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Hack the '80s internet in free hacking adventure Wardialler

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(Image credit: Tom Sykes)

Hacking—films and TV inform me—is what happens when edgy, punky young people type endless code into computers, while never once using a mouse, or stopping to think about what exactly they're typing. Hacking—Wardialler (opens in new tab) informs me—is actually a much more thoughtful process, basically akin to detective work, but on The Net. You're allowed to give your fingers a rest now and again, and you even get to use a mouse! But you'll probably still be arrested at the end of it.

As its developer nervous_testpilot, AKA Paul Kilduff-Taylor of Mode 7, explains, Wardialler "isn't a faithful hacking simulator or strategy game", but rather a more linear text adventure where you'll need to read lots of text, and make plenty of notes on a physical notepad. It's a little bit Digital: A Love Story, but longer, broader and more interactive, requiring you to memorise copious commands, and to type them out.

Paul's aiming to release a fuller version on Steam (opens in new tab) later this year, but there's plenty to this free browser version, including a tie-in soundtrack (check the game page (opens in new tab) for links) that's an excellent listen, either with the game or on its own. (Thanks, Warp Door (opens in new tab).)

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.