I'm a fan of hacking games, and I have been since before Uplink was released. I think a lot of the pull of hacking is the nerd-glamour in being someone who can slip through cyberspace like a ninja. Never disturbing anything and taking whatever he/she wants. Considering the furore that LulzSec have inspired over this past month, I'm glad I've never looked at it beyond a brief daydream and the fascination with Neo's hacking in the Matrix.
But I digress. Video games about hacking have always been my only option - law keeping paragon that I am. So when I found Uplink, I was overjoyed. Uplink was the kind of game that I needed; complex, yet simple enough to get in to. The later jobs required you to know exactly what you were doing, but I never considered it cheating to look at Google. It was never metagaming, as I could imagine a 'real' hacker doing the same. Uplink was an amazing game.
But like all games, it got boring. Uplink got boring around the time it asked me to either save or destroy the internet by siding with one of two corporations. I chose to bury my head in the sand and hope the problem went away. It didn't, and my game ended with the internet being destroyed by a virus. Shit. Never let it be said that my neutral outlook on life has never gotten me into trouble. My options in further games were to get a lot better a lot quicker, in order to actually do stuff for one of the two corporations. And that just seemed like hard work I couldn't be bothered with.
So when I saw a Steam advert for Hacker Evolution Duality, I was excited. I checked out the page and it looked good. In fact, the GUI looks awesome. Something like the interface Boris uses in GoldenEye, but swankier. It was coming out soon, but I had little cash, so I dismissed it for later. Today, I decided to take another look, and decide if it was worth buying or not. So I watched a video I found on YouTube.
Doesn't it look exciting?
I know it's Alpha footage, but I still expect something that the developers themselves show on their website to be something that actually excites me. Frankly, that looks about as compelling as clicking on a menu screen. A menu screen that takes 17 seconds to register each click. I really hope that there's more to the game than that, and I cannot afford to spend £11.96 finding out. Sadly, it doesn't seem like any major gaming websites have even looked at it, and that's a shame, because this could be big. Granted, it might not be the best time to release a hacking game, for obvious reasons, but it could at least try to ride the controversy wave.
I'll be keeping my eye on this one, but I'm not hopeful. I assume that Hacker Evolution was the preceeding game to this one, and that didn't fare very well. Perhaps they can learn from their mistakes and pull an Uplink-beater from the bag. But they'll need a lot more than was shown in this video, and it needs to be more than just clicking. I expect my hacking games to have much more involvement than that. Even if it's just a screen that says TYPE VERY FAST NOW.
I'm sure I could beat that.
Uplink is available on Steam for £5.99. Hacker Evolution Duality is currently 20% off at £11.96 and is released on the 30th of June. Preordering gets you into the Beta, so if you buy it, let me know how it is.