Probably we all wanted to be a hacker at some point, like hackers in the Hollywood movies. Although most of the time, those characters can hack into any system within minutes, which is highly unlikely, they are generally some of the most fantastic characters in the movie. That kind of power may seem very intriguing, but it requires years of training. Also, unlike movies, hacking into a system is much more complicated than guessing passwords, trying brute force attacks, or typing super fast in front of a command-line interface.
If years of training and various certifications programs are too intimidating for you, you can also check these hacking games to feel like a hacker, with some extraordinary talents. Some of these hacker games managed to be very popular when they were released and some of them are indie games developed by teams with serious hacking knowledge. Whether incredible, realistic or technically impossible, they let the player feel like a hacker.
With the covid and accelerated digital transformation, cybersecurity has become one of the most popular fields. You can see thousands of people asking, “how can I become a hacker“, especially during the early years of their career. Surprisingly, some of these games are so accurate, they can give you an idea about how hacking works, what do hackers do, what are the essential tools and methods for hacking, and the basic concepts of hacking.
Watch Dogs 2
Release year: 2016
Watch Dogs 2 is an open-world action-adventure game that combines hacking, shooting, and stealth mechanics. The second game of the Watch Dogs series is probably the most popular game on our list, however, it is hard to say that it is accurate when it comes to hacking. The game allows you to cause chaos in San Francisco Bay Area, where Silicon Valley is located. Although it is fun to hack tons of devices in an open world, it is not how hacking works. The game allows you to hack another car within seconds causing them to lose control and crash, while you are driving. The game also allows players to control a drone that is capable of scanning all the electronic devices easily and hacking them within seconds. During the hacking process, users need to solve some simple puzzles, which are completely irrelevant with a real hacking process and they can be boring after a while. On the other hand, the game allows you to complete a mission in different ways and mostly you need to be stealthy. The story and the characters are not as interesting as the first game, but the side activities and the sense of humor make it fun to play.
Welcome to the Game 2
Developer: Reflect Studios
Release year: 2018
Welcome to the Game 2, the second game of the popular horror puzzle game series, mainly focuses on hacking, the deep web, and even cryptocurrency mining. In the game, players are trying to save a woman from being murdered who is asking for help on the deep web. You should protect yourself against both cyber attacks and other threats during the game. For example, to avoid an assassin, you need to place a motion tracker in the hallway, which will allow you to shut down the pc, all the lights in the house, and hide in the bathroom. The game includes various very realistic hacking scenarios, such as cracking WPA2 passwords or looking for flaws in the HTML code; however, most of these hacking processes are done by completing various puzzles, which are not related to any hacking methods.
Nite Team 4
Developer: Alice & Smith
Release year: 2019
Nite Team 4 is a military hacking simulation game that focuses on the real hacking experience. The interface is very similar to a cybersecurity expert’s computer screen, mostly text-based, and offers a command-line interface to hack into the systems in the game. So if you are looking for a game with fancy graphics, Nite Team 4 may not be your first choice. But if you want to experience how hackers find exploits the interface is very realistic. The game also teaches players the most common terminology, such as DNS, domain, database, active directory, etc. Nite Team 4 has a very steep learning curve, so before trying to complete the missions, you should complete an intimidating tutorial to learn how all the tools work, which is also very realistic. The game also allows users to create missions, which is a unique approach, and some of these missions require players to do some online research. For example, a mission requires users to send an email to a Gmail account that sends auto-responses.
Developer: Save All Studio
Release year: 2021
Hacker Simulator is the newest game on our list. It looks like Welcome to the Game series in terms of gameplay; however, it is much more accurate in the hacking process. If you have ever tried Kali Linux, the interface may seem very familiar. The game also uses legit commands, such as the Deauth Aireplay attack to crack WEP and WPA2 keys. The missions in the game are also very similar to real-life situations, using replicas of popular software, such as Ziscord, a replica of Discord. So if you are looking for a real hacking experience, Hacker Simulator is one of the best options you can find in the market.
Developer: Team Fractal Alligator, Matt Trobbiani
Release year: 2015
Hacknet is one of the oldest games on our list. Some of the methods in the game can seem outdated, but it is a really nice game for learning old-school network essentials. The game comes with a very plain and simple interface, although it may take some time to get used to it. Its learning curve is pretty steep, and the game allows you to experience various things on your own after the tutorial, which can confuse users who are inexperienced with hacking. The game not only comes with hacking tools, but it also offers some simple tools such as a background changer or a music player that make you feel like you are using another pc. The company also published a DLC called Labyrinths that expands the game’s content.
Developer: Loading Home
Release year: 2017
Grey Hack is one of the most realistic-looking hacking games on our list. The game includes a simple Linux-like desktop with basic tools and a command line. To be able to proceed in the game, players need to read a lot of tutorials, most of them in TXT files. The game allows users to download tools from the in-game internet and then use the command line to scan for flaws and exploit them. The commands used in the game are pretty accurate and it offers a similar experience of a hacker to the user.
Developer: Introversion Software
Release year: 2001
It is safe to say that Uplink is the ancestor of most hacking-related video games. Introversion Software’s first game, Uplink was released in 2001, thus most of the concepts and methods in the game are outdated, but it is a really fun game to play. In the game, players are using gateways to protect themselves while performing various hacking processes, like brute force attacks. To be able to proceed in the game, users should also upgrade their hardware to complete more complicated tasks. The mission diversity in the game is also very unique. While some clients want you to change their grades from the university database, some of them may ask for much more complicated tasks. If you are interested in retro and hacking games, Uplink is probably one of the best options for you.
Developer: EasyWays Team
Release year: 2017
hack me 2, the second game of the series is one of the most popular hacking games. Its unique storyline is pretty interesting however some tasks require you to make the same steps over and over again, which can be boring from time to time. It is not something uncommon for cybersecurity experts but in terms of gameplay, it can be frustrating. On the other hand, the game allows players to use Linux-like command-line interface commands and other tools similar to the ones used by hackers. Overall, it is safe to say that the game offers a nice hacking experience.
Developer: Aluba Studio
Release year: 2021
Cyber Manhunt differs itself from the rest of the games on the list with its focus. It is a story-oriented puzzle game but instead of focusing on traditional hacking methods, it focuses on big data, citizen privacy, cyber violence, and privacy breaches. Social media is a huge part of the game and its unique graphics look nice. The game has hacking aspects but if you are looking for a game that teaches technical details of hacking, Cyber Manhunt probably isn’t what you are looking for. But the game is definitely enlightening for daily internet users.
Developer: Drizzly Bear
Release year: 2016