Childhood fun for a scientist


My dad forwarded me this post from a DIY tech blog called Hacked Gadgets.  It shows videos of “The Incredible Machine” creations, based on the computer games.  I found the video amusing, but mostly it reminded me of the game, which I used to play as a kid.  Now I miss the game and I want to play it again!  Maybe I’ll check out the most recent version, which is now 6 years old.  To me, this is proof that computer gaming isn’t all wasted time; I played this in my free time as a kid for fun, and when we have kids, I intend to encourage computer games as one resource for learning and practicing skills such as logic, management, and strategy.

Here is a blurb about the game from the wikipedia page:

The Incredible Machine (aka TIM) is a series of computer games that were originally designed and coded by Kevin Ryan and produced by Jeff Tunnell, the now-defunct Jeff Tunnell Productions, and published by Dynamix; the 1993 through 1995 versions had the same development team, but the later 2000–2001 titles had different designers. All versions were published by Sierra Entertainment.

The general objective of the games is to create a series of Rube Goldberg devices: arrange a given collection of objects in a needlessly complex fashion so as to perform some simple task (for example, “put the ball into a box” or “light a candle”). Available objects ranged from simple ropes and pulleys to electrical generators, bowling balls and even cats and mice. The levels usually have some fixed objects that cannot be moved by the player, and so the only way to solve the puzzle is carefully arrange the given objects around the fixed items. There is also a “freeform” option that allows the user to “play” with all the objects with no set goal or to also build their own puzzles with goals for other players to attempt to solve.

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