in which the character hacks a machine or software system, either to open a password-protected locked door or to access some benefit that the machine is withholding. Occasionally this will extend to Mecha-Mooks
, allowing the player to disable or reprogram them to fight on their side with a change in color.
Hacking minigames come in a wide range of forms.
Any kind of realistic hacking would be too slow, too hard, too dull, and would require knowledge that most players just don't have. Hacking minigames bridge the gap between realism and fun. We can assume the minigame is just a player-friendly representation of the character's difficulty with the hack, and that characters are indeed hacking properly, even if we don't see it.
Subtrope of Hollywood Hacking
. Sometimes these minigames allow for some Menu Time Lockout
- The Journey Man Project has you play a form of Mastermind to disarm the bomb planted in the Mars Colony Shield Generator.
- Justified in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey - Olivia de Marcos gives Zöe software that she routinely uses to hack. Her explanation as to this useful software is that if someone comes across her and sees her phone screen, it'll look more like she's playing a game.
- Iji has one, involving moving a pointer through a maze.
- In My Sims Agents, hacking involves moving the pointer through a scrolling maze under a time limit. And you have to stay on the lit path, which often changes when you pass through certain icons.
- Enter the Matrix has one, although it's not part of the main gameplay and is instead used as a somewhat immersive way of activating various cheats and viewing concept art. Some versions of it also have normally inaccessible debug commands that require a more conventional cheat code to use, such as the only known to turn open the disc tray with a command instead of pressing the "eject" button on the console. It's also far more realistic than most minigames... while no actual hacking knowledge is required or used, you're going to be very lost if you don't have a basic understanding of command-line interfaces.
- Project Eden involves spinning disks and quick reactions to hack a device.
- Inspector Gadget: Operation MadKactus has a Pipe Dream style one. Since you can rotate pieces and there's no penalty to changing pieces, there's no way you can fail it.
- In the Batman Begins game, you hack into systems by clicking on 1s and avoiding 0s. There's also an electronic-lockpick minigame, where you just need to click on the wards when they reach the grooves.
- The Batman: Arkham Series games have a device that you primarily use to hack open locked doors, using the control sticks to find the correct frequency/password. Whilst not necessarily a minigame, it does require a bit of skill to use correctly. However, the Wii U rerelease of Batman: Arkham City has the hacking as a full-fledged minigame, requiring the player to mend circuits with their fingers whilst avoiding obstacles.
- Batman: Vengeance has a "connect the nodes" minigame in which you have to line up wires to get the power going and complete the circuit to open the doors. Uniquely, it takes place on a 3D cube—you have to line 'em up on one side, and then rotate the cube to complete the whole thing.
- The Hobbit has a timing-based pick-the-locks game. Locked treasure chests contain a series of obstacles, which Bilbo bypasses by stopping them when they turn green. Stopping them on anything other than green robs him of precious time; worse yet, some treasure chests have a poisonous security system.
- From Russia with Love has a twofold game. The first is a Gotta Catch 'Em All situation involving "attache cases." Having collected the cases, Bond can unlock them with a "match the symbols on the gamepad" game for extra research points.
- Both System Shock games have hacking minigames. In the first game, the hacking consists of little puzzles; easy to do if the player them self is good at it or gets lucky. In the second game hacking (and modifying, and repairing) involves trying to light up a series of three connected nodes; the results are based pretty much entirely on luck and your character's skill relevant to that task.
- This is used for unlocking doors and accessing encrypted files in Alien Swarm.
- Star Trek: Elite Force II has several moments where your character needs to reroute power within a computer system; this is accomplished by a modified version of the old computer game Pipe Dream, where the goal is to rotate "pipes" in order to connect identically-colored starting and ending points without hitting a block or crossing circuits.
- The GBA game TRON 2.0: Killer App featured a hacking minigame that had to be played numerous times to progress. Plus a few more minigames that generally fit this trope. Come to think of it, maybe the entire game was an example.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a hacking game where you capture assorted nodes in a path leading to the registry, before the diagnostic subroutine reaches your I/O port. You can also use single-use virus programs to get in more easily. Although it's possible to find the right codes and username/password combinations in e-mails and pocket secretaries (upon which they will helpfully pop up when you access the corresponding machine), successful hacking brings with it bonuses of EXP, money, and hacking tools, providing an incentive to hack even if you know the codes.
