#494 Uplink

Posted: 6th January 2011 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

16th game played so far

Genre: Simulation
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Introversion Software
Publisher: Introversion Software

Ever wanted to feel like one of those hackers in the movies? Well now you can in Uplink; a hacking simulation which was the first release by the UK-based company Introversion Software.

Whilst I am personally more drawn to being a hacker in the style of Matthew Broderick in WarGames rather than Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix this game is more the more interesting as it is set… last year. That’s right people this is a futuristic hacking simulation that is set in 2010 which, when we remember some of the stories surrounding Wikileaks a month ago, they appear to have gotten the timeframe perfectly right.

The truth of hacking may not be as glamourous… but (and this is important children) this is a better way to scratch that hacking itch rather than try to bring down Mastercard.

Our Playthrough

If it was possible to play this via a montage featuring the music of some unknown band then we would have… but we did it the only logical way. Play through the missions given by the games and attempt to bring down various multi-national companies. Nanananana-MONTAGE!

Our Thoughts

I’m not sure whether we should be having this conversation now. They might be on to us. Just remember to delete the logs afterwards and I’m sure we’ll be safe. Good thing there’s some open servers around.

Uplink is a very convincing game, and while it doesn’t look like much, that makes it seems more real. To the point that your heart starts to race the closer you are to being traced by those poor suckers you’re hacking. And you shout at people trying to help you out. Nerves of steel help with the game.

One thing that adds to the atmosphere is that the game never breaks character, not even during the tutorial, where you would usually get some comments that wouldn’t fit. You also have to try and hit the ground running. If you do not take enough time to figure out how to avoid getting caught… you’re dogmeat. And caution pays – in our play, we focused more on easier missions we knew we could do, rather than shooting for a bigger one that we might not be able to take on, and that meant that we could actually get more protection in when we went for the larger rewards. If you make enough money in missions where you either copy or delete files then you will be able to afford more high-tech gubbins such or better versions of your technology. Another way to try and make life easier for yourself is connecting to as many intermediate servers as possible, that really does increase the time it can take for them to trace you.

As you can see, there’s a lot to learn about the games, and many options are open pretty much from the start. Yea this is beginning to sound like a walkthrough. The best way to do this is really through trial and error. Just make sure you have your wits about you. Yeah, the good thing is that, at least at first, it’s easy to stop early when you need to, so you can try again. While it can be tense, it doesn’t feel too difficult. But it’s still got enough of a learning curve that the occassional mission can still feel VERY tense. Yeah, it has hit a sweet spot there.

Which is all the sweeter because there is not really another game quite like this one. There’s not, or not that I know of.  And that’s what makes it interesting. It’s a game that simplifies how it works, but does make you feel like you’re hacking systems and going around deleting or stealing important files and finding out financial details of all sorts of places. The graphics or sounds may not look like much… but would it be anyway? Hacking is the realm of command line tools and similar interfaces, not flashy 3D environment where you defeat programs by racing on a virtual motorcycle. A world map filled with connection links and flashing numbers and letters are all you need. And the more you know of these systems, the more this fits.

Final Thoughts

This game makes you feel like you’re in the middle of things, hacking systems and doing missions that are morally dubious. It also is quite long – we never reached the few ‘storyline missions’ that are supposed to be in there, although we’ll be playing more and will undoubtably reach it down the line. Worth a try, because of how unique it is, but also because of the wonderful presentation and completely sense of, well, fitting in.

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