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Playing Michael Brough’s 868-HACK game in 2021

Have you played the 2013 roguelike video game 868-HACK? It has brought the indie game developer Michael Brough to worldwide attention in the gaming community. If you have yet to play the enticing 868-HACK game, here is what you need to know.

What is 868-HACK?

In 868-HACK, you control a hacking program in a computer system. It is your mission to grab as much data as you can before a defense program destroys it. The game was developed as part of the 2013 Seven-Day Roguelike competition. It was launched in the same year for iOS and in 2015 for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. 868-HACK was critically acclaimed upon its release and received several award nominations. The game also featured on Polygon’s list of The 100 Best Games of the Decade and Paste’s 50 Best Mobile Games of the 2010s.

Michael Brough’s 868-HACK game

Who is Michael Brough?

Indie game developers have more opportunities than ever before these days, but it is still difficult for many to reach a global audience. Michael Brough is one person who has been standing out of the crowd over the last few years. He was born in New Zealand in 1985. New Zealanders love playing a wide variety of games, from first-person shooters and RPGs to live casino games like blackjack and roulette in which players interact with real dealers in real-time. But Brough wanted to create something different from the usual games on offer. Over the years, he has developed several eclectic roguelike games, which often explore a single mechanical element of the roguelike genre, and are set on very small grids. Out of all of Brogue’s games, 868-HACK best exemplifies his style of game, and the style has become widely known as “broughlike.” England’s Guardian newspaper called Brough’s work “elegant” and “strange,” while Wired magazine stated Brough’s games were simply “brilliant.” Besides 868-HACK, Brough’s games include Corrypt, Vesper.5, and Become a Great Artist in Just 10 Seconds.

How do you play 868-HACK?

You play 868-HACK in a similar way as a dungeon crawler. Rooms are randomly generated. You must collect keys to unlock nodes for hacking. As for the graphics, they interestingly resemble the graphics of the infamous ZX Spectrum! The game is set in a cyberpunk setting. As alluded to by the title of the game, the hacking is done through dial-up. You play as a smiley face that can move around the eight-by-eight grid, which is shaped by walls that look like circuit boards. The enemies look somewhat like the ghosts from Pac-Man. You can fire lasers at the enemies, but be warned: the foes each have different special abilities, such as having three health bars more than the typical two and being able to move over two tiles at once. Some enemies can even turn invisible. Each of the game’s wall tiles stores a reward. You can extract that reward, but you also unleash more enemies.

What was Michael Brough’s approach to making roguelike games?

Brough decided to focus on the roguelike genre because he believes games are best understood within genres. One of his earliest inspirations was the game Castle of the Winds. One problem that Brough identified with roguelike games was the fact that the large game boards lead to players running down long corridors without having to make any choices. Brough solved that problem by continually using small grids for his games. He also realized that roguelike games often force the player into moving into bad situations. Brough avoided using wait commands in his games to help players avoid that. All of Michael Brogue’s games are worth playing, but if you only play one, make sure it is the great 868-HACK.

Written by Marie Foster

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