- BioShock lets you hack vending machines to lower their prices or hack bots, turrets, or security cameras to make them fight enemies for you. In it, you complete a very Pipe Dream-esque minigame.
- In BioShock 2, hacking is timing-based, requiring you to make a moving needle land on either a green or blue spot.
- In either game, you can just pay a small fee to auto hack it. Yes, in this universe you can bribe the machine. That's Objectivism for you!
- Ratchet & Clank has different versions for different parts of the series.
- The Sly Cooper series had several different hacking minigames, more often than not for The Smart Guy Bentley.
- Jak 3: Wastelander: Daxter gets jacked in to a security program where he has to eat all the information Pacman style to lower the defences and release a cypher key.
- Saira has a number of hacking minigames.
- Bionic Commando Rearmed features wiretapping, which involves navigating relatively simple 3D block puzzles. Fail, however, and you will get swarmed by guards.
- Paradroid has a mini-game when you take over a new robot where you must wire up more connections than the robot you are attempting to influence.
- LAN Master, a homebrew NES game, is entirely this: rotate the pipes to connect all the computers. Because the author released the game's source code to the public domain, any NES homebrew programmer can use its code to add a hacking minigame. It's also been ported to KDE libraries as KNetwalk.
- The Witness: What the game essentially consists of. Everything from doors and elevators to windmills and lasers are "hacked" and activated by solving the attached puzzle panels.
- Mass Effect:
- In Alpha Protocol, you have two hacking minigames - one where you have to match two sequences of hexadecimal numbers to their copies on a constantly shifting board and another one in which you have to activate maze-like circuits in proper order. That and yet another puzzle based on lockpicking.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines allows your character to hack computer passwords so he/she can find information that can be helpful in some missions. However, this depends on how many points you have on your Hacking skill: if the system demands more than you currently have, all you'll get is a jumbled mess of letters that won't get you anywhere. But, since The Password is Always "Swordfish" here, hacking skills are only relevant in your first playthrough, since you can simply write down the passwords you've already cracked and use them again in your next playthrough to the same effect, even if you have zero points in Hacking.
- Both the SNES and Genesis adaptations of Cyber Punk RPG Shadowrun included these.
- In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, one of the options of the vending machines you get your items from is to hack it, but you need "Science points" to do so. You can't get any.
- An important part of the game Freedroid RPG (as it allows you to take over enemy bots)
- E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy has a skill for hacking. When you want to hack an enemy, you have several options; Hack (convert them to friendlies), Possess (take control of them directly), Steal (steal some of their energy), or Destroy. Once you pick an option, the player must overcome the enemy's defenses and counter-attacks, by buffing their own attack and defense or debuffing the enemy's defense or attacks, or simply attacking the enemy's cyber-health directly. Failing the mini-game can result in nothing happening, the player's screen being screwed up with a giant smiley face on it until they re-hack themselves, or player death
- Neocron has a hacking minigame that greatly resembles the one found in Paradroid. The hacking minigame is used to open locked doors and boxes.
- Uplink is what you get when you turn the Hacking Minigame into the whole game.
- X3: Terran Conflict has one as part of the New Home plot. Breaking into the Terraformer CPU ship #efaa requires breaking a four-digit code, then solving a sudoku. The third part is inputting a code you put together from clues throughout the plot.
- The ancient browser game Urbanoids.
- LEGO Spybotics: The Nightfall Incident is an entire game focused around this, represented by "data battles".
- Deadnaut gives operatives with a hacking ability to work against the creatures on board the various Ghost Ship locations in keeping doors unlocked and turrets on their side.
Wide Open Sandbox
- While it isn't strictly "hacking" per se, the wiretapping minigame in Covert Action works on much the same principle, making the user solve a puzzle to represent a much more complicated information-gathering exploit.
Non Video Game Examples
- One of the side missions in Jazzpunk involves using a pair of augmented reality goggles to grab bits of code with a frog tongue in order to gain a Wi-Fi password.
- In one episode of The Librarians 2014, the characters are unknowingly trapped in a video game, and master-thief Ezekiel is infuriated that the electronic locks don't make sense, being more amenable to Cassandra's pattern matching skills than his own talents. Once he realises they aren't real locks but a hacking minigame, it makes a lot more sense.