20 years after its initial release, the special effects in Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park have held up remarkably well. There is one effect in Jurassic Park that has held up less kindly in the court of public opinion over the years than the CGI dinosaurs, though: the 3-D computer hacking interface used by precocious child protagonist Lex Murphy in a scene at the end of the movie, during which she breathes these immortal words of wonder: “It’s a Unix system! I know this!”
Now it’s inspired a video game worthy of InGen that looks and feels a lot like the hacking sequence from Jurassic Park, appropriately called I Know This.
Although the hacking scene in Jurassic Park often garners guffaws from ironic modern audiences who think the interface Lex is using is just another example of Hollywood being clueless as to how computers work, the joke has always been on them. Jurassic Park’s hacking scene featured a real Unix interface from the early ’90s called FSN (but in real life, FSN was more of a file manager, not a hacking backend). So in I Know This, players are dumped into an FSN-like UI, where an obnoxious Clippy doppelganger named Clicky helps you figure out the game.
Just like Jurassic Park, the goal is to find a file by hacking specific nodes before the system’s security clamps down. In a genius touch, gamers hack nodes in the time-honored Hollywood tradition of just randomly smashing your fingers against the keyboard in rapid-fire succession: the developer’s say this gameplay element was inspired by Hacker Typer, an online webpage that generates authentic-looking code just by hitting randoms keys on the keyboard as fast as you can. You’ve successfully hacked a node when your random keyboard smackings generate 10 lines of code. If you fail? You’re warped back to the beginning.
Granted, there’s no velociraptor breathing down your neck, but given the history of terrible, officially licensed games in the franchise, this might be the best Jurassic Park game to ever come out. It’s even more impressive, given the fact that I Know This is both unofficial and the result of a single weekend of development by developers Gavin McCarthy, Adam Axbey, and Matthew Simmonds as part of Global Game Jam 2015.
You can download and play I Know This for Mac and PC at the game’s official site.