A Bunch Of Hacks: Quadrilateral Cowboy

Nathan has made sure we all know about Quadrilateral Cowboy, the next game from Blendo Games (Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights Of Loving). Below you can see it in action, and it looks properly interesting.

The hacking-based game takes place in a 3D world, encouraging you to embrace the syntax of programming language. No, wait, come back! It’s hacking! Hacking is cool. And lasers. This really does look like something lovely.

The video shows you how to complete the training mission, using the weird witchcraft of Telnet:


  1. Risingson says:

    This is so 90’s, like the VR parts in “Disclosure”. Heart is absolutely in the right place.

  2. faelnor says:

    I’d rather see Brendon walk us through a real level, because from the tutorial the game looks awfully boring. Truly fantastic programming mini-games exist already, it’s not enough to put some text input which affects the world in a 3D environment to make an innovative game. Still optimistic.

    Also, shells which are a million times better than DOS have existed for more that 25 years, and I hope to god that auto-completion and scripts are available on the in-game terminal. Be wary of thinking that “limited input is a feature” because I can foresee lots of frustration from having to always type the same commands or not being able to type them in time. Frustration for many people, outright rejection from logical or programming types.

    • Mike says:

      I dunno, seems clear to me that the core mechanic is solid, fun to interact with, and unique (I can’t think of any GOOD programming minigames that function in this way). Any extensions here are going to be great fun. This was more than enough to get me going.

    • yabonn says:

      not enough to put some text input which affects the world in a 3D environment

      I find this a little harsh : sometimes differences in presentation result in a different experience, the algorithmic sneaking new and fun.

      Ditto about the need for code completion – or a camera-click-to-kill-ring thing.

    • Dominic White says:

      I think you’re missing the point of the game, faelnor. It’s meant to be kitsch and old-school. It’s a late 80s/early 90s vision of technology mixed with a bunch of cyberpunk concepts and some crazy 70s spy-fiction gadgets. It’s not meant to be a realistic hacking simulator.

      • faelnor says:

        If it’s more about exposition than empowering the player, fine, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to overcome the frustration or the feeling that the hacking is a gimmick. As I said, I need to see more than the tutorial, hopefully the game comes out soon.

      • MondSemmel says:

        There’s no need for realism, but the experience of hacking _has_ to be an enjoyable gameplay mechanic for such a game to work. For example, hacking in Uplink was tedious beyond measure. Most interactions in that game were completely pointless micromanagement rather than decisions with any kind of impact. Uplink did much right in terms of style and atmosphere, but its gameplay mechanics were lacking. That could be a real danger here, too.

        (Also, something unrelated: The game simulates thefts/infiltrations, right? Why would it _simulate_ a laptop rather than just simulating the command line? That’s ridiculously circuitous.)

        • mrwonko says:

          If I remember correctly, the simulation is supposed to later be re-enacted by a human (or you’re actually remote-controlling one?), and that guy would have to take is laptop out.

          Hmm, come to think about it it /should/ be possible for you to simply relay commands to that guy. It probably helps with the immersion though and looks pretty cool.

          Agreed on the usability features.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          You are way out of line, sir! I love Uplink AND its hacking (rather cracking), therefore IMO it did something very right when it comes to implementing hacking into the game. It wasn’t like actual hacking, but was presented rather as a puzzle you have to solve. I really liked it for it.

          Then again, that’s what personal opinions are for.

    • Spengbab says:

      “and I hope to god that auto-completion and scripts are available on the in-game terminal”

      Very much this. I have to type commands in CLIs for a living – I dont want to have to watch for speellling erors when Im trying to enjoy a videogame. Tab’s there for a reason, use it damnit

  3. brau says:

    This game is gonna be awesome!!

  4. golem09 says:

    The last PS articel on this was already good, so I don’t want to spoil one minute of this. Especially the tutorial, since it sounds like the whole game is like tutorial you have to explore for yourself.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    I can see someone speedrunning this by typing in one line at the start and running through in perfect timing.

  6. tomeoftom says:

    Hnnnnnngg I want this.

    Edit: Brendon Chung has an incredible design sense, both visually and – check out my new ponce-word – ludically. (OOOOH YEAH)

  7. Engloutie says:

    Looks amazing! I just hope it also has some kind of story similar to the previous games on top of the great gameplay.

  8. Xocrates says:

    This bothers me far more than it should, but it kind of nags me you chose solely Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving to represent Blendo.

    They made other, and quite frankly better, games, and while those two are the closest in terms of setting and style to this one, I feel representing the company through what are experimental art games as opposed to their actual achievements in gameplay design to be misleading.

    • Gonefornow says:

      Yes, but it’s as much Blendo’s own fault as the author’s.

      They chose to market GB and TFoL as games, for whatever reason, which they clearly are not.

      This one looks like the game I wanted after playing viewing GB back then and really wished TFoL to be.
      Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but it seems they’re finally going to deliver a stylish first person spy/stealth game.

      Best case scenario, it ends up having a dynamic campaign with a little bit of choice.

      Worst case scenario, it going to be a glorified puzzle game.

    • tomeoftom says:

      Hmm, I enjoyed Atom Zombie Smasher and Flotilla but both for very short periods of time. AZS didn’t have enough moving parts for my tastes and it just didn’t feel like strategies ever worked as they should. Flotilla felt a bit frustrating playing against the AI, for the same reason that playing poker against an AI is a waste of time. I really wanted to like them both, though. Gravity Bone, the sequel, his other old HL1 maps and the Doom .wads are all much more interesting to me.

      • Xocrates says:

        GB and TFoL are interesting, but mostly because you learn as much from their failures as you do from their successes. They’re experiments in storytelling and quite frankly should be treated as such.

        My point was simply that representing a company solely by those when they also made other genuinely interesting gameplay oriented games is misleading.

  9. MrTambourineMan says:

    Totally my kind of game. I’m sold.

  10. felisc says:

    definitely want to play this

  11. spetsky says:

    Awesome! Screen tearing out the ass, but I’m confident there will be good video options

  12. JB says:

    I love the little details, like removing the bolts in the final hatch. Very slick, looking forward to the game.

  13. SiHy_ says:

    Absolutely love it. Can’t wait to see more.

  14. Matchstick says:

    The graphics in this really remind me of the Amiga classic Damocles for some reason
    (and that’s a good thing)

    • Henry Swanson says:

      You remember that too? Cool. I’ve always dug the sublime sense of near infinite space & surreal adventure within games like Mercenary / Hunter, and have sought out their abstract, lo-fi aesthetic ever since..

  15. Sunjammer says:

    Love it. Certainly hope we get some tab-to-autocomplete action and piping down the line though. And I hope it’s not just a Portal style puzzle-roomer with a hacker theme.