Hacking Minigame

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A Mini Game in which the character hacks a machine or software system, either to open a password-protected locked door or to access some benefit that the machine is withholding. Occasionally this will extend to Mecha-Mooks, allowing the player to disable or reprogram them to fight on their side with a change in color. Hacking minigames come in a wide range of forms.

Any kind of realistic hacking would be too slow, too hard, too dull, and would require knowledge that most players just don't have. Hacking minigames bridge the gap between realism and fun. We can assume the minigame is just a player-friendly representation of the character's difficulty with the hack, and that characters are indeed hacking properly, even if we don't see it.

Subtrope of Hollywood Hacking. Sometimes these minigames allow for some Menu Time Lockout.


Examples of Hacking Minigame include:
  • Uplink is an entire game of this.
  • Fallout 3 's Mastermind-reminiscent hacking minigame has you guess a password by searching through raw data and selecting key words.
  • BioShock (series) lets you hack vending machines to get their items,[1] or hack bots, turrets, or security cameras to make them fight enemies for you. In it, you complete a very Pipe Dream-esque minigame.
    • In the sequel, hacking is timing-based, requiring you to make a moving needle land on either a green or blue spot.
  • Mass Effect let you hack doors and containers by playing Simon in the console version and a Frogger-like game in the PC version.
    • In Mass Effect 2, you instead watch through scrolling boxes of coloured text, then select the matching box to the example, with what you're searching for changing every time. Bypassing is also changed to matching "Pins" on a circuit board to bypass electronic locks.
      • The change from the first game to the second is lampshaded in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC:

Shepard: Remember when you could just slap a bunch of omni-gel on to force open the lock?
Liara: That security upgrade made a lot of people unhappy!

    • Mass Effect 3 does away with it entirely: all computers are accessible instantly because you have a completely unrestricted AI working with you, and bypassing doors involves an animation of Shepard putting his/her omni-tool on the door and doing the bypass without any player input, to hide the loading screen for the next area.
  • In Alpha Protocol, you have two hacking minigames - one where you have to match two sequences of hexadecimal numbers to their copies on a constantly shifting board and another one in which you have to activate maze-like circuits in proper order. That and yet another puzzle based on lockpicking.
  • Iji has one, involving moving a pointer through a maze.
  • Jak and Daxter Daxter gets "jaked in" to a security program where he has to eat all the information Pacman style to lower the defences and release a cypher key.
  • The ancient browser game Urbanoids.
  • The Freeware Game Saira has a number of hacking minigames.
  • In My Sims Agents, hacking involves moving the pointer through a scrolling maze under a time limit. And you have to stay on the lit path, which often changes when you pass through certain icons.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines allows your character to hack computer passwords so he/she can find information that can be helpful in some missions. However, this depends on how many points you have on your Hacking skill: if the system demands more than you currently have, all you'll get is a jumbled mess of letters that won't get you anywhere. But, since The Password Is Always Swordfish here, hacking skills are only relevant in your first playthrough, since you can simply write down the passwords you've already cracked and use them again in your next playthrough to the same effect, even if you have zero points in Hacking.
  • Ratchet and Clank has different versions for different parts of the series.
  • The Sly Cooper series had several different hacking minigames, more often than not for The Smart Guy Bentley.
  • Both the SNES and Genesis adaptations of Cyberpunk RPG Shadowrun included these.
  • Enter The Matrix has one, although it's not part of the main gameplay and is instead used as a somewhat immersive way of activating various cheats and viewing concept art. Some versions of it also have normally inaccessible debug commands that require a more conventional cheat code to use, such as the only known to turn open the disc tray with a command instead of pressing the "eject" button on the console.
    • It's also far more realistic than most minigames... while no actual hacking knowledge is required or used, you're going to be very lost if you don't have a basic understanding of command-line interfaces.
  • Project Eden involves spinning disks and quick reactions to hack a device.
  • Inspector Gadget: Operation MadKactus has a Pipe Dream style one. Since you can rotate pieces and there's no penalty to changing pieces, there's no way you can fail it.
  • Both System Shock games have hacking minigames. In the first game, the hacking consists of little puzzles; easy to do if the player them self is good at or gets luckly. In the second game hacking(and modifying, and repairing) is trying to light up a series of three connected nodes.
  • In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, one of the options of the vending machines you get your items from is to hack it, but you need "Science points" to do so. You can't get any.
  • An important part of the game Freedroid RPG (as it allows you to take over enemy bots)
  • This is used for unlocking doors and accessing encrypted files in Alien Swarm.
  • The bomb-disarming sequence in The Journeyman Project consists of a series of increasingly difficult Mastermind puzzles.
  • In the Batman Begins game, you hack into systems by clicking on 1s and avoiding 0s. There's also an electronic-lockpick minigame, where you just need to click on the wards when they reach the grooves.
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2 lets you hack into enemy vehicles when they already have a driver. To hack you have to use the repair-smelter for several seconds on the vehicle you wish to get. There is no real minigame part but trying to keep up with a tank as a foot soldiercould be considered as such.
  • Star Trek Elite Force 2 has several moments where your character needs to reroute power within a computer system; this is accomplished by a modified version of the old computer game Pipe Dream, where the goal is to rotate "pipes" in order to connect identically-colored starting and ending points without hitting a block or crossing circuits.
  • Paradroid has a mini-game when you take over a new robot where you must wire up more connections than the robot you are attempting to influence.
  • The GBA game Tron 2.0: The Killer App featured a hacking minigame that had to be played numerous times to progress. Plus a few more minigames that generally fit this trope. Come to think of it, maybe the entire game was an example.
  • Subverted in the flash point & click game Alice is dead 3. You can hack the slot machine to progress in the game. Also, you can gain an achievement if you progress with the slot machine without hacking.
  • Averted in Knights of the Old Republic. Hacking is done by uploading viruses with the help of computer spikes and the hacking skill. No minigame is involved.
  • Similarly averted in Perfect Dark, where the player hacks terminals by pointing the Data Uplink at them and pressing the fire button.
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