Cyber themed games try to evoke a certain feeling in the player. The protagonist in these worlds is a kind of wizard with special abilities and a unique way of seeing and interacting with the environment. They see the world in a manner totally specific to themselves, because of their abilities. In these settings, the powers of hackers are both a gift and a burden. They have a concrete impact on the immediate world in which they exist while also fighting the struggle to solve the central problem to the game. These two aspects come together to form a cohesive lens of a world in hacking themed games. These games, alongside movies and other forms of media, have shaped how we frame cyber security today. They’ve also inspired many people to get into engineering and into the security field. We could never measure the kind of effect they had on the information security industry, but we can be certain that the effect the media has had is real.
Let’s take a look at some of these game worlds.
Uplink was released in 2001 and is one of the first very popular cyber hacking games. You’re an agent with the ability to use tools and techniques to compromise systems across the net. It was the first time you could use a mouse driven interface to explore the net with tools and terminology which vaguely reflect real life procedures. You could scan a computer and deal with ports, software versions, and other exploits similar to what one would do in real life, but in a much more fun manner.
Hacknet came out in 2015 and smoothed over the entire interaction and interface. It made hacking games more movie like.
Nite Team 4 was most recently released in 2019. It further amplifies the hacking experience in grandiose hollywood style with even more media and interaction. It also incorporates more forms of targets and devices such as satellites and cell phones.
These games excel at communicating the adrenaline rush of breaking into unknown systems and bypassing defending security teams. To someone who isn’t aware about how computers work, many of the tools and techniques look just like magic spells cast by some wizard.
Try these games out if you haven’t before and have fun getting inspired by the stealthy detective/cyber criminal world of hacking. In real life the work is a lot more detail oriented and methodical, its actual engineering afterall and takes place over the course of a long time span. Nevertheless, one may still learn necessary high level terms and concepts about the world of information security through these games. It’s also just really cool to pull off some of the stunts in them so go ahead and be a “wizard”. We hope that H1.JACK is a worthy entry into the long and fast growing list of computer cyber themed worlds.