Nov 19, 2017 Last Updated 1:43 PM, Nov 17, 2017

Welcome to the Game Review

Published in Strategy
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I hope you brought coffee.

I am extremely confident that searching the dark web for illegal sites that have crazy stuff will increase your heart rate and make you nervous and excited. In fact, I know this is the case. I mean, who writes a review without doing their due diligence? If I write a go-kart racing review, I go go-kart racing. If I write a first person shooter review, I…… well ok, not every time. But in this case, I did, in fact, try to do what this game accomplishes in real life, and in all honesty, IRL far surpassed my expectations of excitement and mystery. The game, however, did not.

The premise of the game is technically simple: Find clues on the dark web that will lead you to a Red Room – a place where people are tortured and murdered live on camera.

They’re kinda like LiveJasmine, but with way more blood. You start the game in a room with a computer. You get some silly instructions from your buddy on a fake Skype call about how to browse the dark web, and how to deal with being hacked. He also tells you that surfing the dark web can be dangerous, and you may get kidnapped. If you suspect that you may be getting taken, simply turn around from your computer, and turn the light switch off. Boom, kidnapping averted. If someone could send out a PSA about how easy it is to avoid kidnapping, there would be fewer kids on milk cartons #amiright.

As you start to browse the wiki page that lists possible sites on the dark web, you will notice that the vast majority of them are the equivalent of a 404: Page Not Found. You are informed that some of the pages are only online during some times of the day, but frankly, 90%+ are offline, which means to me that I will need to spend a ton of time waiting for them to pop up. You’re not notified when they’re online, so it’s the fun equivalent of clicking a bunch of dead links until one of them works.

Meh.

You are periodically hacked. By hacked, I mean interrupted by two silly, repetitive puzzles that are supposed to block the hacking attempt. One is a DOS attack, in which you turn arrows in a grid so that the evil virus can get through without messing up your machine. It’s literally the equivalent of Pipe Dream, the old, old game where you need to twist pipes to get the sewage out.

The other is a kernel attack, where you are given two lines of text to type. If it matches, you’re safe! If not, sayonara sucker! It’ll be something that is like this actual command line text:

airodump-ng -c 10 --bssid 00:14:BF:E0:E8:D5 -w /root/Desktop/ mon0

Typing something like that twice before the timer runs out... what fun! By the way, that command above will actually help you crack WPA WiFi networks. Don’t try that at home, kids! (go to a Starbucks, duh)

Typing something like that twice before the timer runs out... what fun! By the way, that command above will actually help you crack WPA WiFi networks. Don’t try that at home, kids! (go to a Starbucks, duh)

I would get into more detail about the game, but honestly, I stopped playing after a while. The gameplay was stale and had nothing at all to hook me in and get me interested. I do completely love puzzle games, but this just didn’t have what it takes to make me want to solve the problem. You get hacked WAY too often, in my opinion, so whatever progress or momentum you are making is interrupted by these two repetitive puzzles.

In contrast to this, let’s take a look at what it really takes to get the blood flowing. The ‘dark web’ or ‘deep web’ is very very real. You would literally be shocked at what you can find there, including, but not limited to, guns with the serial numbers filed off, ammo, a multitude of drugs, hitmen, hackers… all of this is real, legit shit. You start by going to get a particular browser, at www.torproject.org. Once you download it and install it, it’s bouncing your IP address off of several servers around the globe to keep you ‘anonymous’. Websites on there seldom have normal names like buysomeguns.com, but rather have random strings of characters that end in .onion. Funny ending? Well, think about it… onions have layers (insert Shrek reference), and now so does your web browsing.

Once you are in the TOR browser, you can legitimately find a listing of deep web sites like the game portrays. Even without TOR, pages like http://thehiddenwiki.org/ will shock you when you see what’s available once you get out into uncharted territory. Rent-a-hacker?! http://2ogmrlfzdthnwkez.onion/ YEAH, it’s real, and the guy knows his stuff. It’s not cheap, but he will melt your enemies, and make a pretty penny doing it.

Speaking of hacking, there are no pipes or word match games in hacking. What there is, though, is a super interesting world of crazy and advanced tools that will blow your mind. Kali Linux, which is entirely free (www.kali.org) is all you need to start. And yes, in the corporate white collar IT security world, we call it Penetration Testing. (Giggidy!) I say we because my day job is for an IT risk management firm, and this is the game we play day-to-day. It's super fun, legitimately exciting, and as a bonus: it pays well. Ever wanted to get paid to play games? Consider becoming a pen tester.

Welcome to the Game is only $1.99, so if you do want to give it a shot because the trailer was cool, or you’ve read a better review, you’re only down half a Starbucks cup of ice water. Buy a coffee, though, because you’ll need help staying awake through it. However, TOR, Kali Linux, and many other real life tools are completely and 100% free. Can’t go wrong with that! Besides, you’ll learn valuable skills that are really in demand today and help you fill that Steam Wallet up.

3

The Verdict

Harsh, sure, but Welcome to the Game gets a 3 out of 10 from me. Even for a buck ninety-nine, what you won’t get back is the time you’ve spent trying to play this game, which is worth much more. Real life wins. Game. Set. Match.

Dizzyjuice

Most widely known for never suppressing his impulse control disorder, and his stubborn position on the jet fuel vs. steel beams argument, Dizzyjuice is your typical renaissance man. An avid photographer, chef, classically trained musician, meme addict, philanthropist, and IT geek, he spends most of his spare time watching hours upon hours of ‘related videos’ on YouTube, and then purchasing random things to try and recreate them. Most notably, however, is that he hates it when biographies don’t end the way you octopus.

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