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    I bought the limited edition hardcopy, this is a super-fun game.

    If you like this game, you will likely enjoy the other zachtronics games.

    If you enjoyed writing assembly in DOS, TIS-100 is your best bet.

    If you like graphical/visual programming, try Opus Magnum.

    For the games listed above, you can see the cost of your Steam friends’ solutions. Once you’ve solved a puzzle, it’s surprisingly much fun to try to beat the scores of people you know.

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      Shenzhen I/O is pretty rad too; bought the feelies for that one, and get asked about the binder routinely :D

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        If verilog/VHDL is your kink, MHRD is a lot of fun.

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          That’s been on my steam wish list for a very long time. I’ll have to check it out when I “finish” EXAPUNKS.My brief interaction with Verilog was mind-opening. I’d really enjoy a game with a similar medium but the right constraints.

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            Funny, I’m just teaching myself verilog right now! I’m still in the random walk stage but hopefully soon I’ll have a clue.

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          Picked this up on Early Access and it’s lots of fun. Personally the learning curve seems less steep as compared to other Zachtronics games, so if you got frustrated early with others, or haven’t tried any before, this is a good entrypoint. Presentation-wise, it’s top-notch. The pixel art graphics are crisp, the music is great as always, and the varied mission types make the gameplay more varied than previous Zachtronics releases.

          The puzzling is compelling enough to keep me playing, but the plot is unfortunately pretty underwhelming on this one so far. Hopefully that’s something that’s still being worked on, or that it turns a corner towards the end of the game.

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            Let’s be honest these games are not about plot, they’re programming games. I really enjoyed TIS-100, didn’t like SpaceChem or Opus Magnum at all though. This one looks good: more like the former than the latter - actually involving writing code.

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              Sure, nobody plays puzzle games for the plot, but the designers put one in, and IMHO feels half-baked enough to detract from the overall experience. The [rot13]Bar unpx, bar qeht qbfr[/rot13] thing is set up as if it’s a core mechanic but never really mentioned after the beginning, characters float in and out, and nothing I’m doing (hacking, battling, conversation choices in cutscenes, etc) feels like it has any tension or consequence beyond [rot13]nzhfvat RZORE-2 naq cbffvoyl pnhfvat fbzr yvarf bs pung va na VEP punaary fbzrjurer[/rot13], leaving me feel weirdly isolated in the world. (That feeling of disquieting solitude played to TIS-100’s strengths, given where that game goes, but I don’t think it works here.)

              edit: to be clear the game is good and everyone should buy this game

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            Spacechem was the game that got me hooked into this genre and ever since I’ve purchased every Zachtronics release. Each game has it’s only unique character.

            One interesting thing I’ve noticed is how rewarding it can be to watch your machine solve the problem. Sometimes it’s terribly hacky and other times it’s like a perfectly timed dance. An example from EXAPUNKS is the binary tree search level (I forget the name give in game). An optimized solution looks for more balanced than a quick and dirty one.

            While there is something very familiar to day-to-day programming in these games, the unique constraints are what drives interest for me. Using some general purpose instruction set or code would destroy a lot of the fun for me. In EXAPUNKS this includes things like abusing termination conditions, creative use of SWIZ, and so on. In a game like TIS-100 it was register constrained so it was all about signal timing. Spacechem had a few unique tricks like running the wally into a wall to allow one block to be executed every cycle.

            Anyway, if any of that sounds interesting, I’d explore the zachtronics.com site. There are a few free games and then many of the ones mentioned in this thread.

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              I played a decent amount of this in one night this week so far (staying away from it the other nights in an attempt to keep from losing too much sleep).

              I really enjoy the effort that went into the setting, and have been finding all the “File Processing” puzzles quite interesting, as that sort of data processing is something I’ve done a fair amount, just not one word at a time.

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                A good use for the release tag!