For all their top secret military bases and heavily guarded fortresses, the world of video games is still woefully lax when it comes to security. Look no further than the likes of Dying Light 2, The Last of Us Part 1or Deathloopwhere computer passwords and safe combinations are scrawled on paper traps hidden only by feet.
The same cannot be said The signal, a survival-horror shooter game that was released a few weeks ago on Game Pass. It takes place in the outer reaches of a fictional star system, on a winter planet not unlike John Carpenter’s Antarctic research base. Something. Something has gone wrong in the underground, and as an android that has just woken up from winter, it’s your job to descend into the complex, fend off zombies, and solve a series of environmental puzzles from a top-down perspective.
[Ed. note: Light puzzle spoilers follow for Signalis.]
One of the game’s early obstacles is a locked safe in a classroom on the east side of the map. When I first came across the safe, I took a deep breath and, disappointed that an otherwise stylish game was turning into such a tired video game, began searching the classroom, and the rooms around it, for the telltale code note. I came up short.
Instead, I received a service request form. It read: “The wall safe in class 4B keeps resetting to automatic assembly. What is the use of all radio code broadcasting if our safe can only be opened by the code in the booking?” Naturally, this sparked a search for this book. But first, I found an unlock card – a very inefficient technology that, among other functions, allows the viewing of an embedded piece of microfilm. I brought it to the microfilm viewer I had stumbled upon again voilà: There was an automatic safe code, with ghost printing, enlarged.
This puzzle not only struck that elusive balance between challenge and comprehensibility, but also made sense within the context of The signal‘ world: This is an institution built on a class system that works to keep valuable information away from the eyes of miners, guards, and guards. It stands to reason that the bureaucratic elite would not leave important safe combos lying on the table, or in an open locker. It took an agonizing written complaint (which, judging by the file number, went through several layers of red tape) to send me, lowly android, in the right direction.
In some cases, I have no problem finding the keypad code written on the marker board. There’s a certain self-awareness at play — something that says, “Look, this is a video game, and sometimes, the characters need to be stupid for you to have fun.” (A deer It’s still my favorite game from Arkane Studios, and one of the best villains.)
But there’s something fun about being in a game world where NPCs are actually careful, thoughtful, and quick. It increases the voyeuristic quality of analyzing one’s material clearly not I want to do so. The engineer’s rose-engine is full of water The signal with puzzles that bring that excitement.
I’m not saying I want every game to include two-factor authentication puzzles (in fact, that would be a lot of fun), but I think the vocabulary of video games is widespread enough for security hacking and computer hacking puzzles. You need to go through the activation card process. When studios fill their worlds with smart people, they hope their players will respond. We throw the word “immersive” around a lot, but it’s a rare game that earns the label. The signal you deserve a place on that list.