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Forums > Submission Feedback > sashanan's Hacker review

This thread is in response to a review for Hacker on the Miscellaneous. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: drella
Posted: September 17, 2008 (07:54 AM)
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I don't have much else to say other than I thought this was a really good review, because Hacker requires discussing the presentation and back-story to get its appeal across. And this does a fine job conveying it. Sounds like a really neat game to be "in" on at the time.


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Author: bloomer
Posted: September 17, 2008 (11:39 PM)
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I had this on the Apple II, and apart from the initial splat of logon screen mystery, I never got anywhere or enjoyed myself in any way as soon as I had control of the robot :)


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Author: aschultz
Posted: July 12, 2009 (03:57 AM)
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This review persuaded me to give the game a shot. My reaction...wow, this is a spooky game to play in the early hours of the morning, even with a solution next to you. I had a lot of fun with it, especially the in-the-dark parts where you couldn't see where you moved. Amusing ending too. You get to print something out, and it asks you to type "E" for an Epson printer or "I" for an ImageWriter.

The simpler days weren't always simpler.

Oh yeah. One of the Apple security codes is different from the Commodore security codes. I skipped over the initial bit with the walkthrough I saw before finding that out.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: sashanan
Posted: July 12, 2009 (12:30 PM)
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Serial number of the craft, I'm betting? After all those years I still know it by heart (the Commodore one anyway).

It felt strange to finally finish it last year. In my mind this was one of those games that I'd never be able to see through, along with the Detective Game and Impossible Mission. For the latter, it's still true, assuming no cheats and no much easier DS remake.


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: aschultz
Posted: July 12, 2009 (12:46 PM)
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Yup. It's got no D.

The trial and error used to solve the game is slightly vexing. I'm also frustrated it didn't tell you how much money you started with, but maybe I missed that.

Apparently Hacker 2 is much tougher. I'm rather intrigued, since it seems to have no walkthrough, but I don't know if I'd have the time for it.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: randxian
Posted: July 12, 2009 (02:35 PM)
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Wow. You sure do a good job of painting this as an intriguing, unique experience.

Although I don't like the sheer trial and error aspect. It's fine if the game won't allow mistakes, but there should be some hints as to what items you need to buy/trade/whatever, instead of sheer guesswork.

I find it particularly interesting when you say the game can be finished in about 15 minutes and the real solution is fairly short. Reminds me of how Myst can be finished in about 5 if you know what you are doing.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: aschultz
Posted: July 12, 2009 (02:57 PM)
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Well, the not knowing what to buy *is* unfair, but on the other hand the game is trying to establish some sort of mystery, and a lot of hacking really is trial and error and avoiding the dumb pitfalls. So in that respect, the game copies that, and I think a little unfairness helps define a game's style and lets you feel good about solving it.

However, after sleeping on the game, it seems to have a few bigger. weaknesses. On the Apple there is no save file, or none I could find. Also, you're not told how much money you have, really. You just find you're out of it after buying/selling stuff. That's unfair not to reveal. Again, I may be missing something. Oh, and the Apple offers different solutions based on what your name is (?) or maybe randomized on reboot--at any rate, I had to buy stocks instead of a diamond at New York. This makes for a potentially very maddening game. If I'm wrong, that'd be cool to know.

As for not allowing mistakes, I think the object is to get you to map everything out and then cope with moving in the dark later. For instance, if you buy item X and shop it around the world, you can see who takes what, and once you have a piece of the script, that information is yours for keeps. The trial and error may take too long, but it seems reasonable to assume you can/should visit each city only once.

This is a fancy way of saying I'm still not quite sure. But I have a feeling it's this sort of puzzle that will suck me into playing Hacker 2 eventually.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: sashanan
Posted: July 12, 2009 (11:47 PM)
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Although I don't like the sheer trial and error aspect. It's fine if the game won't allow mistakes, but there should be some hints as to what items you need to buy/trade/whatever, instead of sheer guesswork.

Agreed, and this would never fly today. Critics and players alike would rightfully call it out as cheap and needlessly annoying - heck, we tend to cry foul at an RPG sidequest being obscure to the point of "requiring a guide", when the fact that the solution made it into a guide in the first place seems to make clear that it can be figured with sufficient patience. Hacker, too, can be solved "simply" by drawing a map, taking notes, trying every item swap at every location and eventually figuring out which are the dead ends and which are the solutions.

Running out of money halfway the game is likewise an annoyance, and I agree that never stating how much money you have left, indeed never letting on that you have a limit (you missed nothing, ASchultz) is borderline sadistic. Still, this too can be figured out given the time.

That so little gameplay remains once you do have the deceptively short solution next to you clearly indicates that the game expected you to spend your time figuring it out. It's my opinion that as games grew longer, they naturally needed to rely less on this to get people to consider it good value for their money. But that's another pet peeve of mine for another time, that a game would have to produce a certain number of hours of gameplay to be considered good, rather than, I don't know, entertain you. I've played too many console RPGs that outstayed their welcome well before the final dungeon, leaving you to plod on only because you've already played so many hours and you hate to abandon yet another one.


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: March 11, 2010 (08:18 PM)
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Great review Sashanan. I love how you push a certain angle but make no excuses for the game as it would hold up today. Your last paragraph is crucial to the piece. Without it, the whole thing would come tumbling down, making this some sort of wonderful art piece.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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