HANDS ON: Hacknet is unashamedly technical about hacking

HANDS ON: Hacknet is unashamedly technical about hacking


Hacknet will probably be not for everyone. When our gaming writers Adrian, Ashton and Gabriel first played the game at PAX Australia, they kept saying it was not for them. They did, however, think it was more suited towards me.

And they might be right.

Hacknet is the latest game from Surprise Attack Games, and comes from Adelaide-based Team Fractal Alligator. The main plot sees you follow the instructions of a recently deceased hacker named Bit – being sent through his “ghost” (or automated failsafe system) – and try to solve the mystery behind his death.

“I’ve seen some hacking games in the past, and they’re almost universally pretty disappointing. There is so much you can do with the genre, and I didn’t feel like it wasn’t fully exploited. So I decided I’m going to make a hacking game,” Matt Trobbiani, the creator of the game, told TechGeek.

“The game has to make you feel like a hacker, that’s its top priority.”

The game doesn’t portray the “Hollywood” idea of hacking. It is unashamedly technical, with most of your interactions will be behind a terminal interface. The developers want to make you feel like you are a hacker, and have added to that realism by replicating some of the basic UNIX commands.


However, while technical, a lot of time has been spent in trying to make sure the game was accessible to those who are unfamiliar with the terminal or do not have a technical background.

“I originally made the game not really thinking about this problem very much, and ended up making this game only people with a computer science degree,” Trobbiani said.

“I didn’t want to take the approach of ‘Oh, we’ve dumb things down to make things easier’ because [the technical audience] are the core audience that I really like… so, instead I invested a lot of time in trying to make the tutorials better.”

The game doesn’t have traditional levels. Instead, the player will receive an email from Bit to complete. The email will contain some guidance on how to accomplish the task – and that’s about it. You are left on your own to complete the task. Once you have completed the task, you simply reply to the email and get the next task.

Like I said, this game will not be for everyone because it revolves around hacking and terminal commands. However, I certainly enjoyed the game because of the technical nature of the game. I didn’t get to go deeper into the story because I only had a couple of minutes, but I am certainly intrigued and can’t wait to get my hands on the game.

The game is already out now on Steam and on the Humble Store, but it is only Windows only. According to the developers, Mac and Linux versions of Hacknet will be coming out soon.

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