember long file names or keep looking them up in your directories.

    The whole thing was just really intuitive, and I keep coming back to the *feeling* of being a hacker. For example, when you hack a device, you should always check for connected devices first. When you are done snooping around, you should always delete the logs so that no one knows you were there. I never got busted for forgetting to do this, but the game makes you think there are consequences. There are also defense mechanisms on some devices, so you have to get past firewalls, open ports, and get in and out quickly. If you ever get caught, you have to reset your IP address, which is annoying because then nothing that you've already hacked into remembers you. So you either hope the username and password are still there or you have to hack it again.

    In many computers there are various silly chat files from, which I had never heard of. Apparently this is an old repository of conversations that people post from IRC; then the moderators review them to see if they are "funny" or not. A lot of them made me laugh (the one about reading Harry Potter but replace the word "wand" with "wang"); others are even more toilet humor or borderline offensive. But, amusing rewards for exploring, in addition to other extraneous files and easter eggs to find.

    Finally, at the end of the game, you receive an in-game email from its creator, who invites you to email him with thoughts about the game. He also gives some context that it was initially created at a 48-hr game jam and so on. Neat! I actually emailed the guy just to say thanks for making Hacknet. There's a DLC that I think I own that I'm going to boot up next.
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    dkirschner's Hacknet (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 11 July, 2020

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 12 July, 2020

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    I feel like a hacker! --------- Very neat game, novel!

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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