Last week’s outdoors creature killer tactics game was inspired by a recent camping trip, whereas this week’s hacking mind teaser is inspired by the start of dropping temperatures and my winter recluse phase. I might be a computer addict, but hacking is not something I do — or am even capable enough to try — which is why games like this are great for the masses.
There’s a large crowd of gamers out there who wish PC and console games would include minigames within their immersive story and setting, and I’m one of them. Seeing BioShock include a hacking minigame that resurrected the water flow game from the Pogo era of online gaming was a great surprise. This flash game is much more true to its content, with puzzles revolving around manipulating ports, buffers, and directories to allow you to send data packets to a root node. All of this is done in a friendly hacking for dummies style of gameplay that can be seen in plenty of other puzzle games out there, but what sets this one apart is its fun story that captures a lot of the Internet’s humor while still focusing on the serious topic of net censorship.
There’s a country with its net cut off from the rest of the world, and it’s up to you to hack through the government’s firewall and free its citizens from digital oppression. If you don’t realize how and why this is a political parody, then shame on you for not reading enough net news. Your journey leads you through not so fictional Web forums and sites, and rewards you with world news articles and funny emails. Add various different modes of play, the option to load your games, the ability to create your own puzzles, some decent music, a dark background of scrolling 1’s and 0’s, and even the ability to DDoS a puzzle to skip it, and you have one hell of a fulfilling flash game.