The Hacking wiki last edited by Jagged85 on 02/18/13 05:22AM View full history

Main Idea and Uses

Generally speaking the act of hacking involves (usually illegally) entering a working system or machine and breaking its structure.  In doing so the "hacker" gains an advantage over the system itself or something the system is attached to.  Although mostly implying software, hacking can be done on any number of machinery and systems, electronic or otherwise.
 

Taking Over Machinery and Security

The most overt example of hacking in video games is its use in taking over or converting machinery.  Got a mechanical piece of death that is making your day unpleasant?  Hack it!  More often than not, hacking a machine will turn it over to your side and start attacking your enemy.  The companion to this is security systems.  Alarms , turrets, guards etc. can be dodged much easier if you hack the system.  In Fallout 3, the hacking minigame within can be used for a variety of functions, including dealing with security systems.  The gamey nature of this mechanic can be seen popularly in Bioshock when performing the same pipe-dream like minigame can turn any turret, camera, and vending machine to the player's advantage.
 

Locks

A popular use of the act of hacking is to bypass locks or likewise mechanisms.  Sometimes it involves using an actual computer as with Fallout 3, other times it is a computerized encryption/puzzle as with Mass Effect.   In some ways it can be considered spiritual successor to the concept of lockpicking.  Instead of physical means, the hacker uses more electronic skills to reach the same end.  In games this function is used more or less to either cut off areas or containers based on the aptitude of the player, or to insert a puzzle to break the gameplay.  Usually this may be done in more action oriented games to include otherwise excluded puzzle elements.
 

Objectives

The last major use of hacking in games is satisfying some important or secondary objective.  Enemy Territory: Quake Wars sees the Covert-Ops class dedicated to hacking certain objectives, often being the main one.  It is more likely that hacking an objective is going to an option as hacking is usually an exception to the general gameplay and forcing players to do this in order to progress might prove to be too divisive. 

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