A radio or wired signal connection used to transfer data from the user to a central facility, or from a control system to a spacecraft or aircraft.

High tech computer crime and industrial espionage on the Internet of 2010.

Uplink is a game about movie-style hacking. You play as an agent of the Uplink company, and make a living by hacking into rival computer systems, stealing research data, sabotaging other companies, laundering money, erasing evidence, and framing innocent people.

As you complete these jobs for various people, you earn cash to buy new hardware and software. A better CPU helps you crack passwords faster. More memory lets you store more programs and information at once. A higher version of a bypass program will get you in faster to avoid being traced.

The game is highly addictive, even if it is a load of Hollywood hacker fluff.

Currently available for both Windows and Linux.

Website: http://www.introversion.co.uk/

To add to the earlier write up about this game, Uplink, interestingly enough, is only available directly from Introversion. They're trying to avoid the whole distributor fiasco which is admirable if not a touch suicidal.

Uplink is almost entirely void of any sort of visual flashiness or over the top sound bombardment. The interface is monochromatic blue with a mildly sedative loop of techno/ambient music playing continually in the background. It's the sort of game that you can play until 3 in the morning without disturbing a slumbering Luddite significant other with very few tweaks to the default settings.

Like any media depiction of hacking (or anything computer related) the gameplay is not realistic. Introversion acknowledges this and tries to integrate a few features that will allow even the most jaded among us a temporary suspension of disbelief. The trace tracker that becomes a very important piece of your software arsenal. When a trace begins the tracker starts beeping with increasing urgency and frequency as your hallucinatory infosec stalker comes closer and closer to divining your true location. You know this is all fake but the panic reaction is almost impossible to defuse. I've had a couple little freak outs while playing this game.

One of the definite downsides to this game is its reliance on mouse driven fields during the course of the game. The mouse only gives focus to the entry field while it is still hovering. The hundredth time you've typed into /dev/null while trying to beat the clock is pretty enraging. The whole "put the pointer over the entry field, drop the mouse, make sure the pointer is still positioned correctly, type something, pick up the mouse" routine really slows things down and makes some segments of the game nearly impossible.

Overall, Uplink is pretty impressive for the first version of an independently produced computer game. They do have a ridiculous way of supplying the registration codes though. They are printed in a table which is annoying enough by itself (reminding me of the days when you'd have to find the fifth word on the 29th page of the manual just to save a game) but the choice of a clear varnish on black paper is just obnoxious. I understand that this prevents the code table from being easily copied but still automagically raises my hackles.

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