I really don’t understand why there aren’t more hacking games. Uplink was brilliant, but it was 350 years ago now. So why aren’t we inundated with hacking simulators that will let us feel like super-cool hax0rz while we sit in our pants at the PC? Disrupt is offering such pant-sitting opportunities, as is demonstrated in the trailer below.

It’s arguable I’m not really born to be a hacker. My attempts at learning any code extend to having to look up the HTML for linking to an email address every single time. So I love the power fantasy of Uplink, and I’d love to see more of the type. We first heard about Disrupt back in July last year, but it’s been awfully quiet since. Until… now!


Apparently the game will allow you a good degree of freedom, letting you choose to frame dodgy politicians or rob from the rich and give to the poor. Or putting it in your own pocket. Which you won’t have, because you’ll be in your pants.

As you may well have anticipated, there’s a Greenlight page for the project. No release date seems to be set yet, and hopefully some Greenlight attention will boost its profile.

Here’s some pre-alpha footage from last year:



Top comments

  1. Swax says:

    I'm pretty sure a hacker MMO was made and literally everyone on the internet is a participant.
  1. CookPassBabtridge says:

    RPS pants! I will buy designer RPS pants! (And also hug my Horace plushie whilst IN my RPS pants!).

    • Sinomatic says:

      The thing about the Horace plushie is that we’re all hugging the same one…

      • P7uen says:

        That’s beautiful/unhygienic.

        • NonCavemanDan says:

          I believe, from a doctrinal perspective, the Book Of Horace prefers you call it “unbeaugienic”.

  2. geldonyetich says:

    The trailer makes Disrupt look like a megalomaniac’s fantasies.

    E.g. “Hack the feds and delete the evidence so this guy is freed. Don’t worry about whether or not he’s innocent or not, you’ve got mad hacker stills, therefore you are the law.”

    I’m docking points for moral irresponsibility if your hubris doesn’t come back to bite you in this game’s storyline.
    I’m docking points for overuse of cliches if your hubris comes back to bite you in this game’s storyline.

    • Hunchback says:

      Well, hacking is a crime, per se. Then maybe sometimes it’s done for good, but that’s probably extremely rare.

      Then, most games include killing people, which is almost never “excused”, even if said people are clearly “evil”.

      Would your moral problems with a hacking game be eased if you were to… dunno, hack evil demons? Hack the undead? Hack some rich vampire’s bank account?


      • geldonyetich says:

        Like any crime in any fictional media, it’s not the fact that crimes are occurring that bothers me, it’s whether or not it’s leveraged in such a way as to not detract from the product.

        If Robin Hood went about robbing from everybody and giving to his need for women and wine, it becomes a very different story where the protagonist has absolutely no reason to be sympathized with. (See: GTA V.)

        Garret from the Thief series was a thief, and an unapologetic one. But his kleptomania served as a vehicle to land him in the middle of a very poignant battle between the forces of nature and technology, and in the end he emerged as a protagonist primarily because he was the only man for the job and he had a certain professional pride not to be shown up by the likes of mad gods. That was interesting enough that the fact he was technically committing crimes became a wholly vestigial concern.

        Now, I can’t say if Disrupt has dropped the ball here because I haven’t played it. It could have a very poignant leveraging of the crime of hacking. However, I am saying that the trailer would seem to indicate nothing of the sort, as it’s largely “Nicky” doing these things simply because somebody asked her to. Thus, the message communicated would seem to be some kind of pro-anarchist, “I’ll do what I want and fuck da polize” shtick that leaves me wondering why I should care.

        • Marr says:

          I got the impression from the very limited dialog that there is some history between those characters. I would treat this like any story which hits the ground running, and suspend judgement until I have some idea of the characters’ motivations.

      • jrpatton says:

        Hacking for good is extremely common. It’s called White Hat Hacking, and it’s usually used to make people aware of their security vulnerabilities.

        • zaphod42 says:

          Yes but you’re only a white hat hacker if you have permission / work for the company which you are hacking. These people are not called hackers, they’re called ‘security engineers’ or ‘penetration testers’. They have big salaries and don’t need to wear sunglasses and trenchcoats to feel cool.

          Anybody who is a “hacker” is doing something illegal. There’s a lot of grey-hat hackers that tell themselves they’re white-hat but in reality they are violating federal law and one little slipup could mean they spend the next decade or two in jail.

          The golden days of hacking are gone anyways; its just a bunch of script kiddies now.

          • Marr says:

            Many people in this world have to hack their way around the blocking and surveillance software of oppressive theocracies. They’re violating church law and one little slipup could mean they spend the next week or two dying under torture. I’d allow them white hats.

    • smunnky says:

      Perhaps you’ve turned to a life of crime out of desperation or been coerced into it.

      I seem to remember that one of the Hacker games gave you a kind of morality rating based on the jobs you took. I think it had a bearing on the story too. The old grey matter’s not what it used to be, mind.

  3. RedViv says:

    Splendid. Hacker Evolution was the only thing to scratch that particular nasty itch after Uplink.

  4. Harlander says:

    There’ve been a few hacking games since Uplink, web-based, single player and all that kind of stuff.

