App of the Day: The Hacker

App of the Day: The Hacker

Occupation: Anonymous.

If gamers are often represented terribly in movies, all lank hair and Nirvana T-shirts, spare a thought for hackers. The furtive oddballs, the loners, the weirdoes, sitting in their mother's basements and hacking into the Pentagon by randomly mashing a keyboard. Learn to touch-type at incredible speeds and one day you too could initiate World War 3.

It's a fantasy that, even long after its sell-by date, remains alluring: the idea of such power in your fingertips, the literal magic of pressing buttons to crash a stock exchange in another time zone. It's exactly this atmosphere that The Hacker conjures up. It's not a game that's easy to categorise, mashing up as it does all sorts of mini-games and incidental details, but the effect it's going for is unmistakeable - a dark room illuminated by a screen, a soundtrack of tapping, and the butterfly effect.

The Hacker's presentation is beautifully executed, everything told through and kept within the same green CRT screen, the frame of which borders your own screen. It starts with you loading up the Glider Operating System, a mysterious piece of software shared by an unfolding cast of characters, some of whom speak to you, some of whom assist you, and some of whom... well, that's best left for you to find out.

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The Story Behind: Hacker

Please Logon...beep...beep...

When purchasing a game for your selected platform it's reasonable to expect some degree of instruction to wheedle you into the game and make the experience enjoyable from the outset. A detailed run down of the gameplay mechanics; half a dozen pages of scene-setting back story; a detailed look at the available armoury and even some helpful hints all assist the player in 'bonding' with the game.