Hacknet is a hacking game with "real hacking"

Hacknet Screenshot3

Interested in hacking but don't actually want to hack? There are hacking games for that obscure impulse, don't you know! Hacknet is the latest, and it has a lot of scintillating promises – not least that you'll be doing "real hacking". That basically means Hacknet implements real UNIX commands, and won't resemble the type of hacking typically carried out by neon-haired teenagers in hip 1990s films.

Hacknet looks really promising actually, and that comes from someone who doesn't like typing very much (cause I do it every day, constantly, and I'm doing it right now). Developed by Australian one-man studio Team Fractal Alligator, Hacknet is "an immersive, terminal-based hacking simulator for PC." Here's the spiel:

Dive down a rabbit hoIe as you follow the instructions of a recently deceased hacker, whose death may not have been the accident the media reports. Using old school command prompts and real hacking processes, you’ll solve the mystery with minimal hand-holding and a rich world full of secrets to explore.

Bit, a hacker responsible for creating the most invasive security system on the planet, is dead. When he fails to reconnect to his system for 14 days, his failsafe kicks in, sending instructions in automated emails to a lone user. As that user, it’s up to you to unravel the mystery and ensure that Hacknet-OS doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

Exploring the volatile nature of personal privacy, the prevalence of corporate greed, and the hidden powers of hackers on the internet, Hacknet delivers a true hacking simulation, while offering a support system that allows total beginners get a grasp of the real-world applications and commands found throughout the game.

Hacknet releases on Steam and the Humble Store on August 12. It promises to be accommodating to those unfamiliar with hacking or the hacking game genre, and you might even learn something. Maybe you do want to be a hacker? Here's the trailer:

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.