Thursday 9 April 2015

Hacking Game 'Touchtone' Turned Me into an NSA Spy

Thinking about becoming a NSA spy itself sends out a chill down by spine but after playing TouchTone, I have been eagerly awaiting a chance to get my hands on being a responsible spy. This iOS puzzle game got me hooked up like never before.

I was experiencing thrills of searching of enemies across the state by just scouring across emails and text messages. This is completely different and I experience it in my daily life. As per the statement of co-creator Mike Boxleiter, people might start feeling this entire game very creepy as well as voyeuristic. All they need is to stop for a while and rethink about the game again.

What the game is all about? 

The game starts with a simple training exercise wherein the player has to identify if the chain of email between the potential customer and a bookstore employee should be monitored. At the bottom the game will highlight a transcript indicating if the email has any content indicating potential threats. The player has to identify any kind of threat to national security.

A simple example is the interaction dealing about The Anarchist Cookbook, clearly indicates that there is not much to worry about however any interaction dealing with crafting homemade bombs certainly requires the attention of the player.

Soon after completing the level, I got scolded by my one of the handler who is none other than a Patriot, and he point-out that some students have been emailing about going out to smoke weeds. I had indicated that this mail is not at all threatening.

He stated that from his perspective, and all this was about drug trafficking which required monitoring. According to Boxleiter, most of the people on the Wall Street are more or less criminals. He was not satisfied with my effort and work as I was thinking about all these as a rational human, which is not all like a spy. He stated that our system is so messed up as they are not concerned about people who carry our fraud of millions but focused on people with beards.

This game is about exposing the loopholes in the system which is in use. In simple words we can say that in the world of TouchTone, racial profiling does not exist, which ensures that the spies are searching out for the maximum information possible for anyone known suspects.

The more he added that NSA is about creating connection between different people. In simple words we can say that this game is all about tailing the suspects till he can be put behind the jail. After this the game starts over with another connected suspect.

At the end, TouchTone is a hacking mini-game similar to that off BioShock and Deus Ex. The game is simple consists of 6 x 7 grid with different which are of different colours laser beams meant for directing it to the same-colored targets by means of reflector panels.

Even though the game might look deceptive but can turn out to be slightly exhausting. People might not find this game funny but reflects the normal life of the people. The game requires people to look the concept from a humorous point of view. It is meant for inspiring conversations.

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