Saturday, November 3, 2012

Telehack

Old news that's new to me:
Telehack is the most interesting game I've played in the last year... a game that most users won't realize is a game at all.
It's a tour de force hack — an interactive pastiche of 1980s computer history, tying together public archives of Usenet newsgroups, BBS textfiles, software archives, and historical computer networks into a multiplayer adventure game.

Among its features:
  • Connect to over 24,000 simulated hosts, with logged-in ghost users with historically-accurate names culled from UUCP network maps.
  • Hacking metagames, using simplified wardialers and rootkit tools.
  • User classes that act as an achievements system.
  • Group chat with relay, and one-on-one chat with send or talk.
  • Reconstructed Usenet archives, including the Wiseman collection.
  • A BASIC interpreter with historical programs from the SIMTEL archives.
  • Standalone playable games, including Rogue and a Z-code interpreter for text adventure games like Adventure and Zork.
  • Hidden hosts and programs, discoverable only by hacking Telehack itself.
The entire project was engineered by "Forbin," an anonymous Silicon Valley engineer named after the protagonist of Colossus: The Forbin Project. Like the chief engineer of the film, Forbin's created a networked supercomputer that defies all expectations. (Hopefully it won't gain sentience and enslave the human race.)
I had to know more. With the help of Paul Ford, I interviewed Forbin about the project — using Telehack's send utility, naturally. Read on for the full interview about his motivations, how it's built, and why he's chosen to remain anonymous.
Or maybe I've posted about this before. It's a foggy-brained morning.

5 comments:

Another Kiwi said...

It's a whole new world!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Will I be eaten by a grue?
~

ckc (not kc) said...

...can you play pong on it?

ckc (not kc) said...

...can you play pong on it?

M. Bouffant said...

Or maybe I've posted about this before.
No sheet. I s'pose it would help if I had more than five or six obsessions to obsess about.

Brand new world!