Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- Have you made any close friends through online gaming? (opens in new tab)
- How do you name RPG characters? (opens in new tab)
- What's an old game you've come back to years later? (opens in new tab)
Have you ever unlocked a door or hacked a computer in a game and thought, just for a second, "I'm so good at this I should do it in real life"? Can you pick locks in Oblivion with a blindfold on? Did you master the hacking minigames in Deus Ex: Human Revolution or Mass Effect 2 or Prey? Did you actually understand the hacking in Alpha Protocol? Because I sure as hell didn't.
Which lockpicking or hacking minigame are you good at?
Here are our answers, plus a few from our forum (opens in new tab).
Christopher Livingston: Have to say I got pretty good at Oblivion's lockpicking game, better than I ever did at Skyrim's, at least. And I think it's more satisfying, with the 'tink, tink' sound effects from pick tapping on the tumblers, and the satisfying crunch of locking one in place properly. I prefer it to Skyrim's (and Fallout's) guess-the-angle game any day. I know they won't bring it back for Elder Scrolls 6, but I'd be darn happy if they did.
Fraser Brown: The only way to really win at a lockpicking or hacking minigame is by downloading a mod that just gets rid of them—then you can get on with the good bits.
Rachel Watts: Normally I'm terrible when it comes to these types of minigames, but I got pretty good at the lock picking in the Sherlock Holmes games. The aim is to move a metallic bolt from the left to the right using a combination of different picks.
The game gives you 10 or so different picks all with different shapes and sizes, and you also have to use multiple picks at the same time which I thought made for a neat puzzle.
Andy Kelly: There's a hacking minigame in Alien: Isolation where you use a typically bulky bit of tech called an Access Tuner to match shapes and unlock doors. It's quite tricky at first, because the sample pattern is deliberately obscured to make picking out the correct shapes semi-difficult. But having played through that game five times now, I can breeze through these puzzles with no effort, which makes me feel like the 1970s sci-fi, retro-futuristic version of a hacker. It's a life skill that has no application anywhere else, but it's a skill nonetheless.
Emma Matthews: I really like Prey's hacking mini-game. It's quite simple, asking you to guide a circle to a zone at the end, but it tries to trip you up by changing the key that you have to press to lock it in. I'm pretty good at it, but the best part about it is the music—it reminds me of Windows 3D Pinball: Space Cadet. I also give myself a little pat on the back every time I choose the correct word straight away when hacking Fallout's terminals. Sometimes you just know, you know?
Jacob Ridley: I think at one point in time I could've gone all the way to the championships for BioShock's tubular hacking minigame. If such a thing existed—I'm sure it did. I'm likely a shadow of my former self nowadays, but I still look back fondly on that inexplicably soggy hacking process.
Jody Macgregor: I played enough of the board game Mastermind as a kid to be decent at the hacking in Bethesda's Fallout games, which is sort of the same thing but with letters instead of colors. And after replaying them so many times, the different lockpicking systems in the Thief games has become second nature. But when I played a thief in Oblivion I just used the auto button because I'm lazy. Seeing a streamer do it blindfolded has made me think I should go back and make up for that.
Hey @Bethesda_ANZ When are you going to start a lock picking league because I think I have some skills. pic.twitter.com/TtI8IP54jWSeptember 21, 2020
From our forum (opens in new tab)
Pifanjr: I got pretty good at the lockpicking from Skyrim and Fallout, as I would (try to) lockpick every locked door or container I encountered for the XP points. Also the hacking mini game from Fallout 3 and New Vegas (they were the same, right?)
I also beat Hacker Evolution. I don't remember if I was good at it, but good enough to beat the game.
Dakkon: I'm Bioshock pipe hacking expert! But I vaguely remember that Obscure 2 had some really out of the left field hacking minigame where you have to guess password out of anagrams that made no sense. I might be wrong, it's been a while I've played it.
ZedClampet: The Fallout lockpicking is pretty easy. Plus, you can woo women that way (remember the NPC in 4 who was always so impressed if she saw you pick a lock?).
The hacking in Fallout, on the other hand, kills me because I'm not willing to go through each of those words to find the best starting spot, which makes it kind of random. I just don't have enough patience to think, "hmm, there are 3 words out of 40 where 'T' is the third letter..."
Krud: I got pretty good at the "find the match block of gibberish text before the time runs out" hacking method in Mass Effect 2. Way better than ME1's Frogger-like minigame. Though I was decent in that one, too. I also really liked the lockpick minigame in Oblivion with the tumblers. (By comparison, I hated the trial-and-error required in Skyrim, though that got easy too as you progressed.) I don't think any of them ever made me think the skill would translate to real life, however. Especially not the Mass Effect ones.
McStabStab: I wouldn't say I'm good or bad at it, but as soon as I saw this question the sound effects and music from the PREY lockpicking game popped into my head. All it involved was getting a little "bitstream" to a target inside a little maze with red walled objects stunning and slowing down your progress.
I really did like the Skyrim lockpicking game, it felt the most authentic... if that makes sense.
Zloth: I'm pretty good with the ones where you're lining up pipes/wires to make the water/electricity go to the right place. Watch Dogs 2 is the most recent game I played using that one.