    None of them got much buzz, so I guess they weren’t that good?

    • Geebs says:

      This thing almost looks a bit too Uplink, to judge by the trailer. Sounds a bit too Uplink, too.

      Also, did Walker just call trousers “pants” at the end there? FOR SHAME

  5. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    Quadrilateral Cowboy is also supposed to come out this year, right?

  6. SillyWizard says:

    Pretty sure there isn’t more hacker-themed media because the 1995 film starring Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie left nothing to be improved upon.

  7. Swax says:

    I’m pretty sure a hacker MMO was made and literally everyone on the internet is a participant.

  8. Hunchback says:

    Yes please!

  9. kael13 says:

    As long as there’s an exploit where I can rob bank accounts to become crazy rich a la Uplink, I’m in.

    Style is everything in a game like this, and it looks good!

  10. Dezmiatu says:

    I was garbage at Uplink. To generate money, I’d have to take on take about 10 jobs that’d pay up front until I could buy the programs needed to actually do the job. Eventually, I’d grow tired of this and try to steal from the bank, but it always end up getting caught. Everyone would say how easy it was to steal from the bank, but I must have been missing crucial security precautions.

    • Heimdall2061 says:

      Your problem was almost certainly the passive trace. Every place you hack will actively trace you while you’re connected, of course, but they’ll also passively trace you after the hack is over. To stop that, you need to sever the chain of logs connecting your gateway to the target. Usually, you have a few days to delete your logs before they can trace it back to you; with banks, though, you have only a very short window, a few minutes at most. So, with bank hacks, you need to complete your operation, FAST, and then IMMEDIATELY delete the logs at some connection point, like InterNIC.

  11. Tinus says:

    Hacking! Yes!

    The feel is there, but I wonder what Disrupt will do to improve on Uplink other than the text prompt interface. Uplink felt like a modest stepping stone to something much bigger, like the canceled Subversion.

    Part of the reason I liked Uplink so much is that past actions could have a long tail of influence on your current game. Like admins or federal agents catching up to you weeks after a particular job, for example. It suggested there was a whole bunch going on under the hood outside of your control.

    That, and the freedom to be stupid or clever (or different) in the way you went about things. I played a different style of Uplink than my buddies.

    All these things are sitting there, waiting to be improved upon.

    (Obligatory link to retro future image tumblr Rekall: link to rekall.tumblr.com)

    • Laurentius says:

      Uplink is amazing game and put present industry to shame. Uplink is a simulation, that actual hackers are hacking servers and you can track them down or they can track you down for a matter. So in 2001 indie dev made a sginifcent simulation i havn’t seen from big studios in ages…

    • afrodcyack says:

      I’m in love with this tumblr. THANK YOU!

  12. Hahaha says:


    Last two are browser based but still

    Also The hacker’s sandbox
    link to flyingmonkeyarmy.com

  13. SominiTheCommenter says:

    What’s the language used in the title, INTERCAL?

  14. programmdude says:

    Writing HTML isn’t coding, it’s writing up data.

    • phlebas says:

      Yes. The point John was making was that he does not know about coding.

  15. uh20 says:

    the directories are sperated by /’s but the applications are marked .exe
    i believe lindows was just invented.

    i myself actually know how to program and manage servers on a hobby level, and what sort of drives me away from these games are the automations, like the magical “intercept login” button, real hackers have to establish secret connections to buy out a login, or to grab it from the client. then work their way up without creating suspicious traffic, this is not simply “intercepting” a login

    • faelnor says:

      The trailer is full of shit anyway:
      – A brute force cracker that tests around 20 keys per second is an absolute joke and virtually useless;
      – A home directory that only holds ANTIVIRUS.EXE, FIREWALL.EXE and EMAIL_LIST.TXT is farcical;
      – Data storage of criminal records held in a [NAME]_DATA.LOG file on a server? Come on now.

      Everything is so grossly simplified that even the most superficial of nerds wouldn’t be able to suspend disbelief. Might as well do away with the command line prompts and just give a big “HACK” button.

      • Marr says:

        Well, first up this is alpha footage, so it’s all just placeholder missions to demonstrate their basic game engine. Assuming it doesn’t change dramatically though, well, people with real world firearms experience somehow manage to enjoy games that aren’t Receiver. Rocket scientists played Space Invaders. I think a lot of nerds understand that games are necessarily low fidelity abstractions. They know what it would cost to run a convincing simulation.

  16. Maxheadroom says:

    Wasnt there talk of a game a while back that required you to solve puzzles by actually hacking the games code?

    what happened to that?

  17. Martel says:

    Who wears pants when sitting at the computer?

  18. Dizrupt says:

    Someone almost stole from me. Better get trademark department notified!

  19. VanDerSpar says:

    That has yet to be the slowest bruteforce I’ve seen

  20. yusefsmith says:

    Awesome! A game review of a game that doesn’t actually exist.

  21. Harlander says:

    I wouldn’t have chosen that alpha video as something to show off to people who’d never heard of the game, to be honest.

    That triumphant flourish of the mouse when the operator changes the volume settings