For all their secret military bases and heavily guarded castles, the world of video games is no slouch when it comes to security. Look no further than the likes Dead Light 2, The last of us Part 1or otherwise Makeloopwhere computer passwords and security combinations are written on pieces of paper hidden just a few feet away.
The same cannot be said Symbol, the throwback survival-horror game that was released two weeks ago on Game Pass. It takes place on the outskirts of an imaginary star system, on a winter planet not unlike John Carpenter’s Antarctic research base. The Thing. Something has gone wrong in an underground building, and while the Android has just woken up from hibernation, it’s your job to get down into the complex, fend off feral zombies, and solve a bunch of environmental puzzles. from a top view.
[Ed. note: Light puzzle spoilers follow for Signalis.]
One of the earliest problems with the game was being stuck in the classroom on the eastern side of the map. Upon first encountering security, I breathed a deep sigh of relief and disappointment that a different game was using a tired video game trope, I began to explore the classroom, and the offices to in connection with it, for the word of the code. I was short.
But I got a service request. It read: “The security wall in classroom 4B remains in the default group. What’s the point of the whole radio broadcasting system if our security can only be unlocked with a manual code? Naturally, this sparked a search for that manual. But first, I found an aperture card – a piece of technology that, among other things, can scan an embedded piece of microfilm. I took it to a movie theater I had stumbled upon before and voila: The default security code, in ghost print, is updated.
Not only does this puzzle strike a delicate balance between complexity and intuitiveness, but it also fits within the context of Symbol‘ world: This is a building built on a layered system that works to keep important information out of the view of miners, custodians, and bodyguards. That’s why business people don’t leave important security combos lying on the table, or in an open locker. It took a written complaint (judging by the file number, it went through the red sections) to send me, a lowly android, on the right track.
In some cases, I don’t mind having a keypad code written on a markerboard. There’s a certain self-awareness in playing — something that says, “Look, this is a video game, and sometimes, you have to be stupid in order to have fun.” (turn off It’s my favorite game from Arkane Studios, and one of the biggest offenders of this trope.)
But there’s something exciting about living in a game world where NPCs are actually alert, thoughtful, and quick-witted. It enhances the voyeuristic quality of holding someone’s property made easy. no I want to do that. The rose-engine developer was flooded Symbol with puzzles to deliver that joy.
I’m not saying that I want every game to feature two-factor authentication buttons (of course, that would be fun), but I think that the wording of video games like security buttons and computer hacking. must go in the direction of the aperture card. When studios fill their worlds with intelligent people, they rely on their players to respond in kind. We throw around the word “immersive” a lot, but it’s a rare game that actually earns the label. Symbol deserves a place on that list.